Closure: Searching for A Sign This Painful Event Is Almost Over

sad girlA Wife’s Painful Question:

“What is/are the sign(s) of closure?

How is one supposed to know that there is closure in a past relationship?

I’m at a very confusing period of my life, I don’t know if there’s absolutely no chance of rekindling a relationship, or if there is?

I just need help/advice really. ~ Heartbroken Wife”

This question about broke my heart. I remember fishing for hope, grasping on any little proof that I might be on the road to recovery, secretly afraid the misery might never end.

For Heartbroken, and so many other wives who have traveled this cruel path, here is my take on how I finally emerged from the crippling pain and began to enjoy my life again.

bird2

Dear Heartbroken Wife, 

In my mind’s eye, I see my life as a book, with various chapters and a whole crowd of people coming and going. I’m the central character in the story of my life. My husband of 20 something years was a major character, and his importance to my story was immense. So when he developed a drug addiction, cheated on me, made me feel old and no longer worth anything anymore, I found myself in an ocean of pain, being slammed against by every fear a wife could have. But love dies slowly, and I found myself torn about what my story would be without him. I wanted him in it, and somewhere in my mind, a tally had begun. The weight of the value of a marriage that I loved versus the weight of each terrible thing said or done, and the wounds that they left behind in my heart and soul. 

For a solid year I begged, cried, yelled, wrote texts, emails, letters, reasoned with him, provokedbroken windows him….I did everything in my power to save a marriage that I cherished.  The lies, disappointments, betrayals were stacking up, and the value of the marriage was diminishing. Not quickly, but steadily all the same.

At some point, though, I started to get used to my new life, and instead of feeling alone, broken heart birdsbetrayed, abandoned, discarded, feelings of pleasure started leaking in. My ex has always been fundamentally selfish, a major extrovert who needs an audience at all times. I’m exactly the opposite, and most of marriage I found myself the  unwilling audience for him while he watched movies that I hated (horror, bloody and disgusting) reality shows (Cops, Kennedy Documentaries) which I hated, and a whole bunch of other activities I felt I had no real choice in the matter. Not if I wanted some peace. 

Tcropped-broken-heart-pieces.jpghat was the area of my life where I started to notice that some of this new path wasn’t all bad. I liked having the whole bed to myself, or taking a bath without someone shouting unimportant questions through the door, oblivious to anyone’s needs and desires save his own. I liked cooking the kinds of stuff I like to eat, and my days off work were completely mine to do as I pleased. Mostly, though, I liked the quiet of my new life. I had not realized how thirsty I had been all this time for peace and quiet. Everything about our marriage just always felt so …loud. 

 As I found more enjoyment in things I chose for myself, the less I cared what he was doing, or saying, or sleeping with. The scales had finally tipped against the marriage, and before I knew it, there was no comparison between what I made me happy now and what made me happy when we were married.

I stopped answering every phone call or text. It no longer seemed so important that hesadness understand the agony he had caused for me. A knock on my apartment door, once the highlight of my miserable existence, now brought an opposite reaction. Instead of trying to force my shattered soul into some semblance of forgiveness, I found myself actually feeling it instead. Where anger and rage had ruled for a year of my life, indifference had taken up residence.

When my ex faded into the background of my life, that is when I knew I had achieved something I honestly felt I could never do — I closed the chapter of my life that told the story of my marriage. From the day I met him, how he became my greatest love, all the way to how is fell apart so tragically, and the grief that tore me to shreds. A story about how neither of us will ever be the same again because of each other. 

For me, the signs of closure were these:

  • When you no longer feel a powerful emotion about the person or event that hurt you so much – love, hate, bitterness, etc. The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference.
  • When you look back and upon the mental comparison, you find that you’d rather stay in the life you’re in now than to go back to the life that you once mourned. 
  • When you find yourself able to revisit the memories of the good times without the pain boomeranging into your stomach the very next minute. 
  • When you find yourself looking forward to the rest of your life, with a little more curiosity, a little more confidence, and a little more wisdom. 
  • When fear no longer paralyzes you, for you have learned the hard way, fears have more power hiding in our minds than when we are actually face to face with them. 
  • And lastly, when I realized one day that my opinion of myself was more valuable to me than his opinion of me, was. 

If I made it through, anyone can. I pray for peace and comfort for you, Heartbroken. It does eventually stop hurting so much. Just take things minute to minute, step to step. You’re stronger than you think you are. We all are. 

~ Bird

bird

Butterfly Wings

brokenNot long ago, I had a conversation with Chef about my inability to just accept his blanket apology for all of the crap he did when he was on drugs and move on with our lives together as man and wife. As he likes to point out to me, that is what Christians are supposed to do. Personally, I get irritated when people who either aren’t Christians, or brand new ones, lecture me on what I am doing wrong as a Christian. Needless to say, that’s about as far as these kinds of conversations ever get. We rarely speak anymore, and the little contact we have had lately is proof enough that we are just completely toxic to one another.

I’m not entirely sure why, but it would seem that human beings have a deep need to confront those who have hurt them so badly. When Chef struck the first blow, followed by the myriads of others he’d eventually bombard me with, I went almost crazy with the need to talk to him, reason with him; somehow show him how much what he was doing was hurting me. Surely, he couldn’t be doing all of this on purpose. He was supposed to love me, right?  I cried a million tears, wrote thousands of letters, filled up journals, and was almost consumed completely by thoughts of his betrayal. Not a minute would go by that I wasn’t thinking about what he’d done. Sometimes it would hurt me; other times, it made me angry. Somehow, I had this belief that if I said the right words, or did the right things, or had the right attitude, I’d be able to reach his heart again. And for months, everything I said or did was somehow related to this horrific experience.

As emotions started to calm down, and the newness of my life settled more into a routine, the logical part of me would search for what scenario I’d ever be able to accept that would make all of what had happened forgettable, understandable, or just plain excusable. I have no problems forgiving him. My problems lie in forgetting just how quickly and venomously he turned on me and the kids. How do I forget the callous, cold words spoken to me when my heart was breaking right in front of his eyes? How do I forget the other woman wearing my clothes and accepting my jewelry as gifts from my own husband; sleeping in my bedroom in my own bed? What magic words can be spoken that would make any of this understandable? Fixable? The answer is there is none. It was all too much.

When Chef was right at the Beginning of The End back in 2011, we could have worked through this mess. Drugs; Infidelity; Abuse… I could have dealt with any of these alone. Together, it was too much to process. Each step of this relationship’s death, there was less and less I could tell myself that would allow me to excuse what he was putting me through. It seemed an eternity before an hour went by, and I could forget about Chef and how happy I once was with him. Days, and now, even weeks go by, and I don’t think about any of it at all. Where I once lived for the occasional text message or phone call from him, now I have his calls blocked. I don’t want to rehash our break-up, and I sure don’t feel nostalgic about our lives together before all of this happened anymore. I have my own life now, with my own problems and solutions, and I don’t have the patience or desire to hear, or help, with his life at all. I can’t feel pity for him when he feels so much of it for himself. I can’t feel sympathetic to his problems when he was so cold and uncaring about mine. I have stopped excusing his bad behavior, and while I’m not his judge, I am also not his lawyer. He’s a grown, intelligent man who made decisions that cost him something valuable, and that’s his burden to carry now, not mine.

I have made progress from that first vodka-soaked night without him. The true evidence, for me, is that I no longer feel the need to address how all of this felt. At one time, it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to heal without him understanding what he’d done, and hopefully, what he’d lost. We all want to believe that somehow that Certain Someone is regretting ever letting us go, and will forever be a tiny bit sad that they had broken our hearts. I’m just not sure that Chef thinks like that at all. I’ve never seen him regret past loves, and I’m not so arrogant to believe I’m the exception. The healing in me is that I don’t really care anymore.

I tried explaining the need to confront to Chef, with whom, as to this very day, I have not been able to share  how all of this felt from my point of view. Whatever his reasons are, he won’t allow me to refer to what happened, and I can’t pretend it never happened. We never progress in conversations past this point.

You may think this is an odd post. I wrote my thoughts out for me, and to share with you. Bur mainly, I write this for Chef.

If you had really wanted the answers, you always knew where to find them. 

Chef:

It isn’t that I can’t forgive. I most certainly can, and have, forgiven you. What I won’t do, though, is let you pretend that your actions didn’t have painful, damaging consequences, not only for me, but for the kids, your girlfriend, your friends, and even our pets. I couldn’t pretend to be the person I was before this all happened, even if I wanted to, and I don’t see you in the same light anymore either.

Whatever made our relationship work for over two decades, it was like butterfly wings…. you snatch them from the sky, stomp on them repeatedly, and then set them on fire, you can’t be surprised when the butterfly divorces you. 

I don’t hope for bad things for you. I agree you don’t deserve to “pay” for all this forever, and I’m sincerely not trying to hurt you, or to punish you in any way. I’m just trying to kindly tell you that what we had is over forever. I’ve lost that loving feeling, and it’s gone, gone, gone. I hope you fall in love again, and I hope you have an even better relationship than we ever dreamed of having. I hope you get a great job, and find a nice home. I would actually feel more peaceful knowing you were healthy and happy again. I’m trying for those things again in my own life now, and it’s time to sever even this last little bit of bond we’ve held on to. I believe it is the only way either of us will ever be able to find happiness in other relationships. 

I’m proud of you for getting help, and fixing your life. I wish you all the success in your recovery…but it is your recovery, and it’s your life. The success or failure belongs completely to you. I want no part of it. I’m sorry. You know Who to turn to if you need help.

It was never me….

Bird