My first serious relationship was with a pretty amazing guy named Matthew, who tragically and suddenly passed away after we had been dating for about a year and a half. We both knew that we were truly in love with each other and it was obvious in our words and our actions.
After Matt passed away, I was so far into depression and grief that I kept telling myself I would never love anyone again — in some ways it’s true.
The love Matt and I shared was unique – it was ours and because of that incredibly special. In the same way that the love I share with my current boyfriend is unique and special in its own way.
Through time, healing, understanding and acceptance I have finally found a way to keep a piece of Matt in my heart, while also leaving room for someone else.
The process of figuring out how to leave that room open was confusing, hurtful and oftentimes left me at a terrible loss. A lot of reflecting and acceptance of Matthew’s death is what finally started to pave the way for me; it helped me get through the phase of being too scared to open up to another person romantically.
Reflecting also helped me focus on the question: what would Matt want for me right now? The answer was simple because Matthew always put my interests first and wanted nothing but the best for me.
I knew then that he’d be pretty upset knowing I was hiding myself away from the opportunity to experience something as great as love again.
Over time, I tried to see a few people here and there but I always chickened out or things just didn’t end up working that is until I met my current boyfriend Shane.
We’ve been dating for about 7 months now and I honestly couldn’t ask for a more understanding and caring person to love me, and allow for me to love him. Right from the moment I started talking to Shane I knew he was different from everyone else — he wanted to learn so much about me and he’s always been a great listener.
I was able to open up and tell him about what happened with my relationship with Matthew and why it had ended. Shane was so understanding of it, and to this day is incredibly supportive and respectful when it comes to Matthew. He understands that my past means I have to deal with grief, depression and anxiety in my present. I definitely lucked out with finding someone who embraces me so wholeheartedly.
By allowing Matt to continue to reside in a part of my heart, I have learned to open up to Shane and have allowed myself to fall in love with him.
Matthew will always be a part of me, but I am at a point now where I can move forward with my life. Making this decision has lessened the amount of anxiety I feel.
I think it takes a combination of good timing, the right person and a lot of self-acceptance to be able to love again after losing someone.
Give yourself time to be mentally and emotionally ready to start a new relationship. You don’t want to unintentionally hurt others by jumping in too soon or by ignoring the fact that maybe you still need some more time to sit with your loss. I know I’ve made this mistake before and sometimes it is about trial and error.
If I hadn’t gotten to a place where I was able to accept who I had become and where I was emotionally, I wouldn’t have met Shane. I would have stayed locked up in a cell I created for myself and it would have thrown me into a deeper state of depression.
Keep in mind, everyone heals differently and in their own time. There is no rush OR time limit to you finding your own way of moving forward. The acceptance and permission to move forward comes from you, but don’t decide to shove them to the side and lock them away forever.
It’s a construction site that needs constant work, day by day.
You might’ve read that throughout this post I like using the term ‘moving forward’ instead of ‘moving on’. I use that term because ‘moving forward’ seems more positive and hopeful to me. My definition of it is: remembering those you lost are still a part of who you are giving yourself permission to keep them in your heart.
All of the above can be done while finding a way to live life fully again because at the end of the day they would want what’s best for you. So cheers to the future, moving forward with life, and finding love again.