a soccer mom

Don’t Let Go the Coat

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I’m a connector. When I bond, fall in love, and develop a semi-secure attachment, I’m in. To disconnect from a lover is to lose a friend. And some lovers set the entire church of your relationship on fire to destroy the context and contemplation of your ongoing saga, now complete, ended, destroyed.

It’s not like I don’t think about her (the bridge burner) but it’s not because I want an intimate relationship with her again, no, it’s because I did love her as fully as I knew how. Now that it’s done, her humor, her ideas and plans, her ambition, have left a mark on my heart. She is missed even as she took action to sever all ties. It worked for our written and verbal communications. But I don’t let go the coat.

don't let go the coat - the who

Don’t Let Go the Coat” – The Who

Relationships do end. No doubt about that. And the connection can only remain if both humans are connectors and open to maintaining contact. If the contact is too painful, however, it is best to simply go dark.

Letting go is not easy for us deep connectors. I wrote a piece about The Golden Thread to try and understand why I continue to reach out to a woman (and her son) who promised the “friendship forever” promise.

She vaporized within a month of my new happiness in finding my next relationship. She passed for us. She passed for her son. And she passed on remaining friends. I still think about her. I hope for their continued success and happiness up in Vermont. I don’t know much about her life over the last three years.

A different woman I dated after my divorce said, “Once I love someone I never don’t love them.” I haven’t heard from her in four or more years. She’s married (yay) and let her hair go grey. She looks perfectly happy as a small-town elementary school teacher with a great smile and the love language of SEX. She made huge indelible marks on my life. Poof. She’s gone.

And here is me, planning a winter break in New Mexico. I am meeting up with a dear friend and former neighbor (18 years ago), Drew, who I tracked down last year when visiting Santa Fe. I am also now invited to dinner with a post-college business partner, also in SF, who accepted my request to share a moment. A real in-person moment with someone you were deeply connected to from 1988 – 1991. Why? What’s my need? Or is it simply the love of my friend, never darkened, never dimmed, just burned down to embers, easily rekindled and inflamed?

How We Love

Humans love in different ways. A few of us are like St. Bernard’s. We never forget the smell and feel of a person we love. We can track them down in the wind, rain, and snow.

Many people are wounded in a way that a departure means death, loss, and hate. When the firestarter was trying to torture me, post-engagement, I had to threaten to expose her terrible messages and actions to our 45 mutual friends on Facebook. She had started attending and promoting Toxic Narc Abuse events and pontificating on her recent crucifixion. But, of course, it wasn’t true. It was her way of what The Cult referred to as a Love Removal Machine.

She was hurt so she aimed to hurt me. Her mugshot from a previous relationship (assault charges) when discovered provided the “back off and stop smearing me” moment for our severance. It was an awful moment. She was self-immolating and blaming me. I hear she’s *happily* married in New Mexico now. I won’t be looking her up during my trip.

I Will Never Willingly Abandon You

I will let go of you at your request. My heart may take a few more years to purge the warm fuzzies it still wants to remind you about. But I can release you (a) small Texas school marm, I release you (b) Vermont ice hockey goalie, single mom, with a brilliant but over-protected son, and I release you (c) violently malevolent drinking jester. (Wow, that went dark fast. My apologies.)

I will sever all ties upon your request.

I may still wish I could tell you about some wonderfully fun thing you taught me, that I wanted to laugh about with you this afternoon.

There is no you. There is only a picture of you, that my heart still carries. Snowy moments, big love, and the belief that we were going to be together forever.

People Exit

They don’t have to die.

Shutting down all opportunities for sharing works pretty well.

In letting go of the mom in this story, she continued to respond to my “Hey let’s meet up for dinner at the restaurant we three frequented once or twice a week.” A late response was always, “I have plans.” Or “we have plans.” Or the ever-intriguing, “I have an out-of-town guest.” This was the same woman who liked to remind me she used to love exclusively women.

The result was always the same. “Yes, please. No.” And then zip, nada, zilch. If there had been a way to maintain a friendship or a relationship with her son, she would’ve said, “Not tomorrow, but maybe next week.” There was never a rejoinder. Never. Sure, there was an occasional late-night text of some photo of us, or him, or whatever. With no context. No “let’s set a date.” Ever.

The last I heard from her before she moved back home to Vermont, she said, “We’re having a garage sale this Saturday. Drop by, would love to see you.” But that was a lie. She made no effort to see me during the last three years she was still in town.

Sweet woman, that’s okay. Leave in peace. Go with god. And please, let go of your son’s hand. He needs to spin up a life of his own that is not entwined with yours. You had a shot at loving someone ready to embrace and believe in both of you. There was no room in your house for another male. Please, make room. Mostly for him. But, also for you, I still love you. I miss you. And, most of all, I wish you well.

I’ll leave my warm fuzzies for someone else.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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Dating 2.0

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