The anatomy of a relationship is comprised of many intricate parts, and when it begins to fall apart, there are many subtle and not so subtle signs if we have the courage to see them and name them for what they are. It is a slow erosion that gradually washes away the coastline, inch by beautiful inch. It is a cancer that spreads silently and insidiously until one day too late it is discovered and it is already in the bones.
If you are brave enough to look, lean in and listen for breath and feel for pulse, you will know the relationship is on its deathbed. And these tiny deaths in a relationship open the door to the end. When the connection shrinks, that is when partners become vulnerable to the things that finally kill the parts of the relationship that are still alive and desperately trying to hang on to survive. The insidious covert devaluation that happens before the final discard makes you question your own reality and allows them to murder you a little bit every day with clean hands and an even cleaner conscience.
In retrospect, the harbingers of doom were at our doorstep; the bellwether of change was all around us. It’s just so easy to look away and deny it.
The slow pulling away is palpable. You feel it in your gut but try to dismiss it.
When they have met someone else, this new partner comes to bed with you and you feel them right there beside you. Things are imperceptibly different: the ways he makes love feels altered as if the intimacy might belong to someone else. And then there are the ways he can’t make love anymore. If she’s right there in the room, sometimes it becomes impossible.
Sooner or later, the relationship founders and sinks to the bottom of the sea. And with this tragic loss, there are things a couple must go through together in order to free themselves from the wreckage and swim to safety.
There is no set order of events or prescription for calling it quits, but there are steps we take together in order to make sense of it all, process it, and lay the groundwork for closure in the months and years to follow. There are rules, expectations, codes of conduct that govern how to come to the place of ending a relationship in ways that do the least damage and leave each person intact. The failure of a love…