Not so long ago, I made the mistake of believing that there were certain things I would never do. I believed I would never leave my husband or end my marriage. I proved myself wrong back in 2009. I believed I would never live anywhere except my hometown, but when my marriage ended I had to find full-time employment at a level that would support my family, so I packed my bags and moved seventy miles away. I also made the mistake of believing there were certain things that other people wouldn't do - I never believed that my husband would stop loving me, but he did. I never thought that the man I dated after my divorce would deliberately hurt me, but I was wrong. I never thought anything could alter the way I felt about the man I have loved for the last eighteen months, but here I am in the aftermath of that catastrophic change, and I feel hollow inside, as if some vital part of me is missing. There is more emptiness than pain. All good things must come to an end. I know this is true, but I do not approve, and I am not resigned...
So here I am, examining the bits and pieces of another relationship that is ending. In sifting through these ashes, I wonder where we went wrong. Didn't we love each other enough? Weren't we there for each other? Was there something we could have done differently, something that would have saved us? How do we re-vision our lives without each other as a part of the picture?
I have some answers, but not enough. Sure we love each other, but love isn't the only important thing in a relationship. There must be respect and trust - love without these fundamentals is a house built on sand. Were we there for each other? Mostly - in some ways, neither of us was able to give enough of what the other needed. It wasn't because we didn't care or didn't try - we both put a lot of effort into making things work out. Was there something we could have done differently? That's the hardest question to answer. In the end, something happened between us that created a gulf that could not be bridged. Sometimes, relationships are just too broken to be repaired. Sometimes it is better just to leave the pieces behind and move forward.
Now we are both tasked with recreating our lives without the other. His absence leaves a hole in my heart. Will I always be empty? No...as much as aching hearts and wounded souls like to believe that the pain of lost love is permanent, I know from experience that eventually the emptiness gets filled. If we are lucky and purposeful, we fill it with things that are right and good and true. Sometimes we treat our emptiness like a landfill and pour in toxic things that end up causing us even more pain. My intention is to just let the emptiness be for a while and fill it with nothing. Rather than rush on toward something new, I'm going to take my time and give myself to the transition. I want to see where it takes me.
In the meanwhile, I'll work, spend time with the kids, and go hiking. I'll finish up my degree, and maybe have time to read something besides my accounting textbook. Eventually the numbness will fade and maybe then I'll actually feel something. Maybe there will come a time when the two of us revisit the relationship; when old wounds have healed and even the scars have faded. One thing I know is true - there is no certainty in life, and we should never say "never".