Choosing Light Over Darkness

Choosing Light Over Darkness
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I’m in a serious relationship and it’s going really well. I’ve written some about that here. My romantic friend (who I’ll refer to as ‘Lea’) and I are having tons of fun.

For me, however, one of the biggest relationship challenges has been acknowledging that her ex-husband (‘Nel’) is still in the picture. He’s still in the picture partly because their divorce isn’t yet finalized. But he’s also in the picture because he and Lea are co-parenting; they are raising two terrific girls together.

I’m, of course, no relationship expert and I’ve never been married, but Nel’s behavior – towards Lea and also regarding my presence in her life – has been, to say the least, consistently troubling.

Nel yearns for control, and for relevance in Lea’s life. He’s also been hostile about me from the very beginning.

What people will do when they don’t like you or a particular situation never ceases to amaze me. It’s been particularly awkward because Nel and I don’t engage with each other directly. He voices his concerns about me through Lea, mostly via text. This is a man whose preferred method of communication is an ultimatum or a threat. Whether it’s a daft proclamation about a restraining order against me or worries that I may have too many possessions in Lea’s tiny house (where he now refuses to even pick his children up at), he’s a bully in the most basic sense of the word.

While I understand that divorce is not something neat nor easy, I don’t see Nel rethinking his destructive, selfish and, ultimately, mean behavior any time soon. And so that’s compelled me to do a lot of thinking over the past month or so.

A woman that I care about so much is still connected – largely through their children – to an evil-acting man. And that connection – that has nothing to do with Lea and I – is now part of my reality. On almost a daily basis, this fundamental realization generates a whole mess of emotions in me: sadness, frustration, and disappointment, to name a few. Yet there is another side to all of this. There is something really good coming out of these reflections and realizations. There is beauty, tenderness and light in this seemingly dark truth.

Everyone has baggage and stuff and a history and a past. And nobody’s perfect; I know that I’m deeply flawed.

Follow the light.

As much as I dislike and am frustrated by the behavior of this man, that doesn’t come close to all the positive stuff. I’ve thought carefully about this and it really doesn’t. It doesn’t come close to how happy Lea makes me or how good we are together. It doesn’t come close to what are literally tears of joy that have come to me at the most random moments – because I’m that happy. It doesn’t come close to our “buzz” or our team.

Follow the light.

Emotion can be so powerful. I know what it’s like to feel that power take a turn towards the dark and ugly. I know what it’s like to let the darkness drown out all the light. But this time feels different. This time is different. This time I’m managing the darkness and keeping the negative in perspective. I’m fighting the monsters – not with confrontation or rage – but with equanimity and candor – with perspective that doesn’t come without a lot of pain and a lot of tears.

Follow the light.

Pain provides perspective. Difficulties bring clairvoyance. And love really can defeat hatred and malice.

The road ahead is well-lit.

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