“Disappointed in Love”

I hadn’t heard that one – that old way of phrasing things – in awhile.

Such an understated, gentle way of putting it.

It was said by a very lively 93-year-old guy, from somewhere around Lake Sunapee, being interviewed in an old Yankee Magazine about his still-successful tool-sharpening business. He was responding to questions about his early life, and that was how he summed it up regarding not ever having married and his overall encounters with the opposite sex.

I have to admit, working with as many divorces as I have has seldom caused me to think or say “disappointed in love” when describing my clients’ states of mind.

Devastated, crushed, enraged, panicked, exhilarated, desolate, anxiety-laden, depressed, bitter, disassociating, delusional – that’s more what I’m seeing these days.

It’s also true that many people can pull off seeming, from the outside, to be carrying on pretty well. I remember I was pretty stoic to the visible eye.

But … divorce rips a hole in our universe. Our sense of ourselves moving through time and space is altered.

As I get older, more than ever, I’ve come to truly admire that “old school” reticence.

I go in and out on what I truly think about whether “culture” succeeds, or only makes things worse, when it strongly suggests and tries to shape the way people ought to feel – and express those feelings – about something as elemental as male-female relationships.

It came out later in an “aside” by the interviewer that the elderly gentleman’s attempt to have a family in his mid-30’s had resulted in admission to “a mental ward” and a stint in prison.

Lasting human relationships have never been easy.

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