I have read many accounts of the end of others’ marriages and advice about the importance of forgiveness and moving on, and I’ve decided to weigh in myself.
I don’t think there is really ever a simple explanation for the end of a long standing relationship between a man and a woman, especially when children are involved. Sure, people drink, cheat, and refuse to work and sometimes these things will contribute to the downfall of a marriage. We “grow apart”. We have “mid-life crises”. “The thrill is gone”.
I started to craft this essay in the spirit of reconciling how I didn’t think I could ever get over the way my 28 year marriage ended. I could write an entire book about the disappointment, rejection and sadness. But so much conventional wisdom touts forgiveness and how we should just keep moving forward. Anger and bitterness will only wear on our own bodies and souls. I know this. We all do.
I’m not sure exactly how many years I’ve spent trying to figure out what went wrong and when. I know that lately I’ve been cataloging the missteps and events in an attempt to figure out how to “get over it” and move on in a healthy way.
Some of this process has distilled into an overly simplified story about how things went so wrong that we separated:
I had a life altering accident in 1999.
Things changed so much that he “stopped watering the grass”.
The “grass” turned brown, then died.
The “grass” looked greener on the other side.
Initially, I was sure I couldn’t accept this reality and put it behind me.
It was during the process of trying to formulate this essay that it became ok to not get over it and see it for what it is: the marriage just didn’t work out. This is the universal story. The details are varied.