WEDDINGS aren’t always followed by happily ever after.
There are times when the blissful union crumbles and the former partners move on to their separate lives, like in the case of actors Carla Abellana and Tom Rodriguez who split up just months after exchanging vows.
In such instances, can love survive even if the marriage has not?
Rodriguez said in a Youtube interview that he still loves Abellana, and added that that feeling would not disappear in an instant.
In the case of Vera, a writer and editor, there is no longer any love for her estranged husband three years after they separated.
“At this moment, of course not,” the 44-year-old Vera told republicasia. “If you can’t even be friends, it’s hypocritical to say you still love the person.”
She felt that love was lost little by little, over time, until she decided that the next move she had to take was to separate from her husband. She is now working on having their marriage annulled.
She said there was no single great event that destroyed their union. It was a collection of little things that grew over time until these tore them apart.
“You grew from being a couple, to housemates, to eventually being strangers,” she said.
When her husband dropped her off at her family’s home a week after their ninth wedding anniversary in 2019 and didn’t try to get in touch with her for two months, it confirmed to her that her marriage was over.
“Love is a verb. It is not something that disappears unless you decide it’s not worth the effort, or you’re too lazy or you’re too indifferent,” she said.
As a Christian couple, she and her husband also had counseling sessions, as their religion puts a lot of value on the concepts of forgiveness, grace, and mercy and separating is considered a no no.
But the counseling sessions were not enough, and she did not want to be in marriage where she felt alone even if she was with her husband.
“Feeling ko yung marriage ko, how it evolved, it killed my heart,” she said.
For her to function amid all the disappointments, she had to kill all her expectations, all her ideas of what a good marriage is, all the things she wanted before she got married.
“Di mo pwede i-carry yun if you are to function as a person kasi masyado ka broken kasi mahirap siya. So para kang nawalan ng puso,” she said.
If ever there would be love between them as friends, it could only come after some time, she said.
“Parang you have to be in a state where you can relate as friends or as civil humans before you can say you love that person as a friend or as someone who has been part of your life,” she said.
Melissa, a 42-year-old lawyer, said she has no love left for her ex boyfriend as he had abandoned her and her son after she got pregnant.
She could also not forgive him as he has not even made any effort to redeem himself to her or their son.
How to move on
Getting your heart broken can be very painful, but it is not the end of the world.
Melissa used her failed relationship with the father of her child as motivation to return to school and finish her law degree.
For Vera, one of the ways to recover from heartbreak is to “go back to yourself” and the things you were unable to do because you were married or in a relationship.
These could include studying abroad, traveling to different countries or buying things you’ve always wanted to buy.
“Pag asa marriage ka, you can’t just think of yourself. It’s always ‘paano kaming dalawa?’” she said.
Instead of seeing being single as depressing, you could see it as an opportunity to do new things, she said.
It would also help to think of others and how you could help them, she said.
“It helps to think that the world doesn’t revolve around you. There are bigger problems, you see people who are more broken, more in need, more damaged. How can you be there for them, lighten the load of another person?” she said.
She also recommends prayer.
“It’s cliche for a reason kasi pag may major life events that are not exactly positive, you’re driven to your faith,” she said.
Advise to Gen Zs
Hearing about failed marriages and failed relationships is no reason not to get involved with another person again.
You just have to be sure about your partner and your decision, said Vera.
“Marriage can still be a good thing. I think it can be the greatest thing. But it can also be the worst thing. So if you ever decide to get married, go with that knowledge that it can be heaven or hell for you,” she said.
Melissa advises the younger generation to focus more on knowing and enriching their own selves first and determining what values they hold dear before making a lifelong commitment.
She said the person best suited for you would usually shares your values, but it does not mean you will not clash from time to time.
“The best relationships are those which overcome these conflicts through communication and compromise,” she said.
Vera also said younger people should not get married just because of pressure or because they think they need to do it at some point in their life.
They must be ready to commit to and work on their relationship and must also be able to leave their sense of entitlement behind.
“You can’t carry a sense of entitlement into a marriage because a marriage is all about working with another person, living with another person, often thinking of the other person first. Entitlement has no place in a marriage,” she said.
Those who are not ready for this kind of decision with massive consequences should step back and think twice because disentangling themselves from a marriage is harder and more complicated.
“Iba ang marriage, kasi may covenant involved. It’s not just a fancy wedding,” she said.