Fault Lines

We’re all at fault for something.  It might be something huge and deliberate or something small and unavoidable.  No matter how pure our intentions as we navigate through this world we cannot help but disrupt people we care about with collateral damage.  Through the heartache of my messy break-up part of me wanted desperately to remain blameless.  I wanted everyone to know how much I loved her, how much I tried, how much I wanted to make things work.  I wanted my friends and family to know.  I wanted her friends and family to know.  I wanted her to know. Maybe I thought the more people I could convince the more I might make it true.  I wanted to cry out ‘it wasn’t my fault’.  But that’s not true.  Not entirely.

For the most part, accepting no blame in a failed relationship isn’t realistic.  At the very least we make a choice to initiate the relationship and have some part in its conclusion.  I made the hard choice to move out regardless of my feelings for her or for us.  In moving out I put her in a difficult position and no amount of love or good intentions helped to ease her burden.  Her loved ones only saw the suffering she was left with and the bad guy that abandoned her.

In my mind I would rail against her for the blame she piled on me.  I would pour out in print arguments to every point; for how I tried to help and support her and how much of her current situation was based on choices made long before me.  And then I would blame her, for forcing me out and not being more accepting.  I don’t regret the choice I had to make, but I resent having to make it.  I remember telling the therapist that she was my ideal woman except she didn’t accept me, or my kids.  It sounded so right in my head, but so wrong when spoken aloud.  I realized that part of the sadness that overwhelmed me was simply anger.  I was so stuck on whether I quit the relationship prematurely that I dismissed all the times I didn’t.  All the times I tried to make it work.  All the times we fought over the same issues.  All the times we split, knowing there was no resolution.  When she turned around and found someone new I was pissed.  I was pissed that she would never change for me; she would never fully accept me or my kids for who we are.  Never.  There was no more hope that things would turn around.  No more chance at a future together.  There was no more path forward.

I understand there’s a strong case for both sides, I mean how much change is it fair to expect from someone?  Wanting to be accepted for who you are is just the other side of the coin to accepting that some people can’t change.  In the end, she just wouldn’t or couldn’t change for me, so she found someone else, someone who, at least from the start, seems less likely to present with the same limitations we ran in to.  I may not be able to fault her for that, just because we couldn’t find a way doesn’t mean we stop looking, but it breaks my heart that someone else should benefit from all my efforts and enjoy the woman I wanted because I couldn’t make her change.  No amount of love can force someone to be who they are not.  I tried to the point of sacrificing my own sense of self just to hold on to her.  To us.  But it wasn’t enough, just as she must have felt when she tried to plead for me to move back in regardless of whether things had changed between us or not.

I struggle over the memory of love shared.  I convince myself of the purity of that love.  I’m not sure if this is just another defense mechanism, to feel that I loved her more and that this somehow lessens my fault, or if I just want the love itself to be meaningful and significant even if only in memory. I thought again about the Proust quote “It is our imagination that is responsible for love, not the other person” and wonder if this is even more prevalent after the relationship has ended.

In the end none of it matters.  Regardless of fault or blame the fact remains that the relationship is over.  There is no path forward.  Beautiful or flawed as it may be distilled in my heart I cannot affect her narrative of the events that brought us to where we are today. Nor can I alter the opinions of others or their perception for how I left it. I am not blameless.  I can take responsibility for the choices I made and the hurt I caused through my actions while rejecting the minutia I had no control over.  Life is messy.  We make bad choices.  We make mistakes.  And we try to move on, navigating the inevitable fault lines that block our path to happiness.


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21 thoughts on “Fault Lines”

  1. People are neither all good or all bad. Relationships are usually a mix of good and bad also. Often people fall in love with the idea of someone and not the actual person.

  2. I think when a relationship fails to work out the least we can do is respect the time we spent on it and not point fingers. It’s usually something that happens gradually until one of you gets tired of the whole thing and finally speaks out. It’s the little things that pile up together.

  3. Human Beings are full of emotions. It is just another humans who don’t understand about our species at all. They quickly judge without even thinking. Maybe people should be open regardless whatever they are facing.

  4. I hear ya. Life is messy. We all just make the best of what it throws at us. The fact that you’re coming to terms with all this is great. Some relationships fail to make way for new ones. It’s not always easy, but always worth it.

  5. What a great post. I totally agree, coming to terms with the end of a relationship is so important in order to move forward. When my first marriage ended after 11 years I really struggled to move on, but when I found that closure I realised it was the path I was supposed to take.

  6. That’s so true! You’ll always find yourself in some piece of mess even when you thought you were doing everything so right!Even in relationships but the best thing is cutting out the blame game and move forward!Great read!

  7. Great post! A true reflection of life – we are so used to playing the blame game with our loved ones. It’s also important that we don’t just expect others to accept their faults, but we recognise our own faults too. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’ve been in a similar situation in the past. It is amazing how we’re willing to overlook major flaws just to be with that person. It is always for the best when the relationship finally ends, but we don’t realize it until months or years later.

  9. I am with you. You cannot go back and try to figure out who was at fault for what. Even if I think it’s human nature to do so. We don’t like blame per say. But both parties are somewhat at fault for a failed relationship, even if one person did most of the damage.

  10. What’s interesting is this piece is so close to home. Reading it, I thought my ex had written this under a fake name to get my attention almost.

    It’s beautiful. It’s raw. It’s real. Thank you for being vulnerable.

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