Choosing to End Love by Carol P. Christ


A month or so ago I wrote that women need to learn what it means to choose our lovers and partners. I have just learned another lesson in this process. When I wrote about the power to choose, I was in love with someone I thought was a good, respectful, and honest man. In other parts of his life, he may be, but in relation to me he was not.

Suffice it to say that this man “neglected” to tell me a very important piece of information about his life. This detail was so unusual that no one could have anticipated it. If he had told me this fact from the beginning, I would never have entered into the relationship with him, and I am pretty sure he knew that. As soon as he did tell me, I ended the relationship. As we were saying goodbye, he tried to seduce me. I opened the door and shoved him out. In the past I might I might have given in, or if I hadn’t, I might have felt that I was the victim, that he rejected me. In a delightful clarity, I felt absolutely no confusion, regret, or ambivalence. I chose.

The next evening I went to local taverna to hear a friend’s son sing Greek and Cretan songs. I was lost in thought or simply listening to the music when my friend Adamantia called my attention to the appropriateness of the refrain of the song Καλη Τυχη (Good Luck) that we were listening to: “I am leaving your dreams, and I wish you good luck wherever it is that you are going.” I laughed with the other women at the table as we toasted our power to choose.

This morning I found the song and the lyrics on the internet.

Here is my translation:

 

I don’t judge you for not loving me,

your heart is yours.

I am leaving your dreams,

and good luck wherever it is that you are going.

 

I don’t hate you,

you are in charge of your life.

I was the one who made the mistake

of tuning my heart to yours.

 

That is why I am leaving your dreams,

and good luck wherever it is that you are going.

 

I don’t judge you for not loving me,

your heart is yours.

I am leaving your life,

and good luck wherever it is that you are going.

 

I don’t hate you

you are in charge of your life.

I was the one who made the mistake

of tuning my heart to yours.

 

That is why I am leaving your dreams,

and good luck wherever it is that you are going.

 

On one level, the song is about accepting responsibility for choosing to love and choosing to stop loving. Listening to this song several times this morning, I felt power in my choice to end a relationship where I was not being treated as I deserve to be treated. Like the singer, I am not the victim. I chose to love, and I chose to end the affair. This is an important lesson for all of us. But this is not the only reason this song is so popular.

The song seems to be telling us not to judge the beloved, but in fact, it does just that, in the subtleties of language that I hope are not lost in translation. Instead of saying “good luck wherever you go,” the song says, “good luck wherever it is that you are going.” This introduces a question: where is the lover going? To better loves? To heartbreak? Or perhaps even straight to the devil? This question is underscored in the first part of the refrain. Where we might expect to hear, “I am not going to dream of you anymore,” the song surprises us by saying, “I am leaving your dreams.” The implication is that the lover may have lost more than the singer.

Taken as a whole, the song reminds us that it is better to have made a mistake in love than not to have loved at all. And it affirms that choosing to end a relationship where love is not or cannot be returned is also right.

 

Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist writer and educator currently living in Heraklion, Crete. Carol’s new book written with Judith Plaskow, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology, is on sale for $3.71 kindle on Amazon in May 2018. FAR Press recently published A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess. Carol  has been leading educational tours based on the religion and culture of ancient Crete for over twenty years. Carol’s photo by Michael Honegger.

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Categories: Feminism, Feminism and Religion, General

Tags: , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Thank you for sharing both choices with us, Carol. I love picturing you in the taverna with the women, laughing and toasting your power to choose.

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  2. Ahhhhh, yes, falling in love with the wrong man and then having to choose. Been there, done that, But I hadn’t yet learned that I had any power at all. Zero power, back then. Thanks for writing about a lesson I bet we all need to learn. Brava for the choosing and the writing. Bravissimi to the women in the taverna.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Carol,

    Another deeply moving post… I am so sorry… but also so glad that you were able to make a choice to leave a relationship in which love was not reciprocated in a meaningful way to you… and to do it with clarity – respecting yourself above all – and leaving without confusion, feeling victimized or experiencing self doubt.

    Wow! Hurrah for Carol. You are a model for all of us to emulate.

    And your post comes at a time when I need access to female wisdom.

    I have been in a situation with a man who I am fortunately not in love with but who I once believed was generous and a real friend – a man I thought I really liked – who I now realize was attempting to get me into his bed and used all sorts of ruses to confuse me.

    A year ago I found it impossible to find anything wrong with him except that his so called art – work seemed frightening and repulsive to me. He calls himself an artist – ( he enjoys confusing people and is particularly fond of secrecy with respect to his art in general I have learned since) but this work really exposes who he really is and my body felt it but I couldn’t NAME what I was experiencing.. today my body reacts to (his usually) repressed violence as acute anxiety and stomach pain.

    Big round or square block heads with penetrating eyes, mean faces, and sharp spikes, float through space on canvas or are suspended from poles… like specters in a bad dream…. and all this muddled with baby pink bubbles, pea green, and a harsh blue that has no counterpart in nature. Ugliness personified.

    He is building a house on his land that I once believed I was going to live in – yesterday when I attempted to make artistic suggestions – he has no aesthetic taste at all – he struck out with a vengeance.

    “You have no say in this house because you don’t have the money to build it.”

    I never asked this man to build me anything.

    AH -HA so here’s the deal – what this is really about is MONEY and POWER. Had I not made such a fuss ( read: I got ANGRY) he wouldn’t have exposed this agenda so brutally (and stupidly) in front of his own contractor (who had just complained to me in private that I needed to have been around to make aesthetic decisions and I told him that I HAD tried over and over again for months but my ideas had been routinely dismissed) – this man has been playing me off his contractor pretending he wants my input when he doesn’t.

    If this dismissal doesn’t expose the roots of patriarchy I don’t know what does.

    However, I really needed to hear that Patriarchal Voice come through words spoken out loud…this man’s behavior has also been so mercurial that he really has been difficult to pin down…. ( some of this confusion is, is no doubt, due to my history).

    I am now certain that I will not be moving into that house.

    And my future here in New Mexico looks bleak…

    But my self respect is intact.

    I too choose to end a friendship that never was real.

    It is ironic that I came to make this decision on Earth Day, of all days…

    We know what we know in different ways… my truths seem to seep through my body, the Earth body, the power of images, and my dreams. My truths also manifest through physical illness.

    You and I came to make the same healthy decision in different ways, although unlike you it has taken me a much longer time to reach the same conclusion.

    My hope is that other women will read your story, my story, and be able to make similar courageous decisions.

    Don’t you think that developing a healthy sense of self respect has everything to do with being able to say no when we need to?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sometimes loving is like walking through a minefield! We are fortunate to know that our first responsibility is to our own integrity and well-being, and I’m grateful for those like Carol who can share the experience so we can all be encouraged. For me, it’s probably not as tangled as in intimate relationships, but it’s still part of the message we receive that women especially are expected to “give way”, to care for others, even at their own disadvantage. Patriarchy has many faces, but is always striving to have power and control over others.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Carol and Sara, I’m sorry you went through these struggles with deceptive and controlling men, but so glad that you recognized what was going on and had the strength to end the relationships! Thank you also for sharing your stories with us and empowering others who face, or may face in the future, the same struggles. Blessings to you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love, love, love this! It is so affirming of the decision I recently made to leave a relationship that was not going where I wanted it to go. I chose to start it, I chose to end it. I was not a victim, neither was he (though he seemed to feel he was), and it was a wonderful time while it lasted. I got a lot out of it, learned and grew. I was sad that it had to end, but am even happier to no longer be with him!

    Here’s to the power of our choices and taking care of ourselves!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is something very empowering about a woman shoving a dishonest man out the door even as he engages in a tactic that they’ve been led to believe will work for them. To do so when the man is also loved requires incredible strength of character and self-love. You are a model for those of us who still struggle with the latter. Thank you.

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  8. I am so glad that you made this essay. This song contained the release I needed – strangely not from an abusive lover. My release was needed to release my heart from tuning in to my very abusive identical twin sister. I made the mistake of tuning my heart to hers. Something about our twin-ship caused her use her own shadow material to assassinate my character in order for her to feel better about herself. . .Alas.

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  9. Carol – oh well….. at least you had the courage to take the leap and give love yet another try. So glad you saw the truth before you got more deeply in.

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  10. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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