I got an email from a reader recently that has me thinking. I love to get emails from readers and several times a week I hear from someone that I don’t know, that doesn’t leave comments really, but is a loyal reader and connects with my feelings about divorce.
Seriously, I love that. It makes my whole day and makes me feel like the time I spend at the lap top gestating a post and searching google images is all worth it. (Also, there is something wrong with my gifs these days. I love gifs. But they aren’t moving. I insert one that is moving, post it, no movement).
Case in point. I see her moving.
I digressed, what was I talking about?
Oh yes, the whole point of blogging your personal angst is to support and connect with others who might be feeling the same feelings and going through the same things. People need universality and commonality to cope best with stress. When it was me, I found Pauline and DA Wolf at Daily Plate of Crazy and several others that I read daily who convinced me through their words that I might actually live and come out on the other side. Thank God for them, because I am a total pessimist and was pretty sure I was going to die from the pain.
But I didn’t, I lived, people can see that I lived, and find some comfort.
This reader is in a similar situation to mine. First, they are currently birdnesting through their separation but that is almost beside the point. Like I was, she is married to a perfectly nice man who is not a partner and only minimally engaged in their marriage. Like Stanley, her husband can’t do better. He doesn’t have it in him. Actually from what she has shared with me, he can’t even do as well as Stanley did and he sucked out loud. She over functions for him because he barely functions on his own. Her husband sounds even less capable than Stanley was because he has some depression issues, Stanley was just lazy.
I think there are millions of us over functioning out there.
Her dilemma: she is unhappy, she is worn out with him, she feels sorry for him if she leaves him and worries what will become of him (?), and she hates to break up her children’s home because she is personally unfulfilled.
He knows she is unhappy, they are separated, birdnesting and sharing a small apartment that they have never been in at the same time, he doesn’t engage her in trying to work things out, he just walks around sad and miserable making her feel even more guilty.
Her situation is even tougher than mine because Stanley ultimately took it out of my hands. I was unfulfilled and unhappy but had determined I could stick it out until the kids were older. My happiness and personal fulfillment was not more important to me than my kids stable home. Stanley pulled the plug himself and finally said in a therapy session that he didn’t want to have to ‘work’ on it and if he had to start over he wanted to do it while he was still young enough to meet someone else. He thought the kids would be fine.
What is a mother to do when they have a partner that won’t work on the relationship and is just a pitiful pile of lump?
I don’t know. We all have to make our own choices.
God knows I have wrestled with the guilt demons. My choice wasn’t divorce, it was letting him know I was unhappy and expected more from a marriage in the first place. I set the wheels in motion then. Although to be honest, I really played a game of chicken, thinking he would step up and engage with me.
You can see how that worked out.
What I was able to say to her was that my kids are fine. They are happy and still have us both. Nobody died. I am happier than I have been in such a long time. I am personally fulfilled, I feel like a good mother and a woman both at the same time.
Yes, you can be both. I had no idea. While married to Stanley, I felt like everyone’s mom. Now I’m their mom and Al’s partner. That is a blessing.
Even Stanley is happier. Last night we had Jumping Bean’s choir performance at the middle school. I over functioned called him at 4 and reminded him. Good thing because of course he forgot. He showed up with his girlfriend we all sat together. They held hands. I didn’t vomit or have any sort of crisis at all. But I did notice how big her hands are, she has these big man hands.
What I suspect from my clinical experience, is if she does move on with the divorce, he will find someone else who will step in and take care of him. He has probably never really taken care of himself and probably never will. I think that everyone will be fine and she has the chance to find a real partner if she goes ahead with it. But I certainly understand her guilt and feeling the need to keep her kids stable. In the end, I can only sympathize.
Hang in there K. We are here for you.