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5 Reasons to Celebrate a Break-Up

5 Reasons to Celebrate a Break-Up

weekend, I am going to my favorite place on earth: Big Sur, California
(pop: 1,049) -- a beautiful town on the Monterey Peninsula. In
anticipation, I pulled out my books by Henry Miller, a writer closely
associated with the area. As I flipped through the pages, I came
across a saying from Miller's lover, the author Anais Nin, that I had
handwritten into the margin. Nin wrote: Love never dies a natural
death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It
dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and
wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing. 

my fingers over these words, I started thinking of my most recent
novel, The Divorce Party,
in which two women find themselves fighting not to let love die. And I
recalled all of the people I spoke with over the course of working on The
Divorce Party

who found themselves fighting that same fight -- and sometimes deciding
was better to let it go. These are five reasons that they shared
me, and to which I return when someone close to me is struggling with a

Some Relationships Are Meant To Be Seasonal

a man I spoke with in Cleveland, was devastated when his first
relationship after his divorce ended badly. He wanted to marry
his new
partner. But after closer inspection of their relationship -- she
only recently separated herself, they had conflicting ideas about
marriage and family, they had different values -- he acknowledged that
what he liked best about their relationship was that it provided
distraction and comfort during a mutually difficult time. "We
passion, but, when I'm honest with myself, I don't know what we have in
common on the other side of all of our drama," Ty said.

Ty's candor, he has hit on something that is important to remember:
some relationships are meant to be seasonal. They get us through a
tricky period, they make us feel alive again. But that doesn't
necessarily translate into two people being compatible for longer
commitment. A psychologist, who I spoke with after Ty, said it
eloquently: "Feeling love or passion is not enough to sustain a
long-term relationship. Liking your partner is just as
important. Ask
yourself: do you enjoy spending time together? If you do, find a way
through the inevitable problems. If you don't, ask yourself if
relationship has served its purpose."

The Wrong Person Can Make Us Feel Wrong

couple in New Mexico, Cassie and Jason, met and married in three
months. It was a whirlwind. Sadly, after the dust settled,
realized that her husband liked the whirlwind more than being
married. "As much as I bend myself into a pretzel to make him happy,"
said. "He criticizes me and makes me feel like I'm failing him."

is human to feel that it's your fault when a relationship goes awry,
especially if you have a partner who is more interested in
finger-pointing than getting to the crux of what is ailing the two of
you. But there is a difference between working hard on a
and working too hard. If someone is constantly meeting
efforts with endless negativity, it may be time to consider changing
the conversation.

The Rope Gets Awfully Heavy . . . 

I spoke with a book club in New Jersey last year, we ended up
discussing what makes relationships work. We came to an image of two
people on either side of a long rope, holding their ends up. The
is that both people don't drop the rope at the same time -- that if the
rope stays raised, even on one side, the relationship stays safe. I
like this image because it suggests the mutual caretaking inherent to a
good relationship. Which led to one of the book club members
confessing the flipside: "My first marriage was over when I realized I
was the only one holding up that rope. I never got a chance to rest, to
reboot. It became too much."

one can be the only one to hold the rope, not all of the time. We
all -- at the end of the day -- need someone to help. If we find
moving on from someone who wasn't, that -- in the end of a new day --
can be
a big relief.

The Universe Sometimes Has More Interesting Plans For Us Than We Have
For Ourselves

woman I spoke with in Oregon took me on a tour of her home. It
was her
dream home, and she proudly explained that she wakes up there with the
feeling that she's exactly where she's supposed to be. But she
found this peacefulness on the other side of a devastating
heartbreak. "I fought like cats and dogs to stay with someone who
was wrong
me," she said. "Thankfully, I lost that fight and ended up in the
right life."

reminds me of something crucial: we're not always wise witnesses to our
own lives. Sometimes, in spite of tightly clinging to an idea of how we
want our life to be, the universe has a plan for us that is braver and
better than the one we had for ourselves. The good news is, when
stay open to it, the universe often finds a way to deliver us

You Get To Bring You Wherever You Go Next

was surprised when a male book club member in California announced
proudly that Sleepless In Seattle was
his favorite movie. He loved the sentiment expressed by the radio
who brings the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan characters together. She
said: people who truly loved once are far more likely to love

stand by this sentiment, and believe in its truth. The kindness and
goodness and joy -- the ability to love -- that you give to a partner
inside you. If the person sitting across the table from
can't accept those gifts, be excited. As hard as it may feel, be
excited to give the best pieces of yourself to someone who is able to
accept them. As the man in California wisely said: "happy endings
don't always come in the form that we hope for. But, for those of
who believe in them, and work for them, they do come."

©2009 Laura Dave, author of The Divorce Party: A

Author Bio

Laura Dave is the author
of the acclaimed novels The Divorce
and London Is the Best City in America. Her writing
has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Self,
Redbook, ESPN the Magazine, and The New York Observer.
Dave graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. In August, Cosmopolitan
magazine named her as one of the eight "Fun and Fearless Phenoms" of
2008. She lives in California.

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