I left, after eleven years of marriage, five plus of it diagnosed of it as bipolar, one of it in marriage therapy, too many other frustrations to count. And then it was a year, almost, later, when we had a talk, and I said how much I missed him.
He said he did, too.
There were overtures, attempts, dates– but there were falterings, too, emails and phones calls ignored or unanswered in classic “He’s Just Not That Into You” ways, events I’d commemorate that he would not– altogether unequal exchanges, emotional or monetary. It was adding up to a feeling of this isn’t going to work (again) and while that had not been the point– I don’t know what the point was, except that I missed him– it certainly wasn’t to see if he’d changed, learned some lesson he wouldn’t while I was still there, and that he might and would thereafter allow us to be better because he had changed. I know a part of me hoped that I’d grown past wanting things that part of me thinks are unrealistic.
Still, I found that it was the case he had not changed. And I found that it still wasn’t enough. My heart and my head still wanted other than what he could give, even the unrealistic things I still childishly want, and while– oh, oh, I missed him– there was a fundamental inequality of understanding, of effort, of mutual needs that we weren’t bridging. I don’t pretend there aren’t ways I failed him. I just have no idea what they are, because he wouldn’t ever tell me.
It was, in a way, my own damned fault that the straw that broke the camel’s back (this time) broke it so badly. I should have done certain things earlier on to rely on myself– to prove to myself that I could, and not only because he wouldn’t or couldn’t, whichever it was. But then, the straw (a last minute change to my health insurance, so I would no longer be able to see my shrink or my therapist, you know, the people who keep me from slitting my wrists?) came, and while I may have flipped out at him, I’m just as much a fool for not knowing– I never should have put myself back in the position of relying on anyone but myself in the first place. When he let me down, I was as angry at me as I was at him, because– yes, yes, a thousand times yes, if we were trying to reconcile (were we? maybe, separated people don’t usually date, and that’s the closest thing I could call what we did), what he unilaterally did was fine if he was the only person in his life he had to consider, but if he was theoretically on the same boat of the U.S.S. Save The Marriage, he might as well have blown the fucking ship up himself.
But I should have known better. I should have bought my own insurance at work, never mind that he earns more than twice what I do. I should have known that he would turn and cower when I got angry, get defensive in the face of my scathing and hyperverbal fury, should have known that he would hide the stunt he’d pulled until the last minute (just as he did) because he was afraid (subconsciously or not) of my reaction. I should have known I was a fool for hoping we could fix things.
Still, here is the thing I am most angry about, aside from the lying and avoidance and bullshit noncommunication and my own furious rage, which leaves me feeling trembling and nauseous: I left, when I left, so that I would still feel affection for the things we’d once had. I wanted, above all, to avoid feeling contempt. And now, I can’t help but feel he’s pathetic, and that part of that is my fault. For not leaving earlier? For not standing up for myself more vocally some time (when?). For being a hopeful fool and trying again and putting myself in the position for him to dick me over and leave me feeling financially exposed and emotionally flayed?
All of that. Yes.
I’m disgusted by him, I’m disgusted by me, and all I want to do know is wrap it up, walk away, and erect Here Be Dragons signs over the mistakes I’ll know not to make again and probably won’t have the chance to repeat, because life doesn’t offer chances at love, much less spoiled love, all that often.
And now, it’s not just a failed marriage, it’s a spoilt one, and the only thing to do is discard it.