By my count, I have six ex-girlfriends. And I am under the impression, based on the books I’ve read, the films I’ve seen, and the lives I follow through social media, that I am supposed to hate these women. I get the feeling that’s what’s expected, that it’s the cliché for a reason.
But I don’t hate them, not one of them, even one little bit. I really don’t see the point.
Each one of them taught me some lesson that I needed desperately to learn. The first taught me to live a little more and the second taught me to cling a little less. The third once had me write a list of things I liked about myself. And that’s a technique I still find myself using, on occasion, to claw my way out of the emotional holes I dig for myself.
The fourth relationship, if you could call it that, taught me to always have a clear understanding of what something is in real life as opposed to what it is in my head. The fifth made me feel like a stud, a feeling I’d never had before. The sixth, it showed me that there is a world of possibility out there for the person who’s bold enough to pursue it.
So, why should I hate these women? For the circumstances of our breakups? Well, each time, I was generally the one at fault, or else no one was. So, that’s out. Should I think less of them because they, unlike my wife, didn’t have the patience to deal with my particular brand of crazy? Well, that wouldn’t be productive. If they had the patience, I wouldn't have the life I have now, and I like the life I have now.
No, instead, I find myself smiling at the thought of having known these women. Because, why not? Those that I keep in touch with, however small that connection might be, I smile when I see them happy. I sigh when I see life throw more bad at them than good. Those that I haven't heard from in years, I search them out, once in a while, just to make sure they're OK too.
“Life’s too short” is the opening to a wealth of clichés, but I’ll use it anyway, because the truth of the statement outweighs its hokeyness. Life is too short, I say, to hate the ones who helped you on your way.