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A Love/Hate Relationship

by Elizabeth Spannuth

I have a friend that is going through a divorce and it is increasingly hard to watch. As per the usual cliché with this life altering event, love has turned to hate and things have degraded to the point that one side won’t even speak to the other. Fear of change, years of bottled resentment, and feelings of betrayal helped things to get to this point. Those are strong elements that can overshadow or outweigh whatever feelings of love remain. It is a tricky time; you want to help the person that you love get through this crisis, but the truth is most of us aren’t able to. Typically everyone must do it alone and as the yogis say, the only way out is through.

Once this period of intensity is over, sometimes people can come back to a place of honoring their former union in some way. To get to this place is a gift and it is golden for healing whatever wounds exist. My parents had the standard messy divorce full of painful accusations. My father was full of hurt and betrayal for years, but over time came to a place of honoring what he and my mother once had. At one point, he was fond of telling me “I will always love your mother.” I didn’t fully comprehend the importance of him making this admission when I was younger; I thought he was just getting lost in sentimentality. But as a divorced person I can fully appreciate this now.

Witnessing my friend dismantle his life has brought back memories of my own divorce. To my surprise, instead of this dredging up only the pain that I went through during that time, I have found myself feeling incredibly grateful for how we treated each other during the process. It was not all roses and sunshine, of course, but looking back I can say that we honored our love as best we could at the time. I often quip that “the marriage was hard, the divorce was easy.” We didn’t fight over anything, we filed the papers ourselves and 30-minutes and $350 later we had signed I don’t. We shed tears and held each other for a while both celebrating our former union and mourning the loss of it.

I still have love in my heart for my ex-husband and I would help him out if he was in a jam if I was able to. As irony would have it, as I was writing this post I found out that he was still listed as the beneficiary on my life insurance policy. Apparently the change of beneficiary form that I had sent in 6 years ago when the divorce was finalized was the wrong form and the company had not properly informed me of this. This little gem gave me chuckle. If I had kicked it, he would have gotten it all. My how my family would have been surprised! I truly bear him no ill will and if he had gotten it, I would not have come back to haunt him. But the remaining love that I have for him is not all encompassing as it once was and it has limits, some of them dollar related. Needless to say, I sent in my updated change of beneficiary form that very day.

Elizabeth Spannuthbelieves in love as a driving force in our lives. She is continually amazed by the humor at work in the universe and approaches things with a wry witticism. She firmly believes that love takes many forms as she herself has had many different kinds of meaningful, relationships.  She has said “I do” and signed “I don’t” and thanks the powers that be for giving her the grace learn from every experience. She has a varied professional background that includes performing arts training, event planning, sales and marketing planning and execution and serving as a whipping girl in corporate America. She is currently the Love Evangelist at Good Clean Love.