Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Til death do us part?

When I got married, even though I knew in my heart of hearts it was wrong, a mistake, even a tragic mistake, I did it whole heartedly. I didn't trust him, I knew he was probably bipolar, deeply wounded, shut down and closed off. I never loved him with a passion, that's for sure. Even so, I meant to stay with him, no matter what. I thought he would take care of me, since he had money. But as it ended up, I took care of him. Oh my.

I soldiered through a few years bravely, or so I thought. Well, not so bravely since I had a two year affair as well as indulging myself in other liaisons as the opportunity arose. People have asked how it was he didn't know or even suspect my nefarious activities. We were not close in any way. I didn't even have to sneak around. Very sad.

When it became clear that I was not going to be able to stay in the marriage, he agreed to couples counseling. We spent many months in the office of one of the smartest, most upbeat, clear-headed and good-hearted therapists I've ever known (and I've seen plenty of them). Still, the marriage could not be saved. Finally we separated. Within less than a year we were legally divorced.

But the story does not end there, no. We stayed in touch for a number of years. Even after I moved to DC, any time I was in SF, we got together for a walk and talk. I even tried, a few years ago, to get back together with him. Why, oh why did I think that was a good idea? Of course it was a disaster, but at least I realized my folly sooner rather than later. Good lord. Since that ill conceived attempt, we are at last completely out of touch. I haven't heard from him in a few years and I'm good with that. What a relief.

I have done rituals of release, I have lectured myself repeatedly, I have prayed to be at last free of my marriage. We divorced 17 years ago! And yet, I still dream about him and in the dreams we are married. Sometimes I still refer to him as "my husband," rather than "my ex" or something more suitable. It's really quite discouraging. Will I never be able to let go? Is there something I have missed, or is the phrase "I do" binding - at least internally - into perpetuity? For heaven's sake! What gives?


Steve Reed said...

It all affected you to such a degree that you carry part of him with you, which is to be expected even if you weren't as close as you felt you should be. Right?

I have a hard time letting go of ex's too. I'm Facebook friends with a couple of them now, but we don't really communicate and it's a little weird. I could unfriend them, but I prefer the gray netherworld of inaction!

Reya Mellicker said...

The gray netherworld of inaction? Count me in! What a great phrase.

Will miss you this weekend, Steve.

ellen abbott said...

Well, I figure there must be some sort of karmic connection. maybe your marriage and attachment was left over from a previous lifetime and it wasn't settled properly then. Who knows? I was married for 3 1/2 years to my first husband whom I married (also) for all the wrong reasons. Mine was to get out from under my father's thumb. I knew even as I was getting married I would not stay with him. He wanted to stay in touch after the divorce but I was done with him. He would still call every year or so for awhile and once he even came to my house. Wanted to meet his successor I guess. But he was also kind of aggressive, a little mean when he did call. I usually ended up just hanging up. The last time I heard from him, he was drunk or wasted on drugs telling me I had ruined his life, why did I divorce him, he couldn't love anyone else. That's been about 30 years ago. I do wonder about him occasionally though, curious how he ended up.

The Pollinatrix said...

Other than a coupla minor details, your marriage story is very much like mine. I actually married the guy twice before finally coming to my senses.

For a long time, I really did adhere to the notion, as you say, that being married is "binding into perpetuity." On a certain level, that still makes sense to me, but at some point, internally, there was a genuine severing I never thought possible. I couldn't tell you when that moment occurred, but I definitely do not feel married to him anymore.

Yeah. I dunno. Life is a mystery.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen and Susan: !!

Thank you for these stories and your great wisdom. All I can say is, wow.

Reya Mellicker said...

Romance is where we make some of our biggest mistakes. probably karmic, I agree Ellen.

One of my FB friends says romance is always paranormal. I've been thinking about it. it resonates!