One of the most painful things that can ever happen is when love falls apart. When the relationship you’ve invested your time, presence, trust and love in goes downhill, when memories of the way you were in the beginning come rushing in like a lifetime ago, and when you compare the beginning of your relationship to where it was at the end, the experience of loss and grief can be very raw. Things left unsaid are crumbled on the floor, unimportant, neglected, like lost flyers blowing in the wind. It’s depressing, I know. We’ve all been there at one time or another. The pain of starting over – picking, even scraping, yourself off the floor – only to act as if you’re ok with life without the other. The process of detachment is unbearable at times but a fact of life. It’s a process that you must go through to get back on your feet again. This could take a lifetime for some. So many times, we want to make excuses for why the relationship isn’t working in order to prolong the inevitable end. We know the end is coming, and Lord we know it’s going to hurt. We put on blinders to avoid facing the uncomfortable truth: it’s over.
I remember the beginning of the end of my first marriage when I knew that something didn’t feel right to me. I hoped that as time passed the feeling of contentment that I so desperately wanted to feel in this relationship would come, that this was just an adjustment period that everybody goes through. It was only through talking to my married girlfriends (and a panic attack at Costco) that I realized that this wasn’t the case for everyone. This wasn’t how it was supposed to feel. And I knew it was over when the voice inside my head became loud and clear, as painful as that was to face, that the two of us deserved better.
Sometimes, it’s not the holding on that makes us strong. Sometimes it’s the necessary letting go. Letting go so that you both have a chance at real, lasting love – the kind that feels right – equal partners on this crazy journey called Life. The one where you can see yourself together on the porch, in rocking chairs, watching the sunset sipping coffee from your favorite mugs. That’s the way I see the man I’m married to now – the father of my two beautiful babies, and the greatest love of my life. Believe me, the uncomfortable truth that it isn’t working is hard to swallow. In my case, I did love my first husband to the best of my ability at the time. A part of him will always be with me. But that doesn’t mean I was meant to spend the rest of my days with him, and deep down I knew that. When you experience times like these, you ask yourself the question – do I rip the band aid off in one fell swoop, or gradually? Either way, you can’t escape the pain.
And sometimes love isn’t enough. My clients get so disillusioned when I say this to them. It’s true though. You never stop loving the ones you once did, it’s just that the love changes over time. All the cards need to be in place for a long lasting relationship that goes the distance – timing, goals, chemistry, respect, love – did I mention timing? What I know now is that there are different types of love. You can have more than one love of your life. And if you’re anything like me, you need to experience different relationships to figure out what you want and need, and what you DON’T. Take your time to figure out the difference between the type of love you cherish, that teaches you about love; and the one where you can see yourself growing at every stage of your life with this person, wanting to act out of love daily, come what may. This is the type of love you deserve, and nothing less. And in time you will come to a better understanding as to why the relationship with the love lost didn’t work out for the long haul with a deep appreciation for the one that stands the test of time.