There are outfits we put together and remember proudly, clothing pieces we see in stores and can’t forget. We have meals we can still taste days later, and workouts we’d rather not continue feeling the following soreness of. Things linger with us, some good, and some bad. And then there are people. Perhaps it’s me and being in between romantic relationships now (and for a while), but there seem to be an extra amount of romantic type relationships just lingering in my life.
They take form as exes, those who never really made it to official status, and those who toy with the idea of perhaps getting there. It seems my lingerers incorporate a bit of each of those categories. Perhaps that’s why they stick around- their role was ambiguous yet meaningful, so they ambiguously continue to carry meaning to me.
A couple years ago, I was particularly upset that a man lingering in my life was still doing so. This wasn’t his doing necessarily, nor due to my continued attentions. It was more like a background program I couldn’t shut down, and didn’t really notice until I took inventory of all the thoughts and feelings I was processing. Once I did, I was confused, annoyed, and just trying to figure out how the heck to shut that door. For good. And keep it closed. Or at least take him out of the background and into a more productive place in my life. I eventually talked to this man about it, and he didn’t have any answers or amazing insight to help me out. It was frustrating, to say the least.
I would love to tell you this person then soon disappeared and freed up my headspace, but it wasn’t resolved so quickly. A mixture of circumstances keeping us in contact, those circumstances changing, my tolerance level, and time taking its turn did all end in resolving this lingering issue with the relationship. But just because I wanted to be done with it was not how my peace finally came.
What did work? That conversation I had with the man admitting there was still something I was holding onto. It was me actually confronting that bit in my life that wasn’t working and was bothering me. I could have likely had that conversation with a friend or with myself to achieve a similar effect, but lucky for me this conversation did help and was not destructive (the man is quite good in handling my emotional outbursts and contemplations). Plus, facing the man straight on may have ignited the process to start quicker. Also what worked? Accepting this was an issue for me. There is a difference between admitting and accepting something. Once I came clean, I had to get ok with it. In my head, I looked at it from all angles I could imagine, thought about what I wanted, thought about why this was an issue anyway, and then let go of a lot so I had space for openness and some more positive emotions.
Theoretically, this seems simple enough. Step 1, step 2, check. But the heart is tricky. And every day, every moment brings change. However, patience and a commitment to get myself into a headspace that worked for me paid off. That’s not to say there’s not a new person now lingering and for me to deal with, but I know that so long as it works for me, those I choose to let linger will be fine right where they are. And when it doesn’t work any more, I’ll make a new commitment to get where I want to be.
For those who have lingering loves in your life, be patient and accepting of yourself and the circumstances. And remember, like a fantastic meal remaining on your tastebuds or that emblazoned image in your mind of the must-have boots, we don’t quite remember things as they are in reality. Take another taste, go back and see the boots, have the conversation, and be real with yourself.
Image Layout: Margaret
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