Love, Loved, Light

It seems all around me long-term relationships, marriages and families are, or have, or continue to blow up.  From posts in the blogging world to my friends and acquaintances and even in my own personal experience, there seems to be so much crap and residual crap floating around.  It has all definitely changed my traditional views on marriage, family and relationship longevity over the years.

For context, my parents are still together after 50+ years of marriage.  I have four siblings and out of the five of us, four have gotten married and three divorced.  I’m one of the divorced sets and have two kids.  Same with one of my sisters.

I’m sure I was in love with my husband as much as anyone can be sure of what love actually is.  I’m quite certain that he was in love with me, too.  At some point he stopped loving me and at some point, after he made that abundantly clear, I eventually stopped loving him.  All the emotions that follow the shock and trauma of being suddenly and sloppily un-loved surfaced, and still the residual crap tends to haunt me from time to time.

I think that one of the inherent problems with falling out of love is not the fact of itself that it happens, it’s that people rarely fall out of love simultaneously.  Way more often than not it seems to happen that one partner has checked out, possibly moved on, and the other flounders in the crushing tidal waves of emotion, agitated further by the abrupt removal of the object of this huge emotion known as intimate love.  And so, love abandoned seems to turn in on itself, mocking the body and soul in which it is housed, ensuring a slow and painful death until it is willingly cast away, because to hold it becomes more painful than letting go.  Trusting love again becomes an uphill battle.

I can’t help but wonder how much more humane parting of ways would be if we could, as couples, synchronize our love/un-love watches.  Although rare, I have seen couples meet these time frames at roughly the same points together.  The result is intriguing, encouraging even, resembling a friendly pat on the back with genuine respect intact.  Where children are involved, they are transitioned into a new dynamic, but not one fraught with fear, distrust and bitterness.  They do not become the default benefactors of emotions so huge that they are inevitably unleashed, and violently clash between those couples who find themselves at such extremes of the love – un-love spectrum.

I want my daughters to experience love, companionship, long-term relationships and family.  What I don’t want is for them to have to experience guilt, low self-esteem, fear of loving again or any other number of negative outcomes the one-sided end of an intense intimate loving relationship can bring.  I also don’t want them to be careless with a partner if it is one of my daughters who has fallen out of love and ends the relationship.  I want to prepare them so that they don’t avoid love or commitment (because these are wonderful things) but for the reality that things can change and that they know how to act and respond in a way that doesn’t end with either partner being permanently wounded.

I suppose my pondering leads to the fantastical question: Is it possible and desirable that couples when engaging in loving relationships, acknowledge that one day love may dwindle for one, and promise each other that each will call on the foundation of their original love to see each other compassionately through to the other side of un-love?

This musing is brought to you by the grey, dark, cold month of February.


181 thoughts on “Love, Loved, Light

  1. Great post. I appreciate the openness and honesty. My experience has been that love is hard work. Love is a decision rather than a feeling. If we choose to love someone, we can. I kind of think the problem is not marriage itself, but rather the Western understanding of love as romance. Romance is a beautiful thing, but love is a decision to serve and lay down one’s life for another whether romantic feelings are present or not. I think there is little more beautiful than this definition of love. And it is this type of love that gives birth to true feelings of love. Thanks again for your honesty.

  2. Really good post 🙂 I thought I had been in love once but upon reflection, I now realise that I was so desperate to find it that I wasn’t thinking. In the end, I found that I had lost myself because I wasn’t being true to him or to me. Thankfully, we parted on good terms (I don’t like to hold grudges) and I learned a great lesson in life. Thanks for writing this post, it was a great read 🙂

  3. This was beautifully written, thank you for sharing that with us. Though I have said it to boyfriends in the past, I have never been in love. But your title ‘Love, Loved, Light’ shows that there was in fact light at the end of your tunnel, and I think that you have been enlightened with a wisdom that not too many people can say they possess. Someone like me, just running around in the dark with no love found is no picnic either, I would have loved if my mother ever expressed to me her feelings about her and my father’s divorce when I was 7. I feel like it could give me clarity.

    Stay Strong.

    • Hi Itcarr,
      Thank you for your comments. Divorce and kids is a tough one. I have a friend who was screwed up for a long time because her mom over-shared about her parents’ divorce. But that’s when she was a kid. When my kids are adults, I do hope to have good conversations with them, not necessarily about the sordid details, but more about the loss of the marriage and how things might have gone better afterward.

  4. Beautiful post, i wish i could be so honest and open 🙂 i get wrapped up the idea of control in the situation and completely detach from feelings, not sure if that’s the best approach! Wishing lots of love for you and your family x

    • Thanks, Clarissa. I’m not sure there’s a best approach, but I think I’ve decided that the fairy tale is definitely not in the running. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Very well thought out and written piece there, I find myself in love, helplessly and totally purely with somebody who I hope will be the love of my life but that is not entirely up to me. The potential is there, only time will tell if it can be whatever it is mean’t to be 🙂

  6. This is so true, how we fall in love together and out individually. It’s very sad and yet I’ve been very lucky in the falling or moreso growing out of love process that I have been able to continue to hold my ex’s hand as we adapt to our new existence.

  7. I don’t know if there’s anything worse than being the one left hanging and in this confused, hurt, in love state.With death, which is also hard, there is an understanding there that is so hard to obtain when someone stops loving you. You realize, over time, where things went wrong, how things didn’t fit together, or what you really needed, but couldn’t get from each other; but in the moment, it rips your heart out & alllll that is confusion ensues. Its amazing of you that you’re able to look through the eyes of your children and not only want to protect them, but help them learn from your experience. Great post.

    • Mariette,
      Despite the trauma of the separation, if I can help my girls avoid giving or receiving deep pain then it will have been worth something. Thanks for reading.

  8. What a great post. No Answers, Im going through a divorce myself and everything I KNEW for sure… well… I dont know anymore. Im happy, though. I didnt think I could be, but I am. Anyway, thank you for continuing dialogue.

  9. I like what you have written. One way or another, everyone of us has experienced how to love and lost it. I’m a single mother of a beautiful girl and like you I want her to know that although one may fail in love one time it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to give up on it.

    • Hello, Ms. Agreed that it’s not a great thing to give up on love. One might argue it hurts less, but then you miss out on the really, really good stuff.

  10. Great post. As a newlywed (we married in 2010), I often find myself questioning what happens next. The honeymoon ended pretty fast, and we all settle into this routine of life. In these three years one thing I know for sure is that being in love doesn’t just stop with the words. It is a daily task that I feel has to be completed to make sure the partner feels what you feel, and knows that you are choosing to spend these days together. It’s so much work. It’s not the commitment that is work, it’s the maintenance of the relationship. You get so comfortable and complacent that kisses are second nature and the spark subsides. Sex is suddenly the chore that there is no time for after you get the baby to bed, when before it was a passionate expression of how you feel for your partner after a good night’s sleep, a fun afternoon, or a long day at work. I’m very much in love, it makes me strong, weak, brave, and fearless all at the same time. Sheesh. Sorry, got a little long winded. Either way. Five Stars. We have all felt it before, and if it tragically floats away, we will break our backs to feel it again.

  11. Interesting article. I understand where you are coming from. Movies and songs protray love and relationship as one easy equation but truely it is not. Mostly I blame the media for this, they plant this perfect image of love with singing birds and ball gowns- Disney is not really helping the children either. I know of a eight year old who has the idea that her prince charming is going to come after her and a glass slippers a blazing- happily ever after bibbly bobbly boo. We need to get the fact that love is no fairytale, although it’s the best in the world, it also has it’s downfall. Like I said interesting article. Pls check out my blog, if you like wat I write, pls don’t best hesitate to follow.

  12. Great post. Your “fantastical” question deserves some thought. I’m not certain that entering into a loving relationship with the promise of carefully planning for a possible fallout is wise. It’s almost like planning or preparing for failure. I’ve loved and I’ve been loved, sometimes at the same time. I’m also a card carrying member of Divorce Anonymous. Relationships are indeed hard work if you both are planning for them to last. I think what is neeed most in our society is for people in a relationship to spend a lot of time in the early stages planning the relationship. I heard a minister say that most couples spend far more time planning their wedding than planning the marriage. I’m guilty of that. Didn’t mean to get so long winded! Good writing!

    • Hello 56,
      I don’t know if acknowledging the reality that things can change is preparing for failure. I would argue that naively banking on the fairy tale would be more aligned with preparing for failure!
      Thanks for reading and your comments.

  13. wow!! it was really nice.. now a days we are so desperate to find love that we forget that even fairytales have their happy ending in the end.. really good post 🙂

  14. Really good said. I remember a dear friend praying each day to be with the guy she liked. They eventually dated, got married and now she no longer loves him, but doesn;t divorce either, because 10 years of marriage can do many things to one’s identity…
    Not to mention divorcing after 10 years of marrige, another friend of mine;s case. Love is blind, love is selfish and love can do more damage than you can possibly think…

  15. Pingback: Love. | House of colors

  16. Not only a fantastic post but served as the final push of insipiration I needed. Thank you for the honesty and words. I have mentioned and linked your post/blog to my latest post, wished to share it with you.

    And it is all about holding up to the last little flame of belief, that is very difficult to see sometimes.

    my warmest regards, maribetz

  17. Wonderful post! I’m 25 and my parents are still together too and i can say that they are still inlove with one another, had their fights but their connection is still very strong. And here i am still trying to look for my one true love. It was painful and I’ve been bitter about it. But, then i have to let go of that feeling, if i wanna move on. I know i will be better now… Your post is inspiring.

  18. a very thought provoking post, you are so true about the pain involved when a relationship breaks specially the kids ; i am my self married for last 28 years, in our community girls are married very early it becomes very difficult to understand the new and unfriendly setup yet after undergoing a prolonged struggle some period i can say all the effort was worth it today the story is different .

  19. Great insight. I see many of my lady friends going through this now or in the last few years. I guess it’s the age we are at. I have helped some out of the rut and others we are still working at it.
    Having only done one really long term relationship but never been married I can see how to fall in the blurry trenches of what a relationship has become to where it first started to go bad. A few of them have found enough to make them forget the past a bit. Happiness in any form is better than a day to day regret.

  20. A very sincere post.
    There is something that always escapes my understanding. Why is it that one day love for a person would stop? Is it because one partner has found someone he/she considers better? Then how reliable is the partner in the first place. I am actually a little worried with the way we are accepting that love between partners is destined to end beginning with one and then forced onto the other.

    • Hello Misfit,
      I like to think that the majority of people enter relationships in good faith and planning for the best. However, time never stands still and people and situations change. This doesn’t always mean things must end. People adjust. However, sometimes the end comes whether one person likes it or not. That is what we need to acknowledge in order to decide how we move forward in a healthy, least damaged way.
      Thanks for reading.

      • Thank you, Denmother.
        Thanks for the patient reply.
        I agree with what you’ve said. I am just a little saddened with the number of relationships failing because of the inevitable end…

  21. The way you’ve woven this piece is great. In a very simple way you’ve raised a very heavy and thoughtful question. I’m actually questioning myself after reading this. Lovely post..!! Keep up the good work 🙂

  22. Reblogged this on The Diary and commented:
    Wow. This post was open and honest. It was also a well needed read for me. I need to see the ugly side of relationships sometimes just to show myself that maybe it is a blessing that I’m not in one right now. I guess it’s like a mother who–just after giving birth–decides she doesn’t want to have any more children just to recant her statement a couple of years later once the memory of the pain is gone. With everything in life, there is good that comes with the bad. I suppose it is up to us to decide if it is worth it to endure the bad in the hopes of achieving the good as well.

  23. I really “enjoyed” reading your post. I put that word in quotation marks because what I really mean is that it was just a good read. Good reads don’t have to be “enjoyable” to make them worthy. A lot of what you said rings true, in my mind. I know how hard it is to be a single mom, I’ve been there. I wouldn’t want to go back to that place, but I will tell you that my one son to whom I was a single mom for seven years holds a very special place in my heart. The relationship you form with your kids when you are single is very special. Take good care of yourself.

  24. Hi Denmother,

    Thanks for the post. It really resonants with a friend situation that I’m going through. I’m a college student, and it seems that people only “befriend” each other to make future career connections. Reading your advice for your daughter makes me feel that there are true friends for me.

    Best wishes,

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