I received an email from an editor at Huff Post asking me to answer this question: If you had to name one thing you think was missing from your marriage that may have done the marriage in, what would it be?
It’s the same question I’ve asked myself for years, but I’ve been unwilling to answer it honestly.
I’ve procrastinated grieving the death of my marriage. I convinced myself that I mourned it while I was in it, as it slowly lost its life, but that’s not accurate. The truth is, I couldn’t handle the force, the magnitude of that grief, so I shut it out. Another reason is that I needed to know that he had let go of me for good, before I could let it take over me, otherwise I may have misled fate and then neither of us would have survived.
He’s gone now; he has a new life.
Grieving my marriage all at once would have been like staring at the sun, so I looked away; I jumped into relationship after relationship. And, one-by-one as they ended, they implanted a shunt, creating a shaded and protected pathway between the incinerating anguish and my heart. Unbeknownst to me, with each failed relationship, I processed small doses of the sorrow over my divorce.
A couple of weeks ago, I hiked up a mountain; a mountain I looked up to for years, wondering what it would be like to get to the top, knowing I wasn’t strong enough to climb it back then. Instead, I took the trails at the base that led a quarter of the way up, that I could do. Now, I was prepared to hike straight up, to face the top, to confront the truth. And I have: my heart has been staring straight into the grief since then.
For years I’ve put off going through the 12 years and 25,000 pictures of our life together, stored on my computer. When I got home from the mountains, I went through every one of them. What a life. What a beautiful life we lived. I wish I’d been there during it. Although, better late than never; I’m here now. I see it and I appreciate it. I appreciate what we were and what we weren’t.
I even bought a new computer to start fresh, but I’ve been nervous to write, to corrupt the present with the tellings of the past. However, the past is the present; it’s what the mountains are made of, it’s how I got here.
The other day, the email arrived with that brooding question, the question that I’m finally prepared to answer. I’m ready to look into the greatest failure of my life. I’m ready to tell the truth.
If you had to name one thing you think was missing from your marriage that may have done the marriage in, what would it be?
I was the one thing missing from the marriage.
I didn’t know how to be in it.
Intimacy and I have a fragmented relationship.
7 years post-divorce and I am still learning how to open my mind, my heart and my body at the same time, to the same person.
The trinity, the unification of being: mind, body and heart together as one.
I’ve only known them to be mutually exclusive in relationships; occasionally two will overlap and huddle under the shade of presence, but not all three.
In order for a marriage to survive, it requires both people to be in it, nurturing their own trinity of being and their partner’s.
But, I was missing, and so, the marriage couldn’t last.