I don't usually talk about my personal life here, but I have to make an exception in this case. I wrote this days ago in preparation for today and fervently debated in my head whether to put it up (#desifamily) or to leave it sitting in my Soul Journal.

If you're (South) Indian, then you know how brave I'm being right now.
You can thank these guys for that.

Today is the birthday of someone very special to me and it's caused me to think about all the "love" that I have experienced in my life so far. During the last decade (basically my entire teen/adult life), I have been in three serious relationships, with completely different, but similarly amazing, people.  I wanted to take a moment to fully acknowledge and appreciate my past.

While most people do nothing but complain about their ex’s, have a negative memory of their relationships, and often times, don’t talk to them anymore — I feel fortunate to not have had that experience with any of these three women. In matter of fact, I don’t even feel comfortable calling any of them an “ex”, as that has a negative connotation when they were really the loves of my life. They met me exactly where I was ready to be met at that point in my life. Perhaps “former partner” is more accurate.

To me, the success of a relationship isn’t based on how long it lasted, but rather how deeply you loved when you were in it, and how much love and growth you still experienced after it.

It is not based on the chemicals that you thought meant love when you first got into the relationship, but rather the actual love that was still there when you got out of it.
Did you forgive them and did you forgive yourself? Did you still find a way to love them as a person even after all the pain? How are you a different person after being with this person? Do you wish nothing but the best for your former partners or do you still have bitterness that it didn’t work?

Unconditional love is you wanting them to be happy, even if it’s not with you.
The truth is, I never had a failed relationship. They were all unbelievably successful. And the testament to that is this simple fact:  Not only do I still talk to (nearly all) my ex-girlfriends, but I am still in absolute love with each and every one of them, even though we don’t talk as much anymore.

What kind of person would want to hear their current partner say they’re still in love with their ex’s? One who understands what Love actually means. Often times, we confuse Love with life compatibility, intimacy, and relationship status. They are not mutually exclusive. Just because a relationship dynamic has shifted doesn’t mean that the love is not there. And just because we’re not sharing this life together in a romantic way and don’t talk everyday, doesn’t mean that they are no longer a part of who I am. The only reason that I’m able to love as deeply as I do now is because of my shortcomings in the past…because of the heart ache I experienced. Each person that we fall in love with is directly part of the butterfly effect of each person we fell in love with in the past, and how that relationship ended…all guiding us to our next teacher.

I’ve been able to experience such freedom in the love that I now have for my former partners. When I explore a new love interest, I'd like to think that my former partners would not react with jealousy or anger, but rather with support and appreciation. All three of them would get genuinely excited, and even want to meet the person who’s making me happy. It makes me feel so humbled that I’ve been with such powerful women in my life that truly want to see me fully loved and appreciated. I sometimes don’t even know what I did to deserve this, and why I’ve been so lucky in love, but I am deeply grateful for it.

When things ended, I can't recall a time when I had the “You’ll never find someone better than me” attitude. Instead, I told them that I HOPE they find something even more expansive than what we had. As we are all constantly shifting, I acknowledge the fact that who they were when we dated, is not who they are today. It doesn’t take away from what we had — it actually gives more value to it.
Because we loved each other the best way we knew how to at that time, we were able to grow as individuals. One partner isn’t “better” than the other. They are all connected to each other. They are all a part of each other. The ceiling of each relationship is the basement of the next one.

They all taught me what I want and didn’t want. What I value and what I can let go of. I am now only able to love as deeply as I do, because my former partners loved me as deeply as they did. Our lives are inter-connected.  With all three of my former partners, I'd like to think that we didn’t “break up” because we hated each other, but rather because we loved each other enough that we knew it was time to set each other free. We knew that we already served our purpose in each other’s lives, and it was time to expand individually. This is why we are still in each other’s lives. It is because we loved each other unconditionally, and still do.

Remember, love is an infinite source and no one person has a monopoly on it in your life. You have found it in the past and you will find it again.

I will never forget how my relationships helped me grow. Not from a place of attachment to the past, but from a place of honoring the beautiful times we had together. I carry all the past experiences I’ve had deep within my heart, as one accumulated energy of pure love. Each experience has expanded my heart and it is only because of the growing (and constant) pains of that expansion, that I am now able to love fearlessly and deeply. It is because of them that I am the man who I am today. If you're reading this, I love you and thank you. Thank you for your forgiveness, and your apologies. Thank you for loving me through my darkest times. Thank you for honoring what you felt at that time, for being in my path and for trusting your own path. You have been my soul mates and my angels of spiritual evolution. For the rest of this life, I will always care about you, love you, and wish you all the happiness and love that this life has to offer.

These days, however - I am my own person. Living the single life in the recent past has given me the chance to focus on myself and explore other interests - it's been a truly exhilarating experience so far and I look forward to everything that the world has to offer. Maybe I'll write about that someday too!