Going through a break up is the hardest thing that I've had to go through. Especially from a woman that I enjoyed being with. I've been told that each subsequent one gets easier. Yeah, right. This was my fourth long relationship and it's just as painful. I didn't realize how her rhythmic breath at night was like a swinging gold watch that helped me enter deep sleep. Her laughter at my stupid jokes made me feel good. Her company in my life made my days worth living, giving me breaks in the midst of work, writing, and GTL. I could only hope that somehow when we were together I had brightened her day.
What disheartened me the most is the absence: by my bedside, everyday places we went, and her little dog. I gave it to her for her birthday and named him Dobby. Awesome little dude.
With the end of each relationship, I do my best to learn from my mistakes. What did I do correct? What should I have done? I'm not talking about infinitesimal things like should I have given her that watch or purse? I know that if two people are supposed to be together for a long time, lifetime even, then it'll happen despite these minuscule mistakes. I'm referring to the biggies: Did I listen? Was I curious about her even after a long time together? Did I take care of her a way a man should? Did I love her the way she needed?
More importantly, will I learn from these mistakes?
For me, one of the worst things I can do is wallow in pity. The questions above can often times lead to that. So I did what a lot of women do after breakups (I know. I ain't no woman). I seeked refuge in friends and be open about my feelings if the subject comes up.
I went on a hike with a friend who introduced me to several new friends. After, we went to dinner. "What are your requirements for your mate?" I asked the group.
My new Indian friend asked, "For date or marriage?" Very good question. I said marriage.
"You mean my list?" the lone woman said.
I nodded. "Yeah. What's your top five things you can't live without?"
Gawd. "How many things are on your list?"
She stretched out her arms. Funny thing is, she wasn't kidding. I was surprised because we seemed to be a slightly enlightened group. Not that there isn't the perfect guy out there for her, but her long list of requirements often cuts the list of guys down to nuthin'. I've seen this happen many times.
I was watching an episode of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, and Ted reluctantly went to a match making service. He quipped that there are millions of women in New York and didn't need that matchmaker's help. There's plenty of fish in the sea, he stated. She pulled out her trusty calculator and attacked the buttons like a madwoman. She said:
There's 9 million people in New York. 4.5 million women. Of course, you want to meet someone roughly your own age - let's say plus, minus 5 years. So if you take into account the most recent census data that leaves us with 482,000 women. But wait! 48% of those are already in relationships and then you have to eliminate half for intelligence, sense of humor and compatibility. And then you have to take out the ex girlfriends and the relatives. And, oh, you can't forget those lesbians. And then that leaves us with 8 women.
Of course, the last line sounds a little arbitrary but the matchmaker's point is simple: How many people are we truly compatible with? I'm not a believer of THE ONE, the sole mate. We as humans are compatible with many people, and some are compatible with many people at the same time. Not sure if I'd want that. We have many soul mates in friends, pets, and lovers just as we have different kinds of friends - lovers, pals, or basketball buddies.
I would say this: The number of people we'd be willing to dedicate our whole lives to are rather small in comparison to the number of fish in the sea. Since we don't know what that number is, and, more often than not, what we want in a mate, we should be open to who comes into our lives, explore a bit, and have fun finding our soul mate(s).