When I was 18 I couldn’t wait to get married. So I did. I wanted to live on my own and make my own decisions.
Oh wait a minute. Being married isn’t being on your own. It’s being part of a team. It’s a partnership. It didn’t occur to me that my husband wasn’t always going to agree with me.
Lucky for me I married a Marine. We had our togetherness but we also had our independence. For the first four years of our marriage he was deployed twice for six months and when he was home he was in the field training a good deal of the time.
We (or at least I) had quite a lot of independence. I ran the house and our finances. I didn’t realize that he had differences of opinions on how “our life” was going to be until he decided to leave the military. That is when life’s pressures became too much for us. While we were living apart things worked just fine. In my opinion anyway. We were LAT (living apart together).
Our differences began to be very apparent in the civilian world. Living together proved to be quite difficult. Maybe I’m too goal oriented or maybe I was just a nag as he referred to me. But, it just wasn’t going to work. We were married eleven years all together. The last few were miserable. He did everything in his power to make me kick him out.
He even suggested he get an apartment in the city (Tampa) and just come home on weekends. HA! Really? Did he really think living apart would keep us together? That’s not together. What he really wanted was to lead a double life.
Maybe the military life had kept us together but, choosing to live apart, I don’t think so Sorry, buddy. I checked the rulebook and that doesn’t work for this team. We divorced amicably.
When I married my second husband I thought I had the perfect solution. He looked great on paper. I recruited him and his kids for our team and for five years we tried to make it work. But we truly lived LAT.
He had a job and I had a job. We split the bills and the chores. We raised the kids as normally as possible for a Brady Bunch situation. We lived in the same house but I slept on the couch most nights. We had zero chemistry. Call me crazy but I need that. If I don’t get romance I can get a roommate. And so we divorced amicably.
Then I found the romance I’d been searching for. My third husband was all that and a bag a chips. What he wasn’t was everything I had ever needed. I completely threw away the rulebook and gave in to love.
It took a very long time to come up for air but I did. I had to give him some rules and he didn’t like them. It became clear that we were in the fourth quarter of the game and it sure didn’t feel like we were on the same team.
He took a job overseas. Again LAT for me. I was devastated at first. But I hoped that it would work. We would have a steady income and he would have some freedom. I would plan our future and our retirement and he would have some freedom. By this time, in our fifties, we had to think about this stuff.
Unfortunately as charming as my husband was he just isn’t a team player and he only kept that job for a few months.
When he returned home we decided that it was time for a real change. We would move to the Florida Keys where I had been dreaming about living for years. We could work and play. We found a great place and I moved but he had one last job to finish up back home. Two weeks he said.
Weeks turned into months and he took other jobs. I worked and enjoyed my new place. He came to visit every other week and he really seemed to enjoy LAT. Of course he did. As it turned out he was living a double life. My friends and family had seen it but it took LAT for me to see what was really going on.
Maybe living apart together would work for some couples but I felt out of control.
Finally, I told him I was done living alone. He needed to come get me and move me back “home.” A few weeks later I confronted him about what was really going on. He admitted he didn’t want to lose me but he didn’t want to be with me either. Wow.
I wanted him to be happy but I wasn’t ready to let go. I know I deserved better but I agreed to a trial separation. He said he wanted to work it out someday but he needed space now. We still shared a business, a phone plan, a checking account, vehicles and stuff.
The trial separation was just his way to leave without having to be the bad guy. Over several months of living apart we separated all the baggage. We separated everything.
He went typical mid-life crisis and I got my act together. I vowed not to date or even think about being with another man while we were still married. I gave it one year. We were always cordial. We just weren’t together.
At the one-year mark I asked for a divorce and he agreed. We went together to the courthouse and filed without attorneys. Three weeks later we were free agents.
“LAT” is not for me. I don’t care if it would have saved my marriage. I don’t care if he wanted to work it out “someday.” Marriage is a partnership and family is a team.
He doesn’t get to lead a double life. He doesn’t get to think of only “me, myself and I.” When you’re with me, you’re part of a team and there is no I in team.