A few days ago, LarryLilly at nasty8nice.blogspot.com (that one was worth spelling out) left the following comment in reference to divorced couples:
Its amazing to me how two people who once each hung the sun for the other can become so pissed at each other as to void all rational thought and disperse any charm LOL
And yesterday my insurance agent called to see how things turned out in court. He wrapped up our conversation with:
It’s is none of my business what went wrong in your marriage, but after that much time, there must have been something to keep you around. I don’t know what made you say “enough is enough”, but somewhere in there there’s a person you knew and loved.
And since I’m not one to duck a call to introspection when I hear it, I decided to look within to see if I can explain this thing, first to myself and then to anyone else who cares.
There was a time when the sun rose and set upon Ex. I remember lying next to him in bed, lovingly smoothing his eyebrows as I watched him sleep. I loved the smell of his hair as he snuggled at my breasts, me rubbing his head until he fell asleep. I remember the freckle on his earlobe that I loved to kiss and nibble. I loved the times when our living room became the great meeting of the minds as we debated and contemplated opposing viewpoints on a subject. I was endeared by his incredible goofiness despite others’ annoyance by it. We played hard. He nurtured the whimsical part in me that desired to throw caution to the wind and just live in the moment. We loved each other most of the time. Yet I have come to realize with more clarity than ever before in my life that love, indeed, is a choice.
In my case I chose to love him despite many flaws–in him, in me and in our union. I am not so naive as to believe that one person can shoulder the responsibility of a relationship’s demise. Neither am I so naive as to imagine that my version of our reality is by any means objective. I observed the train wreck from one-side of the street, he from the other. Some aspects of our accounts coincide. Most do not. That’s life and perspective.
For a flawed person to love and live with a flawed someone else requires that one concedes some things, sacrifices some things, ignores some things, silently stews over some things and just gets over some things. It means that one chooses to be gentle, kind, open, honest, giving, accepting and nurturing. I believe these are the choices of love.
As with any choice, I believe love requires that one weighs the pros and cons to one’s personal well being. If I choose to sky dive, I will first consider the risks to life and limb and then the thrill of fulfilling a dream (or the rush of adrenaline, whichever). At some point I have to make a choice that finds a reasonable decision point among two competing interests. I have chosen to preserve my life and limbs and find thrills closer to the ground.
It was the same with my marriage. When I concluded that the risks of the relationship outweighed the benefits to my personal well-being, I chose to stop loving him. I never chose (and still have not chosen) to hate him. My choice not to love him turned that goofiness into annoyance, that whimsy into irresponsibility and the desire to meet in the middle to somehow mitigate competing interests into (at times) an all out battle of the wills.
My choice not to love him goes hand in hand with my choice to love myself, to take care of myself, to look out for myself. Too many people think of this as selfishness. I’m very sorry for them. I am coming to embrace who I am. When who I am and who he is cease to be compatible, it’s time to part ways. There is no way for him to be him and me to be me and there not be fireworks at our house on a daily basis. We have ceased to bring out the good in one another and therefore it’s over. No judgment. No blaming. No pity. We aren’t good for each other. It’s done.
The choice to stop loving him came about much more slowly than my choice to love him. This, of course, greatly informs how I approach love going forward. It took time for me to say I was done, that I had loved him all that I could and to free myself from that which felt like duty. I got pissed with him when I loved him, real pissed. I get pissed with him now, real pissed. The difference is that now I don’t feel compelled to find common ground. I don’t feel like I have to say, “I’m sorry.” I don’t feel like things have to get back on the right track.
So, pissed isn’t new. Believe me, Larry, there were many days when we were “in love” that I wanted to drown his sun in water. It’s just that in the end of a marriage when there are loose ends to tie up, entanglements to unravel, checks and papers to sign, it becomes apparent how competing our interests are. He’s out for himself and I’m out for me. Perhaps couples have dissolved a marriage more civilly. I certainly wanted to. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
Perspective is a bitch. It makes things really difficult too when conversation has been reduced to faxed letters and voice mails between attorneys. But it’ll be over soon. What can I say?
Thanks for making me think about this.
Any thoughts, Guys?
P.S. – And let me just say now ( so that I don’t have to say it later when the comment comes) that I still love him in the sense that he is part of humanity and I wish him well. I think you will agree that this is a different love than the love between a husband and wife. This love doesn’t cost me anything. It allows me to just let him be as I try to do with all others with whom I disagree.