after the dust settles on a relationship and you’re left standing in the rubble, you inevitably reach for the ones that will pull you out. family, friends, your kids. but when you have time to really think about life moving forward, you wonder what will happen to the ones on the other side. the ones you called family because that’s what they became. the first time you met them, you put on your sunday best and desperately tried to impress. you got to know and love them quickly and then all of a sudden, they aren’t your family anymore? just because your relationship didn’t work out?
i suppose, ultimately there’s a divide. it’s not intentional or malicious, but it happens. you lose friends on facebook. you slowly accept that there are not only two sides to every story but there are two sides on either side of the line. people will quietly step back onto their half and that will be that. it feels hard, but it becomes manageable.
family is a whole different thing.
our marriage was already over when we arrived for a vacation with his relatives in newfoundland. my sister, brother-in-law and nieces came along and these 2 wonderful families laughed and adventured and spent quality time together. no one realized the pain that he & i were in. i would look out the window at everyone enjoying themselves and all i could think was: this will very likely be my last trip to this welcoming home in this beautiful little east coast town.
saying goodbye that time was excruciating. my heart was full of sadness. i didn’t know if i’d ever see his family again.
once we’d split, the phone calls became more about the girls. i desperately wanted his family to get on board with me and tell me that they agreed with, and understood my anger. that their son/brother/nephew was wrong and i was right. i felt hurt because they weren’t mad at him like i wanted them to be. i needed them to gossip and commiserate and make me feel vindicated. which of course, is ridiculous, but hurt and pain do crazy things to you.
as i slowly started to forgive my ex, and my heart began to lighten, i knew i didn’t want to spend so much time being mad. when i would listen to others speak badly about him, it would feel exhausting and not worth it. then i realized… that’s how i sounded. that’s how i was behaving. and the love i had with his family was separate from the love i had for him. once i saw that those two things had nothing to do with one another, i could start to let go.
now we facetime and call and text with nonsense. we laugh and cry and share our stories. it’s easy and familiar and like no time has ever passed. we get on planes and spend time with one another.
i’m one of the lucky ones. i do not take that for granted.
you can spend endless amounts of time over-analyzing any situation; what went wrong, who was to blame, what side of the line someone should have stood on… or you can choose to let it go, step into your own life and live right smack in the love.
i got some amazing things from my marriage and his family was one of the best.