Separated

{Written while listening to the instrumental version of “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s}

My mom tells this story about when she and my dad divorced. She had spent years lavishly decorating their homes in whatever style was popular at the time, but it wasn’t until after they split that she realized she didn’t necessarily like the dark green hues of the time all that much. A therapist she was seeing after the divorce recommended she go through magazines and tear out images that appealed to her and it was only then that she realized she loved pastels and white and wanted her home to reflect that. She sees this realization as an analogy for her marriage; she had lost herself in it to the things she thought she should want. My mom and dad were exemplary yuppies. They were also very unhappy and unsuited for each other.

Just a few things I’ve remembered about myself since my spouse moved out: I do like cream cheese in my sushi, I don’t think being well read necessarily makes you a better person and I love to write about my personal life. I’m not sure I lost myself in our marriage the way my mom did in hers, but I definitely allowed important parts of myself to grow quieter somehow. Intellectually, I know that my low brow ways wouldn’t have been a deal breaker for my spouse. But emotionally and practically, a part of me wanted to be a certain thing for him. And at some point, that thing stopped being impressive and interesting to him.

Honestly, this whole thing has shaken my belief in the viability of long term monogamy. We were “perfect for each other” and yet I spent the last few months crying myself to sleep every night out of pain and loneliness. And now he’s gone and I’m ashamed to admit I feel nothing but relief.

The long and the short of what went wrong is that I felt I was doing all the work in our relationship and not getting nearly enough back. Not emotionally, not physically, not practically. And at some point I began to resent him, deeply. At the end things felt so dire that if he fell asleep before taking our dog out as he had agreed to do, I felt like physically hurting him. That kind of anger can only stem from deep wounds, and only now that I’m away from the inflicting source do I realize just how deep mine are.

In entering our marriage I never imagined my spouse could be capable of hurting me so badly. He is not malicious; he would never intentionally or knowingly wrong me. Unfortunately his cluelessness was a big part of the problem. I had been expressing my displeasure for a long time and he never really heard it. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. Maybe I wasn’t loud enough. Whatever the case may be, he seems to hear it now. I’m just not sure that it took this separation for him to hear it is something I can get over. I’m also not sure he’s willing/able to do the things he would need to to be the kind of partner I require.

For once in my life, I really don’t have a plan for how I want things to go. Part of me wants badly to reconcile and part of me wants to walk away entirely. But all of me wants this time now for myself. I desperately needed the relief I feel in not having to worry about what my spouse will and will not do. Now on to the important task of watching animals do the mannequin challenge.

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