Sometimes our lives take a turn we never expected, one so great that it practically devastates us. In this letter I share with you the trial of my life - the one trial I have yet to know the outcome. I share this so that you will think carefully about your own relationship in hopes that you can avoid the mistakes I made and focus on just loving the person you have chosen to be with for the rest of your life. My hope is that you will come to the same realization as I, before you get to the same point I am at today. And while I am doing all that I can to correct my actions and shape my destiny, only time and my future actions will tell.
In a nutshell my best advice based on this experience is - love her, support her, be there for her - but do not try to do everything for her, because reality is you cannot. She may want you to and enjoy it at the moment - but you need to carefully consider the fact that later on in life she will feel that you and or her situation through no particular fault of yours, have imprisoned her. And some day she will come to this realization and want to break free from her bondage.
I did not know that I was doing what I was doing or that she felt that way at all until it just hit me one day 22-years into my marriage. I never made any demands on her - nor felt that I imposed directly or indirectly any particular way of life, duties or responsibilities upon her - but obviously I did.
Sometimes we can love someone so intensely that we end up squeezing the love right out of him or her, to where there is no more love inside to give to you. So what is a person who is so deeply in love with another to do? That is to focus of this open letter to you.
I am writing this at the present moment not after the fact with hindsight, for I do not know what the ultimate decision will be by my wife. But the lessons and thinking I have come upon may help you before you get to the point that I am at today.
Both of us are 41; we fell in love during high school, which we were able to confirm by our 22-year marriage preceded by 3 years of exclusive dating. But was it or is it Love? We are still married today - but at that turning point of which I do not know yet the outcome. Ours is a traditional relationship yet modified to recognize the independence of each individual. Each contributing to the relationship focused on providing the other with care, kindness, tenderness, friendship, respect, trust and love.
You think things are moving along in your life until one day you find yourself in a situation where you have become so complacent that you do not realize you are focusing your attention on your own needs. It starts with one (me in my case) focusing on what they enjoy and want to do which leaves the other (my wife) to search for replacements for the emptiness left behind. From there, now each is on a collision course with the destruction of the relationship because neither of them took the time to consider the outcome of their actions or include her or him in their activities. Or at least the opportunities to opt-in or opt-out as it were.
Soon you realize that your focus was in vain and you begin to take notice that what you really desired the most was the relationship you already had - sort of the ďyou donít what you have until itís goneĒ kind of thing. But when you return you find that the canyons you left in the soul of the other person were being filled with other activities, people and feelings. After all can you really blame her or him; wouldnít you do the same thing?
The harder you try to wedge your way back in, the faster it seems the other person races to build upon their new emotions and feelings and desires. But are they really doing that or have your lives begun to separate? This continues until the clash becomes so great, that there is an enormous explosion of emotions from the both of you. Feelings get hurt, spiteful things are said and done, and the long standing loving relationship begins to crumble under the pressures of all the activity, until you are both exhausted from the emotional roller-coaster ride.
But now where do you stand?
You begin to search for answers from family and friends and others whose advice and techniques when you try to implement, only continues to do more damage than good.
Hereís my theory on why this happens. I found it was simply not who I was as a person. These techniques of ďDo the same thing and make her jealous; Use tough-love; Spy on her activities to learn whatís going onĒ, were simply not me. I had always just given her my love and trust. And in return she gave me the same. These feelings of jealousy and untrusting were not my true feelings, these were not the actions I would normally have taken, yet this is the path I choose to go down. And go down I did.
While I cannot at this time tell you how the whole story will turn out - I can say that I have returned to being the person I was before. I have returned be being a kind and trusting friend. Where my thoughts are focused on the one person I have loved more than any other for all of my adult life and plan to continue to love for the rest of my life regardless of her decisions.
So what is Love?
I have found that love is not a two-way street, as some people would have you believe. But rather love is the one thing that only you can give to another and, you cannot ask for it in return. Either it is given to you or it is not. Which is why you can feel loved and not demand or expect that someone love you. Many people have also told me, yes but there are many forms of love - I disagree.
There are, however, many forms of emotions such as caring, empathy, compassion and concern. But love is in itself unique and very distinguishable from any other feeling or emotion. It can take over all your other emotions and cause you to act in ways you would not normally think you would act. I am describing the kind of unconditional love where no matter what someone does - you love him or her the same. You express no anger; no resentment; and, no hurt feelings; it is unconditional love. You just love them. It canít be explained and once turned on it canít be turned off. It is the deepest bond of harmony that you can feel for another. So deep and powerful that they truly will never know the extent of your love for them and by the same you will never know the extent of their love for you.
Isnít Marriage Love?
When you get married you make a commitment in words for all to hear, you make a pledge to your God (as in my case) to stay true to this person for the rest of your life. This does not mean that the other person has the same obligations, nor can you impose the same obligations upon the other person. They are their own person and they must choose their own life decisions and shape their own destiny.
In fact marriage as you know it is disposable. It is a mere festivity or event. What makes the ceremony of marriage unique and special is your own interpretation of what this event means to you. Does it change your perspective when you say I will forsake all others? Or is it just a phrase that you say at the time and do not carry with you each and every day of the rest of your life as a guiding principal? For me my vows were my ultimate commitment to the one person who made me feel complete. But this is only my point of view and may not be how the one you marry feels.
How close is too close?
If you recognize that love is the deepest emotion that one can give another. And there are no degrees of love - just love itself. Then how can you separate when you say I love my wife or I love my daughter or I love my friend? Are they all loved the same? Yes and No. For example I love my wife and I love my daughter. I express that love differently to each of them - but my love for them is the same deepest caring emotion I can muster. As for my friend it is closer to compassion than it is love. I have many emotions and feelings available to me. I can care for people, I can like someone, I can have empathy for someone and so on. But to say I love someone is the ultimate emotion that I can give. I could love a friend if that friend means that much to me - but again like my wife and my daughter I might express that love in a different way. And to come to that point where I give them my love - I am making a commitment to love them no matter how they treat me. Remember you can only give love not demand it from another.
Where people get into trouble is in thinking that love is romantic love, which leads to sex and other forms of expression. I do not believe in romantic love - only love. One can act romantically towards someone, which is an express of his or her love for this person, but the underlying emotion is Love.
So you canít fall out of Love?
No. If you love someone it is an unconditional, irrevocable emotion. If someone tells you that Iíve falling out of love with you - then they never really loved you in the first place. Hard as that may sound it is true. It hurts - believe me it really hurts - but remember you cannot demand love it must be given to you.
What if your wife says she loves you but just not that way anymore?
Then she still loves you. She still is willing to give you her deepest emotion and you should feel good about that and let her live her life - which may mean with another person or alone. Either way you still have a relationship built on love and that is better than no relationship at all. Remember there is no romantic love, just love. She will now express that same underlying love, her deepest emotion for you, in different ways or maybe the same ways but without the romantic expression. I bet if you sat down and thought about it like I did - you would find that she is still the most beautiful person in your life - she still makes you feel loved and she still cares for you like no other person.
Donít get me wrong - to loose her romantically is a huge blow and hurts like nothing else in this world and may even push you to the brink of suicide. But you have to stop thinking about yourself in these moments and just say to your self - she does still love me and I still Love her.
If you continue to keep your promises and vows even though she may break hersí then you will continue to be in her life. And that is really what you want isnít it?
This is where I am today. I do not know the decisions she will make nor the path she will take - but it is her life ultimately and if she chooses to share that life with me then I am blessed. Even if that Love is not a romantically expressed, I would rather have her in my life than not.
I wish you well as you consider my thoughts and your actions, sometimes you get hurt, but that is usually your own fault - not for loving, but for asking for and expecting something for which you do not have control - her love for you.
At the turning point for me I wrote this poem for my wife, which I felt sums up what it means to love someone.
I want to take you in my arms and hold you oh so tight,
But if I do, the beauty that is you, will never take flight.
So it is with great care on the tip of my love you sit,
As I reach you upwards toward the sky - to give you a loving lift.
And as you take flight a tear begins to fall,
For I know that you are now, most happy - being free from it all.
I am very blessed to be loved by the most beautiful lady I have ever known in my life. Some people have told me that if she returns then sheís yours to keep. I no longer believe that to be true. I would only welcome once again the wonderful opportunity to share with her my life and express my love to her for her.
I hope that by sharing part of my story and feelings with you that it will help you to take a more positive approach and actions in your relationship. Be true to be yourself. Trust the other person to always do what is right for them. Rejoice in the feeling that they are happy - which should make you happy knowing that they are. For I know that at least that way - you can rest assured that they will appreciate that you did express true love and not stand in the way of their happiness.
Best wishes and prayers to you,
Still Loving Lisa.