I think there is a gross misunderstanding about those of us who choose to divorce. I don’t hate my ex-husband. I loved him when I married him, and I loved him when I divorced him. I love him now. What I really wish people would understand is that certain kinds of love are not enough.
The pain I felt as I waited for the divorce to be final I fully expected to disappear magically once it was “over.” Really, though, “over” marked the beginning of pain I felt in my body. The months that followed came with incredible tension and bitterness, and my muscles hurt. My skin hurt. My teeth hurt.
I started yoga teacher training around that time. I didn’t want to. But the studio owner, a good friend of mine, insisted she knew what was best for me and offered the training to me in a way that was ridiculously flexible and discounted. I sat down with her and her teaching partner, who I didn’t know at the time, for a pre-training interview. My teacher’s partner, after talking with me for 10 minutes, proclaimed, “You need to find your voice again.” What did she know?
Now I know I needed the training for 2 reasons:
- By the end of the program, I was pretty sure I knew nothing about yoga. I started my own study thereafter, reading every text I could find and understand, and I took endless notes on yoga teachers I admired as they taught online classes. I dove in deep. It’s been 4 years since I finished the program, and I’d like to believe I know a little something about yoga–and found my voice along the way.
- I met one of my dearest friends, K. K is 16 years younger than me, but when we started talking in yoga teacher training, any differences between us seemed irrelevant.
I’m circling back to love. . .hold on . . .
As my body throbbed in pain, I knew it was drenched in guilt. I started to confide in K, and she said something that started to dry out my shame-saturated body and brain.
“You know how we talk about the full expression of a yoga posture? Well, you could never have been the full expression of yourself with him.”
She was 24 at the time. I was 40. When I was 24, I got married. By the time I was 40, I’d blown up the marriage to a man I still loved.
I’m sure people divorce because they don’t love each other anymore. I’ve certainly met plenty of people who act like they hate their former spouses, which always leads me to believe there is love there, too, hidden under mountains of garbage. But some of us just have to walk away from someone we still love because we no longer even like ourselves as we are in the relationship.
My friend K has to walk away from someone she loves now. There’s no good to come of trying to figure it all out, trying to sort out who is responsible for what. When a woman or a man reaches the point of not even recognizing her/himself, when she/he has lost self-respect or even hope itself, it’s time. Don’t find yourself circling back here again, sweetheart, in a matter of months or years, telling yourself this love is all that matters–or all you’ll ever have. It isn’t.
Can you imagine a love that cherishes and commits to the full expression of you? God, I can. That’s what I want. And I imagine the love with which I will adore and commit to the full expression of him.
There’s no way to that without leaving this behind.