Closing a chapter on your life sometimes means accepting your own mistakes. Perhaps this is what makes it so damn hard to push the door closed and leave something in the past where it belongs. In some situations it’s just easier keep the door partly ajar, holding onto a small hope that one day something magic will happen that will allow you to walk back through that door and erase your mistakes. In reality, all it’s doing is keeping the wounds from healing, exposing a rawness of emotion every time you glance back at the door and realize that it is not yet closed. It serves as a constant reminder of something that you have not resolved, causing turmoil as your memories wrestle with your conscience.
My husband and I married much too quickly. We were high on the newness of love, and thought that would be enough to carry us through any struggle we may encounter. We went into it with our hearts wide open, and our eyes tightly shut. Soon after we were married our house of cards began to crumble. We tried digging in our heels and fighting for our marriage countless times. But no matter how hard we tried, we just didn’t have the glue to keep it together. We did not build a solid foundation within our relationship before getting married, and therefore had nothing to stand on when the whirlwind of life in a blended family started tearing through our home. We moved into separate homes almost a year ago, tried counseling and spending time together, but the damage had already been done.
I met with him today for the first time in months. I had been avoiding his attempts to reach out to me until I felt that I was strong enough to handle it. Today was the day he finally had enough. His patience had grown thin, so he showed up on my doorstep and it was time to face the music. He looked ragged, tired and sad. His appearance brought back the old feelings of guilt that had so plagued me during our marriage, but I took a deep breath and offered him a seat at my dining room table. We attempted to make small talk, but it felt out of place in the air between us so I dove right in. I asked him why he wanted to save our marriage so badly. For a brief moment, I felt a surge of hope that he would somehow say just the right words to break through to my heart and lead me back to him. But rather quickly I realized that he didn’t know why he wanted to save us. He said what came to mind, but there was nothing behind it. He has only spent time on the surface, lingering only on the need to save our marriage but no time in figuring out why. I have spent time trying to figure out why, and painfully realize that there is no reason to hold on any longer. He wanted to know why I always have to make sense out of everything, and I wanted to know why he just leaps in based on what he is feeling at the moment with no thought to what will happen tomorrow.
He promised me that he has changed, that this time would be different. I wanted so bad to just give in, tell him I would give it another chance. But even in the midst of the pain and sadness of seeing him I knew in my heart that we are just not compatible. Neither one of us are bad people, neither one of us has truly failed. He needs a wife, a confidant, a lover. He needs someone who is completely dedicated to his needs and wants, and flourishes on flowers and compliments. I need to be on my own, focusing on nourishing a healthy self-love and figuring out what paths I need to take that will give meaning to my life.
In sitting across the table from him on this rainy Sunday morning, I realized that I need to finally close the door on our marriage. As hard as it was to see him cry, to hear him say he doesn’t want to give up, I had to walk away. I came back home, and pulled out our wedding photo. I laid in bed and stared at the picture of us on the day we promised to love each other forever. I guess I was hoping that I would have some gut wrenching reaction, something to convince me that shutting the door was the wrong decision. But the tears never came. I stared at our faces, so happy and filled with hope. I concentrated on reaching down to the depths of my heart hoping to feel the love I had for him that day. But it never resurfaced. Perhaps that was because underneath it all, it was never there. Even as I sit here writing this, I am not sad about saying goodbye. I am only sad to know he is hurting, hurting because he only stayed on the surface and hasn’t accepted the fact that I am not the wife he wants and needs. I wish him peace and rest, but I cannot keep the door open any longer. I must accept my own mistakes, promise to forgive myself, and move on.