This week marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. I’m particularly excited because it is the year of the “Black Water Dragon.” And, according to Chinese astrology, I’m a dragon. With every new year, Chinese or otherwise, we all look to leave things in the past in order to move on to new, better situations.  This should be true in our love lives too, out with the old and in with the new!

I went shopping with my sister-friend this past week and we were talking about the new man in her life. He’s European and they’ve been dating for six months. He is completely unexpected and although she’s known him for about two years, she never in her wildest dreams thought he could be her man. Yet, there she was all aglow and giddy like a schoolgirl.  

It was great to see my sister-friend in such high spirits over love because I hadn’t seen her like this since she’d met her ex-boyfriend over 10 years ago. Sure, there were guys that she dated for various durations – two months here, six months there, but never anything that came close to the emotions she showed and shared about her ex. In fact, it had always been in the back of her mind that they’d one day reunite.

Last November, following a year of getting her personal house in order, my sister-friend decided that it was time to explore dating her ex again. For all intents and purposes they had a wonderful eight-year relationship and got along very well. She’d broken up with him (or at least she thought) purely because she needed space to find her personal identity.

She asked him out to lunch and they chatted about the world, their relationship and the possibility of getting back together. It wasn’t the first time they’d done this, but it was the most frank and direct conversation they’d had about it. Ultimately, they began to argue, which was rare for them. Leaving my sister-friend with the realization that it was much more than her needing to find her personal identity that had prompted her to leave.

“It was weird, in an instant I looked at him and thought, ‘You’re not my man,’” she said as we strolled through the racks at Saks. She went on to describe that because she had clarity in other aspects of her life she was able to see him, their relationship and herself clearly. By the end of the conversation, she no longer had any intimate feelings for him beyond wanting to be great friends.

“You were romanticizing what you all had, so in your mind you’d forgotten all of the things that separated you and focused on the good,” I added to the mix. And, it was true. Every time she spoke of their relationship she had selective memory, which had kept the chapter open. I, however, remember how upsetting his lack of passion was to her and how they just spoke a different love language from the beginning. Two great people just not made for each other.

The miraculous thing that happened was that once she closed that chapter, she had even greater clarity. She was dating a couple of other guys and ended all of those relationships because now she was focused on what she wanted. More importantly, she was open to seeing that what she wanted had been right in front of her for months, her current boyfriend.

Holding on to the past is generally a bad thing, especially in relationships. If you’re still stuck in the past there is no way you can appreciate and enjoy the present. If you find yourself hung up on an ex, it might be time for you to close that old chapter and start a new one.

Wishing you love and ceaseless joy!

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