I am a firm believer that there are always two sides to each story. Whether we see it or not depends on how emotionally attached we are to our preferred side of it. The thing is, when we allow ourselves to be open to see the other side, there is a lot we can learn from it.
When my ex-husband and I first decided that it was time for both of us to become “unmarried” (a term that my daughter coined, and which I loved from the moment she said it. It had no stigma attached to it and all kids in her surrounding automatically understood what it meant), we did so in a very civil way. People around me were amazed and I heard many words of caution. When we split up, we had made the promise to each other that any misgivings that we might potentially have with each other, were less important than us being exemplary parents for our child. And we kept this promise through our divorce proceedings.
What we hadn’t taken into consideration is that in a 14-year marriage, even when it is falling apart you have created a certain rhythm together that puts you on the same path. Compromises were made along the way that made things work. When you separate, you are suddenly not held to these compromises anymore. And because your whole previously defined rhythm falls away, you realize that you can be the creator of your own new song. And so we did, we have started to create new music that sets the undertone for our lives. And now our songs are not complimentary anymore at all. Suddenly we don’t play in harmony, but instead create a cacophony of sounds.
While I find my new song soothing and uplifting, it seems to create a lot of resistance in my ex-husband. At first I was taken aback by the sudden change of tone between the two of us. I was ready to move forward and am on my way to creating a life that emerged as something I should have done long time ago. I am energetic and positive and feel the life flowing back through my body, where it had been shut down for a long time. But with each of us moving into different directions, we started questioning the new choices that each of us is making in creating our new lives. Now we are constantly in disagreement about the “right” parenting strategies.
Looking around, when disagreements creep in, this often seems to be the point in a break-up that ends all civility. But I wouldn’t be me, if I would not take such a point and start asking all kinds of questions of myself. I started off by wondering, what the emotion of anger is truly supposed to teach me. I let it sit for a while and wondered why every communication was touching me so deeply and was feeling like my new record had scratches and my beautiful song was skipping the beats.
And suddenly it hit me. It all started off by me asking myself, why it was so important that my ex-husband still understands my new path and appreciates the journey I am on. He doesn’t. My new way of being is not fitting into his worldview and is threatening the bubble he has created for himself and so he is heavily questioning my path.
Instead of letting it deter me, I came to the conclusion that I have a unique opportunity here. I am given the chance to create a much deeper commitment to the passion, I am following. For me the voice of self-doubt is not just secretly lurking inside my mind where I might not even notice its sabotage of my new vision. I have someone who is willing to be the spokesperson for my self-doubt. This gives me the chance to acknowledge that it is there. It also allows me to define its space in my life and inspires me to do greater things. I get to practice ways to set my boundaries and not let myself be deterred from what I truly want. But it will also send me stumbling, when I am not 100% committed.
I am sure, that my words strike his believes as well and bring up self-doubt in him. Knowing this does not mean that I will be changing the new path I am on, but it allows me to take a step back from the actual message. I can then decipher which parts where a reaction to having his sense of self threatened and which parts brought out my reaction to my self-doubt. If I let it sit long enough, I can then respond from a place of more clarity rather than being reactive.
Our songs might not play harmoniously anymore, but I can accept the fact that it is okay to live in different genres.