Wouldn’t It Be Nice

I started crying in the middle of Night of the Living Dead.

Not at the film, of course. My distracted thoughts reminded me it was October 5, the day that would have marked six years since I began dating my partner if I hadn’t asked for a divorce only a few weeks earlier. I had to walk out and get some fresh air, and you were the first person I thought to bother.

We’ve been at a distance since our own break-up, because who wouldn’t be, but you were fully there for me that night. You were my one friend who could relate; I’m getting divorced before most of my friends are even considering getting married. But you’re older, and really, our lives this last year have sort of paralleled each other.

The most important topic we hit that night was that we never wanted to hurt our husbands; that, because of this fact, we likely delayed the inevitable. The relationship we had built together was supposed to be a side-thing, but we both realized that we only wanted a side-thing because we weren’t getting what we needed from our primary. And, because we weren’t getting what we needed, we could never give what they needed, either – we could put on a performance, but that could only go so far.

And who wants to only be given performative acts of love?

When you love someone enough to marry them, I think there’s something there that forms that goes beyond romantic love. There are so many ways to love someone, ways that might blind us to the truth. I do believe we both still love our ex-husbands – just not in the way they need. But they’re, well, like family. We want what’s best for them, and we’ve realized we’re not that.

There’s only so much time in this world, and I’d rather all of us go back to finding new loves than committing to a futile struggle to reignite old ones. We both came to the conclusion, wouldn’t it be nice if the person being broken up with could accept that this was simply what had to be, that things would turn out better for them in the long run than if we tried to stick around? That the end of romance didn’t have to be this tragic thing, that we could all be happy we had this person in our life for this certain period of time?

Why do people only see value in love if it lasts forever?

I was in a panic that night because I had convinced myself I was eternally scarring my ex-husband. But that’s not true. He’ll grow from whatever wounds I have caused. Someday he’ll meet someone new and be thankful I let him go, so that he can experience this new wonder. Who knows how many times that cycle will repeat, for all of us? But I just want to be happy with whoever I have in the moment – if it’s for a month, a year, until the end of time.

We can talk about future plans, the things we want from a partner in the long term – and we can focus on the loves we lost until it drives us to madness. But all we ever really have is now; the future is a series of present moments we’re yet to live through. Cherish the memories, but spend that precious time with the people who love you in the current shape you take.

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