31. Letter to Family and Friends

Dear Family and Friends,

On the eve or our fourth wedding anniversary, I must sadly write to let you know that John and I are parting ways.


I realize that this will shock those of you who are not in frequent contact with us, as well as those of you who are. It has surprised me.


John has reached a juncture in his life where he no longer feels happy. He feels an absence of intimacy in our relationship, which he believes to be irreconcilable. John feels that he has not been living truly as himself, and that he must now do this. I love and respect John, we have shared a wonderful five years together. Marriage—like any relationship—is a commitment to work, to grow, to listen, to understand and accept, to love. John no longer holds hope that we can continue to grow together, and I, unfortunately, am powerless to change his heart.


Thank you for your love and support in recognizing and celebrating our union, and thank you now for your love and support in helping each of us to find joyful and fulfilling lives apart.





Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.


When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don’t know what’s really going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don’t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don’t know. We never know if we’re going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.—When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron