Old Boyfriends Give Us Free Gifts

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

I love the phrase, “everything happens for a reason,” and I especially love it when it comes to relationships. In my  book, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE, one of the messages is that when you are dating, people come into your life for a reason, and a lot of times it turns out to be a completely unexpected reason that you’d never have guessed. Maybe your heart was broken by someone, but later you find out that he was put in your life not to cause you heartache, but for something you figure out later. In other words, old boyfriends gift us gifts!

I recently met a woman, “Judy,” who is my case in point for this theory.

Judy, who I think was in her 60′s explained that she has been divorced for 30 years, and during that time she barely dated. She said she had no desire to find a man, and spent her life committed to working and raising her children.

So, she started telling me about how last year, she met this man who became her boyfriend for awhile. She said that she truly found enjoyment of going to dinner or the opera with a man instead of a girlfriend, and that she realized how much she liked the company of a man. However, the relationship didn’t work out.

“I’m so sorry!” I said to Judy. I felt awful for her, thinking that this woman must be heartbroken that the first man she put her trust into after 30 years was over. Then I got to thinking and i said to her, “Maybe this man served a purpose in your life. Maybe he was meant to get you back into the dating scene and realize what you want and what you’re ready for now.”

“That’s exactly what my daughter said to me,” Judy said, “She said ‘Tom’ was my transitional man.”

“You are so right!” I told her. (I then of course told her about Free Gift With purchase and she ordered it right then and there.)

Here’s the thing. I’ve dated a lot in my lifetime, both before and after marriage, and I remember I used to cry and get so upset when relationships ended, and I think that’s normal. But what I didn’t realize at the time was, if you look at the big picture, and you just have a little faith, this person may give you a gift in the future.

It might be something he made you realize, or he might have introduced you to someone else who makes a difference somehow in your life, or he might have awakened an interest or passion for some hobby or sport or art that you never particularly paid attention to. Even just the memory of him, and the breathtakingly passionate moments you might have shared, or the heartwarming embrace you might have had at one point, or some piece of knowledge that proves to be really valuable to you in some way might be the purpose of a man who was put in your life. We don’t realize these things, though, until later.

Anyhow, I can’t resist telling you the rest of the Judy story. So, finally, after talking to her for about 45 minutes, I ask, “So, are you dating anyone?”

I found out that Judy was waiting for her new boyfriend!

Judy moved on from her first guy and is in a happy relationship. We both agreed that had it not been for the first man, maybe she wouldn’t be where she is today, with him. Maybe the first guy opened Judy’s heart. That might be the gift.

So, if you are down about a failed relationship, or if you are still upset over a man or woman who you really thought you loved, don’t be sad. Let yourself remember the good things. I actually even do that with my ex-husband sometimes. Conjuring up good memories is healthy and makes us happy. I’m not saying forget about the bad times or why you broke up, I’m saying let yourself remember the things that made you love the person. Don’t be bitter or angry or resentful. He or she did give you some good things. And if you wait long enough, you will come to see them in the future. The gifts always show themselves later in life.

Good luck Judy! I wish you and your new guy all the best!!

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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

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