Updated: Aug 23, 2020
I just got off the phone with my ex-husband.
Even writing that feels "off".
I actually never thought I would have a husband, let alone an "ex".
Quick history: Got pregnant after one too many margaritas at Big Daddy's on Elgin Street. Gave him the option to stay or go, he stayed. We loved each other and tried hard to make a go of it all. Sometimes really well, but then pretty much gave up. But - married for close to 23 years. Many laughs, and 2 AMAZING children! No regrets (he says that, too). As he put it:"We ended up being watered down versions of ourselves". Agreed. As of today, we have been separated for just over one year, officially divorced for over 6 months. He has been less than communicative, I have remained optimistic that we will be friends on some mutually agreed upon level. I have been struggling......
I needed to hear him tell me that we will never hang out again, ever.
I needed to hear that because it has been radio silence from him for over a year, apart from the odd clinical feel text about our children or money.
That lack of contact, after close to 25 years, sat so uncomfortably with me. I really thought that we would remain close. Friends. After being through so much together and making so many memories (good and bad); I thought we wouldn't sever the ties in such an abrupt way.
I totally got that there would be a need for dealing with our new reality alone, adjusting to it all. But, I saw us mending and moving forward a bit more "together" than we have been. Both of us open to a new connection/friendship.
Is it a male versus female way of dealing?
Is it me and my rose-coloured glasses? Is it his uncanny ability to just cut it out and move on?
Whatever the case, I needed to hear whether he had anything left for me.
Because I do for him. I just can't believe a 25 year old friendship can be tossed once the word "married" is gone. Still shaking my head about it.
Nope. He made it perfectly clear: He has nothing left.
That part of me that still wanted to have contact.....I had to respect it by making that uncomfortable phone call.
I cried more than I expected once I hung up the phone.
So, I need to let that part of me feel the loss, the hurt, the disappointment......maybe even a touch of humiliation or embarrassment...not sure yet: still processing!
Here is the lesson you guys: BE THERE FOR YOUR HURT.
In an ironic, "What the hell, Universe!" way, it makes the experience, whatever it is, less horrible.
You are experiencing the pain, and you have to, but - most importantly - you are there to help the pain express, flow through, and heal.
When you recognize that you, above anything and everything else, are a compassionate and loving space: BOOM, you can be there for YOU.
It's like you are putting your arm around that part of you that hurts and just letting it bawl its eyes out, sob uncontrollably, collapse, grow weary, and eventually release it all.
(Can you kinda feel that even just reading it?)
Then you metaphorically (or not.....go ahead and put the kettle on) make it a nice, soothing cup of tea and sit with it some more. Share a caring smile, let it speak....or sit in silence.
In my case, this also allowed me to feel fucking pissed off at him for not wanting me to be a part of his life at all. For dismissing and disrespectfully discarding (so I felt) all that we meant to each other. That it was all such bullshit.
And then: angry at myself for being so foolish, so annoyingly optimistic. And then angry at those thoughts because hey, I WANT TO BE ANNOYINGLY OPTIMISTIC!
I don't want to lose that part of myself. I don't want to be jaded and mistrusting and bitter.
The compassionate part of me let the hurt part of me blurt it all out. And - get this - the compassionate part of me is able to let him be him. I get it.
I no longer hold anger towards him and the situation (rightly or wrongly held earlier), no resentment, no "FUCK YOU THEN".
Which definitely was my go to after the tears from that phone call.
The compassionate part of me let the anger directed at me flow through, too.
And the process plopped me right back down into my optimistic self again, rocking out my rose-coloured glasses and everything.
I am able to see the lesson. I am able to see that we are two good humans working on the being human thing.
I am able to see that, as long as I let all the "bad" shit in and do its "bad" shit thing (yell, cry, collapse, retreat) and TRUST that I will be there to hold it and allow its full expression, then I will get through and grow.
How long this process of being there for the hurt and then releasing is unique to you. This is important to know because you mustn't compare or question, but keep trusting the process.
Your hurt is yours, mine is mine, theirs is theirs.
Different experiences affect different people in different ways.
Always remember to TRUST in your ability to be there for the pain. You would be/have been there for others, so you know you can do it. My guess is you do it/did it really well.
Finally, don't fall into the trap of: "I WOULD NEVER BE THAT WAY/DO THAT THING/THINK THAT WAY!!"
Ultimately, that is you saying your way is right and their way is wrong. You are entering into the shitstorm of judgement. Stop it right there! Your way is your way, their way is their way. No right. No wrong. We are all who we are with our own history and conditioning. Let that shit go immediately! Catch yourself and say"Nope, not going there".
So there it is. Pretty personal stuff that I hope will help in some capacity :)