When Love Ends: A Postscript

I owe you an apology. In the previous blog post – When Love Ends – I carelessly omitted a common and often painful challenge many face when their relationship or marriage comes to an end. The judgment of others.

The judgment of friends, parents, siblings, family members from across the spectrum, clergy and then some may, in some but not all cases, be well intended. Nevertheless, it is deeply wounding. The furrowed brows and heavily lidded eyes of judgment can inflict enormous pain and guilt and, at times, possess so much influence they lead some to stay in or return to relationships that are, in fact, deeply unhappy.

Judgment deserves no decision making power. I know and have known people who stay in relationships and marriages because of their families judgment, because some religious mandate says God says…. First, while I have no right to doubt the well-meaning sincerity of those inflicting the judgment – they are still wrong. As for, God says…..? Bullshit. God wants his children to be happy in life, not miserable. It has been written and often repeated that God helps those who help themselves. If one or both members of a relationship or marriage realize they are not in love anymore, are they not helping themselves by disengaging from the marriage? Is it not healthier and, dare I say it, more loving for each person to be free to live their lives and perhaps, if they are so blessed, meet someone and fall in love and experience a truly healthy and happy relationship and marriage?

Remember, you are living your life, no one else. You have a right to happiness. Taking care of yourself is not an act of disloyalty to anyone else – no matter what the forces of judgment may say. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to let them have their say, but you don’t have to let them have the decision.

When Love Ends

There are as many answers as questions when love ends. I don’t know all the questions and I sure as hell don’t know all the answers. I do know there is a dream harbored by many, this writer included, that there is such as thing as a love that will last, if not forever, at least for our lifetime. Okay – forever. I believe there is such a thing as a love like that.

Love, to me, is a living breathing form of life, as beautifully exquisite as a flower, as powerful and majestic as a mountain range, as glorious as the sunrise and the sunset, and, like the sky above, in perpetual motion. If, like all living things, it is not tended to, fed, and nurtured – it will die. While the end of love casts many of us into the chilly arms of loneliness, fear and a sense of hopelessness, it does not mean we are alone and it does not mean hope is gone. Because you feel hopeless does not mean there is no hope, it means you’ve lost site of it, for the moment. And that’s okay, it proves you’re a human being, and that’s a good thing. Hope is still there.

In too many ways, places, and cultures, couples are given the message that if their relationship ends, if their marriage ends, they have failed. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can be further from the truth. There is no more truth in the end of a relationship means failure as there was truth in the once commonly held belief that the world is flat.

Then too there are those hard-sharp moments when we are faced with the terribly unpleasant task of letting someone know we don’t love them anymore. A wrenching moment to live through to be sure, but to offer anything but the truth will inflict far greater pain and damage on them (and you) down the road. Telling the truth, while anything but painless, is, when all is said and done, the kindest.

If you are someone who finds yourself sitting alone thinking you’ve failed because your relationship or marriage ended, try and remember that these feelings of failure are driven by the way you were raised, they are rooted in your history, not in the larger reality of life. So let the feelings have their lifetime, you can and will and deserve to outlive them. Don’t let their presence blind you the beautiful life you are in and to the wonderful gifts that await you and are with you now: your child, your friends, the books on your shelf, the cup of tea or coffee you can make for you, the beauty of the birds and the pure-soul joy of dance, the smile and hug from a friend, and maybe even a blog like this one that might, in its humble way, lift your day.