Sunday, October 24, 2010

Grief is a Domino.

Yesterday was a tough day. I knew it would be. But I didn't know just how bad it would be.

I made plans to do something good, something hard, first thing in the morning. And I did it. Ten miles in the rain. And it was good. And it was hard. And there were moments when I found myself laughing. And others when I found myself sobbing.

There I was, thinking I was grieving one thing, and then it turned out I was grieving a whole lot more. It's almost like a domino effect. I start crying about one thing, then realize I've got something else to cry about, which, of course, leads to something entirely different to cry about.

I didn't make as big a deal about yesterday as I have in years past. I kind of wanted to go it alone. I kind of wanted to just... Be.

But the night before, I was overcome with certainty: I would hear from Eric. Because he knew what the day would be and he would care enough to contact me. I was also just as certain that I wouldn't hear from the husband.

While I was running, I found myself really reflecting upon what the therapist said last week. And the assignment we have to complete before our next session. And I realized that what he's doing is helping us see compatibility. Because that's what premarital counseling is about, right? Making a decision about whether or not you SHOULD get married. Whether or not it would last.

And it hit me that I know what those lists will show. That other than our son, we really don't have all that much in common. And while differences can really add to a relationship, they can only do that if both parties are willing to learn from the other.

And that's not really true in our case.

On Thursday, the husband and I had made tentative plans to meet for coffee in the morning before I went to work. And it didn't work out. He gave me all the reasons why it wasn't his fault, and said that he was really bummed about it, but I realized that there was one thing he could have done to ensure he was able to follow through with me, and he didn't do that one thing. It didn't even occur to him.

Because his family of origin is more important than the one he chose to create with me.

I remember how up until about 8 years ago, the husband always kissed the back of my hand when he was saying goodbye to me. He's the only one who ever made that gesture. And I loved it. And I missed it. And, yes, I mentioned it a few times in the last several years, and sometimes he would pull that out, but rarely. It no longer occurred to him.

And as I ran, I remembered how on Thursday night, when Eric picked me up for dinner, he got out of the car to greet me and open my door. The husband used to do that all the time. And he hasn't in years.

Sure, a lot of that is woo-ing. And some romantic gestures get swept away when real life steps in. But I'm willing to bet money that Eric still held doors for his wife even 20 years into their relationship. He's that kind of a man.

And now you're thinking, "What the fuck? She went to dinner with Eric?"

It was as friends. His new girlfriend doesn't eat sushi. I do. We went for sushi. As friends. And as friends, he opened up to me and I got pissed off at him. And that was good, right? Haha.

But then Saturday came. And he did contact me. And that was kind. And so many friends contacted me.

But what I really needed was a hug. A good one. One that would allow me to just let go. I needed to cry.

And nobody was around to do that for me.

Including the husband. Who is a mile away.

I called him to figure out the transition. Sure, he asked how my run went. But he didn't ask me how I was feeling. Or if I needed anything. So, we made our arrangements and I went to sob it out in the shower.

And then he changed the transition plan on me.

And when they arrived, he walked into my apartment without touching me. He played with the kidlet for quite awhile before leaving. Only then did he hug me, and quickly invited the kidlet in for a "family hug".

Yes, family is so important to me. Important enough for me to try to get past the pain of everything that came before and try to put our family back together.

But I am not a woman who can live the rest of her life with a man who simply doesn't believe it's important to show his wife that she matters to him.

And I know that in a long-term relationship, there's an ebb and flow to affection. I do understand that.

But I'm basically asking him to want to spend time with me.

And no matter what I do or say or think, I can't get him to change how he feels about what "family" means.

Shit, I remember when I scored us free tickets to a concert ten years ago. And we were so excited about going on a date. Dinner, drinks, the concert. It would be amazing. Between the time we'd planned the date and the concert, we got a puppy.

And as the concert got closer, he was no longer willing to go to dinner. Just the concert. He didn't want to leave the puppy for that long.

I should have known then that dating his wife wasn't going to be important forever.

And I know I'm not supposed to compare, but it's impossible, so here goes:

Eric was still dating his wife at the end. And I'm willing to bet that when they went out with their friends a month after she left him that he was still opening doors for her. In fact, I know that he was planning a weekend getaway for a week or so after she dropped her bombshell. He fucked up in a lot of ways in that relationship, but dating his wife was not one of them.

And I know plenty of men who have been married for years who make it a point to spend time with their wives. So, I don't think I'm being unreasonable when I'm insisting upon this.

And, yes, part of what I'm feeling now is that I know Eric is taking his girlfriend on a trip. A trip he'd asked me to go on. A trip that we won't take.

And I can't even comfort myself with the knowledge that I'll still take it. Because if I get back together with my husband, I won't take that trip. Sure, I'll take it with my son at some point. Or maybe with friends.

But I'll never get to stand in that city with a man who loves me.

And I don't know if I can commit to that.


  1. And in a case of supreme "retroMama's not making this shit up":

    The husband brought over something for the kidlet. And when he left, he grabbed a hand and kissed the back of it.

    It wasn't mine.


  2. Keep focusing on what's right for you and what you want. It's your life and you have every right to expect to be happy in it!