It is the second day of Spring and we still have so much work to do. Before one can begin Spring Cleaning, they have to be willing to unpack all their emotional stuff. Time to unpack some of my emotional mess. October 2012. I have discussed this issue at length since starting this blog yet it still haunts me. The Ex Factor and I had been dating for a little over two years and suddenly things felt off. He was always busy and had very little time for me. The Ex Factor was starting to break little promises to me. Then came the day I took him to dinner and sat him down. Being that I am 8.5 years older than him, I have always been told by similarly situated couples that there will be a day that he will need a break. The advice was to give him that break…and I was prepared to…with the truth in hand. During that dinner, I asked him repeatedly if he was seeing someone else and he repeatedly said no but EVERY HAIR ON THE BACK OF MY NECK STOOD UP. My body was telling me that I was being lied to by the man I love. I continued to press him for another two months as I began to create my escape plan. You see…I did not want to stay with a liar. The day after Christmas I completely cut him off without warning. After that things escalated quickly! Some concrete evidence surfaced that there was a new woman in his life but this I already knew because my instinct told me so. In the beginning (because neither of us ever thought we would know each other for so long), we promised to let each other know if we met someone else we wanted to explore with. Phoenix was never anyone I wanted so he was not worth mentioning. And the Ex Factor must have thought she wasn’t worth mentioning either. Six years later and he has yet to mention her. That lie cost him two years. I left him for two years though he never really left my life. I went through so much during those two years of separation. Almost lost my life in Georgia with Mister Toss Salad and then relocated to Richmond, VA for the rest of the time. I lost so much time in my career by relocating to VA. Many of my colleagues in New York have advanced while I’m still stuck. I live with the feeling of being left behind professionally and personally. I lost and gained so much during those two years and at the end of it, we reconciled…yet never becoming what we once were nor becoming better versions of ourselves. STUCK! I had to have forgiven him at some point but it’s the forgetting that’s been hard. I love with caution now and I brace myself for the day he may lie again. He said he never slept with her and I believe him but what he forgets is that when a woman loves a man…where his heart and his emotions go are her main concern. Not saying that I endorse cheating (not at all) but what pushed me off the deep end was the thought that he may be falling in love with her. To any man reading this…a woman who truly loves you will survive a million ugly truths before she could stomach one lie. The Ex Factor and I have talked about this incident a million times over the last five years. He said he never lied but I will always feel differently about it. That lie knocked him off the pedestal I put him on and all the pain that emerged from it has held ME captive. Since we have discussed this topic to the point of exhaustion…the relief I seek….the unpacking I need…cannot come from the Ex Factor. ?? He is not frozen in time from it. He does not relive it over and over. He does not go to bed at night with it. I DO. So how do I unpack it once and for all and let it go? The Ex Factor cannot free me from my enslavement…only I can. That’s the thing about Spring Cleaning…we are cleaning up our messes and letting go of what no longer serves us in a positive way. ?? I recently read a meme that said many of us are addicted to our suffering. There may just be some truth in those words because if I let go of my familiar suffering…I could love again freely and openly. I could trust again. But if I hold on to it…it can shield me from any future pain….AND any future love for that matter. The suffering stays with me whether I’m with the Ex Factor or not. He created it but it is my mess because I chose to hold on to it! ?? And no….a new love cannot fix old suffering because that’s like moving somebody into a messy fully furnished apartment (one of a hoarder) and hoping they can clean it up in a day and make it brand new! IT IS MY MESS! Only I have the power to unpack it. ~KJM changing the mood on Hump Day by doing a little less humping and a little more unpacking. ?