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LeBron Crying

 The LeBron James hullabaloo has finally died down, and now he’s comfortably sleeping with his mistress. Her name is Miami.  Indeed, the melodrama that played out between James and the cities of Cleveland and Miami was not dissimilar than the classic daytime soap opera love triangles where boy meets Boo.  Boy meets pretty new Boo.  Old Boo is left wallowing in her tears.

Since the moment cupid aimed its arrow at Cleveland in 2003, she has been head over-heels for James.  She fell for his style (He looks good with Me.), his physical prowess (I like the way I feel when I’m with him.) and his potential for a long term relationship (Someday my prince will give me a ring). Desperate for attention, and longing for that happily-ever-after climax, James gave Cleveland mega both: a beautiful relationship with steamy nights at the Quicken Loan Arena and long walks through the playoffs.  He was the blues in her left thigh, and the funk in her right.

With James, the Cavaliers’ future was bright –so bright-that Cleveland was blind-sided when the love of her life wanted out.  The fair Miami had caught his eye, and he moved out.  Cleveland was left wondering why he left.  All she got: It’s not you, it’s me. Cleveland was crushed.  The morning after was greeted with emotional outbursts, fits of disbelief, and jealous rage.  How could he do this? Did all the love mean NOTHING? Cleveland tore up his pictures.  She relished when friends bad-mouthed him. After seven years, she huffed; he didn’t even give me a ring!”

But not every relationship has to end with a ring – not even romantic relationships.  As my girl Oprah, the forever bachelorette, has always asserted: life is all about seasons.  Just like James and Cleveland, lovers come and go, especially if the grass looks a little greener on the other side.  I know how Cleveland feels.  And when it comes to unrequited love affairs, there are a few key lessons we can all learn from Cleveland to move on.

Don’t play yourself: The last thing you need is a Dan Gilbert moment.  While a public verbal walloping of the scum bag that broke your heart comes naturally, it also comes with a price: your dignity.  Desperate emails, texts, phone messages, tweets, and or  angry Facebook  updates will back fire. You’ll just come across as pathetic and unattractive.  Resist the temptation to allow the person who just left you to have anymore of your precious emotional currency.  You should be saving for the next relationship.

Beware the round mound and the rebound: Don’t let the doldrums sap your will to workout.  Keeping yourself healthy and trim is a great ego boost – and important to your self esteem.  A stunted self-worth leads to the destructive rebound relationship, which usually end badly.  Making yourself attractive on the outside – and strong on the inside – will be a lot more impressive to the right significant other.

Loving yourself is the real gold ring: Not every long term relationship will end with a band around your finger.  For sports teams, like personal relationships, there are so many things that can – and do – go wrong.  So relish the good times.  Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and John Stockton never won rings yet provided priceless moments for their fans.  If the goal of your relationship is a ring then you’re already off target.  The chemistry that manifests into a ring-evolves.  Finding respect, harmony and acceptance are what build healthy relationships.  Our ring obsessed culture has forgotten that the journey can often be far more valuable than the destination down the isle.   Here’s wishing Cleveland finds another who will make her happy – with or without the 24 karat band.

Follow Nathan’s daily meditations on culture, politics, and pleasure at http://www.twitter.com/nathanhasnerve

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