The One Before You

What was she like? Did she love him the way that I love him? Did he light up her soul when he walked into a room and smiled at her? Was she beautiful? How much work did she have to put into him? Did she hurt him? Did he hurt her? I don’t know her but I just know that I can feel her presence because her memory is written all over him. I am not saying he is not over her…is he? It’s just that he has these walls built up. I suspect it must have been her, the one before me. The one that made him think that love wasn’t as good as I know it can be.

People say that we carry baggage from our previous relationships into our next one. Whatever happened before shapes how we act in the next affair because those lessons from the past must be applied to the future. The fear or pain and betrayal and doubt weighs heavily on you. Although, we say that we have moved on we are still shaped in some small way by past lovers. Some of us can apply the best part of those experiences to our new relationships while others can only contribute the darkness and fear they felt. Yes, it’s true it takes a lot to open yourself up to someone. The ability to be vulnerable becomes harder and harder each time. You often find yourself asking: What’s it all for? Why am I doing this?

You meet someone new and you just can’t help the way you feel about them. In your case you are ready to give love another chance and take the good and all you have learned and make this the best relationship you could have. For them, they just aren’t ready yet. You know what they are going through because this was once you. Hanging onto the past as if it was all you should ever breathe in for the rest of your life. Then one day something happens and you wake and have the all knowing moment of clarity. You can’t put your finger on why you finally got your emotional shit together and cleared out your baggage but you did. You decided in this moment to reconcile with the past. You give it some thought and even get out a piece of paper so you can write this all down. What are the lessons? What did you learn from them? What did you learn about yourself mostly? How can you move forward with what you know now? It felt good…didn’t it? Long before you arrived to this moment there were people in between, who you dated, who became well acquainted with your dating demons. You kept your guard up and at times treated them badly because someone needed to pay for how you felt. So of course, now that you have found someone ( lord knows you are ready to get this show on the road) you can’t really fault them. You sympathize with them, you really do. In the beginning you are easy going and understand. Give them their space and hope that maybe you can help them or they will have an all knowing awakening and open their heart to you.

The truth is this doesn’t always happen. You can’t really wait around for a long time for someone to get it. To see that life and love isn’t working because they are not working at it. You find yourself imaging the one before you and what the hell they did to this ‘perfect’ person you just want to love. You almost hate them because they have ruined it for you; the person who isn’t them. The more they pile up the bricks and push you away the more you are drawn to them because there is something in you that speaks to you and it tells you that this is your person. You Look up into the sky and ask why? You are not alone in this world full of love workers trying to break down and shatter walls trapping a beautiful heart. All you can do is look back at their past; it is your past now. You want to go back in time with them and somehow make the memory and the experience a little bit sweeter. You want to tell her not be so critical or encourage him a little more. He needs love and she needs to recognize this or she will ruin it for the next one; you. What you don’t see are the ways he contributed to the chaos and pain of his past. Maybe she has the same burdens that he currently has. It was him that bruised her once hopeful heart and in turn he shattered his own. So she left him or he left her, either way someone is bitter.

I often see people criticize ex’s of their partner as if they knew them personally. I watch them navigate themselves carefully through the relationship so they don’t exude the same behaviours or qualities of the oh so hated ex. In my experience and I know this first hand. I dated someone who was going through a divorce ( I didn’t know at the time, he kept this a secret for nearly a year, but that’s another story). I just knew that he had come from a place where he felt betrayed by someone. I remember thinking well he is such a great guy, how could anyone be so cruel. At the same token, I can honestly say I never joined him on any negative rants about her because I don’t know her or what he was like with her. I don’t really know anything other than what he told me. Further, his past is not my future so why should I dwell on it. It’s important to not spend your life worrying about someone else’s past and the people that were apart of it. Who cares what she/he was like? This is something you should never do. Who cares what they are and what you may not be. If you aren’t over a relationship stay by yourself for a while and get over it. Don’t bring your mess and expect someone else to clean it up. Or expect them to fill the shoes of your once beloved. To those who are currently in a relationship like this stop spending hours wondering what ‘the ex’ was like. It’s not worth it. If you are ready then look for someone who is on the same page. Who has moved on from the past and is excited to live in the present with you.

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Hanifa Sekandi

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

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