Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Only Temporary: Heartbreak's Impermanence

I sat the other day in the office of our marriage counsellor. "I just don't know," I admitted, "if I can really get past this."
I know people who do. Who have, in fact, gotten past their partner's infidelity.
I know people who will tell you that their marriage has never been better.
The cynic in me always wants to point out that it's not hard to have a better marriage than the one in which your spouse was cheating on you. But I usually manage to keep my mouth shut.
But even as I said the words to my marriage counsellor – "I just don't know if I can really get past this" – I had to acknowledge that, three years ago, I would have told you I couldn't get past a day without sobbing uncontrollably. Usually somewhere highly public. Grocery stores seemed to be my Waterloo and I inevitably broke into tears somewhere around the cereal aisle. 
Now, I can go weeks without tears, unless I happen to watch some saccharine Nicholas Sparks movie.
My point, of course, is that my heart has healed. Not completely, mind you. And it seems a whole lot more fragile in some ways, stronger in others. 
But it's something I wish I had been able to trust back in the early days post-discovery.
This too shall pass.
Even if I'd known that, I don't think it would have diminished the pain by one iota. But it might have prevented my descent into total despair.
It might have given me the strength to keep on getting out of bed, rather than wishing that I could just go to sleep...forever.
I came across this recently in an e-mail newsletter I receive:
Time may dull the pain of a broken heart, but it is fully feeling your pain and acknowledging it that will truly help you heal. Dealing with your heartache in a healthy way rather than putting it off for tomorrow is the key to repair. Gentleness more than anything else is called for. Most important, open yourself to the possibility of loving, trusting, and believing again. When, someday soon, you emerge from the cushion of your grief, you will see that the universe did not cease to be as you nursed your broken heart. You emerge on the other side of the mending, stronger for all you have experienced. 

My wish for anyone going through this pain is that they, too, trust that they'll come out the other side. Different, for sure. But if you've done the hard work of healing yourself, you'll find gifts that will serve you well, regardless of whether your marriage survives. You, I promise, will survive. 

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