How this venomous human condition can drive us to make some of our worst decisions.
The third post, and “finale” of the romance arc I began in October.
It has been very close now to two months since the event that left my heart and spirit in ruin. Breakups may happen everyday, and to be fair in more cases than not they are either ultimately trivial, or they will just suck for awhile, then you heal and move on. But sometimes losing someone who became such an integral part of your life, feels like they have died even if in reality they didn’t. In the worst cases you feel like a part of you died too.
What is it that makes this such a difficult thing for me to process? Why is it that I have stared death in the face and not been as disturbed as I am right now by the loss of a relationship? Perhaps there is something to be said for control. Often, death is out of our control. Sometimes it can be prevented, delayed. But it is not within our power to control in the end. What we can control is the pain we inflict on each other, the way we treat others and the state we leave their hearts and minds from our influence. Perhaps there is a worse form of death than the one we often think of, the death of love, of something greater than the sum of its parts, the tragically unnecessary and unwarranted destruction of something that brought profound joy and meaning to someone who has scarcely experienced such things in life. Maybe what is more disturbing than death, especially one that couldn’t be prevented, is the tragic waste of something beautiful, something that deserved to thrive and blossom and was instead squashed by a series of poorly chosen words and actions, many of which were trivial or avoidable.
That is what has broken me.
What time has not done to salve my wound or dull my pain, it has at least offered instead in reflection and insight. Not a fair trade, but I will take whatever I can get.
Hindsight is, sadly, so much easier to acquire than the ability to see and act on things as they happen. But hindsight has told me that while to some extent, reacting to this event with anger, outrage, and a feeling of great injustice was to an extent justified, that it was natural and human to be repulsed by the concept of who you thought of as your life mate moving on with someone else, that it ultimately should have been tempered by compassion and looking at things from a perspective not merely limited to my own. There is a great deal of inner torment, which persists as I write this, as to whether reacting in anger was indeed the right decision for the sake of my own dignity, or if I should have swallowed all semblance of pride and done whatever had to be done to win her back. As with almost all things in life, in nature and the universe, I find of course that the best answer I can settle on is somewhere in the middle: balance.
After all, I was the one broken up with, entirely against my will, and in a rather cruel and impersonal way at that. What the angry, impulsive aspect of me failed to grasp was that there was a deep, troubling “why” behind the cruel action that seemed to come from relatively nowhere. This was a decision made by a woman who I already thought of as a wife, not because I needed the concept of marriage to justify our relationship or any sense of happiness, but merely because it represented my readiness to accept her as my one and only companion in life. It was a decision made out of fear and confusion and apprehension. These may not be things I agree with or endorse, nor do I feel it is right to make such a drastic life decision, not just for one person but for two, based on these feelings without at least trying to work through them with your partner. But these feelings are human and are understandable as such. Everyone has been afraid of something, been confused, been uneasy at some point in life.
This brings me to the point of whether or not I can respect her decision and her motivations behind them, even if I will never agree with them or truly make peace with it. Respect for other human beings and their own will is something that I hold as fundamentally important. This should be especially true for someone you love, should it not? Yet I practically spat in the face of that respect, in my initial reaction to seeing her even take the first steps of replacing me with another companion. What a difficult pill to swallow, indeed, to figure out how to maintain a respect for a person’s right to choose what they think is best for themselves even if you don’t agree with it, even if you have very good reasons and justifiable experience to posit that they are quite likely wrong for making the choice they did. With the time I’ve had to process this, it seems easier to wrap my head around it, but it is a tall order indeed to remain idealistic and maintain this respect for a fellow human’s will in the heat of the moment, when your hurt and anger is glowing red hot.
As is so often the case in the fallout of romance and love, I would do things differently given a chance. To even just have a second chance at the first conversation she and I had after the breakup, that is something I would give up a frightening amount for. There are indeed few sacrifices I wouldn’t make to have another chance to capture the happiness and fulfillment we had together. Part of me recognizes that there is a certain sickness to this, that the heartbreak and the impression this woman left on me physically, mentally and emotionally is lingering in me not unlike a disease whose symptoms persist even when the germ is no longer present. I recognize that I am not emotionally healthy, nor healed in any true sense. The aspect of myself that still clings to notions of romance and love and longing for true, fulfilling companionship, battered and beaten down as it is, still has life and meaning through its attachment to her and the beautiful memories we forged together. Perhaps in a future time this will change, but as I stand I cannot be rid of what remains of her impression on me without completely shutting out that battered heart inside as well.
So be it.
The stupidity brought on by loneliness and heartbreak led me to act in irrational ways, to say things in anger that should have been given time to cool before being expressed. This stupidity has since led me to try talking to other women, which is a horrible idea (at least as anything more than a friend). Not only is this damaging to me but it is unfair to the other person. The respect for other people must endure no matter my hardship. No one should be used as a means to an end, to be an object to fill the void of loneliness and not instead brought into my life for a good reason, namely, because of their actual value and meaning as a human being.
I have on the opposite side of that proverbial coin made new friends in the last two months, who I am learning to appreciate for the ways they are different and the insights into life they can provide. The clouds of my life are dark and stormy indeed, but the sky is not all gone from the picture.
I have no reliable means of predicting the future. There may come a time, six months, a year, what have you, from now, when I look back on this post and be able to track how much I have healed or made peace the best I can. But for now, I am broken, and am able to say that with a sense of acceptance, for with that acceptance I can make decisions that show more respect to myself and others. It will lead me to make decisions based on healing and growth instead of just trying to merely survive or to temporarily salve the gaping hole of loneliness deep within me. It will be the push I need to make certain changes in my life that, perhaps, have been a long time coming anyway. Since I have no choice now but to focus on myself, those things about me that I allowed to languish, physically and mentally, due to how much energy I dedicated to my now defunct relationship, I can at least mend those things, even if my heart itself must remain in tatters for now.
I still love her with everything in me. I still adore her. If this post means nothing to you, the reader, except this, it is that I believe there is something virtuous and righteous about loving someone completely and unconditionally, even if an argument can be made that such a love is madness. This virtue I speak of has nothing to do with religion or spirituality but on the human fucking condition of love, a word we throw around all the time but seldom really experience or practice. If I be damned, if I be cursed, if I be castigated for it, so be it. I still choose to love this woman and forgive her for the torment I’ve endured since she made the decision she thought she had to for her own happiness.