“It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower’s stem.” ~ Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber
While the love story written by Diana Gabaldon in the Outlander series has won women’s hearts, and the television series has garnered fans from both male and female watchers . . . true-life love stories are few and far between. The end of a relationship is rarely easy, nor is it neat and tidy. Heartbreak is never as clean as the snapping of a flower stem.
So how does one maneuver through the end of a relationship without either looking foolish, stupid or insanely crazy?
Time – As time passes, the intense pain of heartbreak usually starts to diminish. Pining for months or years for a relationship that has clearly ended for the other person is a useless waste of time. When I say “clearly ended” I refer to that person who has moved on in life and is in a long-term relationship with another person. For years, my mother would sigh on a certain day in June and say . . . “If your father and I hadn’t gotten divorced, we would have been married (x number) of years.” Puhllleeeeaaassssee! The man was remarried, and had another child and she was STILL brooding over something that was OUT of existence longer than it was IN existence.
Integrity – Attempts to wheedle or cajole; chase or stalk; force contact or communication (including threats or harassment) — none of these things reek of integrity. Indeed, these actions smack of insanity if taking place at all, let alone for years (1-5-10 or more — doesn’t matter). Such behavior is expected of a teen or pre-teen, not an adult.
Respect – While it takes two people to make a relationship work well, it only takes the wishes of one person to end it. The relationship may not have panned out as hoped for, but having respect for oneself means that you move on, make friends, pursue your own passions (not including the passion you had for the person ending the relationship) and interests.
Class – Anyone can act out of anger. It takes a classy person to accept their losses and walk away, wishing well to the other person. Ended relationships aren’t comfortable for either person. Making a nuisance of oneself is not classy, not at all. Texting ambiguous dates or countdowns to a former partner is also lacking class. If the date is irrelevant to them, the reminder is also irrelevant. A passing congratulations or mention of condolence is acceptable, but otherwise . . . no bueno.
Grace – Allow grace not only to the other person, but to yourself. The relationship has ended . . . you may feel used, unappreciated, taken advantage and a myriad of other emotions. Karma is a wonderful concept – whatever you extend to that person will be extended to you and vice versa. It is not your job to exact revenge for perceived shortcomings. By allowing grace, you will also experience mercy.
As the partner of someone who has been in previous relationships, it is difficult for me to be stressed about those previous partners for several reasons:
- At his age, if he hadn’t been in previous relationships, I’d worry.
- At his age, knowing he’s been in previous relationships, I KNOW that there were photos, texts, shared memories, and events that don’t include me. That is his past and he is welcome to it, just as I am allowed to have my past.
- I don’t hold him accountable for the actions of his ex-‘s. If they are rude or hateful, that is their choice to make and act that way, not his.
- People change in their looks, actions, beliefs and ideas as years pass. I love and appreciate the person I am with in the present moment. He isn’t the same person he was five years ago, either . . . but he’s still the person I love today.
- Our relationship involves two people: him and I. No one else.
While young people in their teens and twenties are just starting to learn these lessons, those in their 30’s and 40’s should be well on their way to being able to complete all of these things. For those in their 50’s, 60’s and beyond . . . only the truly imbecilic are not adult enough to be able to end a relationship gracefully.
Relationships end — fact of life.