THere are times I still want to find someone and unload all the pain of my marriage onto. All my friends already know, they’ve heard it all many times over. I want new validation, I want to feel less alone in this. I’m certainly not the first, only or most wrong divorced woman on the planet (or anywhere) but sometimes I feel the wrongness of it all over again. It makes me wish it were a tangible thing, this darkness that I could cast out, throw it somewhere and have it stick instead of staying inside me. I do believe time heals in a way, but it doesn’t cure. Old griefs don’t ever go away and old wrongs are never righted; they just erode slowly into a past that you can remove yourself from. You take steps forward in life and the pains of the past get that much smaller and easier to look at head on.
Yes of course I think about all the things I did wrong. Yes, I look inside myself and check to see if those unsavory parts of myself are still there, still ruling me because if I catch even a whiff, then I have things to do, boulders to push uphill again until I feel safe that those flaws will not crush me should my time for love ever come again.
But even knowing what I know about myself in the past, even being able to recite all the things I did “wrong” I come back to the same pain, the same plaintive persistant question “was I *so* wrong that I deserved to be treated like that?”
After two years, I’m certain the answer is “no, I did not”
The failure of my second marriage may not have been “all his fault” but the failure of our partnership was in fact, his fault. I believe that with all my heart. I carry the blame for ending things and I accept responsibility for my flaws and mistakes but I know without a doubt that even perfection could not have made that relationship work. This is something I remind myself of still to this day – as I did every day since deciding to end my marriage: a partnership is TWO people. If one person cannot carry their weight, cannot support the other, cannot hold the other’s heart with love and respect, then there is no way it can work. A partnership is TWO people. Hard work, communication, therapy, kind words, gestures of love – none of them save a relationship when they are one-way. That is reality no matter how much it hurts.
And it did hurt, knowing at the end that no amount of increased effort on my part was going to change things. No matter how much I loved him, no matter how much I tried, no matter WHAT I tried, I could not make that man love me as a partner. Maybe he never loved me, I doubt he even knows for sure, but to be sure, at some point, he could not love me as a partner. And that is why my marriage failed. Because marriage is a partnership and a partnership is two people who work together. He did not want to work together because it would have meant focusing on someone else in a real tangible everyday fashion. Something he would never be capable of doing. Hollow temporary gestures are not aspects of love they are only smoke and mirror shows designed to impress whoever was around at the time. Romantic moves are not aspects of love, they are only silencing methods designed to shame the other person into acquiescence.
Aspects of love are mundane, natural and feel as real as the sun on your skin, as comforting as a warm drink on a winter’s day, as secure as a blanket around your shoulders, as poetic as a snuggle in front of a fire in the middle of the night. Aspects of love are plain and simple and show up as often as a text during lunch “hi how is your day?”, as sweet as dishes washed when the partner is putting the kids to bed, as common as checking schedules together so we can go see a movie on date night.
Aspects of love aren’t showy, flashy or loud. They are small, and full of kindness.
THere were no aspects of love that I did not pay for in my marriage. Everything was given not in kindness but in quid pro quo. And no one deserves that kind of treatment.