What do you do when you partner of eleven years finally tells you they’re in love with someone else? How do you get on with your life after that one?

Well, you cry. A lot. Maybe you throw things. But if you’re going to do that, throw pots and pans. They’re noisy and they don’t break. Nothing worse than having to clean up something you broke when you already feel lower than a squashed bug.

Eventually, you get out of bed, wash your face, and get on with living.

If you’re like me, one of the lucky ones, you can write about it. Doesn’t make it hurt any less, but sharing the hurt gets it out of your head. You can see the actual words on a page. They are real, they exist. Just like the pain in your heart. Which is also very real, even though no-one can see it. Or feel it.

I originally wrote this poem just over ten years ago while mourning the loss of an eleven-year relationship. All the plans and dreams we’d built together, the hopes we had for our future together were swept away when my partner fell in love with someone else — a friend. Slowly and in front of me.

Our extended family — brother, sisters, nieces, nephews, parents, in-laws and out-laws — all were sundered and drawn carefully apart. No harsh words, no choosing sides, but no more shared Christmas lists and festive gatherings.

Our lives were divided into neatly labeled boxes, theirs and mine. Our future was not so much divided as shattered into fragments, all the bright dreams scattered across the floor of our lives like so many tiny shards of colored glass.

Polite for the most part, our conversation shrank to the banal, the every day, the safe. Phrases like “Did you sleep well? Coffee? Please, pass the salt.”

But I didn’t want to be polite. I wanted to wail and sob. I wanted to scream at you and hurl my pain in your face. You betrayed me. You betrayed our love. You betrayed the vows we shared, the promises we made to one another.

Someday, I will be ready to move on. Someday, my heart will be ready to let go of you and welcome a new love. Someday, I will be ready to accept the blessing of peace. I know there will again be light and love and the rebirth of hope.

Just right now though, I want you to feel how deeply you have hurt me. In the words of a song that speaks to me right now, I’m not ready to make nice; I’m not ready to back down; I’m still mad as hell…”

When love had I, and light and life;

Then forward looked and planned and dreamed;

But I look back and light now flies,

No hope to lift, no dreams now guide

Once building for the yet-to-come,

One perfect path, one blended goal;

Then bent we both our will, to lean

Each on the other’s potent dream

But strength alone of love can fail

When other’s fancy elsewhere turns;

So, you from me have turned, and so

Where then shall I?

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