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How to Break Up.

At lunch with a friend a day after my most recent break-up, the topic of hurting people came up. I was explaining that my ex-boyfriend and I were going to do the friend thing.

Here's a truth: If the absolute first person you ever date in your entire life isn't your one and only soulmate who you then stay with until the day you die, you are going to spend time being hurt and hurting others. In a break-up, one or both of you is hurt.

So I was saying to my friend, that while you can't always do what's best for you and still avoid hurting or being hurt, what's important is that you come from a place of honesty and respect.

"So he did that then?" she asked.  "He was honest and respectful?"

And at that moment, I wasn't quite sure why what she asked hit me the way it did. "Well, yeah," I said, knowing I was feeling something more, but not sure what it was.

The break-up and the hurt were still too raw for what I'd said and she'd said to sink in. About a week later, after numerous consecutive nights of too much red wine and tears, I realized what had happened.

I dated someone. It wasn't right - I was starting to see that, too. Further, I had communicated that I wasn't interested in staying too long in a relationship that didn't have long-term commitment in its future. And when he was sure that I wasn't that person to him, he told me, and we broke up. And the fact that I wasn't that person to him, very clearly convinced me that he wasn't the right person for me either. Even if it hurt.



Exactly what *didn't* happen with the first guy I dated seriously in L.A. The exact opposite of the complete disrespect and dishonesty that had hurt me so much just a few years before.

I had another realization recently. I was looking in the mirror at all the weight I've gained since moving to L.A. I was thinking about how I used to go to yoga every week, and how it was such a priority. I wondered what had happened, why I had stopped going. Some of it was financial, but the truth was, I'd hardly exercised at all in a really long time. Why?

And I realized that I had stopped exercising after being cheated on. Mentally, I fought the blow to my self-esteem, but physically, I think I've been punishing myself, or unconsciously submitting to what infidelity tells you: That you are garbage. That you are not worth respect and honesty. Why take care of a body that's already attached to someone worthless?

Now, here I am with proof that that's not true. Here I am with proof that someone could date me and have the balls to end it respectfully. That I am deserving of the same respect that I am so careful to give.

I know that I should know this already. But sometimes, it's simply not that easy. I *knew* it before, but now I'm beginning to truly believe it again.

Break-ups are sad. Hurting people and being hurt is difficult. And I'm not saying that if you do it "right" there isn't going to be heartache and tears and maybe even screaming. But I am saying that if, given a little time, the person you break-up with can look back and see that they were treated respectfully and with honesty, it makes a difference. It means something.

In this moment, for me, it means I have a new friend.  And I'm exercising again.

It means that I'm finally mending.


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