Predominantly, our society values long term relationships sanctioned by marriage. We take our vows to love and cherish our partner “till death do us part” because we believe our love will last forever. The concept in its core is healthy and guarantees a lovely level of security for either of the partners so that they can grow together to love each other even more and nurture one another. Their security needs are met and this allows them to create a loving environment to have offspring and accumulate wealth, love and all things we care for as humans. It is based on the premise that the couple will give its best, work on relationship and will respect, cherish and love one another.
The sad truth is that sometimes this doesn’t happen in real life and marriages do break apart. Generally, men are being viewed as guilty since they are the ones who look for a new romance outside their existing relationship more often than women. For some of them it is a thrilling and never-ending game of seduction and proving their own male worth, which leads them to cheating on their wives and occasionally, when they are caught to a divorce. For some, it is a new love that suddenly lights up on their firmament like a supernova and they want out of their existing relationship.
In my early twenties I was one of those whose husband cheated on and eventually left me for another woman, his coworker. His love affair was a total surprise to me and I was in a shock. It was unexpected and I was devastated when it had happened. I had been feeling betrayed and cheated, and sending bad thoughts towards him and his new girlfriend. I was in pain to see that he truly wanted out of our relationship and didn’t care about me anymore. To my dismay he was also extravagantly pouring our money into his love affair.
However, I managed to work through my emotions and as a result our marriage ended amicably and we didn’t even argue about our assets. With time I healed and moved on. Eventually, I realized it was for the greater good as I was finally able to see the positives in finding a renewed interest in things that were not accessible to me while in marriage to that person. I discovered a new purpose in life and after some time, I eventually remarried.
Years later I became so unhappy with my second marriage that I decided to separate, move out and be on my own with my daughters. Taking on a challenge of getting divorced is a completely different cup of tea for a woman compared to a man with a solid income, I guess. Nevertheless, I trusted my own intuition and made the decision to move out.
But this time I was the one who was a cause of major grief to my husband although I was doing it for my own sake and not because I vested my heart in someone else. For me, moving on with my life was a way to finally put myself first, my feelings and my sanity.
I assume that being married to someone means being invested emotionally and caring for that person even years after the first kiss. I imagine that it also means growing together spiritually and supporting each other along the way. Sharing the responsibilities and respecting one another. Pitching in and having fun together. Then I took a really good look at my first marriage and I realized that I was guilty to some extent for what had happened because I didn’t keep the spark alive. In a way, I became too complacent and took my husband’s love for granted. I hadn’t worked on maintaining or growing our love and he eventually started looking elsewhere for what he was missing from me. That led me to a conclusion that it is equally a responsibility of a woman and a man to work on relationship. Too often we ostracize one of the partners for leaving his or her devoted partner for a new flame but do we know the details? Do we know what really was going on in their marriage?
Placing all the blame on the person who is leaving the marriage is not always fair because we hardly know what’s going on behind the scenes. We tend to assume that things are great because that’s how the couple often presents their marriage to the outside world even if the hell already broke lose inside their nest. I often observe other couples and am amazed at how well they are concealing the truth about their marriage. Some appear to be loving and dotting on one another while in fact they both agree to have secret or not so secret love affairs on the side so they can keep the status quo, the family and the kids happy. Then there are families with an emotionally/physically abusive partner and only very seldom the victim manages to find strength to leave. There are white marriages where there is no sex and one partner is clearly unhappy. There are marriages where one partner’s emotional needs are not met. We know nothing about it and yet we criticize, give our piece of mind, retort and condemn the party who dares to break the holy sacrament of marriage.
It takes two to tango. Hardly ever only one person is innocent and the other a monster. Having this realization I understood how naive and unfair I was to view my first husband as cruel and egoistic in my first outburst of anger. From my perspective of years and experience I am able to see now that I was clearly not caring enough for him and allowed him to become distant and emotionally unavailable. I didn’t share my soul with him and I let things slip through my fingers. And yet – everyone blamed him for the downfall of our marriage.
Interestingly, today I am thankful to him for leaving me and letting me go. Twenty years ago I didn’t feel like being thankful, I was in agony and miserable, I didn’t see what I had done to deserve such a treatment. Yet, from my today’s perspective I see it clearly as a blessing in disguise. I needed to stand up on my own, start a new job and develop a new mindset and qualities that propelled me into my new and more exciting life.
Perhaps, and I am quite convinced that this is how it is, we need painful experiences to shift, to grow to become wiser human beings. What we view at the moment as the end of the world often is just an open door to a new and better life. So instead of focusing on seeing a negative side to it, wouldn’t it be better to accept that there is nothing permanent in our life and the only constant is the change? If we realize that what is now will pass and that’s the nature of the Universe maybe we won’t be so attached to what it is now and let go…
Thus, I invite you to be less judgmental and more open and compassionate towards other people’s life stories. Let’s not condemn because they do it differently than we – we don’t know their life circumstances. Let’s practice forgiveness, love and kindness instead.