Inexperience and youth makes liars out of all of us. I don’t know cannot recall a break up in their past that found them saying, “No, I’m great! I couldn’t be better since the break up.” Really?
I have had all sorts of break ups. I’ve had the ones I was relived to walk away from and even knowing that it was the right thing for me at time I was still hurting. Sometimes badly. I’ve had the break ups where I was curled and jagged like the edges of a yellowed old forgotten photograph but the core of who I was remained intact but mired in sadness never the less. I’ve had the break up where I was almost obliterated—every known piece of me a shattered shard of glass spattered across the floor. A repair job seemingly too expansive even for the miracle of super glue. I’ve even been blessed to have a break up that was so gentle we touched each other, held each other through the sadness that was equally shared because the bonds of that relationship couldn’t be broken even in the break up itself.
Somewhere in the rugged terrain of my break ups, I got tired of lying. Scratching my way back from a particularly difficult break up (left for a younger woman) I ran into an ex and asked how she was? She told me how wonderful life was for her. I couldn’t lie and didn’t have the energy for it. I told her I was happy that things were great for her. I, however, was hurting, missed her in regular and odd moments, and had found untangling all my feelings to be difficult because we’d shared a life for so long. I said it without blame or any chastisement. It was in that moment that she reached forward and told me her truth. We had the most honest conversation we’d had in a long time.
What is it that makes us believe that we’re not best served by telling the truth that times are a bit shaky, difficult or merely okay? How is it that we believe we will somehow be hurt less by not telling our truth? Generally if am ex denies that they are hurting it merely creates more hurt. We wonder how loved or cared for we honestly were because they seem to be fine and moving along easily. Don’t we exact the same hurt when we add fuel to the fire by denying what we really feel to others also?
I’ve always thought that grief and hurt after a relationship is actually part of the relationship. Feelings are not switched on and off like a light. We are still in the relationship until we’re not actively bleeding. I believe that hurt is proportional to the depth of love. By hurting we’re honoring the privilege of the connection and very real feelings we experienced. I believe in the privilege of loving. It’s not something that I want to erase or detract from once I’m no longer loving someone in the same way I once did.
Don’t we all know the truth? Everyone is hurt when a break up happens. Everyone loses and yes, everyone gains. It may take time to see it but we do gain new insights, hold new possibilities for the joy we will bring into our lives next. That’s where I want to live and be—I don’t want to compound my hurt with bitterness, venom, and angry words. I want to feel my sadness deeply, honor the person I hope I loved well and move into my next phrase of joy with my integrity intact. How about you?