Love in Limestone: Reservation for two?

Photo by Debbie O’Grady.


Dirty Deeds Entry

Don’t underestimate the power of a she-bop.

Scented candles. A great book. And a detachable shower head.

Unless ‘he was 38 years old, never kissed a girl,’ odds are, your current partner, or flame, or interest, is well-versed in relationships. Even if that means they haven’t dated in years.

And what does that make you? Exactly. The runner-up.

Now, great love affairs can start as most do – an attraction, a side glance at the LCBO. A dance under neon lights. Sending a drink down the bar in hopes of gaining a flicker of attention.

But let’s face it. Once the dust settles, the sun rises, and you’re padding your way down to the shower to wash off last night’s residue, at some point you gotta saddle up for the sit-down – their past.

We’ve touched on this before – the idea of getting past the past to move forward on to the next relationship: Leaning on your previous experiences to flush you into being a healthier, more well-rounded individual with a greater self-awareness of not only worth, but also the patterns of behaviour that will hopefully prevent some unnecessary fighting or squabbles.

However – while we’ve garnished some know-how from our former lives, there’s a fresh wave what-ifs. What if you’ll never succeed his prior love? And are we meant to?

In Mallrats, Brody implores Brandy to not refer to him as ‘Suitor Number 2.’ He says it sounds like a bathroom code, and from here forward, she was to call him ‘Second Suitor.’ I get that. None of us want to be the shitty, second place finish to what came first.

So, how do you come to terms with knowing you may, in fact, not be your partner’s greatest love. Their true love. What if… What if you’re in the silver category to the one that got away in their lives?

Is it worth it to try and best it? And how do you bury your head in the sand, your heart into your chest, and smile and nod knowing that you may not actually be, become, or even ever deserve the spot they’ve still got reserved to the one who took the best of them, after all?

[God fucking forbid you snatch the crown from his ex’s head, you mutter to yourself over a third glass of red and a half-empty carton of Ben & Jerry’s.]

Let’s examine, shall we? If your partner is newly divorced, perhaps has children by a woman he amicably co-parents with, perhaps even a widower, then the reality simply is:  You might never become the first woman in his life.

So how do you cope? And is it important that you do?

The topic of ‘emotional residue’ rings like church bells in the conversations I have with friends, and gal pals. The notion that you’re never fully over your ex, as they break off a chunk of your heart and hold it for ransom, is real. But does that prohibit you from making room for the next great love of your life? And is it possible that we’re all given an opportunity to have many great loves, many soulmates, many lovers that take various parts of our hearts to wear like shark-tooth necklaces or belt notches?

The fact is, adult dating is tougher because we’re not shiny and new. Sure, we can be re-released into this wild. We can go through the proverbial car wash of emotional cleansing. Sage our weary souls of the ghosts that haunt us. We can try make overs, and hair cuts, and letting it all grow out. Keto diets, and losing pounds at the gym. Or we can just simply find a sounder way to stay sane and feeble, and a way that’s prepared us for the foray of dating again.

So while we’re busy applying the second coat of gloss before a dinner date downtown on the water, a churning tidal wave of insecurity can pulsate in our hearts. We might come across flashy, flirty, fun and fierce – but, if they (he, her, them) got the best part of you – what do you have left to offer? And once you’re ready to press play on the second, third, fourth date… Are you also prepared to keep the record spinning even if you know you might be the runner up to their heart?

Jealousy, bitterness and the green-eyed monster are not terms relative to teenage heartbreak [or mid-twenties college farewells that have you brooding a summer long over love that coulda woulda shoulda] solely. It’s hard to see your new partner, watch their eyes drink you in, touch their skin for the first time knowing that part of them will always belong to someone else – somehow and someway.

Maybe the answer is reminding yourself that you, too, have someone chained into the depths of your own heart. Maybe, you have to regain your composure on their past by coming to terms with the “emotional residue” still staining your dreams at night.

And maybe in adult relationships, it’s okay to say to your new partner: That person was the love of my life and I’m not trying to replace them. See what they say. Their honesty may surprise you.

Looking back and recognizing the imprint your previous partner left on you is so richly important. Their love could have easily seared a tattoo on your soul. And now that it’s over, it seems to me like their impact on your life is something you can easily wish away. But it’s only a wish.

When it comes to your new partner, give them the permission to host a cast of characters tucked well into their heart. Because the universe gave each of you a second chance. And that could mean making reservations in your heart for two.


~ lilly ~


If you have something you want to share, a question to ask, or a general comment, drop me a note at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!