Breaking up is hard to do even when you want to

Posted: May 29, 2011 in Personal
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I’ve almost always been the dumper, not the dumpee. I can only think of one time where I was dumped, when I was about 30 years old. It was a horrible experience and though I cared little for the guy it still affected my self-esteem.

Additionally, if you count all the times when I liked someone in that special way and they did not return the feeling….then I’ve suffered a lot of rejection. So I know what it feels like to have someone say, “I don’t like you, want you or love you.” Sometimes it’s followed with the very important word “anymore”. Sometimes it’s “I [never] liked you, wanted you…..” Suffice it to say, I know how it feels and I know it sucks.

I don’t have any sense of pride when I say that I have mostly been the one doing the dumping because I see those relationships as failures. They’re always failures because I have let a relationship go too far even when I had serious reservations. I don’t know why I make excuses for their behavior except to recognize that I rush into things and then am too afraid to back out of them in a timely fashion. The person who suffers the most is the dumpee and I take full responsibility for my own cowardice.

The reason that this is on my mind is because this weekend my husband moved most of his stuff out of my house. Not all of it, but enough that the finality of things would be clear even to the blind, deaf and dumb. We went through that awful process of sorting, claiming and packing stuff. No, those are my steak knives but this is your collander. Or that’s my ladder, not yours. The gray pans are yours, the black pans mine…..It’s amazing how, in just a couple of years, two people’s things can become almost irretrievably mixed up. I have learned to let some things go….so what if he takes one of the couches that breaks up the living room set. And it’s not just letting go of stuff, it’s letting go of long standing arguments. We haven’t fought in weeks because I no longer care enough to argue. The opposite of Love isn’t Hate, it’s Apathy.

For over a year now I was angry at my husband for disguising who he was deep inside and angry at myself for refusing to see what should have been obvious. This turning point in our lives has relieved me of those feelings. I’ve done what I thought was right to correct the mistake and it’s a great relief to me. It’s as if a burden has been lifted. I feel like I can focus on my children and on myself in a way that I couldn’t before. The future seems more open to me–more possible paths to take and few limitations on my choices. I can’t describe it any better than that. I will face other challenges now though. On those really long days when work and children get overwhelming, I won’t be able to turn to him and say, “you take over now, I am going to sleep”. I will have to be there, by myself, 24/7.

I’ve started the paperwork to file and we’re at the point where I will need to give him a copy. I can tell it is hurting him but it’s the only way forward and through this mess. The Court will help establish boundaries and lend authority to them that my insistent nagging has not accomplished. It will guarantee us both rights to our son and protect us from encroachments by each other. As it should be. But it’s still a cold and ugly process. When people get married it doesn’t feel like a business negotiation but when they get divorced, when they “dissolve their union” it sure as hell becomes a mercenary process.

I should be a divorce attorney I have had so much practice with it. I’m an expert at ending things. I’m horrible at making them last….at least I think its me. Truth is, I don’t really know if its me. Maybe I never will. I’ve always married for the wrong reasons to decent men. I never had the kind of clarity that I do now. Is that my fault?  I’ve had so little guidance from my parents…they were bad examples and even when sought for advice, I received little or nothing of use.

I’ve never had the chance to marry the right man for the right reasons. And perhaps I never will. I’m finally okay with that possibility. I’m okay with the possibility of being alone for the rest of my life. It certainly is easier in many respects. And it’s just taken me 41 years on this planet to get to that point. Why others get there faster than me, I can only speculate.

In light of all the changes going on in our lives, one thing that has not changed is the joy I get from having our son. Liam is now 8 months old and the happiest baby I have ever seen. Without my husband coming into my life when he did, I would not have had Liam. I believe that it was worth it to bring such a wonderful little person into the world. While I have withdrawn my own love and affection from my husband, he will always have the unconditional love for Liam and I know he appreciates it as much as I do.  Even though we’re going through this difficult time, regardless of who said or did what to whom, I hope that we’ll come through the other side saying, “it was worth it for Liam alone”.

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