you know that facebook relationship menu option, “it’s complicated”? well, i am the poster-child (woman/whatever) for that status.
except i’m in relationship_s.
and they’re complicated.
my husband and i met in 1989, 20 years ago this year. 3 or 4 years later we got married. not my idea, seeing that i never had dreams of a white dress and walking down the aisle with some archaic, overblown organ music as accompaniment. (i needn’t have worried. i didn’t have any of that. a black flower print dress, a hat with a peace sign [no, it wasn’t the 60’s!], a sprig of bouganvilla, red shoes and 5 minutes with an officiating officer at the l.a. court house. that’s it.)
and we’re still married.
except for the minor detail that we’ve been separated and living apart since 2003. now, even living on different continents.
yes, it’s complicated.
i got one of his frequent calls the other night and spent the next half hour talking to him and the stepdaughter, who just so happens to be only 4 years younger than me. in fact, i spent most of the conversation catching up with her and some of it talking with him about the fact that they were going to the opera with his “friend”. yes. i worry about him and i hope that he’s doing ok, though i think we are better friends now than ever, even if our days as husband and wife are over. i think there’s something about time spent together and experience shared (except for abuse – or maybe, including abuse) that creates a bond which is eternal.
i think i can honestly say that i’ve been in relationshits most of my life. i’ve never known how to make a relationship work. i’ve never had any good examples. most of the people i know who are still together either cannot stand each other or are together despite – or maybe even in spite or out of spite. cupids flying overhead and lavish, mind-blowing ceremonies are no guarantee that couples stating their vows, will keep them. i’ve seen so many destined for eternity relationships dissolve like the wicked witch at the first watery drops. and then yes, one is left in the unenviable position of mediating or even worse, having to carefully monitor invitation lists to make sure the formerly inseparables are never in the same place at the same time.
anyway, to get back to the plural part of my relationships…
after my husband and i separated, i burned through a few hot, younger (i had to beat off a few 25 year olds. no offence meant, but sorry, not interested in giving lessons!), so soulful, charismatic, though mostly unemployed, burner boys, before i met my current, for the last almost 5 years, on-again, off-again significant other.
and i couldn’t understand his issues with the fact that i was still married. for me, separating was all i needed to start reclaiming my life and since i never wanted to be married in the first place, i had no intention of marrying again, so why bother to get divorced when there’d be so many financial and legal entanglements which would need dealing with?
it’s only after the s.o. categorically stated his non-negotiables and after too many off-again periods that i finally get it. it’s only after time spent apart that i get that i, who have spent most of my life isolating, in a self-imposed solitary confinement, with the times not spent performing and center-stage, spent either alone reading, online or in my head, actually need to say the many things that have gone largely unspoken. i’ll often have an entire, extended response to something someone says and then realize i haven’t verbalized it.
it’s time to let go of the patterns which no longer serve (i no longer have to keep the secrets i did as a child), it’s time to speak out, to open up, to let go. there is an undeniable energetic connection created by the marriage between two people and i will not be able to move on completely, till that connection is legally severed. and i can finally acknowledge and understand the s.o.’s discomfort with being the “boyfriend”, instead of the “husband”. even though it’s not something which is important to me, because i care enough about him, i get that i need to make some changes. and it’s time to change the mantra that i don’t know how to do relationships. i can try. in fact, i’m going to nike it and just do it.
time to un-complicate things.
(this post totally inspired by scott over at husbandsanonymous)
Sjoe. You think you know someone ;o)
I am lucky to have had more than one excellent example of a good marriage. My grandparents almost 50 years, my in laws 40 years and my grandparent’s aunt and uncle also 50 years married.
I also never dreamt of the dress and the day or even having a husband, but I am happily married. Ups and down and all.
I think it would be good to get the divorce. Closure. I like closure. Closure is good.
you really are lucky! my grandparents also were married for over 50 years, but i think they were basically tolerating each other at the end and divorce just wasn’t an option back then. i’d like to think i’m wrong though!
yes, closure. opening up to closure! 😉
Relationships are the hardest things to make work, ever! We have to compromise and let so much pass. But I think (so far) that it is worth it.
I guess your divorce is a compromise to your man, because it makes no difference to you but it does to him.
you know, i think the biggest change is that i’ve become willing to compromise! and that i’ve become willing to demand less time spent by myself.
The point is: You are learning and growing as an individual, which is important. I don’t advise any friends anymore about their relationships, unless there is abuse (emotional or physical) going on, but the sad thing is, people in an abusive relationship find it incredibly hard to cut loose.
Your post was far more eloquent and revealing than mine- thank you for the gracious acknowledgement!
Weird where life takes us, eh?
weird does not begin to describe it! and thanks for catapulting me out of bed to post this morning! 🙂
Relationships are and always will be complicated!
Almost like a game of snakes and ladders.. I roll the dice and climb the ladders avoiding the snakes along the way and just as I am almost at the end I stumble and roll a dud and get swallowed whole by the biggest bloody snake on the board!
My point is this..I have no advice.. I am just as confused as everyone else!
My first-ever blog comment! Hope you re-read your older posts. This topic cuts very deep, as you know. My S. O., like you, has been separated for about 9 yrs and in my life for 6, and he’s still not divorced! This has caused us to have the same on-offness you describe; I have a huge thing about boundaries and closure, so it freaks me out that he’s so blase’ about the whole thing. Freaks me out even more that I’ve not had the courage to observe my usual boundaries! Remember the expression on my face when I poured my heart out to you, and you admitted that you were in exactly the same state as he?!!!! It’s funny now. I suppose there’s this die-hard part of me that feels that, like you, he’ll “see the light” one day. I try not to conflate the issues, but it’s hard not to merge his apathy towards the D-topic with an inferred apathy towards me.
you know, i’ve come to see that i need to change the status quo, but i also think that you and your s.o. have a lasting love that does transcend the norm. i think when 2 people can’t seem to stay away from each other, despite their best efforts, it’s either a very sick co-dependency, or a true sign that they should be together and i believe you guys fall in the latter category. i got such a kick out of reading about your sandwiches in the car, watching the moon… made me very happy for you.