What’s the best way to end a romance at its height? Perhaps a better question: Is there a best way, or even a good way, to end a romance at its height?
First of all, let’s acknowledge the obvious–this is a rhetorical question. Ending a romance at its height is not a conscious choice, at least not between the two participants. Such terminations come about from a mix of fate-driven events and chances and unconscious needs and spontaneous choices and their equally impulsive reactions. They are not cold and calculated. If they are, then the love was something other than genuine, or has lost its heart somewhere along the way.
Still, though rhetorical, the question has relevance, if only in hindsight. Is there a best way, or a good way, for a passionate romance to end?
As we well know, either through personal experience or observation or both, most such relationships end with one or more of various versions of white-hot explosions–a betrayal discovered or guessed or imagined, a monumental argument (often started over some trivial matter), screaming, hitting, breakable objects thrown, clothes tossed out windows, cars keyed. O.K.–you get the idea (and are perhaps wondering if there’s a sadist behind this post).
Or maybe they end with a stark and unexpected “I don’t want to see you anymore” or “I need a break” (these days sometimes sent as a text message), leaving the recipient feeling like he or she’s been flattened by a Mack truck they didn’t even know was out there–heck didn’t even know they were on the road able to get hit, thought they were miles from any road or danger.
And so it goes–we’ve all been there, some of us more often than we want to admit.
But maybe such sudden and irrevocable endings, though painful and traumatic, are good in a way. They are, for better or worse, definitive ends, a black hole voraciously consuming all of the romance’s former light. No matter how often you go through the photo file or the text message list or good old fond memory, there’s still THE ENDING–no way around or past that black hole of demarcation.
But in very rare instances, romances at the peak of passion end peacefully, as the participants, for whatever mix of needs and circumstances, back themselves down off the pinnacle of the mountain to the quieter and safer valley below. Such peaceful partings are not calculated choices either, but a complex interweaving of desire and need, surrounding events, individual personalities, and a sizable portion of luck. At any point in the necessarily gradual unwinding, a chance encounter or misunderstood comment or gesture could lead to the more familiar fireworks, and a sudden end.
But are such slow peaceful endings necessarily better than the sudden traumatic ones? There is after all no black hole of demarcation consuming the love’s former light, no irrevocable THE END. So what happens to all the feeling that’s not exorcised in the conflagration, is not shattered like the plates smashed on the floor? Does it just sit on the heart? Drip away? Evaporate? Or go into hiding somewhere? And if it goes into hiding, where does it go? Does it ever come out? Gain expression at other times, in other ways? What happens to love that’s not fully expressed or eradicated?
What is the best way to end a romance at the height of its love and passion–if we could choose?