The decline of a relationship is perhaps one of the saddest events you may ever endure for a variety of reasons, even more so than death. At least with death, there is a definite end that happens during the passage of time. Sometimes, I’m sure one could argue that the same is true for relationships, and in some cases, there is an actual event that directly leads to a dissolution. But more often than not I think that the end of a relationship comes in little micro deaths. Small pieces of romance, passion, and respect die along the way. It is almost like a starving animal. You search for sustenance to replace the nutrients you have lost. Maybe you take up a new hobby or try to exercise to fill the void. Perhaps you both realize it is happening and seek counseling or some other outside help. I’m sure there are couples who have had some success in treating the starving relationship, both of them nourishing it until it bounces back maybe even stronger than before. I envy those people, I’m a little jealous that they are able to succeed, don;t get me wrong, I’m happy for them, but a little piece of me wonders why I don’t have what it takes to fix the dying beast. So I’m not talking about the success stories, they have their place, but this is not it.
I’m talking about recognizing that moment, the moment that begins the disease. Was it a conversation, a glance, what was it exactly? Perhaps that actual moment is something that we don’t even perceive and as it slowly dies, you begin to realize that something is amiss. Maybe you notice little tiny facial expressions that don;t match the words you hear. Maybe it is just absolute contempt staring you in the face. Or, maybe it is somewhere in between. Every relationship that dies has its own symptoms. A couple things I know that are facts: It takes generally two people to make or break any relationship and one person cannot fix it on their own no matter how hard they try.
I’ve had a struggling relationship for years. We ebb and flow through the motions of matrimony but I have sensed the starving animal for some time and no matter how hard I feel I have tried, it would appear that we are grasping our final breaths ready to slip into the abyss that has been looming for so very long. There have been many moments along the way but the quintessential dagger for me was a look I happened to catch at a time when she didn;t think I was looking or could see. It was one of those looks that laid out the entire truth. It is something that I cannot unsee, ever. It struck me to my core and I knew that at that very moment…there was no coming back. People show their true colors in the shadows where they think no one is looking, but sometimes the contemptuousness is so dark and forceful that nothing can hide it. And that is what I saw. A deep seeded disgust and disdain that will be burned in my mind forever. That was the moment, I knew we weren’t coming back. Ever.
We never start relationships with the intention of them ending. We have high hopes, aspirations of continuing passion, and the belief that your relationship is stronger, better, more enduring, than all other relationships and you think, “We can never fail!” And yet years down the road, you see that look that sums up the final shovel of dirt covering the coffin. And the end is so sad. All of your good intentions and positive outlooks have been dashed on the rocky shores. Something good that you once had is gone, time has passed and you find yourself at another beginning. You think, “This time will be different.” Maybe it will be.