Saturday, November 29, 2008

What I've Learned

I know some truly kind and amazing people.

When Mr. Burns and I broke up - one friend sent me a handwritten card, expressing her sympathy, her support and her concern for me.

Another friend, who had encouraged me to break up months before, upon hearing the news said, "I'm so sorry. I know you had a lot of hope in that relationship."

Many many others said, in some way "I'm sorry for your loss."

Because that is what the end of a love/ romantic relationship is. It is the end of a certain kind of hope. It is the death of an anticipated future.

Now I am embarrassed that I wasn't as kind and thoughtful to my friends who went through break ups before me.

I didn't know.
Because I had never been through a break up of this magnitude, I thought that went couples broke up it was because it was the best decision. I didn't understand how painful and heartwrenching it is... even if it is the right thing to do.

Now I vow to do better by my friends. A break up is a great loss.
I mean really, I've been more sympathetic to a friend with a cold than to a friend suffering a break up!

I saw another friend who didn't know about the break up until I told her today - and she expressed genuine compassion. I thanked her and shared what I have learned. She agreed and told me that she's gone through break ups and she's gone through a divorce and to be honest, the divorce was easier. We discussed it and agreed that the end of a relationship is hard because it ends your idea of a future. A divorce is a relationship that is already over, there is no future (or there wouldn't be a divorce) and there is more relief than grief.

Now I know. And I promise to treat my friend's breakups with the tender concern and sympathy that they deserve.

I wish I had understood this years ago.


Christy said...

Please don't trivialize divorce. It's not fair to say that the relationship is already over; therefore, no future. I never felt relief. I was married for six years when my husband out of the blue decided he wasn't committed to the marriage. It blew my socks off because I was happy and we were fine (or so I thought). It was most definitely the loss of my future and hopes of having a family. One of the hardest things of the past two years has been re-structuring my thoughts and letting go of hopes of what I thought my future was going to be like. Not only thought - but was led to believe by a man who committed his life to me and 'changed his mind'. That's the biggest difference between a break-up (which I've also experienced in the past two years) and a divorce - in a divorce, someone breaks their promise. That loss and rejection is more difficult than a break up in my opinion.

TRS said...

Thank you for sharing Christy.

I have no intention of trivializing divorce. I'm only sharing what my friend shared with me.

And of course your situation is different from my friends' as it came with no warning. I think she was talking about a marriage that both partners decided was 'done'.

Of course, every relationship is different, just as every human is different.

The opinions stated in the above post apply only to the situations represented --- not a blanket statement on relationships as a whole.

auntie said...

Thanks for this post - I had never realized all those things, either, until I went through a very painful breakup earlier this year. But what you said is so true, that you not only lose the person, but also the possibilities you'd imagined within that relationship.

knit_tgz said...

Precisely. I went through grief, cried myself to sleep several times, because after 3+ years of dating exclusively the future we would have together had died.

About divorce, yeah, if both parts decide simultaneously to divorce, it must be somewhat less heartbreaking. But I've seen far too many divorces where one part (usually the man, I am sorry to say) suddenly decides to leave the boat without much previous warning. (the 3 cases I know: one because the man had a secret affair and decided to leave the wife, with whom he was keeping a fa├žade of deep love and planning to have children and a long future up until the day he left; another two because the men were happy with their wives but preferred to live like singles, both these two men now regret the divorces, but it's too late). These 3 women were devastated like from a sudden death of a close one.

Marina said...

brake up's are always painful when your very much in love with that person and they don't feel the same or "they're not that into you"
it hurts a part of you feels like its dieing. I have been there many times and it feels like you well never get over that heart break.

I was divorce married by age 21 divorce by age 29 with a small daughter to raise life too me change and was a couple world and I felt lost ,,,I had just left the marriage world . I felt loss for a while. the only thing that heal was time and distance . I am sorry for your break up but the Lord knows what you need and he sees and I pray he will bless you with a good man.
today I am remarried but I wouldn't like to be back in the single world again its hard I think being single (everyone seems to play games or they are way too young ")
thank you for visiting my blog and the advise I do hold my breath and worry about the exact position but it did feel like a good work out and I did enjoy it and plain to go back, marina

Anonymous said...

So glad I happened upon your blog today. What refreshing and insighful posts here. I completely agree with the 'death of a possibility' downside of breakups...and I have experience to thank for that. Recently I opened a drawer at home and found a stash of untouched bridal magazines from a subscription that was made a few years back when I was 'that' close to marriage (the guy felt so anyways). I'm turning 27 in 5 few days, with no prospects in sight and not many close-ish girlfriends (well just one, but she is 3 years younger than me and married going on 3 years so it's not something I go into with her). Sometimes I find myself wondering how did this happen to me! Meanwhile I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. Hmmm