“My partner, Eric, and I started dating in our early 20’s. We met at a Tex-Mex restaurant and Eric started working there after I waited on him. Eric had zero cooking experience and only got the job so he could ask me out. I never experienced a “move” like that. Never had I met someone who “chose me”. We were crazy in love and I knew that because I never had a person “look” at me the way Eric did. In my past relationships, I had felt mostly like a prop. I was always the outgoing one in my relationships, the one a shy guy would want at a party. But I always seemed drawn to a guy that needed to work out their own stuff, to figure themselves out, and their “not knowing themselves” cost me my own happiness. Eric and I fell in love hard, got a dog, and got engaged. But then we broke up because Eric needed to go find himself and deal with his demons and drug use, and I started dating again. I was back to being a prop in my relationships. Yet, I grew professionally, made amazing friends, started an art and food program for kids, and began taking yoga super seriously. I began to do everything else right, except for my relationships with men.
Eric contacted me out of the blue and asked me to meet him for coffee. Eric and I met and he looked at me like he used to. And he had grown. He was healthy, found religion, did the steps, got clean, and changed. He asked for my forgiveness. He held my hand at the coffee shop and my love came flooding back. But how could I love someone who nearly broke me? He could go back to drugs and screw me up for forever. I had been seeing someone else, yet I still felt like a prop. Why mess up my life for a moment, a feeling. Someone asked me once what it was like to love Eric, how was it that he was the one that shook me. Loving Eric is like when you are 5 years old and you blow out your birthday candles. For that single moment, you are important and special, the smoke is curling up into the air. And that smell. It’s one of my favorite smells. I swear I liked blowing out my birthday cake candles almost as much as eating the actual birthday cake.
I looked at him and I forgave him. Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning. I found strength in forgiveness. I got out of the relationship I was in and he left one that had barely started so that we could start over together. We sat a restaurant, still friends at that point, on my birthday, catching up on all of the changes we made. Eric took my hand and said, “I’m ready when you are.”
And then my birthday dessert came out.
I looked at Eric, took his hand, and haven’t let go since.”