My relationships have not been a failure, but an experience
“Where do you come from?” The immigration officer asked
“Mexico.” I answered with that twisted smile that I keep for the special occasions when I have to interact with the authority of the United States.
“Are you traveling alone?” He continued as he checked the same page of my passport again and again, the one with the Schengen visa.
“No, with my mom,” I replied while trying to control the haughty little tone that I get sometimes.
“And where is she?”
“In Colombia, she lives in Colombia,” I said trying not to think of the 2 liters of water I had drunk on the plane.
“And what do you do?”
Oh, I liked that question, answering made me happy. “I am a writer, journalist and sex and relationships blogger.”
“And you’re still married?”
“I don’t understand, how can you blog about relationships if yours is a failure?” He asked without blinking.
What the hell does this have to do with my trip outside the United States? I thought.
“Could I have your phone number?” Was the last question he asked in flirty tone. Obviously, he did not get my number, lout!
I left the airport furious, what gave this dude the right to call me a failure only because I was divorced? Half the world is a damn failure then! After a thirty-minute ride on Newark’s AirTrain I had already calmed down. I could have totally given him my number, I thought, the dude was kind of hot.
In all honesty it’s my cumulative record of “failed” relationships what gives me authority to discuss the topic and is one of the main reasons I started Ella y Su Sexo. At school we learn math and history, at home they teach us manners and respect, with friends we learn about loyalty and alcohol limits, but no one talks to us about love, nobody teaches us, because it is a general belief that it is something you learn with practice. Well, I have plenty of practice all right.
Clearly, a charming couples’ counselor that has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for twenty-something years has much to teach, but her advice will have a lot more to do with what she learned in the classroom and knowledge that she has accumulated during her experience with different couples. My thing is different: I speak from a heart that has been broken and repaired more than a handful of times; from the smiles that only the first love can give you, even the trivial fights that come from cohabitation. Even when it’s true that at this time my love life is a bit in limbo, I don’t regret anything that I have lived, nor the moments I have shared with those who have been my partners, because I don’t see love and romantic interactions as a race with only the options of “success” or “failure”, I see relationships as building processes and without a doubt as schools of life.
There is no “wasting time” with anyone if one is able, after the storm has passed, to realize how much we learned from ourselves and other human beings by being with that person. There are magic relations and devastating ones. There are mature relationships and crazy adolescent ones (regardless of age.) They all teach us something about human nature, but more importantly about our own nature. The dynamics of my last relationship have absolutely nothing to do with the relationship I had seven years ago, not only because the chico in question was different, but because I am different and the experiences have taught me a lot.
Chicas, don’t be so hard on yourselves, there is no “failure in love.” There are people who come together under appropriate conditions, at the right time with personal tools to navigate a fulfilling and healthy relationship, and there are people who force relations at inappropriate times, under the premises of fear or loneliness, unrealistic expectations and with few tools to make it a successful one. There are also thousands of shades of gray in between. Love is a school, and the only mistakes we make are not doing our homework on learning our lessons.