Hope is a four letter word. It is the enemy of the newly broken-hearted.
I had two failed marriages and two broken engagements under my belt, but I was fortunate to sit next to the man of my dreams on a flight to the west coast. After bi-coastal dating and then living with him for a year, we married and I practiced law while he was establishing himself in the investment world. After four years, I was stricken with breast cancer. It was a tough year of treatment, but he was there for me throughout my successful battle. His love and support were heroic. Finally, I had found my soulmate.
Or so I thought.
We moved to LA at the end of my treatment and started a new life together. I caught him cheating five years later. I confronted him, hoping that that the prospect of losing me and his comfortable life would jolt him out of his mid-life madness and return him to my arms, wiser and more loving than ever. But there is that pesky word, "hope," rearing its ugly head. As I hung on to the false hope of reconciliation and love evermore, he was playing contrite husband with me and banging her at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Several weeks later, he suggested that we take one last trip to New York to try to mend our relationship and move forward. I hoped (again) that he was sincere and that our ten years together could outweigh this month of deceit. New York held many wonderful memories for us, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to have him to myself in a romantic environment.
He had arrived a few days earlier and checked into the Peninsula Hotel. I was to meet him the evening that I arrived for dinner at Nobu. I breezed into the bar at the appointed hour, dressed for seduction, and proceeded to wait for an hour and a half. There were no calls or texts and he was unreachable. I hoped (again) that he was delayed by important work-related meetings.
Just as I was about to return to the hotel, he burst into the restaurant, breathless and full of excuses. Even though this was an ominous beginning to our reunion, I hoped (!) that he was telling the truth.
The next morning, he left at the crack of dawn, long before we could have breakfast in bed. As I began to dress for my day of shopping and a Broadway matinee, I noticed a scrap of paper on the desk. While the message was illegible, the bottom of the note contained the St. Regis Hotel monogram.
On a hunch, I called the St. Regis and asked for the room of his mistress. She answered the phone. I hung up, promptly threw up in the trash can, packed my bags and flew home.
So why do I dislike hope so much?
1. It leads to devastating decisions. I knew that the marriage was over, and I still agreed to go to New York. It resulted in one of the most emotionally painful moments of my life, and while I do not blame myself for his abhorrent behavior, I would never have put myself in that position had I not had hope.
2. It halts the healing process. I could have started mourning the loss of my marriage, rather than dreaming of a reconciliation that was never in the picture.
3. It stalls the formulation of exit strategies, such as leasing a post office box, opening a new bank account, locating and preserving records and retaining a divorce lawyer -- engaging in the next steps instead of being mired in a dead relationship.
4. It shuts out important messages from the universe. I knew in my gut that the marriage was over, but I allowed hope to drown out all of the messages that I was receiving to move on.
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