The elation in my heart on that occasion was in stark contrast to the events of a day, a mere four years later. Then, instead of filling my home with new furnishings, I packed what I had decided to keep when we divided our belongings. A moving pod sat in my parking space, and I had begun to fill it with what little I was taking with me. Why would I want so many of reminders of us? The bedroom furniture we put together ourselves when we were just starting the practice or the sofa we would lay on all Sunday during football season watching our favorite sport. I was taking very few things, mostly family furnishings, leaving all of the accumulated furniture for him to move into her house.
While preparing for my move to San Francisco, I kept thinking of my husband and Danni, who I thought was my friend. Painful images raced through my head: rendezvous during the week at hotels and stolen weekends away on business trips while I worked in our new store. I imagined them having sex in our office after I had left for the day.
I stopped packing, stood up, and took a moment to look around me. At the sight of the remnants of our shared life, I was overwhelmed by immense grief and pain. I dropped to the floor as I could no longer hold myself up—the heaviness in my heart weighed my body down. How could the same heart that loved so greatly now only beat in pain? I can’t tell you how long I lay there sobbing; the memory of those days between when he left our home for the final time and when I moved to San Francisco are admittedly hazy.
Before all this I used to tell my husband that a relationship is like a couple sitting in a boat at the shore of the sea—life is the sea, and our relationship, the shore. Have you ever been in a boat and before you knew it you were far from where you started and never felt the water pulling you from the shore? The same is true for relationships. It is so easy to drift through life and look around one day to find the shore is completely out of sight. It usually happens when the sea isn’t turbulent. Then when the sea gets rough, suddenly you realize that you can’t see the shore. My husband and I lost track of the shore. We tried to paddle back but couldn’t make it. I was lost and alone, and my heart was perfectly broken.
There is no science to this book. I don’t have a doctorate or special diploma. The conclusions do not involve a professional, clinical study. This is my point of view from years of observing people and relationships, and a rear-view scrutiny of my own failed marriage.
I can and will talk to anyone with ease. People feel equally at ease speaking with me. You might be one of the many who has sat next to me on a plane and shared your story with me; perhaps you’re one of the married men who hit on me—only to have me turn the tables on you and asked “Why do you cheat?” Nobody has ever accused me of being shy—far from it. I say that if a married man has the nerve to hit on me, then I have the right to ask the question. But I will also tell you that I have met some amazing family men who are honest about the state of their marriages and life in general. They are dedicated to their wives and family and wouldn’t ever want to do anything to jeopardize what they have. In the years since my divorce, I have spoken to men and women, strangers and friends about their relationship experiences. Why did I quiz strangers? Because I needed to make sense of what happened in my marriage. My logical mind told me that I needed to find a way to keep that from ever happening to me again—if that is even possible. This started my journey which led to The Perfect Heart. Before I reveal the Heart I am going to share a bit of my story that led me to this discovery. It has influenced my life and the lives of several individuals with whom I have already shared both the image and my story.
For some, reading this might bring up feelings from your own story. It might bring up fears of what could happen to you. Please know my story has a “happily ever after” ending, but even Cinderella had to lose her shoe.