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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Who Stays ... Who Goes ...

By Rae Lewis-Thornton

August 21, 2012

This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.

You know men come and go in our lives, they really really do. Not like in the olden days when a woman met a man and he was her history for most of her life, if not all of her life. That's a time since past. In my generation women looked for love over and above security and a name.

Love became our savior. Looking for Mr. Right is our main goal in a relationship; but they seem to come and go and come and go. Some of you seasoned women know what I'm talking about. Do you ever stop to think where the heck was that man you thought you couldn't live without at some point in your life?

Let me make a quick detour from my original intent of today's blog. Given what I know about relationships, I wonder why in each relationship we can't see beyond its success, maybe to its failure. We hope and pray for the best and we bank everything on that, our heart, our mind and our bodies. We give them everything with the hope that we will have everything in the end. But what we give on the front end, doesn't always compare to what we get on the back end.

It's amazing how resilient women are; we take that licking and keep right on ticking. We bounce back and bounce back and bounce back, but I wonder what part of us we lose when the ball goes down before it comes back up? I wonder do we get lost in the looking? Do we ever stop to consider the long term impact of what it does to our spirit?

And what do we do with their families? Until recently, I've never maintained a relationship with an ex's family. Even my ex-husband's family kept it moving. Sometimes I think about all those wonderful Christmas gifts I gave when I was married and rolling in the money from speaking. All the money I spent. Lawddd all the money I spent. I think about all the times I got my frail body up and cooked and took stepchildren shopping. And when he and I were done, so were those relationships that came with him. Looking back, maybe those relationships had run their course.

On my side, it's been easy, because I don't really have a family and my step-grandmother who raised me never really was a part of my adult life; she did not participate. So there was no one on my side for my ex's to develop a relationship, but on the reverse, I have developed relationships with my ex-boyfriends' families that seem to go right out the door with the relationship. That is some more emotional baggage that we carry at the end of a relationship.

Then came my most recent Ex-guy. We just had so many layers to our relationship, that maintaining it was harder and more hurtful than letting it go. So WE let it go, but his mother never let me go. She was honorable enough to say, I developed a relationship with this woman and whatever you all have to do for you do it, but I have to do what's best for me. Now that's a hell of a woman. Yes maintaining a relationship with me has made some people uncomfortable, but she has not missed a beat. Not even from day one when I was hurting beyond belief, she just kept holding on to me.

You know God will bring people in your life that are supposed to stay and God will remove people in your life that you can't remove yourself, but they need to go. Sometimes, we hold on to what should go and let go what we should keep. Holding on when we should let go causes us far more pain than if we had let them go. Letting go, is not always a bad thing.

I'm grateful that I'm mature enough and seasoned enough to recognize who should stay and who should go. When you can recognize this, you live in harmony with God's plan for your life.

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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.

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