breakup


i have decided on the supremely mature act of cutting off all contact with my expartner, as far as i am able to given that i’m still in the difficult and challenging situation of having to share my home with her until she moves out.

at this point, there is no other way forward for the following reasons.

every conversation we’ve had so far has eventually ended in a recitation of past wrongs. In this game, there is no winner. For every wrong she presents, i present another. we compare each wrong, debate its merits over the other one and proceed to the next. Over six years of a dysfunctional open relationship, the list of broken trusts can be extensive. The result of this arms race, as with every other type of vicious cycle, is the same destructive stalemate of mutual blame.

to break the cycle is unfortunately not so easy. the most obvious step is to take the initiative, admit culpability and apologise as sincerely as one can. This could in theory bring about a shift in the other and initiate a virtuous cycle of heartfelt apology and forgiveness leading the way to reconciliation. The key to this is ability, sincerity and a modicum of sanity. None of which i have in abundance at this point.

My voices of reason are so stilled in this matter that my position is now unassailable and completely righteous. I will not apologise as I have done no wrong. I will not forgive as no amount of apology is now sufficient. My intellectual recognition that this is absurd makes no difference. The emotional mass of my situation has warped the fabric of my judgement.

The next strategy is therefore to avoid committing or witnessing fresh atrocities. This too is difficult as the post-breakup emotional terrain, not unlike physical border wars, is unmarked, ever shifting and deeply mined. Small actions take on major significance. Every act is an act of war. every wound requires retaliation, demands justice. In this battlefield, time becomes unreliable as the past alters itself subtly and sometimes not so subtly to add moral rationale for every new outrage. Single actions now become a history of abuse. Mistakes and misunderstandings take on the level of immutable personality traits. Every single happy memory is rounded up, shot and buried in mass graves.

Mediation is the final obvious choice. By bringing in a neutral party, perhaps a trusted friend, perhaps a paid professional, some form of truce can be negotiated, damage limited, reality safeguarded and conversations de-escalated. The first difficulty here is the finding of trusted neutral parties. Trust is in now such short supply, betrayal or the assumption of betrayal so much a part of life, and the justice of one’s cause so self-evident that there is no longer any real ability to distinguish neutrality from enmity. The phrase “for me or against me” takes on new resonance, new meaning. People are now judged by the level of contact and the type of association with the enemy. Signs are found in their voices, in their behaviour, in the appropriateness of their response. Loyalty pledges may become essential.

Finally, even if such a paragon of humanity is discovered and accepted by both, there is the now unanswerable question.

To what end? For what purpose?

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