Then the lights go out
There’s a room of shadows that gets so dark
It’s easy for two people to lose each other in this Tunnel of Love
It’s a well-known fact that in Tunnel of Love Bruce Springsteen uses an amusement park ride as a metaphor for the ups and downs in a relationship.
Unfortunately, over the past year too many of my friends experienced too many downs as opposed to ups in their relationships. Actually, my friends were put on a roller-coaster ride set in an automatic downward spiral. I’m still in shock over the amount of divorce filings I heard about just in my little circle. It makes you truly wonder…
Why is it so easy for two people to lose each other ?
It’s a given that the whole divorce fiasco is draining. When those tough times hit, we need our friends and family more than ever for support. I’m no expert in any field especially relationships but I recently offered my insight and served as a sounding board.
While hearing about one of my girlfriend’s latest episode with her ex-husband, I suggested she turn to music and lyrics. I even had the nerve to quote Bruce. Shocking, I know. Only I would find a way to link Springsteen lyrics to her divorce drama. I highly recommended that she listen to the entire Tunnel of Love album. Thankfully she didn’t get annoyed with me. Instead, she fully understood that music has a healing power. So, she started listening to Bruce. Mission Accomplished. I recruited another believer in Bruce’s powerful words. He really is therapeutic. I went on to suggest…why don’t you let me write about your divorce for my website??? Thank God she’s open-minded, strong, and comfortable with her feelings! She agreed to reveal bits and pieces of her difficult divorce with me for LeeLee’s Room. I’m so grateful to my friend for her willingness and courage to open her heart.
For the sake of protecting and respecting her privacy, I will refer to her in this post with a so-called “stage” name. I’ll follow Bruce’s inspiration in Born to Run and use the name, Wendy.
Wendy was raised Mormon and moved several times while growing up. During her teenage years, she rebelled a lot. She let loose by partying and drinking. Her behavior wasn’t over the top by any means but considering her Mormon upbringing, it was rebellious. Thankfully, that phase didn’t last too long and Wendy matured quickly. By the time she hit her early 20s, Wendy was ready for a stable and serious lifestyle. That’s when she met her ex-husband. She describes him as dorky cute, smart, nice, and an overachiever.
Wendy wanted to marry young. Her ex went along with her wishes. In the early years of their marriage, Wendy supported his career choices. She was his biggest fan and cheerleader. She willingly sacrificed her career opportunities and put those possibilities on hold.
Wendy was blessed with two children and enjoyed being a stay at home mom. She did everything and anything for her ex and her children. They never lifted a finger. She spoiled them! Laundry, cooking, cleaning, bills, etc. When she decided to go back to school for her Ph. D, her ex wasn’t supportive at all. He complained when she had to spend time doing homework. His stress level skyrocketed and he blamed Wendy for everything. Lacking the support and understanding, something had to give. The marriage suffered. Fights became the norm. Wendy was devastated and felt as if she wasn’t allowed to do anything for herself.
Meantime, her ex flourished and became very successful in his business. Sadly, success and money went to his head. He developed a huge ego and felt as if he was entitled and better than everyone else.
Appearance and perception suddenly became priorities to him. He was obsessed with Wendy’s appearance too. He became overly critical of her clothing selections, hairstyles, and overall look. He made her feel insecure and as if she was never good enough. He expected and wanted her to look like a supermodel or ready for the red carpet and at the same time, look athletic and ready to climb Mount Everest. His distorted thinking shifted and drastically changed his once down to earth attitude. His personality became increasingly difficult to deal with. Wendy felt as if she really didn’t know who he was anymore. Despite all of this, she still remained committed and tried to keep him grounded. She suggested marriage counseling but his ego got in the way. Coming from a boy who grew up on a farm in a small town, the change in attitude and lack of support was monumental and extremely damaging for Wendy.
Then the lights go out.
There’s a room of shadows that gets so dark
The ex asked for the divorce. The lights went out for him. Wendy was distraught and thrown into very dark and angry place. The ex made up his mind and wanted the marriage to end. It took Wendy a long time to accept and process the divorce. Her Tunnel of Love certainly hasn’t been a joyride! She’s still angry sometimes. She’s still scared of the unknown that lies ahead sometimes too.
Wendy is working her way out of the darkness. She tries to remain positive and focused on a better tomorrow. Her children have adjusted well to all the changes for the most part.
Through her whole ordeal, Wendy has grown and realized that she needs to embrace life and live it on her terms. She needs to feel powerful and liberated.
I’m extremely grateful to Wendy for sharing her story and especially grateful for her friendship. I wish her lots of happiness. She certainly deserves it!
Watch Bruce’s Tunnel of Love Video, 1988