I’ve recently come out of a 10 year relationship. That’s not exactly right. I’ve recently been booted out of a 10 year, 8 month, 5 day relationship. Never mind the details. Getting dumped is getting dumped no matter how you dress it up.
I’m working through the recovery process. In matters of the heart forget the typical five stages of grieving (denial, depression, anger, bargaining and acceptance). My theory is that you can gauge your healing process by the content of your fantasies.
Initially I envisioned my heart’s desire finding me walking the wind swept cliffs of New England. As I turn and the wind swirls my skirts he approaches me determined to reclaim his paramour ala Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. He sweeps me into his arms and professes his never ending love and desire for yours truly. Never mind that I live in Indiana and the closest things we have to wind swept cliffs are guardrails on the interstate. Disregard that my lost man is an accountant. The only time he becomes a tortured soul is at tax time.
Later, as incremental doses of reality and sanity seep back into my psyche, I begin to daydream about a benign crisis that throws us together. In a plot torn from the script of Twister my leading man realizes that it’s me he wants instead of the gorgeous gal pal fading into the background. At first, I resist and make him atone for his lapse in judgment but, eventually, I surrender.
Further into the process I begin to create my fantasies in more reasonable settings. After settling into a comfortable platonic friendship my former love asks me to accompany him to a business associate’s company Christmas party. He is smitten by my new self confidence, my size 6 frame and form (hey – it’s still my fantasy!) and the familiarity of my perfume. As the evening progresses he calculates the risk and asks me to dance. We have a wonderful evening. He drives me home, walks me to the door and kisses me goodnight. As he walks toward his vehicle he turns on his heel and returns to me. His next kiss promises everything except “goodnight.”
And finally, at his funeral I am picked up by one of the guests.
I suppose the ultimate recovery signal will be when I wake up, proceed with my day into the evening and finally to bed without thinking about him every hour. When my mind no longer constructs scenarios that keep him in my life; when thinking about a life without him doesn’t seem quite so bleak, then I will know that I have completed the process. Clearly, I’m not there yet.