I feel like I have totally blasted out this whole marriage thing but I also feel like I am not done. Compelled, even possessed to get down on screen why and how it all goes so wrong. I feel like my experience the same of many women. My ex-husband’s the same as many men. We both seemed to fall in the typical trap that resulted in a typical marriage and then the typical divorce.
I feel like what went wrong happened way before we met though. Like there was something hard set in our DNA that caused us to select a partner that was kind of doomed from the beginning. Or was it having children that ruined the marriage? I have heard this said by many men. That they had the love of their lives, married them and then had children and were pushed to the side. Wives now in love with the children far more than the love they felt for their husbands. The marriage becoming a child rearing factory where no one but the children would receive solace.
I guess I am trying to identify for myself so that I can perhaps be of assistance to others. I think we settle. We get to be a certain age (I think that age differs for men and women) and we realize that whatever it is that we are doing, it is not what our life’s purpose is, we begin to feel the pull towards more. This is not everyone for sure but I think most people begin to ask the question, ok what now? somewhere in their late 20s and early 30s.
We find ourselves in a relationship with someone, maybe for some length of time. This relationship is good, perhaps it is loving, passionate but I think mostly it is comfortable. It doesn’t give us too many problems. Perhaps we have never loved anyone else this much. Perhaps we can’t fathom finding someone else we love more...well a more that is realistic. I think for the most part, we marry out of fear. We marry because we are not sure that we will ever find anyone better rather than marrying because this is the person that lights us on fire sexually, emotionally, spiritually and physically. We marry the people that feel safe. We marry the beige people. The ones that have just enough of that excitement to keep our interest, but not so much that we feel like we are really being asked to give it our all. A kind of sleepwalking relationship where we aren’t really completely involved. There is this part of us that is always dreaming solitary dreams. Dreams that have no place in the confines of this relationship.
The marriages that end that are the saddest is where one person truly, madly, deeply loves the other person. Those are heart breaking. Men and woman are affected alike. Long term partnerships that end because the individuals become interested in other things, people or just grow in different ways. The relationships that end when one person still passionately and completely loves the other are so hard to untangle. They are puzzling to me. How can one person feel like they are with their soulmate while the other person seems to care less and could be happy with almost anyone else? I see the wreckage in my office daily. It is heartbreaking to have a spouse, served with divorce papers in hand, bewildered, confused and forlorn. How do you tell someone who thought they had it all, that they did not in fact have it all and the love of their life is now moving on with someone else? That is a hard and continuous conversation.
All of the above has made me think that perhaps great love is not what marriage is designed for. Perhaps the partner we pick to build a family is not the partner that we love with all we have. Perhaps that type of love and passion could not be contained and maintained in the confines of a child rearing relationship. The all consuming selfishness of romantic, passionate, sexual love something that would not be supportive of child rearing.
I have no idea honestly. I will admit that I am jaded. I see the marital wreckage. I see the people who are on their way out. I hear the stories from the leaving or left perspective. Those stories replete with revisionist history. I can only go back to what I know.
When I was younger, I believed in true love. I believed, in fact felt promised, that I would one day find that man that I would love with all that I was and he would love me in kind. We would build a life together. We would have children and grow old together. There would be this bond between us that would be strong enough to survive the perils of living. The financial ups and downs, sickness, depression, boredom, hormonal changes. That magnetic pull that initially attracted us to each other, growing stronger over the years. That did not happen for me. I think that I grew impatient. I got tired at 32 years old waiting for that guy to show up. I think I also looked for this person in every man I dated. It was exhausting. The foundational question “Is this guy him?” I got so tired of asking the question that I started coloring the man to fit the question. If the guy lacked something that I felt was required for longevity, I might just fill in that area a little, shade it in so that it could be more to my liking. If a guy had a lot of one thing but not enough of something else, then I would choose to ignore that and refocus myself on some other quality he had that didn’t bother me so much.
I think what happened is that I stopped letting my love life be based on a feeling and started to allow it to be something controlled by my thoughts. I thought things and then set a course to make them happen. The thoughts were directed and controlled by my intellect and faculties that were discerning, protective and somewhat callous. I made decisions about things that were important and discarded other ideas that didn’t fit into my thoughts on the subject.
Perhaps this was wrong. I think my head began to tell me that I will never do better than an 80% so I should just grow up and stop trying. The fact that I did not feel passion for this man. The fact that I was able to be present and love with so little of my real self invested a critical flaw that would bring the house down later. I am embarrassed to say that I loved with my head but not with my heart. It is like I took my heart out of my chest and set it down somewhere for safe keeping. Like that was even an option.
When I left my marriage I said that I didn’t care if I got my heart broken into tiny pieces, I wanted to love with my whole self and be loved in that manner in return. I forgot to mention that I wanted that to last for the rest of my life...I got all of the above but it did not last. Too much of my heart involved and not enough of my head. Which leads me to my somewhat fucked up conclusion that I am not sure how to love, which parts of me are required and which ones optional...but here is what I do know...that this whole mad adventure has led me to love myself with both my head and my heart.
Maybe this was what was lacking in both my marriage and my relationship after my marriage. My ability to love another with both head and heart had to come through learning to love myself in that manner first. I needed the marriage to learn to love with my head. I needed Lane to learn to love with my heart. Having been successful and a complete failure at both, the prerequisites for learning to love myself fully and completely which was the prerequisite for loving anyone else. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is a long damn life, I have lived it and loved it and fucked it up but I am learning a lot about love along the way. And if it never gets any better than this, I am ok with that. Finally, at peace with who I am and what I am. No longer asking “Is this him?” every time I meet a man. Finally, blessedly content believing that he will show up or he won’t. I am truly ok no matter what.