‘There’s a small black hole in your Heart Chakra that no light can touch. It’s almost as if you were hurt very deeply, and will never let it happen again.’ My radiant friend and reiki healer Rachael was retelling me what she found when doing our healing session. Small black hole sounds rather ominous… Is this why I’ve been single for six years? A bit heavy handed with the metaphors, but it felt… well, true. I’ve always considered myself a pretty open-hearted and vulnerable person, and yet there is a subtle little guard up that few get to peek behind. I had spent some time in the last year working on myself and I was ready for a grown-up relationship. Unfortunately, I’d been perpetually single for my entire life in NYC. So awfully single that I even made a cabaret show about it. This reiki session happened a few years ago, just before I met my fiancé. Little did I know, what I learned at that session would spurn the closure I needed to be ready for the grownup relationship I’d always wanted.
I’ve only had one serious relationship in my life. It was intense, and all consuming, and it ended as abruptly as it began. I woke up one day, realized this man wasn’t the one, and couldn’t spend another night pretending he was. Ending a relationship before every ounce of love is dripped out of it is a challenge. It was as surprising for me as it was for him. I spent an entire month pretty shell-shocked. I couldn’t believe we were exchanging keys and returning stuff and never talking to each other again—we were big practitioners of Greg Behrendt’s ‘They Call it a Breakup Because it’s Broken,’ and thankfully made some healthy boundaries. I healed myself as best I could, and somehow managed to snag a rebound to ease the pain. For anyone who’s rebounded with a fellow rebounder, it is at the same time so soothing and so very depressing. We talked openly of our past relationships and openly processed why they didn’t work. All while trying to convince ourselves this was a real connection rather than a distraction from the new loneliness.
I went to do my summer gig with newly rebounded and newly labeled ‘boyfriend’ and felt myself finally moving on. And then, Facebook ruined everything. What were breakups like before Facebook? Did you find out your ex moved on from a wedding announcement in the paper? Or did they just disappear into the ether, only to be briefly brought back only when you thought of them? This is not the case anymore. If you want, you can track your ex’s every move. Even if you unfriend or unfollow or whatever, Facebook can torment you by adding them to the ‘suggested friends’ section. I was casually browsing my newsfeed one morning when a friend’s post sounded… familiar. And my ex had ‘liked’ this post. I groan at the fact that this story even occurs with the drama and importance of exes liking posts, but this is the world we live in. After some light Facebook stalking, my suspicions were confirmed. My ex was dating someone new. Someone I knew. Someone he only knew because of me. And the relationship that followed between them was very public, and for me, very painful. You can’t quantify how long it takes to get over someone, or tell someone how they ‘should’ feel. And no matter how much I knew he wasn’t right for me, and how much I cared deeply for his happiness, I also never ever wanted my ex to find love again. It’s completely selfish and totally unreasonable, but I just want any man who crosses my path to be left in a puddle of their own sadness, insisting that no woman will ever compare to the illustrious Katie Bland. If anyone was going to come out of this relationship the better for it, and now happily coupled, it would be me, by golly!
But the Universe is hilarious and also apparently needed to teach me the same lesson a million times. It’s safe to say that almost every guy I have dated has met and found their soulmate shortly after dating me. I was the marriage ‘fluffer.' They all sting a bit, seeing their engagement announcements as I’d still be wistfully swiping left and right on the hottest new dating app looking for the future Mr. Katie Bland. But the OG-ex was the hardest. I don’t think I even realized how deeply this relationship cut me until I was confronted with the happy couple head on.
My friend from college was getting married, which is great, because I love weddings. She did, however, warn me that my ex and his now wife would be there. And also, his wife was very very pregnant. Joy. I guess one can no longer be unhappy for the ex and his rebound if it turns out they were meant to be… Maybe I’m bitter I never got a thank you note? Regardless, the one that hurt the most was coming back into my plane of existence for one day.
To prepare, I did what any self respecting woman would do. I dieted, worked out, and bought the sexiest little black dress I could find. (It's the photo in this article, not bad right?!) Though I had absolutely zero desire to rekindle our love or even tempt him, I guess my logic was that however good I looked would show just how ‘fine’ I was. The wedding came, and the happy couple were two ominous orbs in the corner of my eye throughout the entire event. I couldn’t not think about them, or stare at them, or do everything to avoid them. And they respectfully avoided me, too. I used my flawless technique of speaking and laughing loudly, so in case either of them were watching, they could see me laugh and smile and have a grand old time in slow motion, just like the movies. But the reception was well underway, and no moves were made between us to talk to each other. I had spent months mentally and physically preparing myself for this day, and it was really going to end without even a single interaction? As much as I wanted to stay comfortable and not confront the ex-love of my life and his soulmate and future mother of his children, I knew I would not be satisfied if I didn’t say something to them. I grabbed my friend for moral support, and we walked over to say hi.
I had thought about seeing them many, many times. For years I had dreams of running into them and yelling at them for hurting me so much. But saying hi to them was not at all what I expected. As soon as we started talking, every inch of resentment and bitterness drained away. I was instead standing in front of a man I had loved, who was healed and happy. And truth be told, he was thriving in a way that he would never have thrived with me. It was a relief, to see them together, to know that was right and we were wrong. We caught up briefly and continued to enjoy the wedding in our separate friend circles. At the end of the night when everyone was saying their goodbyes, we found ourselves standing next to each other again, and I surprised myself by saying, ‘You know, I think of you often, and hope you’re doing well, and I just send that out into the ether and hope you get it.’ And he surprised me by saying, ‘I do, too.’
It startles me how much darkness can be built up in the unknown, in the silence. The years I spent not talking to him had created a black cloud of anger, bitterness, resentment, and fear. I was so afraid that he spoke terribly about our relationship, or about me. I worried he hated me for ending our relationship so suddenly. And this whole time, we were simply healing and wishing each other well from afar. Are there other relationships that can be mended in this way?
Since then we’ve exchanged emails here and there, and I recently caught up with him to ask permission to talk about this whole issue. We are now with our life partners, and because of that we can both look back on our time together with pure reverence. We were finally able to speak gratitude to each other. I could finally see what the good in our relationship was, and how it led me to the man I have now. It’s no surprise to me that I met my fiancé exactly a month after getting closure with my ex. I had no idea I was that hurt or that angry after all of those years. Simply by bringing light to the relationship, and courageously reaching out at a friend’s wedding, I was able to heal years of pain. I only wish I had found closure sooner. How would it have changed my relationships?
Now, I’m so dang happy, and literally every ex of mine is married, I could go down the line and do this with all of them! Or…maybe I won’t, because that’s awfully time consuming. But at least, I’ll keep sending well wishes out into the ether, and keep my heart open for their well wishes to me as well.