The Pain Now Is Part of the Happiness ThenNo one likes being the bad guy. The bearer of bad tidings is never going to win a popularity contest and people shoot the messenger. However, just like with everything else in life, relationships have a rhythm, a physics, which can’t be ignored.  No matter how much we try, things which start will eventually end.  We have no control over that process, it will happen no matter what we do. What we have control over, to some extent, is the how. In a relationship where everything is healthy, things last until the lifetime is over, then loving our partner through their ending is one of the most achingly beautiful experiences we will ever have. In a relationship which is nearing or has already ended, how we have choices on how we act and what we do and those choices have consequences.

Some people choose, for a variety of reasons, to live with the elephant in the room. Sometimes there is a herd of them wandering around the house. Life becomes a lived in yet very structured dance, like a ball from a Jane Austen novel. Everyone moves in set patterns, with mild conversation in between moves and separations, very polite, never personal or controversial, until it’s time to rest again. It’s comforting in a way because there are no surprises and nothing changes. Just two people dancing amidst a herd of elephants that wait for the truth to be spoken so they can be set free.  Others make do with what the relationship will give them and seek the missing parts elsewhere. They Frankenstein an entire partner together from the bits and pieces they get at home, at work, and with lovers or temporary interludes. Their spare time and energy is spent on making all of this work as seamlessly as possible so other things fall by the wayside and if there are any mistakes or missteps those who are invested in the relationship tend to adopt the ability to see clothes where the Emperor has none.  If it isn’t spoken of then it didn’t really happen and all can go on as it has always been.

The most common reason given for all of this effort to avoid the inevitable is that the person doesn’t want any one to hurt.  They don’t want to hurt their spouse or significant other, they don’t want to cause their children pain, and they don’t want that pain to cause damage to their lives. The problem is that relationship endings are painful no matter what we do and endings are inevitable. How we deal with them is a choice. It’s not as if the children can’t see the elephants wandering around the house. More than likely they play with them when no one is looking. It’s not as if they don’t notice that something is missing or wrong with their parents relationship, but they learn the unspoken rules even more quickly than the spoken ones and so know far more than we would like to admit about what is going on and what not to admit. So when people say they don’t want to hurt anyone by being honest, I point out that the hurt is already on its way. It’s up to them whether they will participate as fully in the ending as they did in the beginning. Whether they are as fully present for themselves and everyone else, speaking the truth and being supportive in moving forward in a positive way is up to them.