You know. Breakups.
And it’s been a year of breakups.
Not, fortunately, for me personally, but the last half a year has seen the demise of a surprising number of “solid couples”.
Married couples, couples engaged, couples who owned land together, had children together, had pets together, had business together.
It’s been eye opening to say the least. It challenges expectations. It challenges assumptions. It challenges guest lists.
And while I realize breakups… sad, eye opening, dream dashing, are generally considered a bad thing, there is something undeniably positive and affirming about them. Yes, yes I understand the almost mourning like quality of letting go of something once believed in. But, generally, breakups happen for a reason.
They are, in fact, sometimes, the sign of letting ourselves want more.
Which is what I’m thinking about today. I was talking to a friend. A friend breaking up. About why she was breaking up. Breaking up with a reasonably great guy. The general reality, as we get older, is that more of our breakups will be with greater people. Gone are the days of wildly inappropriate relationships, or test tube romances with people we never should have stepped in the same room with. And, ideally, as we learn about ourselves and our confidence increases, gone, also, are the abusive relationships. The ego dashing relationships. The couplings with mean or degrading or fully unworthy people. Well, if we are lucky.
So what is left? Well, maybe a whole bunch of totally awesome people. Some almost totally awesome for us. And a lot aren’t. A lot are close calls. Close calls with people completely deserving of our love and affection. A lot of Mr. And Ms. Right now.
Because it’s hard to be lonely, and it’s easy to see the possibility in a smart, funny, hot person who likes the shit you do. So it can be hard to say no. Even when something key is missing. Something, say, like chemistry, comfort or passion.
And it’s the intangibles that get us, it seems. It’s easy to break up with an idiot. Or someone ugly. Or someone mean. But a great person who supplies everything but the intangibles? But the unnamables. That’s hard. That’s weird.
There is almost a presumption about it. What the fuck do we expect right? How dare we turn down this jewel when so many people have no rings of their own. Who do we think we are?
I don’t know. But I think we are worth more. I think we ARE more. More than our top ten favorite songs and our bank accounts and our waist lines and our vague notions of a life plan. I think we are more than a pretty picture or a nice home or a chance at a beautiful baby. I think we are more. I suspect,on level, that is most of what we are. This unspeakable thing. This unnameable spark. Animal Vegetable Mineral. Check “other” and move along.
And denying that is a good way to slowly die, day by day, as you attempt to rationalize all the ways you are supposed to be happy without the people or things in your life that help that spark grow. That help that spark glow.
So perhaps this is in praise of breakups, that, as horrible and difficult as they may be, are sometimes given a bad name. Sometimes you have to let a little bit of love die, with another, in order to really begin to love yourself.