17 August 2014

I did not fail

Looking back over some old posts, I read this in “Separation”:

I failed in the one thing I wanted to do in life: Make Andrea happy. I failed to give my children a happy, whole home.

I was wrong.

Shortly after that, I had several conversations with my ex-wife in which I only asked questions and listened to the answers. It took a long time, but her answers finally convinced me of something.

Even if I had been perfect, that wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Not that I didn’t have faults or make mistakes, but they weren’t the cause of my divorce. They weren’t even contributing factors.

I was also wrong in taking responsibility for anyone else’s happiness. I should show love to—try to fill the tank of—my loved ones. But just as love is a choice, so is happiness a choice. A choice each person has to make for themself.

Anyway, I thought it was important to finally have a follow-up to that post.


KenHR said...

Late chiming in here, but being in the throes of a long term separation now (about 9 months now), I completely understand both your initial thoughts and your reflection here.

I made the same mistakes you did: believing I was responsible for the happiness of my wife, even if it came at the cost of my own contentment. This only led to resentment and anger that bubbled over after 13 years.

We're trying to patch things up, but it's been a hard road full of tears and frustration.

We believed we were soul mates, and that mindset was the real problem. Because if you believe you were "made" for one another, any disagreement causes distress and makes you wonder what you've done wrong to cause disharmony. Realizing that a relationship is a day-by-day thing, involving compromises that, yes, can sometimes lead to disagreements, was a huge thing for me...it's embarrassing that I only realize this on the cusp of 40.

I also have a "transactional" mindset when it comes to relationships: am I getting what I put in? And that's wrong, too. Like you said, love is about giving..."gifting" rather than "exchanging."

Anyway. This isn't my blog, so I'll stop spewing here. Just wanted to say it's nice to find someone else in a similar situation and learning the same things.

Robert Fisher said...

Thanks for sharing your own experience, Ken. You have my best wishes.