He’s moving out in two days, leaving the echoes of our 12 years together behind him. I feel like I’m at the edge of a pool, ready to take the plunge, caught in the moment of hesitation just before my feet take leave of their senses and skin meets water. The momentary chill and loss of gravity are expected, but until I’m actually in the water, I can only imagine what it will feel like to get wet.
I still have 48 hours to change my mind, he reminds me every other minute. He says it’s not too late. He still loves me and he thinks we should try, one more time, to open up a meaningful dialogue. I don’t love him anymore and now he wants to talk? He has the timing of a goldfish.
What is it about the twisted human psyche that makes us want what we can’t have? Is it a by-product of natural selection or something? Survival of the frustrated? Why didn’t my husband profess his deep, abiding love when I needed to hear it? Any day over the last seven years or during dozens of sessions with three different marriage counselors would have been good. I tell him he’s struck out and he thinks this is his cue to finally step up to the plate. Where was his adoration and clarity when he had to choose between spending quality time with me and watching an episode of The Wire? We have Tivo, for God’s sake!
Marriage is a series of compromises and we agree to that premise right up front when we recite the “for better or for worse” part of our vows in front of witnesses. We promise to take the bitter with the sweet and we do this willingly, refusing to acknowledge that without the sweet, marriage might be a bitter pill to swallow.
It’s funny, the things you can take for granted when you are in love. You believe your man is a great communicator, when in fact you do most of the talking. You think you can trust him to be loyal and faithful, like your dog, whose side of the bed he’s usurping, when, in fact, the dog has him beat by a mile. You think he can cook when he whips up an omelet in the wee hours of the morning and so you ignore the red flags waving wildly in your face, opting out of the rational thought process you once held so dear.
At the beginning, my starry, starry eyes saw only the good and the magical in him But now that my eyes are anything but starry, I can see quite clearly and wonder how I could have missed the obvious shortcomings that plague him, like his lack of maturity, compassion and common sense. I foolishly took the plunge into marriage without first checking to see if there was water in the pool. But this time I’m looking before I leap and the water has never looked more inviting.