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5.25.2012

falling out of it.





It strikes me that no one really talks about falling out of love. We speak around and about the moment something breaks. We speak of betrayal. Of the line that divides before and after. But we do not talk of how if often happens just as you fell in into it: slowly, steadily, decision by decision, gentle realization after gentle realization, unfolding and unfurling.

I suppose it is a restructuring of sorts. An alchemy of transforming memories from sharp shards to heavy, rounded stones that you then submerge in the murky waters of doubt. How it is second look after second look, choosing to put an end to the excuses you once made on his behalf. Excusing how he remembered nothing. Not a damn thing. And how that made you feel small and unimportant. How there was that time standing in front of the fridge that you watched as he pulled out a bottle of white wine. I don't know when this was opened, he had said. I don't know if it's still any good. How in that moment you chose not to say: It was two weeks ago. With me. You opened it with me, two weeks ago. His non remembrance, a betrayal. A small line. And your silence.

How you must decide to no longer gloss over the fissures. How you allow the angular nature of the narrative to elbow out a new story. More true than before. And less true too.

Because you know why he couldn't remember and you can't fault him for that. Sadness does funny things. Tricks of light and the mind and its memory.

The thing is--what keeps resurfacing--is the memory of that time he fell asleep his full face pressed up again the side of your cheek and you weren't sure how he could even breathe. It was such an act of defiance on his part. An act of affection for a girl who never slept all tangled legs and arms, but kept to her side of the bed. And for that little rebellion alone, you will love him. But you must choose not to love him now. So you tuck that away. For a later day when your own face is pressed into the valley of a different neck. Not better, but different.

And how falling out of love now is learning to accept kindness from others. From the man who does remember--the man with a memory that rivals yours--the terror and excitement this incites. From the man who takes the time to respond despite his busy schedule, who fills the mornings with an offer of coffee or tea. The man you sleep soundly next to because you're not afraid that at any moment he might disappear.


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24 comments:

colleen said...

i feel like i leave this comment too many times, but it's just beautiful. it will stay with me for awhile, this one.

Cassie said...

today. you are seriously rocking it today, woman.

heatherhxo said...

I just admire how you can paint a picture so vividly with the way that you write, it can make me feel so many emotions at once.

L.A. said...

Reading this, it makes my heart kinda break. But it's also filled w/ hope. That's the ever-present hopeless romantic in me I guess. Always hopeful that that happy ending will show up someday. Especially for you though, I really think it will.

Kmarie said...

Going on ten years of marriage I have to say it ebbs and flows, through moments when we move apart and moments when we love that deeply all over again. I'm just glad I stuck through the parts when we couldn't remember why we were together...there were months and years..but he is still the love of my life. I have had others that I have loved but none with the comfortability and best friend soul mate like him. I want it to last 65 years or until we part in death. Sometimes we have passion, sometimes we are more like best friends, and other times we are strangers but at all times we keep commitment, humour and communication at the core. It's not perfect but I LOVE it. I felt both of the feelings you described about my man:) Thanks for the lovely pictures.

Jen B. said...

I loved this post. How very true.

stephanie said...

I'm in the process of falling out of love right now. We broke up but "stayed friends." It's a long and kind of sad road, but it's also sort of hopeful. xo

Brittan said...

this made me feel things that i'm scared of which is... maybe the highest compliment i can give a writer.

Erin said...

I wonder if we dance around this topic often because it is not as recognizable as falling IN love. It seems to take longer to fall out of love than in love. And falling in love has many feelings that are not only terribly memorable, but also wildly exciting. Falling out of love is harder to feel, harder to understand, harder to be sure of. It hurts. And so we don't talk about it.

I'm glad you wrote about it. Your words are true and full of hope. Happy Memorial Day weekend, Meg.

Claire said...

Thank you for this. Thank you so, so much. This is exactly what I needed to read, I am right in the middle of it, and I always feel like it's something that's not okay to talk about. People around me expect me to already be "past it."

kelly purkey said...

i love this post so much. radiated deep with me. xoxo.

Diana said...

Beautiful, as always. I find myself in that place of making excuses for someone else right now. I keep thinking it is my issues that cause me to get so upset that I don't feel valued. But I'm starting to realize that the more I give that excuse--my issues--the more reason I give him (in his mind) to dismiss how I'm feeling. I'm aiding it. And that hurts more than him doing it because it's like I don't even value myself. Crazy thing is, we're not even together. Just friends. But I love him. I need to hold on to this piece of yours! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I think you would probably get a lot more readership to your blog if it weren't so heteronormative.....

meg fee said...

dear anonymous: maybe. but i write (and am writing here) about my personal experience of falling out of love with a man. that's not heteronormative--because i'm not placing a judgement on any one way of life, but simply speaking of my own.

big word though, good on ya.

jimmylou said...

This is beautiful, and very well-put. I recently broke up with my boyfriend and in the months before the breakup, we both gradually fell out of love. It was such a strange thing - it hurt to think that once we loved each other and now there's nothing.

Lillian said...

On the difference between falling in and out of love -- falling out of love is a slow, bleeding process. It can take years, and it can re-awaken sometimes with a sharp pain when you thought it gone forever. Falling in love is much swifter and more recognizable. And happier, so people want to hear about it. Few people like to hear a break-up story.

This quote sums it up to some degree:
"The worst thing in the world is the passing of human affection. No man who has lost a friend need fear death."
-Hilaire Belloc

It's true; death in love is often preferable to death of love. (Borrowed from Sheldon Vanauken, "A Severe Mercy", a book I highly recommend.)

Ramona said...

totally agree. Falling out of love is the same decision you make as falling into it. And it is a journey you have to make, reminding yourself each day of it. It is the become of neutral towards this person because to dislike or even to hate is still to much feeling and emotions involved. But being neutral and falling out of love is when you really let go. And it is painful in the process but freeing at the same time.

Mackenzie said...

"For a later day when your own face is pressed into the valley of a different neck. Not better, but different."

this is a lesson i've been needing to learn. the next one is never "better", but different, and different is just as lovely.

Francesca Forzoni said...

thank you for this. I've been trying to write a post about falling out of love and unrequited love for months and I just keep saving every post into my drafts folder. I can't say it so I thank you for your courage and strength that I don't have yet x

d&d said...

that made me clutch my chest.

Rebekah said...

I've always thought that falling in love is something that happens rather involuntarily, while falling out of love is a series of tiny choices you make over a long time. Like, you reach that point where you have to decide whether or not to continue loving someone, because your love isn't just a feeling anymore - it's something that's up to you to keep creating (or not).

But that's just how it's felt in my (very limited) experience. Meg, what do you think?

michal said...

i think we don't talk about falling out of love because, oftentimes, we don't even recognize it when it's happening.

we hold hard and fast to those moments that we realize we're falling in love, like when he falls asleep against your face or cries when talking about his love for his father; but those moments, big or small, that make us love him less... we ignore them. they're not important. they're cheapening our memories of the things that we think should matter, so we shove them aside.

you're not falling out of love when you decide to acknowledge those unflattering moments. that's when you are actually out of love. that's when you realize you've been falling out all along. and that's the moment that you can move on to falling somewhere else.

meg fee said...

yeah, i have to say that i thing falling in love happens without consent. it is not a choice. the moment you try to choose it life has a funny way of throwing that choice back in your face. but the falling out of it--i think there are million small decisions that must be made to facilitate falling out of love (in some cases, not all). the choice to say, it's not good enough anymore, i'm better, this behavior isn't worthy of me and on. the choice not to always think on the good things. the choice, the choice, the choice, and then one day you wake and it's easy again and you are out of love or in love with someone else and it's not as hard. and you can think of what it was fondly. and there's still some love, but its not so close to the surface, not so present.

Caroline said...

This post is beautiful. As someone who (by age 27) has gone through divorce, it's so poignant. And the heart-breaking part is that I'm terrified it is happening again...