Breakups Aren't Necessarily A Sign That Something Went Wrong.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 3.618% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I’m holding a party this November to commemorate my victory over my wife’s ex-husband. They were married for seventeen years – and on November 22nd, I’ll have been married to her for longer than he was.
And you know why I love my wife?
She doesn’t regret her first marriage.
She regrets a lot of the things that happened in the marriage – she wouldn’t have divorced him if there weren’t issues, natch. But at the time she met her husband, what she needed was stability to counteract the dysfunctionality of her broken family, and someone who matched her work ethic, and someone who was nicer than her family.
He was perfect for her when she was twenty.
But years later, when he wanted a stay-at-home, trophy wife who’d help advance his career and she wanted to be a little goofy and explore life, well, the fights started. And never stopped.
She’d become something different, and he hadn’t. And that divergence was heartbreaking, but it happens.
And when she went to the Catholic Church to have the marriage annulled, they told her that she would have to claim the marriage “was never a valid relationship.” And she refused. She’d had two strong, smart children with him. She’d had a lot of good times. He’d been good for her in a lot of ways.
To this day, she’s still not remarried in the Church. She left that behind rather than telling people her marriage had never been good.
It just… wasn’t good now.
And yeah. There are abusive relationships and dysfunctional mismatches and all sorts of breakups that happened because two people were never meant to be with each other and probably shouldn’t have tried. I don’t deny those.
But there’s also relationships where people were good for each other at the start, nourishing each other to grow. But the problem with growth is that you can’t always control where it goes, and sometimes all that love poured into each other has you discovering different things about each other.
You become transformed into someone else. And that new person – or people – aren’t healthy for each other any more.
Which sounds terrifying, and on some levels it is. People aren’t robots you can program, and sometimes you help someone to take flight and they discover they need more sky than you can offer.
Yet I think you can control that growth to some extent by showing an interest in what your partner does – you don’t have to fling yourself hip-deep into their every new passion, but listen when they talk. Be attentive, keep your insecurities reasonable, and make their new hobby – be that kink, or quilting, or football – something that they can come to you and feel good about sharing at the end of the day.
Too many people shrug off new interests with “I don’t care about that, let them do what they want.” The more you can keep yourself organically entwined in all the aspects of their lives, the more likely it is that that growth will continue to include you even if you’re not a part of the Kinky Quilters’ Football League.
Me? I’ve got lots of ex-girlfriends. Some of them were just bad for me. Yet others, well, it didn’t end well – but like my wife, I can’t say the relationship wasn’t valid. They helped me to become someone newer, and better, and ill-suited for what they could offer then – or I helped them to learn something that made them realize that I couldn’t get them to the next level.
Painful? Yep.
Discouraging? You betcha.
“Never valid”?
Not in a thousand years.
(Inspired by a post by @Brittunculi over on FetLife: Breakups Are Often The Gift We Never Knew We Needed.)

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