If you’ve ever gone through a difficult breakup, you probably remember close friends and family telling you to move on… that the relationship just wasn’t meant to be. Sure, they meant well, but what if they were wrong? Here, we share the story of a couple who broke up, reunited and have now been happily married for nearly 45 years.
Why did you break up in the first place?
She said: I was Jewish and my then-boyfriend was Presbyterian. My parents didn’t think I should date outside of my religion. There was a fear that the religious and cultural differences would cause problems in the marriage. So when we became serious and broke the news to my parents, they wanted us to break up immediately. I didn’t want to do that, but I also didn’t want to disobey my parents. As a compromise, we agreed to talk to our Rabbi and abide by what he said.
He said: I agreed to this deal. I thought that a man of the cloth would be able to recognize true love and its power to overcome any obstacle. Instead, he told us that in all of his years as a spiritual leader, he had never once seen a successful “mixed” marriage and counseled us to go our separate ways. And that we did, honoring the family agreement.
How did you feel when apart?
She said: I felt like I was making a mistake and berated myself for agreeing to abide by the Rabbi’s advice. I was heartbroken that we had to break up. Even though I did go on a few dates with Jewish men, I just couldn’t turn off my love for my true love. We were so compatible, loved many of the same things in life and just had so much fun together.
He said: She moved to Los Angeles. I was finishing my college degree in journalism while working at the morning newspaper in Phoenix. But the distance between us didn’t make much difference. Even before Facebook and Twitter, we were tightly connected across the miles. Absence made our hearts grow fonder.
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How do you know if it’s meant to be?
She said: After our separation, we still believed that we were meant to be together. We dated for a full five years before we finally got married, and we spent so much time talking about our potential future problems that when we finally married, nearly everything seemed to be a lot easier than we thought it was going to be.
He said: I felt very incomplete without her love, her intelligence, her laughter, her kisses and her admiration (Yes, she said she “worshiped” me. How can you live without that?!). In short, she returned from California, her parents threw up their arms in resignation (and eventually around both of us in love) and the marriage took place amidst much merriment in 1967, with both of our extended families dancing the hora until the wee hours. It’ll be 45 years ago this September.
Any advice for the broken-hearted?
He said: I suppose you never know if you were meant to be together until you have spent several years going through all the stages of love and life. After all these years, it’s hard to imagine being with anyone else. I’m not qualified to advise anyone else about getting back together with their “ex,” except to say, follow your heart. And don’t listen to the advice of other people!
She said: Pay close attention to the reasons why you broke up in the first place. Try to work through them rather than just ignoring them. It will make the relationship stronger in the long run, or you will find out that it just wasn’t meant to be. A lot depends on each person’s desire and ability to compromise when things seem to be at an impasse. It can be done!
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Want more about love and exes? Check out a great read in the SheKnows Book Lounge: Spring Fever by bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews, a new book about one woman who believes she’s over her ex-husband only to find that maybe, just maybe she wants him back. Head to our new SheKnows Book Lounge now.