Relationships: Giving Your Partner Permission to Move On
Photo: Gary Houlder/Getty Images.
I recall reading with great fascination a New York Times article back in May 2017, where acclaimed children’s author Amy Krouse Rosenthal wrote her husband’s soon-to-be dating profile. Or actually it was more like a want ad.
She seemed to be looking for his future second wife, which blew my mind. I had to read it multiple times to actually process it. The piece was titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband,” and I’m not kidding when I say I read it every time with my mouth agape and with equal parts fascination and horror. A healthy mix of 50 per cent shame, because I don’t even like to share my living husband with the actresses he gets to make out with for living, and 50 per cent respect. Respect that a dying woman would be able to put herself aside and think of her husband’s future. (As if there wasn’t enough for her to be having a huge pity party over, with dying too young being the main one.)
I applauded her. I wept for her. And then I worshipped her bravery, her humour, her kindness and her selflessness. Knowing that your young life is coming to an abrupt halt and that you have zero power to turn that ship around must be, well, to put it bluntly, utterly shitty.
I cannot imagine leaving this earth before getting the chance to witness all the firsts that my three remarkable daughters will have in their lifetimes. Well, I guess I should be realistic. There will be many firsts that I will have to miss because I’m not likely to live long enough to witness them become great-grandmothers, but you know what I’m saying. It’s hard to fathom possibly not getting the chance to watch them graduate, marry (should they choose to), start a family (should they want to). All those firsts.
Then there is the soul-crushing thought of not growing old with my soulmate, with whom I’ve weathered so many life storms already. Wouldn’t it be a pisser to not get to a more death-appropriate age than 51, which was how old Amy was when she died, all the way to the saggy-skinned, having to repeat ourselves 10 times to get one point across, the blissful ending of having crossed every adventure T and dotted every I of our collective life goals off our lists.
For me, it would be.
It’s not like I obsess over a too-soon death of me or Yannick. It’s more like I’m fascinated by the uber-evolved human beings who can rise above their own pettiness of feeling ripped off by a life cut short to want their partner, whom they’ve loved so deeply and shared the most intimate moments of their lives, spending the rest of their lives with somebody else. I suppose once we’re gone, worldly things are no longer a concern for us, and the reality is that one should only want happiness for their lover, their partner and, if there are children involved, somebody to love and care for them in the vacuum that used to be you.
As I type this, it makes sense to me. It is logical that if/when you’ve loved somebody so completely the thought of them wandering the earth for the rest of their days all alone, longing for what they will never have again, does sound horrible. And would I want that pain, that loneliness for myself? No.