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L.A. Affairs: I ran into three of my exes. Was the universe trying to tell me something?

I’d venture to guess that if we were to survey under-40 Angelenos on their religious beliefs, astrology probably would come out on top. I know my chart (Taurus sun, Leo rising), the date of my Saturn return (November 2013), and that I should never date an Aquarius.

So when I met Harrison at a club on the first anniversary of my beloved stepmother Sue’s death, it felt like the stars had aligned. We had a classic is-he-looking-at-me-no-way-yes-he-is moment. We talked and danced, and I bought him a drink. We sidled away in an Uber and dined late night at Kitchen 24 in Hollywood. We became exclusive immediately, and he told me that he loved me by Month 2. I believed he was Sue’s gift to me from the afterlife. Yet within a year, the relationship had imploded, and our last date featured me crying to Bradley Cooper’s suicide in “A Star Is Born” while Harrison shot me pathetic glances, preparing for our scheduled breakup that Sunday.

I did not take it in stride. I clawed, trying to win him back. I upped my therapy sessions and saw my card reader, who revealed a death card and told me lightly: “It’s definitely over.” By July, I was ready to date again, and on to Grindr I went. I saw Nick and sent a message. The conversation came easy, and he proposed drinks instead of sex.

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“Let’s go right now!” he said.

An hour later, we were laughing over drinks at Harlowe in West Hollywood about how great a Virgo/Taurus match could be. For two months, we spent time together every weekend, watched hours of “90 Day Fiancé” and shared a handful of overpriced meals. His texting was sporadic, but I was hooked just in time for that oh-so-dreaded message: “You deserve X … I can only give you Y … I wish you the best.”

I crumbled. Heartbroken again. A friend recommended a book: “Calling in 'The One.'” I worked through three weeks of journaling, “cutting cords,” visualizing. Then one night, dancing at Trunks, Jordan and I locked eyes. I was so fragile, so I avoided his gaze. But he was irresistible. His regular communication and physical presence over the next few weeks reeled me in. Perhaps the third time was the charm, and the universe had been teaching me patience. Naturally, one Saturday morning the next month I sensed the shift, and by Thursday, I was informed he was “seemingly” (his word) still in love with his ex.

::

I'm an extroverted extrovert who always says “Yes!” to social engagements, so going to a party with two people I hardly knew didn’t feel too unorthodox. I had met them at a comedy show, and there I was, pulling up to a house in Mid-City where I knew basically nobody. I entered the party and scanned the room, and somehow there was Jordan. It had been only a month since his feelings for his ex had resurfaced, and our eye-lock shattered me. I faked a smile, waved and avoided him the rest of the night. But then there we were at 2 a.m., among the last 10 or so people who stayed to the end.

Fate, right?! I thought.

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I approached. We embraced, talked and kissed. There was no way he wouldn’t text me the next morning. After all, we had such a connection!

Alas, only "seemingly."

::

I was stuck in bed with methicillin-resistant cellulitis, reeling over the forced cancellation of a trip to Brazil, when a friend reached out with a consolation prize: tickets to Gorgon City at the Shrine Auditorium.

As the sun set and the alcohol kicked in, I stared through my diffraction lenses utterly mesmerized. A tap on my shoulder caused me to spin around. I ripped off the glasses, composed myself and took in Harrison, almost four years since things ended. I plastered a massive smile across my face: “How great to see you!” We caught up while I vainly attempted to control my heartbeat. We talked for a few minutes and then went back to our respective groups.

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But then, in the midst of an undulating beat, it came to me: My bout with cellulitis had happened for a reason! I was supposed to be in Brazil, but now I’m here, with him! We were meant to be together again!

I approached Harrison, trying to help him see what I could see so clearly despite my interrupted vision.

Alas, my view was a bit distorted.

::

To celebrate 2024, a friend and I decided to go for dinner. She surprised me with a reservation at Gwen in Hollywood. We were sitting in the dimly lit room when I felt a grip on my shoulder. “I know who this is!”

I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing when I saw Nick would be waiting on us. We engaged in pleasantries; he brought us free wine and dessert, and by the end of the two hours, I had come back to Earth. But was this fate?! I texted him the next morning thanking him for the freebies and proposed we catch up in person. The next Sunday we had brunch, after which he suggested grabbing a coffee. Just as I remembered, our Virgo/Taurus vibes were palpable.

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"The third time really is a charm! After four years, we were meant to reconnect!" I concluded.

But then, as Nick sauntered away, making it almost imperceptibly clear that he would never follow up, I finally accepted it. In a city of about 4 million people, it is possible for you to run into the three ex-loves of your life: at a random house party, at a concert you weren’t supposed to be at or at a restaurant you switched to last-minute. As tempting as it can be to give it all deeper meaning, at some point, as you slowly piece your broken heart together, you might just have to say: “Wow! What a wild coincidence!”

The author is a teacher and former principal. He lives in West Hollywood. He’s on Instagram: @sholiday

L.A. Affairs chronicles the search for romantic love in all its glorious expressions in the L.A. area, and we want to hear your true story. We pay $400 for a published essay. Email LAAffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission guidelines here. You can find past columns here.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.