Love Conquers All
“I’m 95 percent positive that we’ll be canceling the wedding, and I wanted to see if we could get our deposit back,” I wrote that April day.
This was the wedding venue for which I’d searched for months, the address that was printed eloquently on the invitations that were going out in just one week. This is where, in three short months, I was supposed to say “I do” to the man I had loved for seven years. Yet, here I was, about to cancel our reservation.
I was really 95 percent positive that my life was over. I had just spent days being a crazy-eyed sleuth, searching through emails and internet files, receipts and browsing histories, realizing minute by minute that my fiancé was not the man he said he was.
The lies–big and small–started to stack up. I could almost see them in a pile in front of me. He told me that I now knew everything. Yet, the pile got taller. No, now I knew everything, he claimed, but the pile continued to grow. He stood in front of me and told me that he was sorry, that he had changed, that all he wanted in the world was to marry me. What he didn’t know was that the pile of lies had grown so deep, so tall, it was now a mountain through which I could no longer see him.
I couldn’t go through with the wedding. No amount of work on this relationship would prepare me to put on my ivory, sweetheart dress and walk down that aisle. No amount of couples counseling would make me look past the mountain of lies and see the man that I had loved so deeply.
One evening, we invited his parents over, to tell them that the wedding was off. This beautiful couple, who had been married for forty years, were dumbfounded at our decision. We made it clear that he was to blame for the breakup, but didn’t go into the sordid details of what he had done. It wasn’t their business, and it wasn’t my place to ruin their perception of him.
As angry and as sad as I was, I didn’t want anyone else to see him the way I now did. I wanted to protect them from seeing their own son through the mountain of lies I now saw him through.
“You love each other so much. Certainly you can make this work,” was their reply.
“People make mistakes,” his mother said, in defense of her youngest son. She desperately wanted to see him get married, have children. It’s what we’d all been building up to, wasn’t it? We hadn’t survived a kidney transplant, car accidents, disagreements and seven years to throw it all away three months before the wedding.
And then his father, this wonderful man who I’d always hoped my husband-to-be would grow to be like, imparted his wisdom upon us. “Love conquers all. I know you two can work through this.”
I struggled with his words. I felt incredible guilt. Perhaps I didn’t love my fiancé enough? Maybe this was a failing on my part; maybe I wasn’t strong enough to forgive him. Here was a couple who had been married 40 years, who had made it through their share of hard times. Didn’t they know better than I did?
But inside, I knew love couldn’t conquer all. Love doesn’t conquer lies. Love doesn’t conquer abuse. Love doesn’t conquer mistrust so deep that every single word, every missed call, every late night at work is questioned, analyzed.
For days, his family called me. They checked in on me because they cared, but they also tried to change my mind. They reminded me repeatedly that love conquered all.
And as much as I loved them (after seven years, they were my family too), I asked them to stop calling me. I couldn’t breathe under the pressure, and my life had become a daily struggle to get out of bed and find a way to put my life back together.
I had to find a new place to live; I needed to pack all my stuff up; I had to cancel the wedding of my dreams; and I had to start over. I had to find a way to stop my constant quest to uncover every last lie; the detective work had taken over my life. I had to start over after my entire adulthood–18 through 25–was spent loving this man.
July 10 was my unwedding day. That day, my two sisters and my best friend took me to the beach. I woke up to watch the sunrise, only to have it obscured by the clouds and tears in my eyes. I cried so much that I saw the world through the salty film on my contacts; I cried so much that my stomach hurt and my heart felt like it literally was breaking.
As I sat on the beach, simply trying to make it through what, in another world, would have been the best day of my life, I realized his parents were right. How had I been so dumb? They were 100 percent right. Love does conquer all.
I wished that I had realized this earlier. My journey may have been easier. I would have been able to see it all more clearly.
Love conquers all. But they were mistaken. It’s not love for another that conquers all. It’s love for yourself.
I loved myself enough to know that not only did I want better, I deserved better. I loved myself enough to get out of a relationship that would have eventually torn me apart with lies and distrust. I loved myself enough to–for the first time in my life–pick me. I had spent years building the relationship with him, but I couldn’t remember the last time I worked on the relationship I had with myself.
I loved myself enough to give myself another chance. Another chance at love, at trust, at respect, at a future not marred by lies.
Love does conquer all. Of this, I’m 100 percent positive.