Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Tangled Web

Sometimes it seems that events and people collide and coincide in such a way that one can almost glimpse some pattern, make some sense of how and why things are connected and effect each other as they do. Maybe it's just this time of year that makes me feel this way... so many things ending and beginning.

For the past week I have been talking a lot with an old friend, who is falling in love with someone. She is married to someone else. Talking her through the stress of it and trying to help her find what path she needs to take. I do not lecture and I do not judge, as I fell in love with my husband while I was newly married to another man at this time four years ago. I remember very clearly the sea of emotion I was in, trying to find my way between being true to my heart and keeping the promises I'd made. My friend says things I said; feels things I felt. I am trying to listen and counsel without wrongly influencing her, as although her situation is similar to what mine was, there are big differences. She has been married for two years, not just a few weeks. And her husband is a good person. She claims they are happy.

I have also been talking to my ex-husband. Some of you may remember that over a year ago I took on a secret identity all over the internet and moved my blog because I was afraid of him finding it. I've since come to believe I was over-reacting at least a little (postpartum hormones, anyone?), not that it's at all a bad idea to try and protect one's anonymity and privacy, crazy former spouses in existence or not.

I had a few dreams about him during the past few months. In one I dreamed that he had died in the war, and I when I learned of his death I was so sad, I wept and wept. In the other he came to me with his wife because he wanted to show me his newborn baby, who was very ugly, but I thought he was a beautiful baby and I cried because I was so happy for them. While I was thinking about those dreams I realized something: I didn't hate or fear my ex anymore. I was no longer angry with him and I didn't feel that I wanted to blame him for the things that had gone wrong in my life. Somewhere along the line, I had forgiven him, and I had forgiven myself as well.

That was kind of astonishing, because I had spent so much of my mental energy in the past four years feeling negatively about him and about everything we'd gone through. To wake up one day and realize that I was in a place where I could look back on the time we spent together and be glad about the good parts was almost exhilirating. He was my first love and my best friend throughout high school; we practically grew up together, and for the past four years I had loathed him and tried to ignore the place he'd had in my life.

I wanted to tell him that I didn't feel right about how badly our relationship had ended, and that I didn't bear him any ill-will. However I didn't want to contact him, because I had no idea how receptive he would be towards hearing what I had to say. I did not know how much, if any he had changed and grown since I spoke to him last.

So I was glad when he sent me a message and I sent a carefully worded one back in response. When I felt that he wasn't going to be hateful and throw the past back in my face, I told him that I forgave him, and I offered a fresh apology for the pain I had caused him. He replied with words much the same: that he no longer was angry at me, and that he wanted to make peace between us too. That he didn't mean most of what he'd said when we were splitting up - that was something I knew, but it lightened my heart to hear it all the same. We both felt that we did not want to try to have a friendship or anything - there is too much behind us, and he is not someone I would chose as a friend these days anyway.

Our conversation went as well as I could've hoped, but when it was over I was surprised at how I felt. I felt relieved that he hadn't used this as an opportunity to hurt me, happy that we had managed to create a better ending for our relationship, but I also felt so unexpectedly sad. I cried. I guess I feel just a little heartbroken again, because - especially now that I have healed - our story just seems so damn tragic. My ex actually summed it up very well: "Funny how two kids caused so many problems for themselves..."

My wonderful husband, the love of my life, is planning on starting school again next semester, on the same campus where he works, the same campus where we met and fell in love as I started college and the leaves changed colors and winter crept closer four years ago. He held my hand through those first dark days and through all the days that followed, and I wish him the best as he undertakes this endeavor to enrich himself and better our lives.

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Anonymous looloo said...

You have a beautiful way with words. I have been through almost the same thing, fallen in love when I was supposed to have already been there. It took years for the realization to come that I didn't need to harbor hatred toward the X or guilt over falling in love with the best man in the world.

I'm happy for you that you can close this chapter of your book and look forward to the future.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Daph said...

I have goosebumps reading this entry. I'm so glad that you and your ex were able to make peace, and that you're in a happier, better place. I don't envy your friend her position; it can be heartwrenching and emotionally exhausting to try and sort through it all. She's lucky to have you to help her through it.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Forgiveness is such a powerful thing, isn't it? To give it and to recieve it. Glad you're able to move on in a new way--and proud of your husband for supporting you then, and now in this process. Many men could not do so.

9:40 AM  

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