So many people have written or called to see how I’m doing, and to offer their love and support. That means a lot to me.
This post is about how I'm dealing with D these days, since we do live under the same roof for now and still have to untangle a few things like who owns what, etc.
I'm really writing this more as a journal piece for myself, but writing with the intension of publishing it gives me the chance to have people offer their own perspective to what I have to say. And I welcome the input.
So, how am I dealing with D?
The first thing I can say is that this dissolution is remarkably different than any I've lived through before, and that has everything to do with what choices I'm making, and almost nothing to do with what choices she has made.
Let me quote from an email I sent a friend yesterday who was offering their support and checking in with me. I wrote:
I'm already on the road to recovery. I won't be a victim. I won't wallow in self pity and I won't make a friend with revenge. I don't know how many years I've got left but I don't want to waste any of them feeling sorry for myself.
I've already started a healing journey, and even included D in part of it.
As Robert Frost, said, “All I know about life can be said in three words: it goes on.”
I guess you can’t have joy without sorrow, pain without pleasure, or life without death. It is what it is.
I can't deny nor diminish the pain and hurt that I feel. But I CAN choose how I want to respond. Choosing to dive into a pit of self-pity and flailing about asking "Why me?" is just not going to help.
I might feel better temporarily by exploding in rage, or flogging her mercilessly until she crumbles into a sobbing pool of tears, or figuring how clever ways to sabotage her as she moves on, but what's the point?
I'm not as angry as some would quickly say I have "a right" to be, I'm actually feeling more sorrow for her and the choices she's made, and for the journey she must now make to do the work, learn from her behavior, and create a new life for herself.
She's damaged a lot of people - she hasn't destroyed lives, but she's tossed a grenade into innocent lives and that's going to take a lot of therapy and self-examination and personal forgiveness for her to move on – at least in my opinion.
And I don't want to invest in anger at the expense of making good healing choices for me instead. It's tempting to get righteous, but it's simply not worth it.
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And I'm not going to give consent!”
So, after the dust settled when the first conversation took place on last Wednesday evening, I did a lot of reflecting, I gave myself some interior space to sort this all out, and by Saturday, I was ready to talk to D again, from a completely different perspective - that of one who knows the truth (or enough of the truth, at least).
And so we did. We talked and talked and talked. We cleared a lot of air. We 'fessed up to much smaller issues we'd both been keeping secret or holding back or otherwise avoiding because we were afraid of upsetting an applecart or hurting the other's feelings or perhaps just admitting to ourselves.
I'm going to grieve the loss of my loving relationship with D for quite a while, I suppose. It is gone and probably will never return. That being said, we reached a place where we both feel we might actually remain in one another's lives in a much different - and much more honest - way.
Please know that I haven't lost my senses. I'm not crazy. I have my heart very carefully protected and that's going to stay that way with her for a long time. I fully recognize that it's one thing to say you're sorry and it's another to demonstrate you've made real, fundamental change and grown from your mistakes.
And I'm not being tolerant or understanding or even forgiving because I'm holding on to a secret hope that we can work all this out and go back to the way we were. I know the relationship we once had is over. Dead, and soon to be buried.
But can I forgive her? And does that matter?
I can, and I will, and I've started to do just that. I'm not doing that for her sake, I'm doing that for mine. Holding on to what most would certainly called justifiable angst and judgment and anger and all of that isn't going to serve me. I'm not exploring forgiveness to make her journey easier; I'm doing to heal myself.
Beyond that, I believe my forgiveness of her doesn't really matter, at the end of the day, in terms of her own healing journey. I suppose it might be easier for her to know that I'm not going to play the victim card, and that I'm not going to do things to sabotage her life.
But that still doesn't take her off her own hook when she looks in the mirror. She knows what she's done; she's taken responsibility, and those are the first steps. Maybe even the easiest steps. Now she has to do the work.
And, to be honest, I have to do my work as well. I have to face my own issues, such as the tendency to look the other way when things aren't working, rather than putting them on the table. The issue of always wondering, "Am I good enough, smart enough, patient enough, attractive enough?" The issue of becoming so comfortable in my own skin that I can be alone and be okay.
So here's the way it is. D and I are certainly on "speaking" terms. We're going about the important (and required) business of finding separate places to live, and sorting out our mixed collections of everything from kitchen gadgets to furniture. We're working it out. We're not walking on eggshells.
The one thing that I think is recoverable from this earthquake, the one thing that might be salvaged, is the friendship I have always treasured with D. Not the romantic, loving, exclusive and intimate relationship, but the friend I could engage in conversations about politics, or world peace, or great movies.
As I dash from the pile of rubble grabbing my emotional possessions, trying to sort out what to take, and what to toss, that's what I hope to keep.
So that's how I'm dealing with D. Just in case you wondered.
When you hit the perfect storm, there's always a proverbial silver lining: reinvention. Let go, move through the confusion, embrace the ambiguity, focus on attracting what you want, let go of the outcome, and trust the process. Or, pour yourself a double Scotch.
It's five o'clock somewhere, isn't it???