The first man I fell truly, madly, deeply for was the first man who broke my heart. When I met him, I believed that I had found my forever. I would not let anyone tell me otherwise, though many tried. He saw me and loved me for who I was and that was all that mattered to me.
It began to deteriorate after about nine months. I begun compromising myself for the sake of keeping the relationship going. After a year he was not the man that I fell in love with, but what was so much more painful was that I was not the woman he fell in love with. I was not even the woman who fell in love with him.
To why I lost you
Lies in the place
I left me.
No one ever leaves a relationship before its expiration date. I don’t care if it the immediate cause is another woman, another man, or just a better life. The relationship had already reached a point of diminishing return. Most of us have a tendency to stay in a relationship long after it has become moldy and begun to stink up our lives. We stay for many reasons, but the greatest reason is the emotional investment. It is like investing in a stock. We invest in a great stock and as it rises in value we increase our investment. Then it starts going down, little by little. We hold – knowing that it will go up again; we hope that it will go up again at least enough to break even. We don’t sell because until we sell, we don’t realize the loss.
In a relationship, the initial investment is time is very low in comparison to the enormous return of happiness. We invest our love, our dreams, our beliefs, then our trust and commitment. If it begins to lose the value that it once had, we start increasing our investment by over-compensating, giving more of ourselves, giving all of ourselves, and in the end, giving up ourselves. When that does not work, and the signs of a failed relationship begin to show to the world – we up the ante by investing our pride, and as a last resort our integrity. Then one party finds a way out – finds a way to recoup some of his or her emotional investment through another woman or man. Someone who will re-establish the value, the self worth that we feel we have lost through having over invested in a relationship that has nothing left to return. But this does not happen out of the blue, if it’s an affair, it is kept secret while the other partner still believes both are equally vested, even if they are vested in a sinking stock. Yet, it’s not equal. One partner is secretly siphoning off his share of the emotional investment and putting it into another stock. This doesn’t have to be another person, it could be a plan to see the world, join an ashram, it doesn’t matter. One partner had found a way to begin rebuilding his emotional portfolio while the other still believes they are in it together. One partner has his entire being immersed in the relationship while the other has been quietly extricating herself. Then – when the departing partner feels secure enough that the new investment will assist in recouping what was lost. He or she abruptly – in the eyes of the partner being left behind – closes the account. All of the emotional losses fall on the partner who remained.
By the time a relationship comes to an end through the actions of one of the partners, the only thing left the investment is its definition. The one who was left behind believed that, as long as there was a shell and two participants, there was hope, and, even more importantly, believed that he had nothing left to leave with – everything was spent, was invested. A relationship ends when it has stopped growing, the only reason anything stops growing is that it is dead. The only thing that happens when one party ends the relationship is, the loss is realized by the partner left behind. By the time one party leaves a relationship the only thing left to do is bury the rotting corpse. There is no bond left, there is no shared vision, no shared desire, no shared hopes – nothing left to save or to hold onto.
It is devastating to be left. This is true even if most of the time we can no longer stand to see our partner’s face, because by this time the lack of return is equal to our diminished expectations. By this time our only hope is that our partner is willing to settle for as little as we are. It hurts to be left, and when it happens we just want that person back, it doesn’t matter if they are mean to us, or abusive to us, or ignores us, or humiliate us, we just want him back. But if we stop to think about what we are willing to endure to have that person return, we will realize that the things that we are now willing to endure are things that we would never have considered suffering for anyone. Of course, those were things that we would never do when we still had self-respect. And it feels very much like that leaves with our former other half. The reason that we are willing to humiliate ourselves is not because we want that person back. It is because we want ourselves back. We don’t want the person back who left us; we just want to be unleft. We don’t want to feel like someone worthless enough to be left behind, it’s not about the one who leaves us – it’s about what we feel that we are left with.
A funny thing happened to me on my way to, “Losers Anonymous”. I heard a song that had one line in it that said, “Every cloud don’t have a silver lining”. It is funny, but that changed my life. I realized that he was, or at least had become an a—hole, and there was no silver lining in this cloud. It wasn’t the loss of him, or even of us that I was mourning so deeply, it was the belief that I could have made it work because it was workable. It was workable because every cloud has a silver lining. It was workable because I believe that ‘all you need is love’. So, if I had love then I was just the biggest loser in the world because nothing else could explain my standing here alone. But that song made me realize that if something has a limited shelf life, like my relationship had, I did not lose it, break it, mess it up, or ruin it.
I had made a huge emotional investment in the relationship. But the only way that I would be forced to realize a loss, was if I still believed that there was something left for him to offer me. And I really didn’t – we left each other long before he left the relationship. So, what I lost was the part of me that I invested in the relationship and if I could now gain insight and growth, I would not only recoup my investment, but I could turn a profit, because the stock of Me, Inc. had risen remarkably. Whenever someone walks out, they are doing us a favor because for us, there just is no more water in that well. Those we love may die, and cause us to feel a temporary sense of separation, but anyone who we truly love will never leave us in spirit. They move on to what is next for their growth, and allow us to do the same, and all in the spirit of the love that we shared.
Regardless of what we tell ourselves in the moment while we are looking at our joint plans shattered on the floor around us, we knew that we had nothing more to share with the one who left long before the door closed behind him. And after the pity party, and the hangover – comes the enlightenment of a new and stronger sense of self-worth and an even greater sense of power than we ever had before the experience.
I found strength
I found truth
I found trust
In being lost
I found my way
And in rejection
I found myself.