Unlove

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.

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10 thoughts on “Unlove

  1. Yeah, divorce is the human equivalent of being in purgatory to catholic theology I guess. You wish it would end, but it doesnt…yet…until you have no more to bleed. Then its still not over LOL

    On another note, as Jim Morrison would say… Back there in my divinity days, I learned that the original bible, written in Greek, have three different words that today we use interchangably to mean “love”. (There is a fourth “storge”, but its not used in the greek bible)

    First, “Philo”, as in brotherly love or association love, like a group of team members, or friends,

    Second “Eros” as in love between man and woman, but not necessarily sexual, and also not necessarily a husband and a wife. Its more like an adolescent love, teenage angst puppy love so to speak.

    Lastly, “Agape”, or unconditional love, for love between spouses that endures faults. Many faults!

    You have moved from eros to philo to agape back to philo. That at least shows humanity.

  2. I think that this is the most moving thing you’ve ever written. I’ve never been married, but I know enough about love to understand exactly what you’re saying.

  3. since i am going thru a breakup *sniff* this is an awesomely inspiring and concise post for me. i always wonder how couples smooth over rough spots and stay together, or at which point do they look at each other and decide enough is enough.

    thank you.
    this was right on time for me.

  4. @ Larry

    I guess. Somehow it feels like you think I have somehow chosen the lesser path. I might be wrong. But if I’m right, I disagree with you. I don’t think we value enough the choice to love oneself and make choices in one’s own best interest.

    @ Debbie

    Thank you. Sometimes I post because I feel like I need to. Other times I post because I feel it in my soul. I felt this one in my soul.

    @ Jali

    I guess I have. I am proud as hell of me too! I’ve come so far. You have no idea. Ask Katrice about it. 🙂

    @ dalia

    Hey, Lady. Welcome. I love your blog and I’m honored that you’ve stopped by here. I’m sorry about the break up. WTF?!?!? That’s my humble opinion of it all. In the end, though, you know what’s best for you. I certainly wish you the best. Follow the path that honors your true self and you’ll find all you deserve. I’m certain of it.

  5. Lex

    No, I have no feelings on any path you take.

    I have found that couples walk paths that are mostly the same, but can diverge from the other’s. Now if this divergence lasts too long, without correction, then the relationship between the two people is at stake, but the paths are still true to each person. Divorce isnt a flaw in my opinion of ANY of the participants, short of behavior that lies outside what the collective have established as off limits. Divorce often is the result when the individuals cant stay on the path established by the other, but that doesnt make either path wrong.

    People change, and the change may be beyond what the other is willing to accept. Or the persons perception of the other changes as details not seen earlier start to stand out more.

    Hey we sometimes are a NOT a good judge of what kind of person is right for ourself.

  6. Lex, this is the best piece of writing I have ever read on the breakup of a marriage. Truly. I love where your head is, and I believe that you have spoken for so many who have chosen not to love their partners anymore because it conflicts in too many important ways with being able to love themselves.

    It is impossible to love another if we don’t first love ourselves. Most of us try to do it backwards and then wonder why it doesn’t work.

    Mature lovers do not lose themselves in each other. They support each other in becoming their best selves. But love is never wasted. You have learned so much from this experience, and when you choose to love someone in that way again, you will do so from a stronger foundation of love and respect for yourself.

    You are amazing! The man who proves worthy of you will get a treasure.

  7. I am proud of you too! I remember the first day he brought you to meet us, your wedding day, and the days we hung out in between. But since the day you first opened up to me about your marriage, I have watched you walk through this and it has made me realize just how much I value you. You did the only thing to do. You salvaged your life. I know your journey isn’t over, but you’ve come a long way in a short time.

    March has a new reason to be the coolest month!

  8. Thanks guys! Sometimes I am amazed by how I’m evolving. I have left this post up for so long because I wanted to go back and read it a few times. When this stuff comes out of me, at first I have to read it over and over to believe that it came from me.

    This can turn into another post. I’ll save it for later.

    Thanks again.

  9. I admire your courage and your resolve to live an authentic life. Who are any of us to judge whether married folks should stay together for life or whether folks give up too soon? Or whether certain folks should have never gotten together in the first place? We do not know. We can’t judge.

    The only thing we can do is do as you are doing, move forward, make choices, live and above all…live.

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