The Treasure My Ex-Boyfriend Left Behind

The treasure my ex-boyfriend left behind.

She wasn’t the gift I was expecting.

Not from my boyfriend.

A very long ago boyfriend, I should clarify.

This is a story about where we get our people.

About how ugly can sometimes,


Leave behind a treasure.

There was so much wrong with this particular relationship.

Red flags from the beginning.

And yet,

I stayed.

Stayed for years.

I, the columnist who writes about a healthy marriage, raising kids, normalish stuff,

I’m so disappointed when I look at much younger me.

I cringe at all that I put up with.

Ashamed, really.

I think I was hoping the joy I got from hanging around the super fun guy would expand into making him a stand-up man.

It never happened.

His ex-girlfriend was one of the first red flags.

They were still friends when he and I got together.

“Oh, heck, no!” I insisted, seeing things in my 22-year-old black and white way.

Boyfriend looked unfazed.

“No one gives up Lois,” he explained. “To meet her is to love her. You’ll see.”

Of all the crazy junk he pulled over the years.

I have to say,

Lois turned out not to be one.

I met her.

And instantly knew he was right.

You can’t not like Lois.

She’s one of those people.

She’s like meeting a fairy godmother, pixie stick, sugary candy, giggly delight wrapped up into one person.

Boyfriend and I kept Lois.

Even long after we let go each other.

Which was way too long past when we should’ve let go.

He and I, too, stayed friends, in a way.

Checking in time to time over the years.


His bad choices,

The things he insisted he could handle got the best of him.

And he died.

It’s been years now.

In the unexpected way life can twist, Lois, was in the city where I live this week.

A work thing.

“Dinner?” she texted, pointing out it was the anniversary of the day he passed.

“Absolutely,” I replied.

She pranced into the restaurant, as sparkly as if I’d seen her yesterday.

We toasted him.

Briefly bemoaned his demons.

And then had our own night.

Our own friendship.

He was wrong about just about everything.

Except Lois.

He couldn’t give himself fully to either one of us.

But somehow, he gave us each other.

And in that,

He was right.

So very right.

No one gives up Lois.

I suspect I’m not alone in having a special person walk through an unexpected door.

You, too, Dear Reader?

You, who survived too long in a bad choice of a relationship.

With scars.


Possibly shame.



Some treasure that broken person left behind.

A friend.

A former in-law.

Your kid.

There’s no them without him.

A different kind of clarity all these years later.

For that,

I’m thankful.

For the lessons.

For the love.

For the gift I wasn’t expecting.

The treasure my ex-boyfriend left behind.

The treasure that is Lois. No one gives up Lois.

Do you have a treasure left behind? Please share in the comments below.

((Please catch my syndicated column each week in Cox and Outlaw Partner Newspapers across the country.)))

If you enjoy my column, you might want to check out my recent TED Talk, “How To Watch The News And Get Inspired.”

Daryn Kagan giving her TED Talk at TEDxBigSky. How To Watch The News And Get Inspired.




The Treasure My Ex-Boyfriend Left Behind

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min