It’s that time of year that many of us take on the endeavor of Spring-cleaning. My parents, however, have taken their cleaning initiatives to Olympian level. They decided, as they enter their 80’s, that it’s important to purge all non-essentials while they can physically still do it and are mentally together enough to decide what needs to go. Their purging mission led to the phone call from my mother that I really didn’t expect…
“Craig, I found some pictures of you and David when we were cleaning out drawers. You look great in them! I’ll send them to you.”
With one phone call, the 90’s came back to haunt me, and it brought along the Ghost of Relationships Past.
I moved to New York from Ohio in 1992, and David was my first New York boyfriend. He came into my life carrying two Rolling Rocks and wearing the confidence of a vivacious, dashing and full of life New Yorker. Being a “new New Yorker”, he was my total vision of the perfect New York Man. David was a no-nonsense businessman with an unwavering entrepreneurial spirit that took self-assurance to the max. One Rolling Rock turned into three, followed by many dates, dinners and drinks- lots of drinks. The connection between us was undeniable. We soon became the Picture Perfect 90’s couple- summers in Fire Island, Thanksgivings with his family in Cape Cod, springtime in Pinehurst with my family, and all the A-list parties in between. It was never a dull moment with David, and I gladly allowed the excitement of our relationship envelope me like a blanket on a crisp May morning.
Just like the 90’s, being in a relationship with David was such a bright experience I needed a pair of Ray Bans. But in all relationships, there comes a time when the tinted glasses need to come off and a good look at the relationship must be taken. I realized that the businessman I loved so deeply was a great ideas guy, but his implementation skills were severely lacking and frankly impaired. I also had to come to terms with the reality that behind the smile of my dashing New Yorker was a vodka-infused breath that originated from his morning orange juice. David had a lot of baggage dating back to his childhood, and even though he really tried to get his act together, he just couldn’t do it. It was difficult to accept, but David’s most important relationship wasn’t with me- it was with vodka. I put forth every effort to shift his relationship priorities, however it was evident that I would never be his number one, even if I put a lime on my head. We ended up parting ways, in a move I can safely say was the hardest decision of my adult life.
A few days after my mother’s call, I received an envelope. When I looked at the photographs, I smiled. David and I looked so young and so happy. I remembered so many great times, and I also remembered the not so happy moments that led to my decision to end the relationship. Looking at these pictures gave me the opportunity to look back on the experience and know with certainty that David left an imprint on my heart as well as my brain. Loving David and leaving David helped create the man that’s looking at those imperfect pictures today and for that he’s got my gratitude eternally.
With so many years passed and seeing these pictures now, it made me think… if Facebook were around in 1996, would I have deleted the pictures as a post-breakup statement?
Every past relationship has a photo album. It may be photographs in a drawer or pictures that are later found in someone else’s. Thanks to Social Media, pictures of imperfect relationships live forever on Instagram and Facebook- unless we choose to delete. Oftentimes at the end of a relationship, people delete the photos documenting their past love; some for spite and some to ease the pain of seeing a lost love in happy times. If you think about it, deleting is a reaction that lives in the current moment of a break-up, and may not necessarily be how you feel at a later time. I strongly suggest not deleting those pictures from your Social Media. Those pictures literally show a snapshot of a past experience, one that hopefully provided you with insight, lessons and knowledge that you’ll be taking to your next relationship.
[Tweet “Don’t delete photo’s when a relationship ends. They show a snapshot of a past experience.”]Trust me- one day you’ll look back at your own imperfect pictures and be grateful for the experience, regardless of the circumstances of the break-up. You’ll look at every snapshot, smile at each memory, and give acknowledgement to the building blocks caught on camera that played a part in the development of the great person you are today.