I’m recently divorced after being married for 20 something years. Oftentimes, people will say, “I’m sorry,” when they hear about it. My response is always, “Don’t be. It’s okay. Things happen”. In this post, I’m not going into the particulars of why my ex and I divorced; however, what I can say is that there was a lot of hurt and pain, words that were said, and things that were done. It took many years to come to the conclusion that the relationship wasn’t working for either one of us. However, during the course of this time, my heart was dying a slow death. Little by little, any feelings that I thought I had were disappearing (this will be a topic for a later post).
In relationships, as the saying goes, “It takes two to tango”. I might not have done a lot in my marriage, but I sure reacted quite a bit — that is, until I matured and realized that every little thing didn’t need to be addressed.
Marriage is work. Let me say that again, “Marriage is work” if you want it to be successful, and no it is not the responsibility of one person to carry the relationship. Relationships can be quite turbulent. Sometimes, it’s due to the simple fact of marrying the wrong person. It’s like trying to fit a square into a circle — it just doesn’t work. That was the case in my situation. I had three different people come to me and say, “Don’t do it.” Did I listen? Of course not! I did it my way. They saw what I refused to see as I walked around with blinders on. In life, we should always be cognizant of the fact that there are consequences for our actions — good or bad. I could definitely write a book about that. Having said that, however, I did learn a lot about myself and life, in general, during the course of my marriage. In essence, I grew up. The scared, insecure woman who had been living inside me for most of my life realized her self worth, and decided that she had made a mistake.
When I was married, I spent years being on a “mental” roller coaster ride — one minute I was leaving and the next I was praying that things would work out. One day, I came to the conclusion that the issues were “unfixable,” and there was never going to be any type of reconciliation.
The day that I knew it was over for sure, I have to admit I was pretty terrified because I hadn’t been on my own in years. What was I going to do? How was I going to make it? Where was I going to live? Etc., etc. Once my anxiety calmed down, I was able to think and make plans for what the next step needed to be. I didn’t want to sneak out like a “thief in the night,” so I gave my ex five weeks notice because I wanted him to be prepared mentally and financially. Some people believe in just leaving without letting the other party know and, perhaps, in those cases it might be best, particularly, if it’s a safety issue (you have to know your partner). Did things get crazy during that period of time? You betcha they did. However, I’m grateful that on moving day, everything went well (with the exception of my vehicle not starting and they had my name in the system at U-Haul but no truck assigned to me).
When people talk about and agree to marry, most do so with the expectation that they and their partner will grow old together. For me, every time I see and older couple together, it touches my heart. I watch them as they care for one another. They may be out to dinner and, perhaps, one is cutting food for the other because they can no longer do that for themselves or maybe they are holding hands or maybe one is pushing the other in a wheelchair, etc. No relationship is perfect nor is it exempt from disagreements; however, couples who last have found a way to weather the storm — they’ve found a way to make it work. During difficult times, they learned how to put their pride aside and agree to disagree. The flip side of the coin is that there are those relationships that end because both parties are too stubborn to say, “I’m sorry. What can WE do to make it work?”
There is that group of people who don’t reach out to their partner because they don’t want to feel like they are kissing their backside or be viewed as crawling back to them. That is absolutely ludicrous! If you love a person, why shouldn’t you express it to them? Why can’t you wear your feelings on your sleeves? Why can’t you be vulnerable? In my opinion, it’s okay to show your raw emotions. When did we stop fighting for the one we love or is it just so much easier to walk away? Perhaps, you’ve done all of this and the two of you still ended up going your separate ways, but at least you let them know they mattered — that the two of you mattered. You attempted to do something as opposed to being completely miserable without them and doing nothing whatsoever to repair your failing relationship. By allowing pride to get in the way or pointing fingers at the other party or simply walking away, and not being mature enough to talk about the issues, no one wins in your relationship. Do you want the love of your life to slip through your fingers without first trying to work things out? Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I totally agree. Personally, I believe that if you are able to catch your relationship before your heart completely dies, it can be salvaged, if that’s what you two decide.
Gurl go get your guy. Guy go get your gurl. It really is okay to reach out and say, “Can we talk?” No, you’re not a weakling by doing this. In fact, it takes a lot of courage to start a dialogue about how you feel and what you want out of your relationship. It can be scary because, quite honestly, you don’t know if your partner is going to be receptive to what you have to say. Don’t try and read their minds or assume they are going to respond in an unfavorable way. Remember, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
P.S.: Please stay tuned because there will be a Part II to this topic.