Breaking up is hard to do


Breaking up is hard to do

Breaking up IS hard to do, but some people make it insurmountable.
I just ran into a good friend, we have a lot in common, let’s call her Wonder Woman. Around the middle of last year, she abruptly ended a relationship of close to 20 years. It was a stealth bomb maneuver, no one, not her partner (for the sake of clarity, let’s call the partner, ‘the Ex’), not her friends and not even Wonder Woman herself saw it coming. But that’s Wonder Woman, she’s an all or nothing sort of girl.
Anyway, I asked Wonder Woman how she’d spent such a glorious Hobart Sunday morning. She told me she’d decided to hit the beach. Not any old beach; the beach she likes most in southern Tasmania and the beach Wonder Woman and the Ex spent their summers on. I asked her how she’d felt about potentially running into the Ex at the beach and she told me she’d thought it might happen but that she needed to continue on life’s trajectory and she was looking forward to cool water and hot rays.
So she told me there were only a few families on the beach this morning. Is there any other place you can go on a 30 degree day and enjoy such peaceful surrounds? She swam in water calm and transparent, and then read shaded in part by lazy she-oaks.
I take my hat off to Wonder Woman, when the Ex turned up she took it in her stride, called out ‘hullo!’ I know Wonder Woman’s preference is for less animosity between them. I guess she thought she was reaching out, it would be silly to ignore the situation.
What transpired was a rant-fest. Apparently she missed the public signage that said she was no longer welcome there. It went on, blah blah, you shouldn’t be at this beach, it’s my space, this is were I live, yadda yadda, no one likes you anymore, rant rant, you’re nothing.
Oh my god I said. She was resigned, well you know the Ex she said.
The thing about Wonder Woman I appreciate, is that she won’t take things lying down. So she got up off her beach towel and strode down towards the Ex. She said ‘Hey Ex! You don’t have to yell at me down the beach like that. I’m not bothering you. We’re two people who live in this town together, we’ve got to find a way of being in the same space sometimes.’
Wonder Woman tells me it went from bad to worse and it was interrupted by people nearby reminding them they were not the only people on the beach and children were listening.
By this stage, I had a pretty good image of the showdown, and I'm keen to know, ‘What happened then?!?!’
Wonder Woman tells me she then saw the little kids on the beach and said, absolutely, you’re right, I’m so sorry and walked off.
She tells me she’d planned to leave around that time but decided to stay on and read a bit more lest the Ex form the mistaken view that the little confrontation had rattled her.
I tell her I’m really sorry that she’d had that experience and I wonder out loud about whether she will alter what she does in the future because of the scene. It’s pretty clear the Ex is struggling to find peace and resolution. It’s pretty clear that the Ex has some interesting perspective on appropriate public behaviour.
Like the Wonder Woman I have learnt over years to love and admire, she is determined, resolute.
I hope one day, the Ex will move on in peace and with forgiveness, she says.
But I won’t I be limited by the Ex, or anyone.
I will take up my space in the world.
I have a right to be here.
Well I said, I can’t argue with that.
And it made me think about breaking up. Nobody says ending a relationship is not painful but everyone of us decides how we cope and we decide the person we want to be. You can make breaking up as hard or as easy as you want to. At the end of the day, you’ve got one life, live and let live.
How have you moved on in the past?