My wife and I are separated. I know. It seems like a very sudden departure from my earlier thoughts about our marriage. Until you realize it’s been over three months since last I wrote here. I’m really sorry I wasn’t able to keep the writing going during that time. There were quite a few pivotal events that turned things around, and one of those, unfortunately, was the discovery of this blog by Wife.
We had been talking about being completely open and honest. I hadn’t been telling her anything without her asking about it first, but I had agreed that I would answer all questions completely honestly. It surprised me, then, when seemingly out of nowhere she asked if I had a blog that she didn’t know about. Yes. Deep breath. Yes, I do. What is it called? Oh, boy.
She read this blog over the next few days, and her reaction wasn’t one of tender concern for the very real issues with which I’m struggling. Instead, she was upset. Understandably so. The result was that I no longer felt comfortable being exposed on the Frogstar under her scrutinizing eye. I ceased writing. For over three months.
Although the story demands that these missing three months be recounted, the task is overwhelming. Every day, almost, was a story in itself. How can I recount in one post all of what has transpired between then and now? Citing expediency and claiming impossibility, my solution is simply to bypass most of it at this time. I am sure that as details from previous events are required, I will draw readily from them. But for now, I will say only very briefly that the time came when Wife was unwilling for me to continue living the way I was living, and I for my part was unwilling to live the way Wife needed me to live. She asked me to move out a few weeks ago, and I found a place to live the following day.
I took with me a suitcase of clothing, a fairly standard kit of hygiene implements, my pillow, and three blankets–or more precisely, throws; you know, the kind that are almost big enough, but that which inevitably fail to cover either your chin or your toes. I moved into an unfurnished room for rent in a house owned by a divorcee and which had another room currently subleased and a third unoccupied. The first night I spent shivering on the floor. Although the blankets–excuse me, throws–were warm enough when I was situated correctly under them, the room itself was unheated, and with autumn rapidly dwindling away, it was decidedly cold in my new habitation.
The following morning, I asked if the heat in the house was off, and the owner explained that there were two heating systems in the house, that the one servicing my room was currently out of commission, but that he would pick up an electric space heater for me that day, and by the way, would I like to borrow his air mattress until I could make arrangements for my own mattress? I gratefully accepted his offer. Since then, I’ve slept on a small air mattress up until yesterday, when I finally took delivery of a more permanent and more comfortable mattress that will be my nightly abode for the coming years.
Two questions that I am sure have crossed your mind, dear reader, must undoubtedly be: how do I feel knowing that my marriage is over? and: so what does this mean about my relationship with Girlfriend? I shall answer the former and postpone the latter for another day when I may more clearly address the nuances required for that response.
I actually feel a little bit guilty. When I envisioned the potential of getting a divorce, it seemed like a black void. It scared me. I wanted to avoid it at all costs. I couldn’t even imagine the horrors that would await me if I dared tread in its depths. When the time came for us to separate, however, we had finally come to a point where it was clear to both of us that it was the correct thing to do. Perhaps not the ideal thing, but what we both needed to continue to function in a healthy way. Still, though, I worried about the actual day-to-day mechanics of separation. How would I fill my lonely hours? How would I sleep without her arm around me? Would I be lost in depression? I realize I have only been at it a few weeks, but largely the experience has been one where none of my fears have been realized, and many things I didn’t consider have not only eased the process, but have actually encouraged me that it wasn’t just the right thing to do, but that living on my own, while maybe not my ideal mode of life, is actually beneficial for me at this time in my life.
I know. That sounds crass and selfish. Perhaps even idealized. Maybe you think I’m just trying to see the positive in the situation. That to compensate for my loss, I am rebounding too far to the positive and refusing to see the negatives. I wish that were true. Instead, the worst I feel is guilty. Guilty for not being hurt. Guilty for not being depressed. Guilty for not missing Wife and children more.
When I visit, Wife doesn’t want to interact with me. “It’s too hard,” she says, “to see you. It undoes all the progress I’ve achieved these past days.” I don’t really understand that. But I try to respect it. And the children? They come and give me a quick hug, and then they are back to whatever they were immersed in before I arrived. I look around, and think to myself: “Where is the pain that I was promised would come? I see only life.” Of course, I do realize that I am not there in the dark and quiet moments of each child’s innermost thoughts. I don’t see them crying themselves to sleep, or staring out the window. I don’t hear them talking with their friends, unable to express their emotions fully, but seeking some sort of understanding, some sort of comfort, regardless. I don’t see those things. Perhaps I talk myself into believing that they don’t exist. Or perhaps, like me, everyone is breathing a confused and troubled sigh of relief that now that I am gone they are strangely happier.
And me? I’m getting more reading done now than ever. And when I catch up on the stack of books I have selected, I can take some time to pursue other interests that I’ve always avoided for lack of time. At night, when I most feared I would be desperately lonely and most regret my decision, when I most worried I would face interminable hours of depression and despair, I simply close my eyes and sleep. I’ve had but one night where I spent a few hours awake, tossing and turning. Thinking about what I’d lost? No. Just awake.
Is this what divorce is like? Or am I simply some sort of monster, unable to connect with my true feelings? Why do I feel a sense of relief and optimism rather than sadness and regret? The end of my marriage is feeling altogether too much like a chance for a new beginning, and I’m excited to undertake it. So go ahead. Call me heartless. I understand. I would even, almost, agree with you. Except that I know something of my heart. I know something of its capacity to connect. Undoubtedly, that has much to do with my optimism toward this new beginning.