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.
Congratulations on your very wise decision not to get married
Thank you! I think about it frequently – I’m so lucky to have come to these realizations before the wedding, rather than after.
This was wonderfully written and inspiring. I need to show this to someone close to me who has just gone through this herself but instead of being 3 months prior to her wedding, it happened many years and 2 kids later. thank you for such a beautiful piece.
Thank you, TheOtherMe! I appreciate the kind words. I feel for your friend – I was lucky that I found everything out before the wedding, rather than after. I could have easily been in your friend’s situation, and my heart goes out to her.
Thank you Catherine, It’s actually my sister, not a friend, that’s why your piece touched me so deeply.
Having two sisters myself, I totally get it. I feel actual pain any time my sisters are hurt – it’s so different than any other relationship I’ve ever experienced. When my friends are hurt, I feel badly for them, and try to help, but it usually doesn’t cause me pain. When I see my sisters hurt, I feel personally hurt by it. I just want to fix it, make it all better! Best of luck to your sis. She’s lucky to have you looking out for her.
You probably can’t answer this, but what did he do that was so terrible?
Thanks for reading, Nathaniel. Yeah, I really don’t go into that. It’s not fair, especially since I have this forum (my blog and guest blog posts), but my ex has no forum to defend himself. And, the real focus now is me moving forward – not looking back at what he did or didn’t do.
That’s totally understandable. Still though, good for you for noticing it BEFORE you went through with the marriage.
Agreed! 🙂 Thanks for the conversation!
You already know how I feel about this. I just wanted to comment and show my support. 🙂
Another beautiful piece!
Thanks, Katie! Wrote this for the ebook, and we decided to post it on the website too. I appreciate your support – always! 🙂
Actually, I wouldn’t say that we decided to publish it here, so much as we had no choice, because everyone is out gallivanting their summer away, instead of diligently writing articles as I would’ve hoped. :-p
But seriously, I loved this piece. Glad to have you with us, Catherine!
You are such a slave driver, Dennis. Hehe jk. Either way, glad to be here 🙂 It’s fun to meet your readers!
If only more people would have the wisdom to make your choice, instead of wasting their lives with the wrong person…
Anyway, good article that makes a damn fine point. I really hope that maybe someone who is in the same situation as you were will read this and then make the right choice…
(Umm, I’m not talking about a specific person, it’s more of a general hope…)
Appreciate it Andrei B. I hope that this will show someone that even seven years in, hell 20 years in, you are capable of starting over. You make the rules in your life and you set the standards for how you deserve to be treated. That’s what I’ve learned from this. So many people don’t end unhealthy relationships “because I love him/her.” Sometimes, love simply isn’t enough. And there shouldn’t be shame in that. Sometimes, things just aren’t right, the aren’t healthy and you have to move on to fully realize that.
Thanks for your thoughts 🙂
As odd as it sounds given the circumstances, I find myself wanting to congratulate you! A great piece, and I’m so glad you were able to look at it with the perspective that you did.
Thanks, Julie. It’s not so odd – I get that a lot, actually! It’s like I was almost hit by lightening – but managed to just escape. I feel very fortunate. Thanks for reading and for your comment 🙂
That was a fabulous piece and pretty suspenseful to read. I was afraid you were going to go back to him. 🙂
LOL, Meg, you and about all my family and friends too! For months people walked on egg shells around me, waiting for us to get back together. It just wasn’t right. I’m glad you enjoyed this piece
Catherine. I loved your piece. I especially loved the part where you mentioned “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–for the first time in my life–pick me”
Powerful. Very powerful.
I loved it!
Thank you so much! I really appreciate the kind words.
I just have to echo what Anonymous said. I loved the entire post but the quoted bit is really the essence of it. Congratulations Catherine on knowing that you deserve as much as you give in a relationship and in life. To quote a famous brand – you’re worth it! I think that’s one of the biggest and most fundamental life lessons out there and you have learnt it and lived it at 25! The break up and its causes may be a reason for tears but that lesson and putting yourself first are something to celebrate.
Aww, thanks Lady Bee! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I like the way you made me feel pretty young there, too, telling me I’ve learned an important lesson at 25. Makes me feel…. all advanced… or something :). I’m going to try and celebrate more – I think that’s really important!
You really should celebrate that part more Catherine! I’m not sickeningly new age or anything, but I like to focus on the positive in situations if I can. You are not going to change the heartache of this situation but you can be proud of yourself for the stand you’ve taken.
Plus do feel young please! 25 is young, I am 25 too and I am not willing to forgo the title of “young” just yet. 😉
Yay, you’re in the fold!
And as usual you pluck at the heart strings of all who do, don’t, and want to, know what love is all about.
Thanks, Matthew 🙂 This post is pretty much a summary of what I’ve been writing about in my blog for a year – so this is not news to you 🙂 Glad I had the chance to write about it for a semi-new audience. Appreciate your support!!
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Congratulations on saying “I do” to yourself. * hugs *
Thank you – and I like that – “Say ‘I do’ to yourself” 🙂