This is the second Frank Love guest blog by Sunshine Muse – a close friend with whom I regularly discuss the issues in my life and relationship. She is a life coach and a wise woman. The following is her presentation to you:
I am sitting across the table from my ex-husband. We are not touching; we never do anymore. But we are connecting deeply. His eyes and facial expressions indicate emotions: pain, remorse, love. I scan his body and imagine what’s beneath his clothes. I remember well the texture of his skin, his body hair, his lean muscles, even his scent – everything I know about him from years of love and marriage. Then I look back to his eyes and notice that he is present to me in a way that is rare. He is emotional, but there are no outbursts building or happening.
Our marriage has been over for more than two years. I love and know this man, but even amidst all of the emotion, familiarity and energy between us, at our table, I also know I do not want him back. By the grace of God, “back” isn’t something I’m looking for these days, but it is something I’m looking at.
Something is happening to me with regard to how I perceive my ex, and more importantly, how I understand myself as a player in our marriage. Triggered in the most beautiful and challenging ways by my current romantic relationship, I have the courage to look, with my eyes wide open, at who I was and wasn’t in my marriage. Healed from the pain of our breakup I find myself truly all right with how things are today, and with how things ended. The book has closed, and I will never read it the way I did when we first broke up. Instead, I open it and see some things through a very different lens – maybe the lens of self-love or the lens of responsibility, I’m not sure. But whatever it is, it rocks me with epiphany after epiphany, and all of them lead me to question my own historical conditioning, my own less- than- loving behaviors.
I am learning that being with me back then must have been very hard. I am realizing the depth of my unavailability, and beginning to understand why it was so deep and the route it ran through my heart. I am learning that while the end of my marriage was brutal, I had been cutting into its fabric regularly over the years and as I learn these things, I think of my ex often and long to acknowledge my new understanding and to gently apologize – which I do sometimes.
The night that I came face to face with how truly selfish I often was in my marriage, I felt shaken and wanted to reach out to my ex. He had repeatedly accused me of selfishness in our relationship, but I was too wounded to hear his truth. Now, through my current relationship, I am beginning to learn that there is a different way to be encouraged to look deeper. Now because of my failed marriage I am open, damn near eager, to do so. I am pleased that the man I’m dating does not accuse me of negative ways of being. I am sad that with my ex husband, I listened but could not hear.
On the other side of the table from my ex is me – the same woman he fell in love with, the same women who slowly broke his heart. But unlike when he knew me intimately, this woman is more of a risk taker in love, a listener in intimate relationship, a more mature (though not yet grown) version of the person that I was. On the other side of the table from me sits a man who hurts and deserves deep healing – a man who rages, if only inside, at his own choices and the damage they’ve done to the life he once thought he would build. I want to hug him, but we don’t touch anymore. Perhaps we will, though, on the next other side.
Sunshine is a life coach, family constellation facilitator and Bona fide Muse. She is currently completing her first book on the benefits of ending your marriage. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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