I like to leave ‘em with love. Well, in a perfect world I’d want to leave ‘em with love and laughing. But sometimes you just can’t be greedy at the end of a love affair so if I have to pick only one, leave ‘em with love.
I don’t understand big dust-ups, especially the ones that occur weeks and even months after the final nail has been pounded. Why would anyone want to walk away from someone they once loved feeling angry, bitter and hostile? You did once love, right? Why not hang on to that instead?
Okay, okay, I know there are extenuating circumstances. Like if he say, beat the crap out of you, abused your children or ran off with the babysitter. But I do believe that in most “mature” breakups there were a million precursors and most often, the blame is more or less equally balanced. And yes, I’m even talking about when cheating is involved. Because unless one of you is a flaming philanderer, cheating usually stems from discontent. And discontent stems from, well, an unsatisfactory relationship.
Don’t get me wrong. I do understand the cathartic nature of a good scream-fest. The passionate fury of a dramatic “fuck you” farewell. Even the final slamming down of a phone can feel somewhat satisfying. For a second or two. Then you just feel stupid. And immature. And unresolved.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? At the end of a relationship you want resolve. Resolution. Closure. I mean, unless you’re an outright masochist, you want to close that old door so new windows can open. Beating your chest, wailing and spewing vitriol will rarely accomplish this.
Personal case in point: many years ago my lover/co-musician (we were in a band together) and I had decided to call it quits. We were quite capable of gazing adoringly into one another’s eyes but it was impossible for us to gaze down the road in the same direction. At our final gig I said to him “Let’s take a moment sometime tonight to just sit together, drink a beer, and acknowledge that what we had was special. That it was worthwhile. That our love was real and important.”
He was all for it. Until his ex, the same woman he had left for me and who had caught wind of our impending demise, showed up in all her glory and sat with his parents! She danced flirtatiously in front of the stage while I sang. She fraternized wantonly with his family. She staked her claim loud and clear and I just about had a nervous breakdown.
I managed to get through the night without completely losing it but after the crowd dispersed all bets were off. I turned into a crazy-woman. I screamed, I shouted, I cried and then I screamed and shouted some more. You now, something about “I hope you get hit by a bus and it runs over her twice.”
Yeah, I know. Not my shiniest hour. Thankfully, one of my saner band-members hauled my sorry ass home and talked some sense into me. And I felt like a complete, first-class idiot.
So now here I am, almost seven months post-breakup with the most recent love of my life. We didn’t end our relationship with hostility and there has been none in the ensuing months. We have facilitated the dissolution of our joint life with kindness, respect and affection. He has someone new and so do I. This is the perfect way to do it, right?
So we get together to meet with lawyers, sign off on a few legalities, wrap up a few loose ends. Soon there will be absolutely nothing binding us together. He will be another memory. The inspiration for a few songs and a few blogs. Moments captured in pictures that will last forever (or until my computer crashes) but feelings that will subside, diminish and eventually disappear. The negative ones are already gone.
We look at each other one last time with such sadness. Such melancholy. Such … finality. And then we hug so hard I think my bones might crack and I don’t even care. And then he drives away.
The next morning he emails me. Tells me he read my blogs. Tells me he wishes he knew months, even years ago what he now knows.
Yes. Don’t we all wish we had a rewind do-over button.
But we don’t. And I respond that our newest lovers will reap the benefits of the lessons we taught each other. That doesn’t seem terribly fair, does it? But it is the reality.
He closes his email with these beautiful words: “Find or let happiness come upon you.”
And I think “Damn”. After all these months he is finally speaking my love language. And I wonder if it’s even possible for someone like me (facilitator to the end) to ever let happiness come upon me? Maybe, maybe not … and that’s fodder for another blog. Doesn’t matter. His words touch me to my very core.
So then I wonder … is it ever possible to end a relationship with too much love?