My wife and I spent seven years madly in love. The problem is we were married ten years. It turns out that the last three years I was the only one madly in love.
She sat down with me sixty days ago and said she was not in love with me anymore. She was leaving me. It was over. She was unwilling to try to save what we had, unwilling to even talk about it except for a few hours where she spared me some moments. It was over.
I think I’m telling you this partially to get things straight in my head. Partially it’s my exhibitionist nature. Mostly I think this is the next step.
Sixty days is probably the world record for dismantling a life together. Suddenly I will never hold her, or kiss her. I will never be inside her again. I am not going to ever cry on her shoulder, or feel her tears on my cheek as I comfort her from some horrible tragedy. All this, I have lost.
It is Halloween, and she will be here in a few hours to collect the last of her stuff. I woke up and looked in the mirror, and have hated what I have seen for sixty days now. But she just now left with the last load. She and her brother have returned their keys. They are moving out together, and they are never coming back. They talked while moving stuff. They joked. They sounded so… happy.
Even at the last moment she would rather leave in silence, seeing me in pain, than offer even a moment’s comfort or a kind word.
But now I know.
I know it wasn’t I who stopped caring. It wasn’t I who focused more on myself than my partner. It wasn’t I who pulled away.
It is not my fault that she has left. It does not speak to my character that I wasn’t worth fighting to save.
In the end, I was a toy she had grown tired of, and because I could not be returned, resold, or trashed, she simply abandoned me.
I have discovered a secret: Love is given, and never received.
You may love, but understand it begins and ends with you. You can love deeply, madly, and wholly, but it does not effect the other person even a little. For what you show is not love. What you show is what is best in all Men. You show tenderness, and kindness, caring, forgiving, and mercy. Those are the gifts that reach past your own skin. What you feel is love, but these are what you do.
And by showing none of these, becoming distant, then cold, then mean, she has shown more than any proof created by scientists, lawyers or priests, that she does not love me. And because of that, I am crying, not for her, but for me.
And that’s OK, too. But what I do not need is tears. What I need is companionship. I need to remember that people can be forthright and relied upon. Hard lessons to remember, right now.
But the most important thing I realized is: Now I move on, because she cannot hurt me ever again unless I let her.