The name of the blog
"It was never just an affair" needs to be in quotations, because it was something my ex-husband said to me early on in the break-up. I guess he thought it might make me feel better to know it wasn't just a fling per say, it was real love? It didn't make me feel better. Him ending the affair and being willing to work on the marriage would have made me feel better.
Sunday, 12 January 2014
The Blessings of The Break-Up
My girlfriend D called me earlier this week at about 10 am and got me during the hour long process of dozing, contemplating my life, and trying to get my depressed ass out of bed. I rarely answer the phone during this time, but fate intervened and I groggily croaked out a hello. D told me to get out of bed and PVR Steve Harvey's show. All I could think at that moment was that Steve Harvey is a comedian, which is what I said. D said he had a talk show and they were going to be discussing the blessings of a break up. I told her I would get up, and I did. I got the TV recording and went to make coffee. A short time later I sat down and watched the show, and was I ever shocked to gain some useful insight from a talk show, a genre I am not generally a fan of. Who would have thought that on Steve Harvey's talk show I would hear the right message at the right time spoken in a way I could understand? Not I. I gained several good insights actually, from the host, the three women that were the guests, and psychotherapist Stacey Kaiser who was co-hosting the segment. First point, you cannot hang on and hope to move on at the same time; it doesn't work. Steve said this to the one woman who had not changed her phone number after a devastating break up where she found out her fiancee, two weeks before their wedding, he had never actually gotten a divorce or even separated from his wife. Second point, the psychotherapist said you need to move through the five stages of grief, and towards acceptance. And part of this process is to stop seeing yourself as a broken hearted woman and see yourself in a new light. I loved that message! The first step in such a process is changing yourself on the outside as a new look can trigger a boost in your self-esteem. The next parts of the moving on process are the mental and emotional journeys you need to undergo.The psychotherapist noted that women heal best when they bond with other women, to which I say Amen loud and clear. The psychotherapist wanted these three women to continue to support each other by checking in weekly and helping each other heal their heartbreak. Another great point from Mr. Harvey was, you haven't lost a great guy or your soulmate; your great moments and great memories were with a "complete butthole" who is now gone from your life, giving you your life back. Your soulmate wouldn't do these sorts of things to you, so the blessing of the break-up is that you are now free to go and find your soulmate, or receive the man you deserve. "You didn't lose a good man, he lost a good woman" says Steve Harvey.
I texted D right after I watched the show and thanked her for waking me up and telling me about the show. I then told her what I thought were the blessings of my break-up as they instantaneously popped into my head: I was no longer being lied to, I was no longer being cheated on, I had rekindled my friendship with her, I had booked a trip to Bali, and I was becoming more financially independent and responsible. Her response was something along the lines of, it is amazing to turn something negative into something positive and that I was clearly finding the blessings of my break-up.
I have thought on this topic a lot over the last four or five days and guess what corresponds to this thought process and searching out some positives? According to my gratitude journal I have only cried on one day since January 4th. That is an epic win for me as previously I was happy or felt relief to get two days in a row with no crying. I still had sad moments on some of those days, but not too many tears have been shed lately. I see this as a huge step forward in the grieving process. I don't know if all the hard work trying to rewire my thought process is finally taking hold, or if the time that everyone said needed to pass has finally come to pass, or if it is because some low grade anger has finally come to roost? Perhaps it is a combination of all the various forces at play that has stemmed the flow of tears. What I do know is I feel better about living a life without my ex-husband than I have at any other time during the last seven months.
There are positives to be found among the wreckage of a broken heart and home if you look really hard. As I noted above, I am no longer living a lie and having a three way relationship that I wasn't aware of. And that offshoots to me feeling blessed that I am not being exposed anymore to sexually transmitted diseases. I am no longer blindly sharing a bed and a life with someone who cared so little for my health or respected my feelings so little. I have the blessing of independence. Which is not to suggest my ex-husband was in any way controlling of my time, he was not. I was very independent within the context of a relationship. Now I don't have even those minimal restraints or considerations that are the by-product of a partnership. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, with whomever I want, without checking in with anyone. Which has led me to Bali. I never would have been looking for such a momentous trip if not for the break-up, so that is a blessing. He and I had our vacation/travel plans, and Bali never made the list. I might never have sought out such a country, or planned such a lengthy trip without the heartbreak and the search for solace. Also, the flight only cost me a whopping $47 return thanks to the Aeroplan points he and I had been saving for our Europe travels that now had to be divided. So another blessing to be found in the break-up is the division of assets. One of the reasons I have chosen Bali as my restoration site is the country is primarily Buddhist and Hindu, so features mediation, vegetarianism, yoga, and generally all the spiritual practises that I embrace. While I was certainly heading down the path of seeking spirituality in my life prior to the break-up, another blessing in the break-up was the forced fast-tracking of searching for meaning in the universe, acceptance of the horrible thing that has happened to me, loving and forgiving within the context of betrayal, and coping with the depression and anxiety that I had just gotten under control only a few months prior to the break-up, which blew the lid off my mental health again.
Other blessings include the very conscious act of reaching out, being vulnerable to others, and creating my network of supportive loving women. I made some missteps along the way with some of the women I chose, but was blessed that those fickle friends bowed out quickly rather than hang around for a long time. My ex-husbands absence has forced me to exercise my friendship muscles; I had absolutely let a large number of friendships slide by the wayside. Thankfully, with a little investment on my part I was able to regain entry into my friends lives. And I have made two new friends during the last few months that I treasure; women that don't even know my ex and he doesn't know them. My Dad, even though his reasons and thought processes are a little antiquated and antifeminist for me, has been reaching out and checking on me which is a first. We had no relationship at all, and were essentially estranged from each other until my break-up. The rusty and fragile connection we are forging is a blessing as my father is aging, and I am at a time and a place in my life where I need to learn more about the family history. It is important to me to establish some familial roots before my Dad passes so that I, and my son by extension, can feel more grounded in this world. And then there are the many blessings of the many lessons I have learnt in the blogs, books, TED talks etc that I have devoured lately in my quest for acceptance.
And of course, there is the blessing of this blog and my writing. A long time ago, I wrote regularly, and for pleasure. I wrote poems, short stories, tv show plots, and essays on life. Or more accurately, I might say I wrote because I needed to, there were thoughts in my head that needed to escape. All through my childhood, teenage years, and throughout my twenties I wrote. And I let that part of me slowly go dormant over the course of the marriage. My ex-husband, bless his good traits, was not an artistically soulful individual. I think that best captures him at that time. For all I know, he is a painter or a poet now. Although he never dissuaded me from writing, I can't say he actively encouraged me to write, and I let writing go. I didn't feel the need to write, or I didn't feel like I had anything to say. My muse left me when my ex-husband and I were together. And I may not have come back to expressing myself this way if not for the break-up. In fact, I am sure I would not have found my way home. Not only is that a massive blessing unto itself, but writing will be my next career. I believe that this break-up was incredibly necessary as I was way off my life's path with no intended thought of getting back onto the correct path, which is what the break-up has helped me do. I can also hope that once in awhile I will have the privilege of writing something that helps someone else through a rough time, and that is another blessing that I know is possibly there, whether I am aware it has happened or not.
There will be more blessings to come. The blessing of a new relationship and the different experiences and knowledge I will be exposed to by that person and his friends and family. The blessing of freedom to choose where I live, where I travel, and how the rest of my life will unfold is no longer contingent on being agreeable to my ex-husbands plans; I am free to be me in whatever that entails.
In the meantime though, I would be amiss if I did not acknowledge the blessing my ex-husband continues to bestow on me during this awful transition; he takes very good care of me financially, and has kept his word on that matter. This may be the greatest blessing of all since the disclosure as it has allowed me the time to focus on myself and my recovery without being forced back to work under financial duress. Thank you M, I wish you love and light during your journey.
What positives can you find about the end of your relationship if you are missing someone and in the middle of the grieving process? I believe you will find some blessings, maybe not today, but in time. I wish you love and light during your journey.
My note to you - “Where there is love there is life” — Mahatma Gandhi. The expression, I wish you love and light, is used within spiritual contexts. When I googled the expression to research its origins, I found a great blog article that articulates the thought behind it nicely, touching on science, Deepak Chopra, and that is where I found the above quote from Mahatma Gandhi. You can read that blog article at: http://cherieroedirksen.com/2012/11/29/love-and-light-what-does-it-mean/. And then I found another beautifully written blog on the very topic of letting go after heartbreak. B, this is for you and I: http://hannahbrencher.com/tag/wish-them-light-and-love/. Here you can read the "conversation" that occurs in the movie Eat, Pray, Love that nicely illustrates the use of the phrase "love and light".