S.G.W.M. Still Seeks Heart's Desire

I remember the day he told me he had decided that we were done, and that he no longer felt a romantic love for me because we were "too different" now.

It was 2 days after his 33rd birthday.  Though he never said it, I can imagine that he had decided that 33 was an appropriate time to move on with his life.  It's funny--in a sad & ironic way--that I was 33 when I came out of my closet, opened up my heart for the very first time & met the man who was now slipping out of my life.

Though I couldn't speak through the tears that were choking me, I remember thinking I would never be OK again.  NEVER.  In a way, I guess, I was making myself a sick, sad promise that I would hold on to this hurt forever, if only to honor a relationship that I couldn't begin to think of as being over, and which I truly expected to last me a lifetime.  I couldn't see myself living anything approaching a real life without the man that had helped me create my whole post-closet world.  At 46 years of age, I had no idea how move forward; I felt so weak & so defeated,  I didn't even know if I wanted to move forward.  I had given up on life--and on myself--without even considering a Plan B.

I'm not sure how often people who go through traumatic break-ups say/write this--this is all new for me--but I know that I was almost entirely responsible for the end of our relationship.  He was right, I was "different".  I lived the first 3/4 of my life hiding away from the world, and trying to lug around a secret that almost literally killed me.  When I met him, and when he accepted me in all my brokenness & in my obvious imperfection, I left that closet & that so-called life & I never looked back.  Therein, as they say, lies the rub.

I don't know how I didn't realize it back then, but in hiding my light under a bushel for so long & in working nearly full-time to please a world that was never going to accept me, I had seriously damaged myself.  I had grown to hate the lie I had become, and I had to come to see myself as worthless & beyond-pitiful.  Instead of addressing the mountain of self-hate & hurt that built up inside me, I just closed my eyes to it.  I pretended like it never happened and I genuinely believed that I could start fresh with a clean slate.  I carried on that farce for a long, long time, and I was able to keep the monsters of my past at bay much longer than I ever imagined.  It's amazing what we humans can avoid seeing when we work hard enough at it.  It's like that saying I had grown up hearing, "There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see...", and I was as dedicated to that voluntary blindness as I was to loving the only man who ever loved me.

I guess it's true what they say, "All good things must come to an end".  Our relationship lasted nearly 13 years, but as my well-hidden self-hatred & depression grew & grew, they began to become harder & harder to deny, and my will to fight just evaporated.  I lost interest in the world outside my front door.  I made promises to my partner & to my friends that I broke more often than I kept, and they all forgave me for as long as they could.  My partner clung to the hope for so long that the man he fell in love with would come back home to him, and he tried to get me back into life, but after telling him "no" so many times, even he gave up eventually.  I can't (and don't) blame him.  He couldn't live HIS life AND mine, and he finally came to the only conclusion left to him: that "we" no longer existed.  He was moving ahead & I was slowly but surely drifting backwards.  He couldn't love me anymore if I couldn't even love myself, and if  I couldn't love myself, then I was simply incapable of providing him the love he should have been able to expect from me.

In the first couple of weeks after we shared with our friends that our relationship was over, they asked me if I was angry at him.  It's funny, but I never thought about feeling angry.  All I felt was hurt: my own obvious hurt & the hurt I caused him in leaving him no other choice but to cut his losses & get on with his own life.  He wasn't asking for the world, but he may as well have, considering that I was just incapable of being a true partner in his life, instead of his ward.  Though we never communicated it verbally, we both came to realize that--through the years--I had somehow assigned him the unfair, impossible task of providing me a joy I couldn't provide myself.  I told my friends 10 months ago, when this all took place, what I can still say to this day: he gave me a lifetime of love & a place I could truly call home for the first time in my life & he did it so very well for over a decade.  How could I be angry with him?  He was a blessing in my life that I never thought I deserved or would ever find.  How could I NOT want him to be happy...even if he couldn't find his happiness with me anymore?  He deserves to be loved, and to find joy in his own life.  Any anger I may have felt or that I feel now is directed at myself for allowing him to live even one day with me wondering what he might have done to make me stop loving him.  Though it could not possibly undo any hurt or doubt I may have caused him, but I never stopped loving him--I love him even now--I just grew to hate myself more than I loved him.  From his point of view, though, the result is still the same, and--for him and me--the consequences are still as dire.

Though I miss his love & our home every single day since we parted, I know that I must resign myself to the painful reality that he is part of my past, and that all I can hope to gain in the wake of the biggest emotional earthquake I've ever known is a lesson, and that lesson is becoming more & more evident to me every day.

I know it might sound silly, but the lesson I'm learning reminds me of the movie, The Wizard of Oz.  Near the end of the movie, with all her new friends around her & just before Dorothy & Toto return to Kansas, Glynda tells Dorothy that she has always had the ability to go home.  The Scarecrow asks Glynda why she didn't just tell Dorothy that before, to which Glynda responds, "Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself."  The Tin Man then asks Dorothy what she's learned in her time in Oz, and Dorothy says, "Well, I--I think that it--that it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em--and it's that--if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!"

Like Dorothy Gale, I am beginning to understand that I am really the only thing standing in my way.   In my own case, I'm starting to see that it's not enough to just want to be loved, I've got to look in my own metaphorical "backyard" for a true self-love to dispel the self-hatred I've been clinging to all these years like a stubborn dog with old bone.  I just don't have it in me to give up on love all together--I may not be an expert at it, but I think I'm a hopeless romantic.  My "heart's desire" may still yet be out there somewhere, but I think it's becoming pretty clear to me that if I can't love me, I certainly can't expect anyone else do it for me.

MisterC MisterC
46-50, M
3 Responses Feb 20, 2010

You are so RIGHT. You must love yourself first.... then all good things will follow. I have done a ton or research via the internet to help me find my "true love" my "soul-mate" After searching and searching I finally did find the right path... Do what I did, it certainly helped me and it might help you as well. Go to this website and check it out: www.haydendane.com you will be amazed out just how easy it is to find the right person for you

Julio,<br />
<br />
Thank you so much for your kind comments, and for the encouragement. You have been a wonderful, dear EP friend, and I know you have your own trials to deal with, but you have found time to help raise my spirits. That means all the more to me! :-)<br />
<br />
The truth is, I DO want to find someone someday with whom I can share my life, but I know that I have be careful in my search & my plan of action for my life.<br />
<br />
I do miss love so very much, but I can't go searching for someone to love and to love me just because I hate so badly feeling so alone in the world now. As awful as it feels sometimes, I try to remind myself everyday that only once I can find the joy in being ME--with all my imperfections--and loving & accepting whoever it is that I am will I be prepared to seek the love for which my heart aches even now.<br />
<br />
I do not want to do any possible knight in shining armor waiting for me out there in this big, wide world what I did to my previous partner by asking him to love me because I couldn't find it in my own heart to love myself. That's not love--not REAL love--it's just a shabby imitation of the real thing, and I am so done with that!<br />
<br />
Once I get well, and once I understand that I have enough love in my heart for me AND for a special someone, will I know that it is time to seek--to quote Dorothy again--my heart's desire.<br />
<br />
I really AM a hopeless romantic, and I do believe in "happily ever after", but I know now that it doesn't just happen by itself, I have to be an active participant in my own life, and I have to believe that I deserve a happy ending.<br />
<br />
Still working on that...<br />
<br />
Cuidate, mi amigo!<br />
<br />
Te mando la paz y el amor!<br />
<br />
Clarence :-)

Don't carry the burden of that failure on your shoulders. It is easy to blame the other for a failed relationship and I find it too convinient for him to leave you when you were the most vulnerable, when you need him the most. It is just how I see it, anyway it is his lost not yours and I am sure that you will find a wonderful person to share your life with.