I choked up yesterday as I read a blog post by Jenny Kanevsky called Why You Don’t Need To Say ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore.’
It included heart-wrenching lines like: “I don’t know how long my ex was thinking, ‘I’m done, I want a divorce.’ He never talked to me about it. How long was he unhappy?”
And: “Some things can never be taken back, and even if you feel the words “I don’t love you anymore. I’m done” are true, you may not need to say it. It may not be the best way to ask for a divorce from the mother of your children, your wife of seventeen years, the woman you have said “I love you” to countless times, travelled with, allowed to care for you when sick, loved and made life decisions with. Do you want to hurt her that much?”
Later, after a long day of working and commuting, I started reading HouseGoesHome posts from March 12, 2013 (March 2014 is too painful to revisit) and then March 12, 2012, searching for blog inspiration. And that’s when I came across “Who were you when your heart first broke?”
This is what it said:
I was the girl with tears gushing down her face, watching Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” over and over and over again. I’d push the VHS cassette in, press play, sob, press stop, rewind (clackety-clackety-clack), press play, sob … over and over. I was living with him. One day he packed his bags and left. Forever.
I called my best friend and blubbered the terrible news. She promised to leave work early. While I waited, I polished off the vodka bottle in the cupboard, then wobbled to the bottle shop to get another. The next day, I chucked a sickie. I was too distraught (and hungover) to work.
It took a long, long time to get over him. I mooched around, drank far too much alcohol … didn’t shag a soul. All those wild oats I could have sown … But I was certain no-one else would ever want me. And I was wrong.
One day, when I least expected it (as always happens), I met a man. A totally inappropriate, magnetic, insanely intelligent man. It was Husband. We became that sickening couple at the pub, the ones who constantly stroke each other and gaze adoringly into each other’s eyes …
Twenty years later, we’re still together. That first heartbreak feels like it happened to another person, in another life. Because it did. I’m not the woman I was back then. I would never have had this amazing life if my heart hadn’t been broken. My first love did the right thing. And I’m grateful to him for that. Now. Back then I was a total mess.
Clueless me didn’t realise my heart would soon be broken again. After more than 20 years together and two children, the sounds that came out of my mouth as I lay obliterated …. they were almost like keening.
After my husband left, I mooched around and drank far too much. I was certain no-one else would ever want me.
And again, I was wrong.
One day, when I least expected it, I met a wonderful man.
And that second heartbreak feels like it happened to another person, in another life. Because it did. I’m not the the woman I was back then either.
My husband didn’t do the right thing, but life goes on.
I love Jenny’s advice on break-ups: “Be mindful of the other person’s feelings, even if you are hurt, angry, frustrated, fed up, done. There was once love there, especially if there are children and decades of history. Disentangling a relationship is complicated. Don’t make it more so by being cruel. It’s just not worth it. You’ll regret it. You will.”
I’ve been mindful, so I don’t have any regrets about the way I handled my separation.
I’m not burdened with guilt. I’ve moved on with a clear conscience and a lightness of soul.
Life doesn’t just go on, it makes me smile so hard my face hurts instead of my heart.
Song of the day: Crowded House “Don’t dream it’s over”