The EX-Factor

Sometimes, as much as we love to hate them, or hate to love them, or love that they hate us, or hate that they hate us, or love that they hate us (I could go on) we have to eventually admit that our Ex(s), as in someone you were in a significant relationship with and are no longer with, influence our lives and our feelings.

Do you ever find it strange how many feelings and memories can be evoked by a location, a song, a smell, a color, a food, or even a way of life? Sometimes bringing back fond memories of a different time, sometimes reminding of heartbreak, confusion, and even self doubt.

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Now that I’m back in NYC (and I’m sorry, but isn’t that the MOST AMAZING pic. of Midtown NYC– as I flew over Manhattan from STL!!! click to enlarge it!) I’m finding this may be something I struggle with. For example, a year ago today… or maybe it was yesterday, I reconnected with someone who I truly thought I would spend the rest of my life with, in Bryant Park. We talked, laughed and started to lay the ground work for a future. Fast forward to right now, and my life track looks like it’s just me… but I still have a hard time visiting Bryant Park. Just being there reminds me of that night that changed everything. So what do I do? -Go there everyday and wallow in my regret and sadness, wishing I could go back and change things so I’d still be happy? -Never set foot in that park again and avoid it at all costs, in so doing, miss out on all the events hosted there year round? No, that all sounds like it’s going a little over board and bordering on crazy. Instead, when I find myself chilling in Bryant Park, I acknowledge the memories and the feelings, but I let them go… and I enjoy my time.

I have a dear friend who very recently went through something very similar to my recent events. She retreated home in order to get ahold of her feelings and make a plan to take her life in a new direction. The other day she was headed to a wedding with family. Once at the venue, it hit her that she and her significant other had been there just weeks earlier and had enjoyed a wonderful evening. Now being back and alone, all those emotions hit her… hit her hard. Tears began as she tried to make her way into the reception room and join her family, but the memories won out- she turned and high tailed it out of there.

Can you blame her? I know those feelings all to well. All we can do is hope that time will make it easier to cope and that eventually these places will hold new and better memories for us.

However, not all Factors are something as easy as a location. This is where my current struggle kicks in. My now-Ex and I had begun a very strict vegetarian diet and lifestyle together… and now that I’m on my own I’m having trouble deciding if I should (or want to) remain vegetarian or, if in attempting to “purge” myself of all reminders of him (ya right, not!), I should let it go and eat whatever I want.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I have found I naturally tend to lean towards a vegetarian diet regardless (I really don’t like to handle raw meat, so I don’t cook it often) and I have come to truly LOVE many of the vegetarian meals I have been introduced too. Am I holding onto something by continue with this lifestyle choice? I know that I do feel better when I eat less heavy meats and I’m enjoying trying new foods that otherwise I may never try. But it does remind me of him… and as we have to eat somewhat consistently… it’s almost a consistent reminder. Eventually I know it won’t be, but for the present moment… sigh.

This whole experience and how I’ve managed to (somewhat) overcome it and continue to live, has been a true eye opener. You may never realize how closely tied your life is with someone else until they are no longer a part of it, for better or worse. Then it’s a healing and growing process… which, as much as we wish it would just happen over night… actually takes a lot of time (whether we admit it to ourselves and others or not).  Sometimes it seems like the easiest answer is to delete all reminders of that other person (I don’t do this but I know someone who does) and pretend like it’s not something that keeps us up at night, or surfaces after a few to many drinks, or seems like it would be a comfort when things are hard and no one is there for you.  (more on this concept in a post coming soon).

So, what’s your Ex-Factor? What things stir up memories that you struggle with? 

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There are some great posts on the way, including some travel stories with great pictures, the importance of balance and how I find that, and my newest post work-out treat! So I know you will want to stay tuned 😉

Love always, Christiane

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