A few weeks ago, I told my husband that I wasn’t happy and wanted to go our separate ways. I have threatened this before, usually during an argument, but… this time, I knew it was different, because it was calm. No fights, no events, nothing…. just… it has been a cumulative thing over a period of about 3 years, where I have come out the other side, suddenly realising that I am different. OK, probably not different, but, just, braver about speaking out. It is hard, writing about this stuff publicly, knowing that I live SO publicly in so many ways… but when it comes to the crunch, I am actually fairly private.
Initiating a separation is harder when the person you are married to has done nothing wrong. Well, nothing deliberate. Because the thoughts are not of getting out of a toxic situation, or an abusive one, or even wanting to be with someone else, but with having to explain to people that it’s just not right for me anymore. Because no matter how I look at it, on the outside it just looks selfish. I feel selfish and mean, and it brings up a lot of issues about my mother and her moving on to another man and ignoring her children… all sorts of things. But, at the same time, I didn’t choose to be married to someone who sits on the spectrum, and if I had have been aware, I probably would have ended it. People keep on asking “what happened?” and offering condolences, etc… but… I feel…. flat. They say that the initiator of a separation often moves through the grieving process prior to making the final decision, and I think that that is what has happened here. My marriage was in trouble from the beginning, and propped up by various events, dramas, the job of raising children, we never had the chance to actually evaluate our relationship.
And because it’s not his fault, and he is a good person, and I genuinely like him, but we just have a completely different outlook on everything… and I feel stifled. Like I can’t even have my own thoughts and feelings anymore without needing to run them through a filter (that will inevitably put it down, or find something wrong with them)… and… I have realised that I am actually pretty special. And I don’t mean that in an arrogant way… but… that… I am really smart. I have BIG ideas and see the world very differently to most people. And I used to think this was a problem with me fitting in and that it was actually me. But, I guess part of growing up, is realising that your ‘weaknesses’ are often only in the context of what other people expect you to be.
- I am not domestic.
- I am not an… attentive… partner.
- I am in my own head.
- I am a dreamer.
- I am selfish.
- I am neurotic.
- I need to be reassured. CONSTANTLY. Incessantly.
- I expect full attention with my shit, and don’t listen if I am not interested in yours.
That’s been my whole identity for most of the marriage. Feeling like I need to be less of a dreamer, less of a brainiac, less selfish, less neurotic. Some of those are issues, like, me thinking the world revolves around me, sure, but it wasn’t my strengths, which are many, but about focusing on my weaknesses, and, feeling generally crap about myself all the time because I could not fit into the “wife and mother, part time careerist” model. It was the expected role… my search for meaning being treated as laziness, flakiness and instability, rather than as adventurous, seeking and positive. My marriage, simply, makes me feel bad about myself. Every day. Because the communication difficulties with someone literal or semantic, when you are into exaggeration and hyperbole, erodes you over time. Someone who likes adventure and impulses and enjoys just laying on the beach on a school night… is not compatible with someone who is not only worried about it being a school night, but will go ahead and remind you how right they were when you are tired the next day. A person who doesn’t value money, or mortgages, with someone who love routine and security…. well… it’s just not a good mix. I feel emotionally abused, even if it is not the case – and he does too.
And it sounds like I am slagging him off even when I am writing it… but I am not. It’s just a major, philosophical disconnect, couple with a fundamental incompatibility… that…makes both of us bring out the worst in each other. And I am by no means saying that I am doing Jason a favour by initiating the separation, because that would be so arrogant… but I honestly think that he doesn’t know how he deserves better than that. We BOTH do. And it’s not a matter of seeking counselling, or whatever, we have done all of that. I am now just realising that there is another alternative… which is rather than suffering in quiet, simmering resentment and miscommunication, DAILY, we separate and try to salvage a friendship while we can.
Our friends tell us we belong together, it’s all just so much external pressure. Internally, I feel we should not have gotten married in the first place. And I think that when something so fundamental is incompatible, it’s hard to come back from. I always had the view, even if it is naive, that you should have them ‘get’ you. Like, really get where you are coming from. They don’t have to agree – that would be dull – but to truly understand how each other ticks. And I haven’t felt that way in this relationship. Because of the pressures of needing to have children fairly young, low confidence in my ability to truly… attract someone without ulterior motives… I settled into the relationship that felt comfortable. Because it is comfortable. We are friends. But, we don’t have a marriage.
And it sounds cruel. It sounds like I am leaving him, taking him away from his children because I want to go and find someone else. That’s not it at all. I want to find out who *I* am. Because I have never known. I know that I am clever, and funny, and flawed in a million ways, but everything I have ever done has been in reference to either survival, or in reference to other people. It sounds like the lamest reason ever to end a marriage. But, truth be told, I would prefer to be afraid and lonely and tired… than to live another day in a relationship where both of us resent each other equally. I think Jason sees things my way too and I think that he agrees – it’s hard to tell with him how he’s feeling… but… I think we were limping. In a huge rut. And it really just took someone to actually say it loud and mean it.
So while you might be shocked to hear the news, or might not understand… remember that it’s internal. It’s how I feel. And I feel pretty shit because of it. But, I also don’t want to be 40, 50 and 60, having the same ridiculous conversations because noone had the balls to say that it was an unhealthy relationship.
We may figure it out in the end… and of course that would be great… for everyone else. But, you know, even if I end up being the bad guy in all of this, ultimately all I am answerable to is myself and my children. And they deserve a positive environment as much as I do.
I hope this gives some insight.