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.