Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Happy Endings

Sometimes I am amazed at how people end their relationships. The vitriol and acrimony is so damaging and in most cases so unnecessary. I have some friends whose short marriage is on the rocks. And while I won't allow them to say anything about the other to me, I hear from mutual friends that there the usual "he said" "she said" shit and they are both so angry when just a few short months ago they were pledging their love to each other. It's all so sad and unnecessary. What an incredible amount of energy it takes to stay angry and be unreasonable and to create the pain and agony that goes along with typical relationship endings.

It seems very illogical to expect modern relationships to be "until death do we part". When that concept became part of our marriage ceremony life expectancy was no where as long as it is now. Things happen, people change. People get married or move in together for all kinds of reasons. Not always just because they are "in love". Sometimes they even get married when they know they shouldn't be getting married, but the invites are already mailed or it would be just too embarrassing to call it off. Whatever. Relationships don't always last. Well, let me rephrase that. Many relationships that are happy, healthy and ethical (notice I didn't say monogamous), don't last, for a variety of reasons, the least is not loving each other. However, many bad relationships where people stay out of pride, because of the children, because "God" said so or just because they are to lazy, mean or ignorant to leave, last for years and sometimes for the lifetime of the participants. How sad is that?

I firmly believe that in this day and age that expecting to stay together forever, without changing the relationship in some major way is naïve and very difficult. I have been married four times (I like weddings and I like being the center of attention. . .so I keep saying yes). I can truthfully say that I ended all of the relationships on pretty good terms. And while I don't know where my first and third husbands are any more (it's been many years), nor do I see my second one often, all my interactions after we split up were more than civil. And that is because I am determined to not waste my time and energy on anger, hate and bitterness. I have better things to do with my time. Just because I can't live with someone for some reason (even a nasty reason like infidelity) doesn't mean that I quit loving someone or that I can't leave the relationship with class and style.

What about my fourth husband? Steve and I are still wonderful friends. In fact, we have a dinner and hot tub date planned in a couple weeks. He has recently hired one of my partners to do some work around his (formally our) house. One of my other partners sees him occasionally also. And while we no longer have sex or do BDSM, we still maintain a warm and loving relationship.

It didn't happen by accident. We actually planned it this way. Neither of us quit loving each other, we just didn't want to live together anymore. After 11 years of marriage our lives took different paths. It was that simple. (Well a tiny bit more complicated than that, but that's another post).

One of the things we did when we separated was to create a separation document that not only dealt with the objective issues that faced us (housing, money, etc) but with the more subjective issues that we were encountering. The following paragraph was written by my ex and was part of the separation agreement that we both signed and had notarized. Later when we divorced, we had the full agreement put into our divorce papers. We have a commitment to each other that didn't end when the marriage ended.

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33. Steve and Allena understand that many details of this Agreement will only be possible to carry out if both parties are fully cooperative. It is the intention of Steve and Allena, as life-long friends that are deeply respectful of the other's needs and expectations, to find solutions to all problems that may arise in as a cooperative and respectful way as possible. It is our intention, no matter what happens with our house and our status as a legally married couple, that our relationship will last all our lives as a loving and caring friendship. The eleven years we have spent being married have been completely worthwhile. Steve said to Allena in their marriage ceremony on September 22, 1991 that Allena was the "best thing that ever happened" to him. Steve and Allena believe to this day that this marriage was the best thing that ever happened to both of them. Their ability to make this transition to living apart and separating certain aspects of their livelihood is testimony to the depth of their caring relationship. We love each other very much.

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Reading it today still brings tears to my eyes.

My plan now is to write a book, called Happy Endings. It won't be just about me and Steve, it will also be about others who also have altered and changed a relationship with style and class and in ways that are life affirmative.

To that end, I ask you, my readers (if anyone's out there) to send me your stories. Have you a Happy Ending to share?

Thanks

Allena

1 comment:

me me me me me said...

Currently in an relationship which is changing and evolving in ways I never could have imagined.

Being open to ideas and discussions can really make a lota difference.