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On Valentine's Day, whether we're celebrating being single with a jaunt to Agent Provocateur or selecting the perfect, under-$10-gift for our partner, it's all about expressing affection for ourselves and partners in the here-and-now. But, what about our loves of yore?
Our past relationships — from the high-school boy who dropped us after two weeks to the "the one" who broke our heart — shaped us permanently. The exes who were unfaithful left us afraid to trust someone new. The exes who loved us exactly as we were helped us to accept ourselves more fully. The exes who left us taught us how to let go, and the exes we outgrew taught us how to to leave someone you haven't stopped loving.
In a sense, we love everyone we've ever loved — they've imprinted on us and shifted how we approach the world. If they had our hearts once, then they changed our hearts for good. So, in honor of this day of romance, we bring you five stories of love that didn't quite make it.
Photographed by Aliya Naumoff.