With all of the love in my life and excitement of a wedding in the very near future, I'm amazed that there's still a sting when October 27 comes up. I'm just not entirely sure what to do with it.
The strange thing is that I don't associate the date with my first wedding, I associate it with April 26, 2005, the day that Stephanie moved out. I can't think of any time in my life that I've been more in pieces than that day and the following weeks.
A whole lot of time has passed since then. I went through my anger and bitter phases pretty quickly I think. I mean, this wasn't a situation of not loving each other or hating each other. At first it was about her needing to figure out her life, and later I realized that I needed to figure out my own as well. In the end, we both knew it was the right thing, and I suspect we're both a lot happier than we were.
I think there are two reasons the day makes me sad. The first is that I had a best friend for a decade, and she's not there anymore. We still chat online now and then, or trade e-mail, but obviously it's nothing like it was. There's a certain shock to the system when something that was that intense for so long simply ceases to exist. What I've tried to do, mostly with success, is be as thankful as I can to have had the experience with her, and celebrate those good times (yeah, I know that's right out of a Dido song). Even with the obvious flaws in our relationship, there was a lot of love there, and it was a good thing. It's a permanent part of who I am. I genuinely think it was a privilege to be married to her.
The second thing that makes me sad is that I feel like I have this mammoth failure on my permanent record. This one is a little harder to negotiate. The best I've been able to do is allow myself to understand that given my life's experience at the time, I did the best I could. I truly believe that. My experience since has shown that the way any two people interact is completely unlike how those two people would interact with others. In other words, I can only take responsibility for half of the failure.
I remember thinking in college that relationships simply replaced the previous relationship. Now I understand that it isn't the way it works. Relationships are additive. I'll always be Stephanie's former husband, just as I'll always be an ex-boyfriend to others. I don't want to forget about those times because a lot of them were good! Going forward, I'll still have all of that as components of me. And on top of that, I'll be a husband again.
I'm thankful to no end that Diana is able to accept all of the pieces that make up me. She doesn't expect me to ignore them or pretend they didn't happen. I think that being with someone who acknowledges your history allows for a certain amount of self-affirmation. It never hurts to have a little help to be OK with yourself.