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Elizabeth Gilbert just reminded us that it’s OK to fall in love after a great loss

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Sarah Shaffi
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The Eat, Pray, Love author says she’s happy with her new partner.

Elizabeth Gilbert has proved an inspiration to many women since she published Eat, Pray, Love.

The book, and the film adaptation starring and produced by Reese Witherspoon, recounts how Gilbert went on a journey of self-discovery after getting divorced. Her pilgrimage took her to Italy, India and Bali.

In Bali, the ‘love’ portion of her book, Gilbert met her former husband José Nunes. Gilbert left him in 2016 after her best friend Rayya Elias was diagnosed with cancer, and Gilbert realised she was in love with her.

The pair had a commitment ceremony in June 2017, but Elias died in January 2018.

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Elizabeth Gilbert on how she’s handling the grief of losing her soulmate

Gilbert, as fitting for someone whose life story made her famous, has always been open and honest about her relationships, and spoke candidly about her grief after Elias’ death, saying she would always love her.

Now Gilbert has found new love with Simon MacArthur, a close friend of Elias’ and, like always, she’s hoping her story of loss and love will inspire others.

In an Instagram post, Gilbert said it was “as good a moment as any to tell you that I am in love” with MacArthur, a British photographer.

Gilbert and MacArthur have been friends for years. She added: “Even more touchingly, Simon was a beloved friend of Rayya’s for decades. They lived together in London over 30 years ago, and they adored each other forever like siblings. This, as you can imagine, means the world to me.”

The writer says she chose to share her relationship publicly because “I will always share anything personal about my life, if it could help someone else feel more normal about their life”.

She continued: “SO…if you have lost a loved one to death, and you thought you’d never love again, but you are feeling a pull of attraction toward someone new, and you’re not sure if that’s OK? Let me normalize it for you. Let me say: It’s Ok. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your gorgeous loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life. It’s OK to live, and to love.”

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 06: New York best-selling author, Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert speaks on stage during 2018 Massachusetts Conference For Women at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on December 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage )

Elizabeth Gilbert has spoken about finding love again after loss

Gilbert also addressed her post to those who may be falling in love in middle age and feeling just as “dumb and crazy and excited and insecure as you did at 16”, telling them these feelings are completely normal.

Finding love after loss can be difficult and painful, but Gilbert has shown that there is nothing wrong with moving on. And she also asked people not to judge for her new relationship, saying: “If you see me walking around with a tall handsome man on my arm, don’t be buggin’. Just know that your girl is happy, and following her heart.”

Gilbert following her heart is what has inspired so many women, and we love that she’s happy in her new relationship.

Images: Getty

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Sarah Shaffi

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