On May 13, 2010, when I woke up that morning, no one could have convinced me where I would be almost a year later. I woke up distraught, anxious, and completely lost. The day before my car broke down beyond repair, my boss warned me that if I didn’t have a car, I wouldn’t have a job; money was a problem, I found out I had a stomach hernia and worst of all, my girlfriend had run away with her ex in 24 hours.
The pain was so unexpected and out of my control that it led me to a dark place, which took me months to get over it. It was that week that The Lesbian Guru It was created, I felt so alone in the lesbian community and dumbfounded by the complexities of being with a woman, I needed to learn more.
Even after I got a new car, I was promoted to a new job, money problems were solved, I was accepted into a PhD program, and I had a sweet new girlfriend; I realized that I was still hurt and lost.
Seven months would pass; women came in and out of my life, the bitter taste of their ghost staining my memory. Seven months of crying late at night when no one was around. Seven months of cursing the day he was born, and I was able to leave his mark on my skin. Seven months wishing I could erase my memory and say “yes” to those who waited in the dark for me to acknowledge their love. Seven months of pain.
In late fall, after much self-exploration and questioning, I decided that maybe there was something like “never really get over a person.” I was finally accepting that the pieces would still be missing inside of me and that life needed to keep moving.
It was at this time on a Sunday afternoon that I was sitting with my best friend Ellen in her car, crying for the last time in the arms of the other of our past loves and hurts that my phone lit up with an incoming message. At first I thought I had misread the name, but as soon as I got a better look at it, I threw up. Ellen in shock read the name and proceeded to look for me (when I got out of the car and started walking). She read the message out loud and then looked at me with that WTF look that just happened.
It was a “sorry” note, and it left me stunned and emotionless. I’d be a liar if I said it’s not something I prayed for or didn’t care about. I cared about it. I cared more than what he was willing to admit or even what he wanted to feel. Part of me hated her for all the pain she had caused me and the other part just wanted to feel her skin under my hand, and more than anything, just wanted to know. Why.
I think that’s when the reconciliation began for me. When a door to a relationship opens, we have many options. Most of me wanted to get in, leaving the door wide open so I could get out at any moment. I took a step in his direction; remembering that my intentions are to always be true, keep an open mind, have limits, not walls, and never punish her for abandoning me.
Individuals are never broken and the human heart is never beyond repair, but when reconciling with someone, it takes all the individuals in the relationship to want to do so. Reconciliation is a goal and requires a team to achieve it; One person cannot do all the work, nor is it fair.
Here are ten tips to help you start the reconciliation process:
- Start with friendship. When my ex came back into my life, we made it clear that we would be friends. We were so determined to regain trust in each other to that level that we waited over a month to physically see each other again. The wait was worth it!
- We gave each other permission to “ask anything and not keep secrets.” This came with an additional “please, no details” side note. We also gave ourselves space to feel anger and pain, but to express it appropriately when we were both calm and ready to listen.
- This is an absolute “no-no”, no yelling, name calling, or threats. Don’t harass them by texting or calling them multiple times! What’s done is done, and if you’re not willing to put it in the past, you can forget that it will work in the future. Also, don’t play the victim and use the past as a weapon, for example, “You used to do this, you used to do that.”
- Set some rules and limits. From time to time you have to set your limits. “There are certain things that I can’t and won’t be okay with, it’s not a secret and I don’t expect you to read my mind, so I’ll share them with you.”
- More limits. All the people I’ve let in know this well about me. I am open to everyone and everyone, but if you hurt me and I give you a chance and you waste it, there are no more opportunities after that. I’ve learned that people won’t change if they haven’t too, so if you keep giving them one chance after another, it doesn’t make sense for the person to listen to you because they already know they will get away with it. I always forgive those who have hurt me and then let them go with an open heart, for example, “I wish all the love and happiness in the world, thank you for the time you shared with me.”
- Once you say you are ready to forgive, the work is on you to do so. Forgiveness comes from within, so only you can make it happen.
- It takes two to make the wheels of a relationship turn, so we all need to accept responsibility and fix the problem. Sometimes it’s not just about the other person who hurt us by changing, but about you included. It can be hard work, as we may have to change attitudes and actions. Think about counseling and therapy if there are too many obstacles in the way.
- Don’t beg, it changes the power situation in a relationship and makes you feel like shit. You will not need to beg if your actions and intentions are true, she will be able to see them.
- Keep family and friends out of this. If you need to talk about that, that’s what the mental health profession has for a “trained and impartial individual to hear.” You don’t need anyone’s approval because if they tell you they love you then they should always be there to understand and support you. There are some who didn’t want my ex to come back into my life, but were supportive enough to know how to keep my mouth shut with their opinions and just spread the love (thank you, you are a true friend!).
- Always communicate calmly and rationally or you will just scare and drive them away. Remember what brought the two of you together and why it’s worth fighting for, but do it the mature way!
Nothing is guaranteed in life, we can only do good with what we have been given and we understand. I don’t know if this relationship will work and I don’t care. I only care that some things are too big to pass up and that an opportunity for a life of true happiness can be found when anger, jealousy, and mistrust are left behind; and compassion and love have taken their place.
Alex Karydi ~ The Lesbian Guru