Life as an Extreme Sport

falling to pieces, picking back up

…originally posted on Karawynn’s Pool, posted here for posterity and referrence…

Thank you, everyone. The stuffing was leaking out of me pretty badly Friday afternoon – I feel a lot better now. A lot more peaceful. (More on that in a bit, I think.)
Both Rich and Karawynn asked, essentially, “why”. I’m afraid I don’t have that answer – I know I asked him, once, but I don’t think I understood the answer to be able to remember it.

He walked out on me. I came home to find his wedding ring and a note on the dining room table. A few weeks later, we started talking briefly again… and then moved to separate apartments. Then we fell back into each others beds, and talked about working on things. For me, there was such a thing as separation. For him, to be able to leave me, he had to divorce me in his mind before actually walking out.

I didn’t understand this until January. (He left his ring on a table in September.) I finally ‘understood’ this when, on Jan 9 I called to find out if/what we were doing Jan 10 – what should have been our three year anniversary. He was puzzled; he had plans with others, why would he and I be going out, the date no longer had meaning did it for me, etc.

I told him I couldn’t talk to him or be his friend, and hung up on him. We had no further contact until the end of April, for tax purposes.

We met at the Sit and Spin. It was agony; I saw him and he was so different from what I remembered. And within a few minutes he was so much the same. Yes, he had changed – but in so many ways back to the artist I fell in love with originally. We talked for three hours – about our new jobs, our lives. Our lovers. (Oddly enough, only one of his many new lovers really stung to hear about. I refer to her as The Interloper – she started pursuing him while he and I were still together.) We made plans to see each other again in June, sometime.

A week of hell and questioning later, I decided it hurt too badly, and told him I couldn’t do it. I could not be friends.

I’ve regretted saying that since.

Anyhow. I suppose the above serves as backstory.

You see, had you asked me a month ago why we separated, I would have told you he was being unreasonable. Irrational. That he wasn’t working with me to save anything. That he wanted to have his cake and eat it, too – he wanted to live on his own, do what he wanted when he wanted with no thought to me, yet still have me in his life. That he wanted to not make a marriage work, but thought he could have all the benefits of a close friendship, perhaps even being lovers (as we were for a while). That he wanted to have everything his way, and wouldn’t bend or compromise with me.

I’ve had some time to think, really think this month. I’ve had input from a long distance lover here for the month. Input from my mother, my best friend, other friends.

They’ve lead me to realize that I was being stubborn. Full of anger and pride. That if I couldn’t have what I wanted, it was better that no one had anything at all. I had become all or nothing.

I treated him badly. I hid at work because talking to him had become painful – he had changed and not taken me with him, and instead of supporting the changes and learning, I treated him and his new ideas and philosophies with disdain.

I wondered where the man I fell in love with had gone, without seeing that he was in front of me, just older and different.

He asked me, one night before he left, whether I still loved him. He knew I was attracted to someone at work, and was hurt and confused – I rarely came home most nights, instead choosing to sleep at work. In his eyes, to be nearer the person I was attracted to.

He asked if I loved him, and told me that he could do anything, work thru anything, try – so long as he knew I loved him. He reminded me that I promised, as did he, to tell the other if we ever fell out of love.

I was afraid. Afraid of the changes, afraid of the difference and fights and confused and hurt and not wanting him to hurt me or to be hurt anymore.

I told him I didn’t know.

He left the next day.

Oh yes. I was going to explain why I feel more peaceful now then on Friday.

For one thing, I was able to talk to the lover who had flown in, long distance, to spend a month with me. I felt horrible for having all of this happen while he was here, and more horrible for realizing that I had to finish this, this “thing” with my husband before I could contemplate anything with anyone else.

He understood, he gave me his blessings for trying, and held me in no ill regard. That helped, it helped amazingly.

What helped/changed the most, though, was something in me. I’ve been feeling like a change has been stirring inside for a while now, and I think whatever it was clicked, finally.

All the people who were talking to me, telling me their version of what had happened between my husband and myself – I was finally able to look back and see what *I* was doing, had done, to contribute to the breakdown of our marriage. I was able to see how I had been reacting out of anger, out of a need to hurt him like he had hurt me.

And I was able to see that love isn’t contained in a piece of paper. Love isn’t a marriage certificate – it doesn’t begin there, and it isn’t bound there. Likewise, love doesn’t end with divorce papers. It cannot be severred by a pen, or blown away with the filing of some paperwork.

Yes, marriage is symbolic. So is divorce. But it is symbolic of decisions, not of feelings.

I had made the decision to attempt being his friend, before I found out about these papers. It was what he always said he wanted. He wanted us to be friends. He repeated that when I saw him at the end of April – he layed his desire there on the table in front of me, tears in his eyes, telling me he missed me. I didn’t trample him down immediately, but did a pretty good job a few weeks later (as mentioned above). A good job I regretted once I had done it.

I had decided to make an effort and be his friend because I miss him. I miss him dearly. And as my mother so bluntly pointed out to me, I cannot expect to be his lover, his wife, if I cannot first be his friend.

Knowing the papers were filed was a shock, yes. But I still want to try being his friend.