This is the fifth Monday in June, and the final installment in our crossover series with The Naked Redhead about our respective divorces. If you’re new on the scene, or just don’t remember the rest of the Mondays this month, here’s a quick recap:
- Divorce, Part One: The Story – How I Came to be Married in the First Place
- Divorce, Part 2: Marriage Misconceptions
- Divorce, Part III: How Divorce Feels
- Divorce, Part D: How to Navigate the Post-Divorce Afterlife
From those links, you can also jump to TNR’s page and read her posts on the same topics. For this week’s installment at TNR, click here. This week, the topic is:
What I’ve Learned About Love from Divorce
For me, I learned that love dies hard. My divorce isn’t about the formal end to a state-sanctioned official relationship; it’s about learning to live without love in my life. Oh sure, I still have the love of my family and friends, and that’s invaluable to me, but this is different. I still bear the scars.
I’m surprised I’m not a misogynist. Others have said pretty much the same thing to me over the years.
I don’t know exactly what I learned about love itself – except that everything is awesome when it’s there, and everything sucks when it goes away. Life doesn’t suck for me today, but it took me a while to get to a place where I can say that (and mean it). Being in love was one of the most phenomenal things ever to happen to me.
I suppose I’m a bit more skeptical about love than I used to be. I’m not currently in love, nor have I been since meeting and marrying M. Will it happen again? I don’t know – but I sure hope so.
When I was a kid, I thought that it was only possible for people to fall in love once. I never said the words “I love you” to a woman before M, and we had been together for a while before I did. As I’ve grown up a bit since my divorce, I’ve met lots of people who have been in love more than once. I know several couples in which both parties are on their second marriage – and they say they’re happier now than in their first marriage. (And their current marriages have lasted longer than their respective firsts.)
I guess my conception of love is a bit more pragmatic right now than the fairy-tale version it was back then. I still want to believe that I’ll fall in love again, and that I’ll be able to fall back into those fairy-tale feelings.
Mostly, my divorce taught me about relationships. I know they take work. And I know now that I have a breaking point – that I have “deal-breakers”, and that I need to pay attention to them, instead of just hoping that they go away. I learned that I need to be clear about those deal-breakers in the future. “No naked pictures on the internet,” lol.
From and since my divorce, I learned about how Ted acts in relationships. I was and (I think/hope) will always be what the poets call “a hopeless romantic”. I’m still a believer in chivalry; I’m still a gentleman. I’m also quick to end a relationship if it gets stagnant or isn’t progressing. I don’t stay in a relationship simply because it’s convenient. I don’t think it’s right or fair for either of us.
I know I can’t fall in love all by myself – I need a partner to return that love in equal measure for me to truly be (and feel) “in love”. Otherwise, it’s just infatuation. Since my divorce, I’ve been infatuated a couple of times, and that sure felt nice, but it wasn’t love.
It’s a tough thing for me to talk about future relationships. I believe that pretty much anything is possible and that relationships are fluid, living things. “I do” doesn’t guarantee “happily ever after”.