Like most of the nation, the kids and I were enjoying Super Bowl XLIX last night. We each had our predictions, commentary, and side bets going. In a way, it was more fun for us because our favorite team was not playing, so we had nothing to “lose” with no skin in the game.
Halftime didn’t hold that much appeal (I’m pretty sure the metal lion was lip synching). I decided to browse the pages of Huffington Post instead. Drawn in by the alluring headline, 5 Red Flags That Could Signal The End Of Your Marriage, I clicked for a quick read, maybe to learn a little something new.
Yep, the usual suspects appeared, the ones I’m very familiar with at this point of my separation:
- You stopped communicating openly – I know for a fact that both Husband #2 and I bit our tongues as our relationship progressed. He feared making me angry, I feared his over-sensitivity. It got to the point where we were more filtered than a pitcher of Brita water.
- You become more critical of one another – I call this, the fight we’re having is not really the fight we’re having, and we had plenty of them. The cabinet doors remaining open, my creative work for the business, his ignoring my birthday, and the ever popular “why can’t we have more than one day off in a week” argument. These arguments were silly on the surface but signaled deeper issues: I feel ignored, I feel controlled.
- You begin to argue your point more vehemently – this is where the author and I diverge. The author states that winning the argument becomes more important than the dispute itself. From my perspective, I believe the stronger stance (on my side) resulted in wanting to be heard, not necessarily wanting to win. I could have worked towards a compromise, but felt I was summarily dismissed without consideration.
- Your interest in intimacy has waned – I can honestly say that my interest in wanting intimacy with Husband #2 never decreased, but his interest in me did. The more I fought to point out the widening gap, the more he dug his heels in to keep from drawing closer.
- It has become increasingly more apparent that you have two different value systems – we were on point with most items but the value we differed on was our definition of quality together time. Sitting in the same room with little to no interaction fulfilled his idea of togetherness. My desire for conversation, shared experiences, and cuddling was left out in the cold and I was accused of wanting to be together 24/7, which led to the accusation of my never being happy.
Like all good coaches, especially the losing ones, they find a way to view each failure as an opportunity for growth. The stats are in. The plays are broken down. The gaps in coverage have been sufficiently analyzed. My Monday morning quarterbacking activities have all of these inadequacies mapped out in perfect clarity on my relationship blackboard. In 20/20 hindsight, I could have, should have, would have done things very differently to be a better relationship partner but the truth is I didn’t. Just like the Seahawks, I have to live with my botched goal-line interception and find a way to make “next season” better than this last marriage.
Instead of muttering, “why did I call that pass play?” I’ll put it behind me. No amount of insight and dissection can change the past. It just is and I can’t change it. I can only find a way to live with the loss.
Maybe next time I’ll draft a Tight End…