Breakups are the Same in Any Culture
Well, blame it on the Super Moon, El Niño…I find myself on the other side of marriage equality and am now facing divorce equality. I’ve fought and lobbied for years for the right to marry the one I love. I’ve protested, written letters, organized and educated. Alas, I was informed from a thruway rest stop two weeks ago that my wife was leaving me.
We were married on August 31, 2013 …less than one year ago. As I referenced in my last column…just last month…it was an amazing Steampunk affair. We laboured over every detail and gave our guests a night to remember. My wedding gift to her was the actual park bench that we sat on the first autumn night we met …and talked until the stars came out. I had it at our reception for our guests to sign, all full of special notes of love to send us on to the next step in our journey. It was my dedication to the journey continuing, a hope for a home for us in the future and a place to sit as we grew old together. She gave me a star that I have yet to see but know it is up there – or perhaps has burned out as well. As quickly as the out-breath of stars and angels disappears into the deep indigo of the night sky …so did our marriage.
My love, my life, my sweetheart…my wife… is gone. I have no idea where she is, actually. No forwarding address…nothing.
This past weekend I came back, after she took her dog and left, to a solitary box full of things I’d given her along with items from our wedding. The hat she wore that I picked out of a hundred hats because it had her beloved Poe Raven on it. The centrepiece that was on our sweetheart table at the reception, handmade by her brother …in the trash. She always told me she was a “purger” and indeed …I have been purged. I felt like a giant eraser came through our home …erasing every line carefully drawn, every errant ugly brushstroke and every small masterpiece…gone. Her post on Facebook that day was celebrating her last time commuting from our home city back to her home city where her job was. Hurt, devastation doesn’t begin to describe what I have been feeling.
The leaving was not a total surprise to me. We had our issues over the last 5 years and we were indeed very different people. That is what I loved about her but that is what she apparently didn’t like, or came not to like, about me. We were both passionate people – which was our strength and our weakness. We both had our part in the breakdown and we did not speak the same language. I don’t mean dialect … I mean love language. I wanted us to go to counseling many times over the years but was always told I was the one that needed counseling. I did, we both did. I have an amazing counselor I’ve been seeing the past few weeks and I think it is the best investment you can make in yourself and in your relationships. We take our cars for tune-ups, we get an annual physical, we do spring cleaning. It does the soul good to check-in with ourselves and each other. You need to tend to your garden in order to grow and learn. You need that unbiased person to help you see things clearly – past the anger, sadness, self-doubt, self-pity. You need that person that will make you stop sobbing like a lost 3-year old and honestly see what happened- in all of the horrifying and beautiful colors that composed your relationship and your life to this point.
There are days you just get ugly with each other. We are all ashamed of our behavior at one time or another, myself definitely included. It is those in-between days and moments that should always hold the higher value, though. We need to forgive ourselves and each other. You try again the next day and if you fail, get up and try again. I know I did not change things in myself as quickly as she needed me to. I know she did not change things in herself as quickly as I needed her to. I was taking action but I didn’t always understand what was needed. I thought I was doing what was needed, only to find out I was on the wrong path. We both would try, then slip back to old behaviors. I do feel bad that I clearly did not see how unhappy she was with us. I needed to learn her language. Was it cultural? Perhaps. Age difference? Probably.
Regardless, we needed to be on the same page …and reading the same book.
I do admire her strength, along with so many wonderful qualities. As someone who has walked away from a relationship before, it is no easier than being left. For me, it has been the harder thing to do. I loved her unconditionally, flaws and all. She is an amazing person and I know without a doubt she will find that which will make her happiest in life.
So, as I go through the grieving process we have all gone through in this sisterhood, I ask all of you to do what my mother wrote in the wedding card my parents gave to us. Be kind to each other …
“On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” ~ Saint-Exupéry