My separation has taken some very odd paths. My husband has gone one way and I've gone another, but we converge from time to time. We are slowly adjusting to our redefined relationship. I guess I subscribed to all the societal notions about divorce. There was a small part of me that believed getting a separation would cause my children harm, but I decided not buy into that. It was my belief that children are harmed more by parental mudslinging ,name-calling, finger pointing, loyalty aligning and other such 2 year old antics that create noxious polluted air.
I became angry at my siblings for a time because they bought into these societal notions of divorce as well and projected inevitable psychological harm on my children. I told them I didn't appreciate the projections of doom and gloom and would much rather they give me their support so this can be a smooth as possible transition for the children yet I understand they only loved me and felt it their duty to point the consequences of leaving a 20 year marriage. I've done everything possible to make the transition smooth for my children. I only live 10 minutes away from our primary house. I call my kids frequently, Mike and I are flexible, accommodating, and supportive with schedules and such. We have a shared one week on-one week off informal parenting agreement. For me it has been a roller coaster of too busy single parenthood followed by loneliness and adjustment, but we put the kids first. We have actually spent more time together as a family since we've separated than when we lived together. This has surprised me, but since the air has been cleared of polluted marital pretense, I'm OK to spend time with Mike...our relationship is morphing into something different than the strained sad thing it was...something better...we're good friends with a close history and children.
Some people would take that as signs of reconciliation, but I'm quick to set them straight. Oh no...we are proceeding forward with the uncoupling process, however slowly, to make the transition easier on everyone. My daughter, however, said, "Well...then why can't you just spend the night with daddy?" since we are spending all this time on weekends together anyway. This is the part that's complicated. My children lack the maturity to understand the sexual undercurrents of marriage...that sex is definitely off limits during a separation and that I just can't hop into bed with daddy to "spend the night" like little girls do at sleepovers, so I just don't go there. I said to my daughter, "I can't spend the night with daddy, but we can do things together on the weekend like go for bike rides like we did today, but I sleep at my place." They'll figure it out when they have the maturity to process the complicated machinery of relationships.
I believe on a fundamental level Mike and I will always love one another. How can you not have love for someone you know so well...the good, bad, strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities? That's what love is to me...loving someone despite their shortcomings, but there are other components to love too. But we could not "do" love...could not show it to one another, so that we appreciated one another in the context of monotonous day to day routine of going to work and raising children. This is where we failed. This is why parting with my wedding band caused me such distress. It was a broken promise and a failure. I had to have my ring cut off by a jeweler and it's left deep rut that will take months to go away. Mike took his off as well; he says he fumbles for it absentmindedly like an amputee tries to rub out the ghost pain from a severed limb. I felt an odd mix of feelings that day, couldn't boil it down to any one feeling--I was sad, fearful, and happy too, that I can start the work of healing and moving forward. That's what runners do, you know, we keep moving forward no matter what.
I mean to learn from this. In future relationships I will work harder on "doing" love rather basking on the receiving end, steaming resentful when I don't "feel" love from my partner. I feel at this point, the once solid rock of our marriage has eroded down to a mere sand sculpture--one swift kick will send it out to sea. I'm trying to salvage what I can in the form of cooperative friendly parental alliance, but move on. Nothing makes me more sad than when people vanish from my life, but they can change roles. Mike and I have changed roles, but he'll always be a part of my life as the father of my children.
I'm really putting myself out here by blogging about my personal life, but writing about it helps the healing process and maybe, it can help someone else. This is real life and it's going around.