Scallywag

To have joy one must share it. Happiness was born a twin.

~ Lord Byron ~

Is there Life After Love?

January 21st, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 25 secs

Life after love is a tough prospect.

I’m not quite sure what Cher concluded in her song about love. I just recall the refrain, her wondering if someone was really strong enough, plus a few “whoa-ho”s and “No-no”s. But it is a good question: is there life after love?

Upfront, I have been spoilt. Ruined by a loving relationship covering 35 years. So I can only comment as an observer. Having only had one girlfriend beforehand, my firsthand experience is limited. She and I went out for a year, broke up, then briefly got back together again a few years on. Though we were kids, I do believe a long love at whatever age, seems to mean just as much.

Think about how you felt when you were first in love. It’s a commanding influence in anyone’s life; a reason not only for being together but to enjoy being yourself. Then, wham! It was over. For whatever reason, no more love. Every thought thus far constructed started to disassemble, unraveling a part of you in the process.

Is there life after love? Seeing people I care about lose the closeness of a loving relationship, it’s obvious their grief was intense. Like a death, their loss was overwhelming. And every time, friends said to me, it would have been easier in some ways had their former partner died. As if it would have released some extra element of pain and helped them pick up life’s pieces.

In the context of marriage, life after love often means surviving divorce. In which case, it seems to take a few years to make a new life happen. Not a redo of being beforehand, but a new life, willing to consider new love.

Given its frequency, others can be incredibly carefree about something so decimating as divorce or straight break ups. But these are major events, often taking a long time to overcome. Like a death, the pain of loss can be excruciating, as the interlocking fibers of what makes us beings keeps ripping apart.

Is there life after love? I think Cher’s words about being “strong enough” are only half the story. Much more than strength, separation calls us to make sense of the whole nonsensical noise of breakup. Stripping the meaning off everything that has ever been said, and feeling old tendernesses turn into torments. Suddenly, every memory needs reinterpreting to make sense. Without love there has to be a new point. Nobody can do that without a great weight of emotion. By its very nature, finding new life after the loss of love must be a tortuous process. Togetherness demands that price. Which is why a life of love is truly a lifelong risk of enormous proportions.

Is it neat? No. People talk of flashbacks and momentary remembrances, all muddied with conflicting feelings. Even years later, the power of a once loving relationship cannot be underrated. But it seems there is a point where things start getting better. Where life returns after love. Nobody would want to pay such a high price, but these are always the stakes of honesty, intimacy, and trust. When relationships break, friends say there will always be a scar. A wound that never quite heals, though others may forget it’s there.

Having a life after love in unthinkable, and impossible to prepare. But it is possible, doable, and ultimately part of the journey if it happens that life takes you there.

 

But what have you experienced? Have you had a personal encounter of life after love?

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