Life beyond the words: I Don’t Love You Anymore

In 2000 as few of you know, I was facing one of the worst periods of my life.  In less than two years I lost both my father and grandfather.  Thrown into that mix I was blindsided by the words, I don’t want to be married to you anymore followed by I’m seeing someone else all in the convenience of a moving vehicle headed towards a vacation spot I thought we’d  been looking forward to for months.  When I asked what could possibly coax an individual to choose that particular time to drop such an earth-shattering bomb he simply replied, I thought this vacation would shed some light as to whether or not there was still something left to care about.  

I swear in my mind’s eye I can still see my heart – extracted and bloody from shock, tossed along with thirteen years of love and trust right out the window of our mini-van.

I look back on that first night, wishing I had the strength to follow through with a quick and painless way of ending my existence; it was over because this man was my entire life.  Little did I know something wonderfully unique and new was burgeoning, all because this man was no longer my entire life.  

What nearly killed me saved me.

The abrupt end of that path forced me to focus on a new one.  It was scary as hell –  filled with debt, forced out of my home, and being alone for the first time at the age of thirty.

Once the brunt of the storm had passed however, I realized that I could survive on my own. I didn’t need to rely on anyone to make me happy.  I didn’t have to be afraid of being Me any longer, and so I became my own best friend.  All of these things were forced upon me by the man I thought I knew.  For a long time I felt betrayed and rejected but as I grew into the woman I was meant to be, I became grateful to him.  Grateful that he had (for the lack of a better word here) the courage to do what I couldn’t do for myself.

It’s so easy to see the clear skies above once the clouds have passed, isn’t it?  I’m sitting in a home that I love, blessed by friends near and far, surrounded by a loving husband who totally gets me and spending my days painting.  I can honestly tell you though, it didn’t take me 13 years to settle on the word Grateful for that particular experience.  I knew it the day I gained complete control over my own bank account; the day I started supporting myself; the moment I signed the lease for my very first apartment.  Those milestones were some of the best moments of my life and each one came to fruition from that disastrous day in early August.

Craig and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this week.  Every year he jokes that he should send my ex-husband a Thank You card.  We both chuckle a bit at this thought, though secretly I know if anyone needs to send a Thank You card it is I, for if it weren’t for the words ‘It’s Over’ I may have never found the courage for a new beginning.

My wonderful yoga teacher, Sue, read this quote to me during class one day last week.  I’d like to share it with you.  It is from one of my favorite poets and is so fitting for this post.

Birdwings 
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.
~Rumi

26 thoughts on “Life beyond the words: I Don’t Love You Anymore

  1. Lynn B

    So beautiful and honest. You have amazing courage. Some of our best growth and revelations come from our most raw and brutal moments. I thank the powers that be that you were able to face down the demons and remain here…for me to find. Thank you for this. =)

    Reply
  2. Roxie

    Grateful that he had (for the lack of a better word here) the courage to do what I couldn’t do for myself.

    This. When I look back on some situations in my life, I always came out the better for it. I just wish I could have seen it at the time.

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Me too. Me, too. Luckily, the older we get, the less shocked we are over certain things. At least we gain knowledge from the pain we’ve experienced, right? We know there are better days ahead.

      Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Nancy, I am sure that every yoga studio has a beginners class. Schedules usually indicate whether they are for advanced or all students. Just Google your city and type in ‘yoga’ and you’ll be surprised at how many will come up :)

      Reply
  3. Shan

    I don’t know that x deserves a thank you card, but it certainly true that we cannot fully appreciate good without knowing bad. And it makes you a more compassionate and loving person too. It gives you a better understanding of what happiness is and how to keep it and how precious it is. When bad happens you can either let it defeat you and harden your heart or you can let it set you free. You my sweet and utterly lovable friend did the latter.

    There is something interesting in each of those little handfuls.

    S

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      That is the balance of life. It doesn’t make the rough patches any less rough though, does it? I write posts like this as a reminder to myself that the next time there is a wave I just need to hang on and watch for calmer waters. (boy, I’m just full of metaphors today, aren’t I?) lol

      Reply
      1. Shan

        Ya know what the thing is though E? That I think you do beyond holding on until calm comes? You learn. Rough is just rough unless you learn and appreciate. How many people do you know who just keep making the same dumb mistakes ALL THE TIME? Lord knows I have (mostly when younger). People should also take comfort in the fact that while something is really terrible right at the moment and may feel like packing it in – that is temporary (sometimes long temporary) – but temporary. You are a good example of that. It sucked, you felt like it was the end, it was the beginning. Repeat that back to me when my shit hits the fan (and it will).

        Reply
        1. Ellen Post author

          yeah, well I may need some regurgitation as well someday. It’s easy to be wise when all is calm. I do know one thing though – I know that by making it through that period of my life I can survive anything. I’ve got my benchmark.

          Reply
  4. Laura

    Selfishly, I’m glad too – because I don’t know if you and I would have ever virtually met if you hadn’t started a new life and path. I’m so glad you are in this place with an amazing man! Happy five-year anniversary!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      This quote is so lovely, Laura. It reminded me of you and how strong you are. No matter the situation or how dire the circumstances, we really are meant to be where we are. Perhaps you’ve already discovered this. If not, I know it won’t be long before you will. xo

      Reply
  5. Beth

    You are a wonderful, beautiful person Ellen, and you deserve to have all the happiness in the world!! I am so thankful to consider you my friend, and Craig is so lucky to have found you!!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      You set a good example, you know. To have a marriage as strong as yours doesn’t happen to many people. Thank you for your comment. Love to you. xo

      Reply
  6. Val

    Sheesh, Ellen, don’t scare me like that! My heart was in my throat until I read down a little bit & realized that you were referring to Y2K…
    Love the Rumi poem as well – gotta make more time for yoga!
    (Finally made some time for a couple of updates)
    Also hope that Emmie is recovering (way behind on blog reading)

    Reply
  7. Ellen Post author

    Sorry, Val! lol I can assure you that my current life is quite good, but thank you for your concern! Emmie is holding her own at the moment. She is nearly halfway through a 30 treatment for Leptospirosis. Hopefully when all is said and done she’ll be back to her ornery self. I’m behind on reading as well so no worries, but I’m so glad you stopped by!

    Reply
  8. didi

    It’s rough that your ex chose such an insensitive way to let you know he was breaking off and ending his relationship with you. Yipes. The worst people in our lives push us towards our best selves, right?
    Now you’re the brave woman who had the courage to start her own online business. You’re the lady getting requests for prints for businesses that are out of state! You are selling art in multiple locations, and creating your dream life. You’ve definitely found the silver lining.

    Reply
  9. Cindy

    A timely post for me. Thank you so much for sharing and the reminder. This past year has been particularly difficult. Yesterday was an especially bad day too. I went to sleep feeling like I needed something good to happen today. I had something good happen in the morning and a second good thing happened when I read your post. I’m feeling stronger right now. Thank you, Ellen for sharing.

    Cindy

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      It is so easy to feel lost when things are emotionally and/or physically draining. To know that there are others who have been through trying times may be able to help us feel like we’re not alone. You are definitely not alone, regardless of where you’re at or what’s happening. Big hugs to you right now, Cindy. xo

      Reply
  10. Ms. M

    Thank you so much for sharing these words. I so needed the reminder that the very things you think are going to kill you can be the things that open the door to wonderful new beginnings. So happy for you that you’ve cultivated a life you love and have a wonderful man to share that life with. :)

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Thank you so much for reading and for your comment, Ms. M. I’m most grateful for the fact that I was able to grow as my own person, not just as someone else’s wife. Today my husband and I celebrate our 5th year anniversary but it took 7 years of dating to get to the point of committing to marriage. Sometimes its a long road, but one I am glad I was on.

      Reply
  11. Kim

    Thank you for sharing! Came across this post at a time I needed a gentle reminder just how far I’ve cone since my own fateful day. It has not been easy! Nearly killed me as well.
    After 5 years, there are incredible days and hard ones still. Since it will take somebody pretty special cross my path, Im taking my dear sweetime finding my other half. All will be in its own time on this journey. I have implemented trying 5 new things out of my comfort zone each year. It has been AMAZING. Great friends by my side make my life full.
    I am blessed with what Ive been able to achieve on my own, which I needed that dredful day to decide to believe in me and go for my second life!!!
    Sooo happy for you! Happy Anniversary. It is better once your on top of the clouds :)

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Kim, thank you for your comment. It’s always easier to look back, but at least we can gain some satisfaction knowing that we were strong enough to come through the other side. You are living the life that I always missed out on – having a strong friend network and enjoying being with YOU – being your own best friend. That is one of the most important parts of such a huge transition and it sounds like you are succeeding with flying colors. I’m so happy for you :)

      Reply
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