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What I Learned From Falling In Love

Melanie Bates's picture

Salvador Dali

Photo: Salvador Dali's "Sleep"

"Gamble everything for love, if you're a true human being. If not, leave this gathering. Half-heartedness doesn't reach into majesty. You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses." Rumi

You can try to avoid love all you want. You can decide you’re not ready to date after an OkCupid meet-up gone horribly meh. You can hole yourself up in your house, working like a fiend, watching reruns of Frasier, reading Fifty Shades of Grey and Rumi, eating buttered noodles and asparagus, and love will come knocking on your mother-fucking door anyway. Literally.

“Knock-knock motherfucker.”

Once you’ve opened the door you have to just let it in. Grab that dusty toolbox from the garage and keep those pliers handy because you’ve got to keep your heart open. I don’t care how often and deeply your heart has been broken in the past. I don’t care if you’ve been married twelve times to raging, abusive heroin addicts. Those exes are not this new guy. No projection. No clamming up. No shutting down. Take those pliers and pry your heart open. Clamp it with a cold metal speculum. Use duct tape if you have to. Keep your heart open when he doesn’t text. Keep it open when you’re getting mixed signals. Keep it open when he’s reminding you of your past dudes. Keep it open when it feels safer to lock 'er back up.

All relationships will hurt. Even if you’re dating Mister Rogers of the neatly folded sweaters and soothing carmel-coated voice. You still might trip over his well-placed black dress shoes. He still might tell you he’s feeling conflicted and unsure about the depths of his love for his ex; the utter opposite of you on the human scale. He might decide that your lack of sheep’s clothing, abundance of tattoos, and devil may care attitude aren’t for him. The fact that you jump in rain puddles might freak him out. Your adventurous spirit in bed might send him running to a shower of holy water and bended knees at the altar.

Connections may not mean to him what they mean to you. You may see the magic and wonder in your meeting. You may be floored by the way you’re already finishing each other’s sentences and have the exact same favorite food and how you orgasm at the exact same nanosecond. You may feel the tingly bits of electricity when you touch, you may marvel at this soul that feels like a comfortable, worn-in pair of Converse that you’ve walked in for a thousand years. Honoring that connection and being fully present in the gifts of connection may be totally lost on the other person. Or, they make recognize it and give a voice to it but, let me tell you, it takes a certain size of balls and ovaries to give yourself over to that connection - to ride it out. Taking the comfortable road of known paths, free of briars and brambles, with a topological map may feel more safe for him. The fact that you’re wearing your purple galoshes and a blue peacoat, standing on the edge of a precipice so you can jump when you hear the call of the wind doesn’t mean he’s willing to do the same.

All relationships will end in hurt. Forget the connection, forget the love, forget the feelings. Let’s even say you reside in the relationship for fifty-plus years. Eventually one of you will die. It could happen tomorrow. There are no guarantees. There’s no “100% organic, certified safe” stamp on a relationship. Whether it lasts ten days or ten years or ten decades it’s going to end in hurt. If you’re trying to protect your gonads with a dixie cup you’re gonna fail. If you’re trying to play it safe in case it doesn’t end well, it’s still going to hurt. As Mirabelle Buttersfield says in “Shopgirl” it’s a simple choice, “Hurt now or hurt later.”

Once the connection is severed and the relationship has inevitably ended in hurt and pain there are a few things that are vastly helpful in getting over it.
  • Now that you’ve let go and are out of the haze o’ love think about all the reasons you’re not right for each other. Suddenly remember how utterly perfect the Universe is – how it brings people into your life as a mirror. Stare hard at the reflection. Note the water spots. Learn. Grow like a stink weed. Be grateful that this person who didn’t work out, didn’t work out. Sappy, yes, but everything happens for a reason.  As Lissa Rankin says, “You may be asking the Universe for a Pinto when the Universe is trying to give you a Rolls Royce.” Aren’t you glad the Universe didn’t let you keep that Pinto? That shit blows up when you hit the backend even slightly. You don’t want someone who can’t handle a bit o’ rear end action. You don’t want to end up with someone who crumbles at the slightest ping of life. Right? Of course, right.
  • Thank him for breaking you open. Thank him for knocking on that mother-fucking door because the fact that you opened it means you’re ready. It means you’re not dead, cold, and entering the beginning stages of rigor mortis. It means that love is still out there for you. It means that despite the reruns of Frasier, buttered noodles and asparagus you can still feel deeply.  You’ve been shaken loose. Be grateful. Be YOU at the expense of loss. Get clear on what you want and then embody that. Attract someone with the hugest set of balls you’ve ever seen. Find someone who honors connection.
  • Listen to music, particularly Sade. Cry over love songs. Revel in the feelings of heartache. Read Rumi. Watch sappy romances. Fantasize about Johnny Depp. Join a trapeze class. Wake up. Love YOU more than you loved that other person.  Hold yourself tight and drink in the gorgeous soul that is you with your unique traits and attributes that someone else will someday truly appreciate. But… you don’t need that. Appreciate you yourself. Fall in love again. With YOU.

Whatever you do, keep those tools handy, you never know when love'll come a-knockin' again.

What about you? How do you get over, move on, deal with things like this.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice. Have you experienced something similar?

With a crowbar,


Debbie's picture


This blog was perfect. My marriage to Mr. Rogers is in the process of ending. We were only married a year. Ouch. So, I appreicate you comments. I can see how we really were not a great match. But, I am grateful for the love, because I did love him dearly. Good luck on your journey. Blessings! Debbie

Melanie Bates's picture


Aww, love. Thank you. And blessings to you on your brand new journey too. xxoo Melanie

Karen's picture

Love and it's aftermath

I was married to a man for 16 years. He cheated about 7 years into the marriage with an ex-wife. Yeah, I know . . . classic. I liked myself a lot when I met him in school--I didn't get to go to college until I was 40 and he was 11 years my junior. We didn't share ages, so it was never an issue and then we were in love and it just didn't matter--that is until he turned 50 to my 61. I thought we were on solid ground, but I really didn't know who I was married to and how much I had changed myself for him until the day I had to take out a restraining order and kick him out of the house for fear of what he might do to me. So, I just turned 64. I work two jobs to keep everything going and I am simply too tired to walk into the dating arena again. If someone happens along . . . wonderful, but I'm not about looking right now. I am just starting to discover who I am; who that long ago successful woman that he married in the first place was. I want to get to know her again. I have no advice except, don't lose yourself in someone else. As Maya Angelou famously said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." It's the best advice I've heard. It applies to many things in life, but women quite often do not want to believe what they are being shown. It's a pity.

Melanie Bates's picture

Dear Karen,

Oh, I adore Maya Angelou's words. SO, so true. I think, for me, it's just important that I keep my heart open to the possibilities. Not to be spermy but to be eggy. And... keeping your relationship with your self is so key. Thank you, Karen.

Big, big love to you.

Tam's picture


Thanks for your post Karen, thanks for sharing. I agree, if we women could just heed the words of Maya and beleive what we see...WOW, we would save ourselves a lot of heartache. I am proud of you. Continue to take care of you. I am in the beginning stages of ending a gastly relationship where I've been calling this quacking thing everything but what it is... a DUCK.

Sheena LaShay's picture

Keep Your Heart Open! Love it.

This posts is the SHIT. That's all I can say about that. Keep your heart open. It doesn't mean you have to put up with bullshit or stay in crappy situations, it just means don't shut down. Don't close yourself off. Don't quit. No matter what, keep moving in the journey of life and keep your beautiful heart wide open. I LOVE THIS POST. It's one of my favorites.

Melanie Bates's picture


Thank YOU, love. I read your FB comments often in the realm of dating and marvel at your wit and wisdom. Big, big love.


vicki's picture

what i learned from falling in love

read this

Anonymous's picture

I'm going through a breakup

I'm going through a breakup now, and the first part of your piece is what kept me in it way too long. For over two years I wondered whether it was my own inability to receive love that led to my chronic unhappiness and disappointment. Were my expectations too hight and unrealistic, or was I with someone who simply couldn't give me what I needed? I was married for 20 years before this relationship until my ex-husband left me for another woman. My current heartache does not even compare to the painful loss I felt after that, but there are many aspects of "leaving" that are harder than being left.

I appreciate your tips for moving on from the ending of a love relationship, they are very much in line with my own practice of heartbreak recovery.

Thank you for this fabulous piece of writing. It came into my world this morning in a very timely fashion.

Anonymous's picture

I continue to cry over this

I continue to cry over this relationship that is ending. I've been in love with this man for 4 years. Due to recent developments there is no answer to us but to end it. I am feeling the the whole range of emotions, but have to keep them hidden. I have only one person to confide in-I feel I have cried on her shoulder enough. He is married. His wife and family have swallowed him whole and I have stepped back away. It is an awful painful situation for all involved. People reading this have their judgements I am sure, but until you are in it(and I was one that could never understand how someone could be so selfish, cruel, or stupid)you could not possibly understand. I am getting what I deserve ten fold. I have lost him, my family,and myself. Sounds dramatic, but I am on this website at this moment not looking for sympathy but because I cannot sleep. I have to see this man everyday and more often than not lately I have to face his wife. I feel like a paper shell

Anonymous's picture

I ended it

I told my lover of four years that it is over. It felt like an out of body experience. My body was purging all the weekends and holidays alone, the hurtful times when I got pushed aside, the hurtful comments and rageful arguments about deceit and doing the right thing. Through it all I love him-enough to let him go and myself more to know I deserve what has been said-I deserve to be loved by someone that can be there 100%. I will not settle for less ever again. If ever I know of a woman in this situation I will share my story and try to make her see the man that just kissed her goodbye will go to his home and kiss his wife with the same lips and he will climb into bed with his wife. He may love you like no other-but he is still making you second in his life. He will tell you anything to keep you there. You will never know what the truth is. You will feel half insane most of the time. If you are the one for him and he is truly a man you deserve he will make things right. He will come through it all for you and be the good man. Otherwise there is nothing but hurt and lies. Sound dramatic? I just lived it and never thought I would be in that situation. It will take some time, but I am better already.

Melanie Bates's picture

Oh, Dearest Anonymous

I know how hard that must have been but I'm so utterly happy for you for choosing YOU. It will take some time but, yes, you're better already. I'm holding space for you that you meet someone who is 100% available to love you as you deserve to be loved. In the meantime, if you need, listen to Sade and give yourself frequent hugs and kindness.


Melanie Bates's picture

Oh, Love...

I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through. You won't find any judgement here. I will say this. You DESERVE someone who is 100% emotionally/physically available to you. This man aside, you deserve that in any relationship. I know we can't help who we fall in love with but, in my situation, I realized that my relationship was really a wake-up call to show me what I do want. Not someone who's in love with his ex. Someone who's in love with me.

Melanie Bates's picture

Dear Anonymous

Thank you so much for your comment, love. It brings me great joy when a piece of writing reaches someone at the exact right time. It's such a great part of our inner-connectedness.

Sending you such love and wishes for your happiness.


Pearl's picture

Since I've Been Single

I've never felt as good about myself as I do.. since I've been single.

I've never believed in myself as much as I have... since I've been single.

I've never been as sure of myself as I am... since I've been single.

I've never given myself time to heal like I have... since I've been single.

I've never loved my friends and family more than I have... since I've been single.

I've never given myself and others room to make mistakes like I have... since I've been single.

I've never given as much to my well being as I have... since I've been single.

I've never known just how strong I am as I do... since I've been single.

I've never been as comfortable being alone with my thoughts as I am... since I've been single.

I've never been as good at accepting love as I am now...since I've been single.

Honestly, I could keep this list going..

I've opened the door to my heart and a whole new world of giving and receiving love since I've been single and it's been the best ride of my life so far.

Forgive for not seeing the benefit of keeping my heart open to the kind of relationship you're referring to, but giving and receiving love comes in the most unexpected forms and it's been the best for me... since I've been single.

Melanie Bates's picture

Wow, Pearl

Thank you for this, I love what you've written and how you've written it. No forgiveness needed. I think, for me, I just want to work my hardest to keep my heart open in all of my relationships (easier said than done :)

Big, big love.

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