If you have lived very long on this earth, you have probably realized that it is often the trying times in life from which we gather the most valuable life lessons–not only of what NOT to do, but also of what to do better or differently. Additionally, we would be foolish to leave any unpleasant experience or relationship without trying to extract some morsel of goodness or wisdom. I mean, if you’re going to wrestle through the mud and leave covered in muck (metaphorically), you might as well take away a bit of pore cleansing properties too, no?
So, in that same spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, and yet still spitting out the seeds, I’ve decided to commemorate the 11th break-up-aversary of my first fiance and and second-most- serious boyfriend with a list of the notable lessons that I learned either directly from him or indirectly from our relationship. I am intentionally not really including the spiritual lessons because most of those came later.
Memorable Lessons from my Ex and my Break-up
(in no Particular Order)
1. I am just keeping it totally real when I say that, without his careful training, I would not be able to distinguish between AC DC, Metallica, and Led Zeppelin. Now I am able to do this flawlessly; however, this skill doesn’t really come in that handy anymore. Bummer.
2. Pretending that you are spies will make dates more fun, but it probably does not add genuine strength to the relationship.
3. After drinking too much, take three ibuprofen and drink two (or is it six?) large glasses of water before going to bed. In the morning, you shouldn’t have a hangover. (This does work pretty well, as does NOT DRINKING TOO MUCH IN THE FIRST PLACE. Der-her.) Perhaps there is also an indirect lesson here about dating people who know a lot of hangover avoidance techniques . . . . just sayin’.
4. People who say, whether honestly or jokingly, that they buried a cat up to its neck and mowed it with a lawn mower, may have issues.
5. Do not go after the guy that your roommate dumped no matter how high his ACT score is or how far out of the country her semester abroad is. It is bad form.
6. Be sure that when you fall in love with someone who has amazing friends, you also check him out in a friendless-void to see if you still like each other. By the associative principle of relationships, he might be more awesome because of the friends. Or you might be more awesome because of the friends. Either way, if either of you are significantly less awesome without the other people around, beware.
7. White Castle is nasty.
8. When the roads are icy in Indiana, it is not a good idea to sit in the backseat of a long sedan car when the combined weight of the people in the front seat is 1200 lbs and the combined weight of the people in the back is less than half of that. This is especially true if you are sitting in the middle of the backseat and have claustrophobic issues. However, should this situation present itself, enjoy the ride; it’s gonna be exhilarating.
9. When making decisions, you do not always have to have a good reason. A gut feeling is equally valid. In fact, strongly feeling that you really don’t want to do something IS a good reason in itself. People who tell you that logic is superior to emotion have not taken enough graduate classes from deconstructionist feminist professors. Also, they are wrong.
10. Any guy who is unwilling to have painfully awkward and uncomfortable conversations with your dad about whatever the heck you dad wants to freak him out with, isn’t going to stand the test of time. What your dad will say or ask is infinitely less awkward than what will come up in your marriage.
11. Lysine is good for cold sores. (No wait. That was actually something my husband learned from his Ex and taught me. See! Where would we be without our pasts?!! Cold-sore laden and at White Castle, is where.)
Real 11. (Since the last 11 doesn’t count and I get to have 11 since it has been 11 years.) If you have the faintest inkling that you are in the wrong relationship, you are. Get out while you can. Whereas it is gut-wrenching hard work to find and maintain the person that you think you want and need, (this part I learned later) it is absolutely effortless to be given who you didn’t know you needed all along*. Read the last sentence again because it is confusingly written, but true and cannot be written more clearly because I am too tired now to do so.
There you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this list and if you are single, I implore you to take heed.
If by some astonishing fluke my Ex should ever stumble upon or read this post, all I can say is. . . . . since we went our separate ways, I’ve always hoped the best for you. I hope you’ve found it. Also, speaking of finding things, if you ever found the copy of The Damnation of Theron Ware that I lent you, and you aren’t totally re-irritated at me about this post, I really would like it back because I had a lot of helpful notes written in the margins, making it irreplaceable. Thanks.
*(Note on Real 11.) Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that it isn’t an arduous effort to stay in a healthy relationship once God brings the right person into your life. I’m just saying that it is MUCH easier to wait for the right person or even to be alone than to emotionally manipulate and damage the wrong person in your fool-hardy attempt to transform them, which won’t happen anyway.