Picture this: Joe and Lisa are meeting for the first time. They’ve come to a quiet little coffee shop. The atmosphere is welcoming, the music soothing, and the lattés tasty. It’s the first date either one has been on in a long time.
Both recently endured the end of long-term relationships. Each now looks across the table and thinks the same thing: “Am I really ready to try again? I just don’t know.”
Years ago, Joe married his high school sweetheart. She was more than a lover. She was his best friend, partner, and co-adventurer. He often said his wife may not have been perfect—but she was perfect for him. When she died of breast cancer, he had no doubt: what they had was irreplaceable.
Lisa, by contrast, had survived a painful relationship from a man who set new records for critical, controlling behavior. He shadowed her every movement, counted every penny she spent, monitored phone records, and intimidated her friends. By the time the relationship was over, she‘d concluded that all romantic relationships were fundamentally flawed.
Both feeling wounded in their own way, they each think, “I’m not sure I can do this again.” But they are wrong. And so are you, if you happen to agree with that outlook. There is love after bitter loss, no matter which kind. The truth is, romance can be better the second time around — richer and even more fulfilling.
Why? Because you are not the same person you were then. Chances are, your experience has changed the way you give and receive love for the better. These changes are assets, not liabilities, when you decide to try again.
For instance, now you are probably more…
Grounded. Like a tree that grows on a windswept hillside, your roots are stronger for having weathered storms of pain and loss. Relationship challenges that might have seemed overwhelming before look tame by comparison to what you’ve been through. You will be more relaxed and able to give your new relationship room to breathe and grow. That sort of freedom is fertile ground for sweeter love than you’ve ever known.
Grateful. As Joni Mitchell’s classic song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” That is never more true than in romance. Losing everything you had in a relationship is a sure way to learn what things you’d been taking for granted all along. When you’ve regained them in a new lover, odds are good you’ll be more grateful than ever before.
Giving. Once you’ve lived through a relationship loss, you know well that love isn’t free—you’ve got to pay your way by giving of yourself every day. At times the gift is large—sitting up with a sick child so your partner can rest. Other times it’s more mundane, like making the bed each morning when you get up. The more freely you give, the more your new relationship will surpass the first.
Can love be sweeter the second time around? Absolutely! All love is buoyant. No matter when it comes around, grab hold, hang on, and see how high you can fly.
‘No Greater Love‘ is available on DVD January 19.