At thirty years old I thought I was merely repeating mistakes until I learned the real lessons behind them, but the last person I really opened up to taught me a few brand new lessons.  We had, and still have as friends, an amazing rapport and, for at least a little while, and incredibly sensual energy between us.  When it changed I felt it almost immediately, but I tried not to let it detract from the experience I was having.  He warned me that he didn’t share my feelings, and I assured him I could accept that until I couldn’t. Once I reached a point where it was no longer enriching my life, we talked about it, and I shifted my perspective and focus to something a little less involved and a little more platonic.

So, the lessons…

There was one about accepting myself instead of striving for validation from others.  After telling me that his goal was to show me that I was better than I thought I was, it took him one look to bring me lower than I had imagined possible in a long time.  The lesson, to stop letting my self-confidence be dictated by anyone, even if it’s someone I trust not to hurt me.  My self-worth has to be set by me.

There was one about how I approach new people.  When the Vanishing Act told me I was too intense, I took it to heart.  With this new situation I chose to keep a lot of my feelings inside, speaking about them only once I’d deliberated them and formed a usually coherent, generally concise email.  I did the best I could, in fact, to strip away any emotion from my communication and approach the entire thing like a science project.  In the end all I had was a very logical understanding of why my feelings didn’t matter.  You see, lovers can’t stop themselves from loving.  We can only postulate why the risk is worth taking, why it’s a lost cause, or how to interact with the other person in order to maintain at least a friendship.  Unfortunately for the lovers and the risk takers, we do not decide the outcome of a fresh start.  Relationships are dictated by the one who doesn’t have an emotional attachment, not the one who does.   It’s up to us in that case to decide how long we’re willing to accept a one-sided scenario and what we want to salvage from it once the experiment has been abandoned by the other participant.

There was one about being honest with myself.  While I didn’t stop being me in this case, I did do a lot of internal chastising for being too forward, too silly, too caring.  I scolded myself for things I know I can’t control.  In the end it was my fault for falling in love with something so high risk.  The lesson here is, yes, be rational, but also be true to who you are as a lover.  I know how I am when I give everything over to someone who wants it, and in this case I feel like we would have been amazing.  Still, if I’m too intense for you, I’m probably not for you at all.  I wish I had had the nerve to say that to The Vanishing Act when I had the chance.  It would have saved us a lot of energy.  Still, just below the surface this relationship was just what I needed for a time, but once that time was gone I had to admit to myself that it was no longer fulfilling, that I was done compromising.

The best lesson I learned from this is how to be a friend with no expectations.  Through the course of this I let it all go.  I enjoyed what came my way and never altered my course based on what I wasn’t getting in return.  The end result was that I got exactly what I needed, and I get to keep it.  Nothing was lost to resentment or bitterness.  Nothing was forfeited for heartache.  While I have may have a brief moment here and there of disappointment, if that’s the worst thing to come out of a situation it’s been highly worth what’s come out of it.

That, my friends, is a win in my book.