Since announcing my divorce after a very brief marriage, my friends are offering me tips regarding the new on-line dating apps and such. Interestingly enough, the last few months have brought incredible new people into my life. The formula has been: social media like Twitter or Facebook plus New Media Expo or The Walking Dead or paddling or the SF 49ers equals new friends and possibly the potential for more. For now, I will abstain from on-line dating and continue to live life all in. I wrote the blog that I am posting today after a “break-up” and was inspired by a similarly themed “This American Life” podcast. This post made me realize how emotionally deficient my marriage was, as I am not driven to write a blog to process or mourn the end of it. That is perhaps the sadder than the divorce itself.
The theme for the “This American Life” podcast I selected to take my beach run by this morning was entitled “Break-up.” Now, it has been quite some time since I have broken up with someone since it has been a long time since I have been in a real relationship. Dating isn’t the same, right? It is pretty easy to tell when it is time to stop dating and that conversation is usually fairly simple and low drama.
This “TAL” podcast was a grand illustration of how universal the “break-up” is, it crosses all ages, all cultures, all time zones, everyone has felt those emotions, some may have felt it more than once, some may still be suffering from that heartache.
One vignette features a woman who describes how integral music, especially love songs, was to her relationship in the happiest of times and how Phil Collins songs were featured. She went on to describe how after the surprise break-up, music then became her sanctuary, wallowing in the pain, alone with her misery, cell phone turned off, just feeling the pain. And she brought up this song, “Against All Odds”. The lyrics hit me.
In the middle of the podcast, she connects with Phil Collins, voice-to-voice, and decides to solicit his help in writing a song as her therapy. Partially in hope of getting her ex-boyfriend back and also to heal the pain she was feeling. Phil Collins is so clever and was so generous in describing his recent divorce, finalized on his birthday no less, that he didn’t want. Ouch. I suppose even stars experience authentic heartache. Even stars like Phil Collins.
After my run, I showered, and kept pondering the concept of “heartache” and wondering why, as my dear friend Preston says, love is so complicated. Then I drove to pick Baby K up from her dad. He said he needed to talk to me for a few minutes and it was pretty important. Now, he and I are very civil in front of Baby K but we sure don’t chit chat or do more than exchange pleasantries, so I knew this talk was going to be something serious. Turns out, he is going to move out from his house and wants to divorce his wife. So we, as responsible co-parents, need to figure out how to break it to Baby K as she will more than likely be devastated. I really like that she sees and experiences a married household, with step-siblings, when she is with her dad. But now, she is going to feel the pain of her own break-up, who knows what sort of contact she will have with her step brothers or step sister or step mom for that matter. Damn. Why does love have to be so complicated with these blended families? Now I need to figure out how to support my daughter as she loses people who she loves. And the worst part is, I hardly know her step family, so I feel a bit lost. All I can do is love my daughter and reassure her that the divorce isn’t at all her fault. Sometimes grown-ups just need to break-up.
For me, I suppose I have realized that loving someone is truly distinct from being in love with that person. And distance doesn’t make the heart grow fond, it makes trying to develop an authentic romantic relationship impossible. No break-up for us. Just confessions of mutual admiration, respect, appreciation, gratitude, impact, and much to my surprise, love. Our “relationship” spanned less than a year, yet, we were able to share so much about all aspects of our lives – career, family, spirituality, music, art, parenting, even politics and social issues, we were a good balance to one another. I shared the sentiment written right in the song that “you’re the only one who really knows me at all”, maybe vice versa as well. Couple that with the lack of capacity for more of an emotional connection, that, my friends, equals one option, the opportunity for Pi’i to open the door, pick up the phone and say “yes” to dating someone else. We agreed that capacity is what capacity is, there is no option to buy an external hard drive, or move one of our families out of their home state, or add more hours to our already full and demanding days. I faced the reality and I want a relationship, I want a boyfriend and he isn’t capable of being my boyfriend right now.
How can you just walk away from me,
when all I can do is watch you leave
Cos we’ve shared the laughter and the pain,
and even shared the tears
You’re the only one who really knew me at all