29: Saudade – The Deep Longing

IMG_20181227_215307Saudade: It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or deeply melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.

I wrote in my journal this morning that, “I have to let her go so I can go…but even now, if I set aside the bravado and be honest, my heart remains with her. It still refuses to come home.”

There is no logic to this of course. It is irrational but it is the truth of where I am right now. There is nothing rational about love…or grief or loss.

I’ve never experienced grief like this before.

I know some people consider me even talking about it as poor taste while others believe I’m faking it for attention or some other nonsense. They respond with more armchair psychology and exclaim, “if you really cared you wouldn’t have cheated.”

I told someone earlier this week, it took me nearly two years to recover from the loss of my marriage when I was 26. Now I realized this week, maybe I never did finish the work but instead found distractions. As such, this may take a while.

There are reasons, of course, I’ve always chosen relationships with women relying on ghosting, gunnysacking, and silence. It tends to fuck with people emotionally.

However, before reading Esther Perel’s Relationship Accountability Spectrum I would have rolled my eyes and downplayed how I feel. As such, when my friends tell me what my xp is doing is childish and manipulative, I push back with “hurt people hurt people.” When both of doctors tell me I’m reacting in an emotionally understandable way to silence I balk and deflect. I excuse her behavior because I know this is her modus operandi. I chalk it up to her introversion and my expectations.

It is none of those things.

She ghosts on the hard things. It is one of the ways she is unskilled. There is no judgment. I am unskilled in my own ways.

We all are.

Relationship Acountability SpectrumAs the initial chaos dies down, I spent much of the year struggling with mid-term confusion.

For example, I started pursuing a distancer looking for understanding in the face of my confusion. Because she told me to take responsibility I kept sending her money, paying the bills, sending her books on trauma and infidelity, and lovingly and patiently letting her know she was the one, the only one.

When she did speak it is through emails and is essentially a list of nearly seven years of her unspoken resentments and not one question about Us, me, or my behaviors. I responded to her list of gunnysacked, contempt-filled resentments with explanations,  defensiveness, and anger confused about why she didn’t bring any of these things up when we were together.

Or worse, she spoke to me through the hyperbolic imaginings of strangers and interloper.

I really thought I was special to my xp and she might fight for Us, and together we could move through the Patterns and try to repair to re-pair.

It was an idealistic hope. I knew as soon as I screwed up we were done.

Instead, she went silent, found new boyfriends, deletes our life together, and pretends I’m dead. She has not spoken to me once in the last 15 months. She believes lies she either started by others or imagines. “Rejection and opposition are painful, ” writes Nepo, “but being treated as if you don’t exist is quietly devastating.”

It is why I wrote: it is a plea to be heard. By someone.


By her…but in the quiet of the night, when love and grief can no longer be shouted down I hear the repressed whispers of knowledge reminding me the woman I long to hear from will never return.



11 thoughts on “29: Saudade – The Deep Longing

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  1. There are a few things for me in this post Sean:
    To sit and accept that your heart is still broken, to actually sit and say out loud ‘my heart is still broken, and I still love her’ will help, not hinder. I have always found that once you accept something the pain decreases, and eventually you move forward. It is when we fight against things that it becomes harder because we are trying to deny them when in fact they are there.
    I have always thought that to just cut someone off, no matter what they have done, to never ever have a conversation with them, for yourself, to try and understand is strange, and I wil be honest questionable. Yes, you have defended her, because you had the affair you felt you were all to blame. But I have been on the other side and when my world was blown apart I needed that conversation to help me. I think you know that it is questionable that she did not, and no matter how hurt she may have been for what you had together why would she nOt want to understand?(rhetorical) Did you open a door for which she was already having a key cut? (Rhetorical)
    That is a hard thing to consider, but do you need to ask that question out loud to move forward?

    With regard to the email, yes she was hurting, but bloody hell she had been saving those up hadn’t she?
    You have come so far in your growth Sean, and you know that the only way to move forward in life is to look at the things that we fear the most, the reality that will hurt us; and yhen be honest with ourselves.
    I hope that helps

    1. “I think you know that it is questionable that she did not, and no matter how hurt she may have been for what you had together why would she nOt want to understand?(rhetorical). Did you open a door for which she was already having a key cut? (Rhetorical)”

      I ask that question often over the last 15 months. After your comment I brought it up with the good doctor today. She responded:

      “Sean, you were together nearly 7 years. You traveled extensively together. You helped raise her kids for four years. You lived together for three. You invested your personal time, treasure, and resources every day. From the day she asked you to leave you loved her enough to give her space and make yourself available to her at any time. You offered to pay for therapy with or without you. You paid expenses after you left. You sent her money to help with expenses for over a year. And even while she was dating other men she took money from you. She has kept your things. She encouraged people to spread lies and slander about you. She has repeatedly denied your history together. You have never once blamed her for your choices.The one time she did reach out to you it was a seven year lanundry list making her resentments and fears your fault. And for 15 months she has ridiculed and turned away from every effort to demonstrate your commitment to her and to your life together. At some point in time you are going to have to accept that she used you and when it got difficult she used your shame against you to justify her choices.”

      It was a very difficult conversation today Moisy. Extremely.

      1. I think you know that I agree with everything your counsellor said Sean. But as you know it was something you needed to see, and perhaps you didn’t want to. It was interesting that you took it to your counsellor, perhaps because you knew they would then lay all the facts out in front of you; something that the voice in your head couldn’t deny. You can do this Sean, by accepting the facts and then accepting what they show you. I truly believe then you will move forward. Moisy ❤️

      2. Yeah, it feels like there’s some truth to it. It just breaks my heart. Because I never saw her that way. And maybe it’s because I’m struggling with resentments now I’m more open to the idea that her unskillfulness goes much deeper.

        It breaks my heart over and over.

        Which of course all of this is separate from my betrayal.

  2. I don’t know you, but your post is all about you.
    Your feelings, how hurt you are, how you deserve something.

    Reading this would hurt her. She is protecting herself by going no contact.
    Can you accept that and stop using her as a way to justify your self pity?

    I’m sorry if that’s blunt. But you could be living a new, exciting life. Instead you are wasting your life on a past you cannot change.

    Can you forgive yourself for your behaviour and move on?

    1. It doesn’t feel like self-pity even if it sounds that way to you. It’s interesting to hear you take it that way though.

      Help me understand.

      Why do you see the heartfelt expression of my grief as self pity?

      What makes you think I am not living a whole new life while still grieving?

      Perel makes an excellent point and you reinforce. C ghosted because she was protecting herself, and couldn’t deal with the emotional fallout she would feel. It was never about me. and my short, mid and long term responses are consistent with her behavior. would you explain Why is her pain my burden?

      Self-forgiveness is an interesting concept. Your question reads as judgmental and I’m sure you don’t mean it that way. You are asking an excellent question about grieving.

      How long, and in what ways, am I allowed to grieve? It might be easier if I made the choice and left empowered but I didn’t. Where I am is emotionally consistent with someone struggling with ghosting.

      The concept of “wasting my life” is interesting too. © is gone…but the wounds run deep. I am suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the heart. I’m doing those things necessary to heal: being vulnerable, seeking counsel, and living forward. I’m struggling with issues of abandonment, shame, and humiliation.

      The consequences stripped me of my Love, life, and self. My consequences essentially burned me down to the most essential basics. I am starting over financially, sexually, emotionally, mentally, and physically and considering the consequences of my betrayal et al, I feel I am doing very well.

      I have started my life over.

      How do you define that?

      Thanks Anne!

      1. I haven’t read all of you blog
        What I hear in this post is all about how you feel as a result of the consequences you are experiencing from your behaviour.

        I think ghosting is the only answer for the betrayed spouse. Once the details are finalized the best way to heal is to stop being hurt. It hurts to even see the person who we once loved but who cast us aside.

        It is your blog and of course most is about your grief, that is completely reasonable.

        In Buddhism they say the root of s suffering is the inability to accept things as they are. This post sounds like suffering.

        If you have a whole new life, and this is just muring in the past I suppose that’s reasonable…although if you have a new so they would probably be very hurt to read this.

        I don’t mean to be pointed or harsh. It’s hard to convey what I mean clearly.

        I just want you to be happy. I guess I believe happy requires closing the door on the past.

      2. Thanks Anne.

        This is probably lost in translation. Looking to Perel’s chart, there was no Power Parting. It was just ghosting. There were no closing conversations.

        And this is the difference too: I didn’t cast her aside. I never wanted to be anywhere other than with her. Ever. Even when I was playing hero to Ks ego.

        As far as the happy thing, Buddhism talks about pain and happiness as temporary. Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I’m in pain. Avoiding pain and chasing happiness is one of many reasons I am living the life I live today.

        I have accepted, most moments, things are what they are. C’s decision is the most loving act for her, me and Us. I can see an recognize that truth. I’m not sure of I would have dug this deeply if I was trying to protect her from her pain and grieving.

        Pain is my friend teaching me over an over new ways to see the world. Talking with pain isn’t living with suffering. Listening to pain, and talking with you and others, is how I heal. It is what pushes me towards a deeperer and more meaningful understanding of the Patterns and unskillfulness that brought me here.

  3. Yes, exactly, it really is. Although you have learnt so much, it was cruel to lay all the blame at your door. What is that all about (rhetorical) don’t get angry now, just use all you’ve learnt to move forward and leave her behind. ♥️

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