I’m From Chicago, IL.

by Joe

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

Last year I was dumped out of a 12 year relationship. It is the only relationship I’ve ever managed to have with a man. I thought it was forever, but I was mistaken. Now I’m middle-aged, back on the market and finding out just how hopeless it may be. But you know what? I don’t care! Because those were the happiest 12 years of my life!

I met him unexpectedly, just as they say, “when I wasn’t looking.” I went to a party and a friend who was with me but was too shy to make a move, thought he (my future ex) was cute. I really had given up on men so I wasn’t too interested. But I got all of us to exchange phone numbers so they could meet up. However, he called me. At first I thought he’d never stick around, but he did. Our relationship was like any other: good times, bad times, vacations, holidays, fights and extraordinary moments of bliss. And then, almost as suddenly, it was over. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I knew there were problems, but I thought we were working through them.

Anyhow, regardless of what I lost, I have a whole other family (his family) who still consider me part of them. I didn’t attend Holidays this year, but I saw them the weekend before Thanksgiving (my ex was bringing the new boyfriend to Thanksgiving) and I had a wonderful time. My mother-out-law, as I call her, said that she hopes one day I’ll find someone and bring them with me for visits! Can you imagine?! They want to welcome my new partner when I get one! How lucky does a guy get? I have a whole set of ex-in-laws who want to keep me in the divorce! I am awed and humbled by their generosity and love. But it does go both ways. I may be single and sometimes lonely, but I’m not at all alone.

And as cliched as it may be, I would rather have taken the chance and really loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. Funny thing about love, real love: it never diminishes, it only builds and teaches and nourishes. I’m sad, but not empty, hungry but not starving. And even what terrifies me pales next to what I’ve gained. I know I can really love and I know I can never be hurt quite that way again.

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