I’ll admit I googled that title, or an iteration of it, not long ago. But I couldn’t find what I needed. So I’m writing what I wanted to read while going through the pain, even if I didn’t want to document the heartbreak. Not while I’m still going through every single gut-wrenching emotion. Why not wait until the dust settled, I’d ask myself. So I could use my 20/20 Hindsight Vision. And even now, putting words on paper (or pixels on a screen) feels trite. Or cliché. Or something untrue. To describe the guttural sounds emanating from my body yesterday as I shook with sobs on our bed—I just don’t have the words. I don’t. But I’m going to do my damn best so that somehow, some way, if I can help just one other person going through a similar situation, then I’ll feel like I’ve paid this heartbreak forward.
Even having “3 things” in my subtitle makes me feel like a fraud. I mean, everyone loves good clickbait. People flock to listicles; as much as they’re mocked, people scan to key takeaway points, to lists, to bold lettering. If I have to craft this in a way that will get someone to read on—so they can hopefully identify with the emotion behind this, and more than that, the human condition—then so be it.
1) Love is not enough.
Mark Manson said it; Trent Reznor said it. I loved—and still love—my partner very much (he hates that word, “partner,” but at its core, love is a partnership, so I’ll stick to my term of choosing, thank you very much). The closeness and emotional intimacy we had with each other was unparalleled, for both of us. There were/are some incompatibilities and fundamental differences we truly tried to work through—we saw a counselor, too—and found that we just couldn’t fix things despite our best efforts. Maybe, the so-called “brokenness” of it was always there but we were willing to overlook those parts because we needed each other anyway. Either way, we shared a great love. A love I will remember. But love—well, it just isn’t enough.
2) Love changes.
Sometimes, it allows both parties (not speaking on behalf of anyone in polyamorous relationships—then I would say ALL parties, I guess…) to grow together. Other times, to grow apart. You can fall in love and have the honeymoon stage last for years, or it could be over in months and you’re on to a more quotidian, comfortable love. But sometimes, the love you share with your partner shifts. In inexplicable ways. It’s almost a tangible feeling in the air—something in the shared connection altered. The inside jokes, the kisses, the hugs, the bike rides, the cooking dinners together, the movies, the silliness—we still share all of these, but now with a tenderness of knowing we did our best. That we treated each other with kindness. Every day is a real-time simultaneous mourning and celebration of our relationship.
3) Sometimes moving forward feels like going in reverse.
It can feel like you’re being ripped apart. Making a mature, adult decision to let go of someone you still have great affection for instead of sticking with the complacency of a comfortable relationship that isn’t the best for the future of either party is fucking hard. I don’t regret being in this relationship. I don’t regret fully opening my heart and loving with all my might—of putting someone’s needs before mine, not out of obligation, but out of unconditional compassion. If I were a better writer, I would be able to fully convey how deeply I’m going to miss him. What’s an ocean without blue? A sky without sun? A rose without the scent of, well, a rose? A world without chocolate? These things go together. One without the other hardly feels enough (and I apologize, only a little, for the cheese factor).
When I’m sad or terrified or anxious or happy or excited or stressed—he’s my go-to person. But because I still love him—and love myself—and I want each of us to be happy and serene and truly content in life, I have to let go. Our love may be changing/have changed/will change, but he will always be in my heart.
OH, AND PS:
Drinking over this never once crossed my mind. This is pretty much the whole dealing with “life on life’s terms” thang. Going through the downs in recovery lets us truly appreciate the ups.
Originally posted in The Sobriety Collective.