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Severing the Ties That Bind ...

Posted Jun 13 2009 12:00am
Severing the Ties That Bind

I ran with a group of Trail Cheetahs Saturday morning. I was, by far, the slowest runner of the group, but they were kind enough to stop every so often for me to catch up. I've enjoyed my month of casual October running, but I'm glad the Trail Cheetahs dragged my butt over 12 miles of trails. I came home totally spent, ravaged the kitchen for refueling then lay down--just for a second--then woke up some time later to the phone ringing. This is good. I need this kind of running to tame my high strung nature. My nerves were quelled enough to sit through an entire cheesy Sally Fields Lifetime movie where she plays a poor downtrodden divoree trying to make a new life.

I just signed up for the Buckeye 5oK, so this will ensure that I keep up vigorous running to keep my nerves smooth as silk, for my amicable separation, has had them rattled of late. Divorce is hell. I'm not even at that point yet, but even an amicable separation has it's perils and pitfalls when you're slowly trying to unravel 20 years of accumulated, joint, and co-owned everything. I walked into my house last Friday to watch my kids on Mike's week. He was working and I worked half a day, so I offered to come over to the house and watch them for the afternoon. The house smells funny--like fetid bachelor funk. I opened a window. There was evidence all over the countertops of my husband's aversion to empty the dishwasher. A full load of clean dishes were stored in the dishwasher, with another two to three food encrusted loads strewn across counters waiting their turn. Ironically, my germ phobic husband has no problem with clutter as evidenced by forlorn receipts, books, C.D.'s and god know what else laying on our beautiful Amish-made Oak table.

More distressing than this, was the office area where a stack of bills lay forgotten with the due dates written on the envelopes and now clearly "overdue". I think I've only paid bills late a few times in my entire life and this because a bill slipped behind the desk escaping my notice. The thought of paying bills late is a foreign concept to me drilled into me by my tightwad extroidinare father. It was wise that I was the person to handle our finances when we were married, but a separation means that I have to give up some of the control. So, I did my best to teach him how to use the Quicken software I've used for most of our marriage to track expenses. I had to walk away, like a mother standing in the driveway as her 16 year old backs out of the driveway for the first time to drive away, rounding the corner out of sight. I grit my teeth and hoped for the best. He's driving wrecklessly and I worry that it's only a matter of time before he crashes the guardrail, bringing my credit rating over the edge with him.

It's no easy feat to split a household in two. I wanted this, so I'm doing everything in my power to make it work, to drastically alter my lifestyle in a way that doesn't make me feel deprived, but I don't see my husband doing that. I see him clingy hopelessly to the way things were. He really didn't want this afterall.

So, I emptied the dishwasher, as I have a million times before, filled it up again and reigned in the clutter, showing again the grain of my beautiful table. I felt bad doing this...I need to let go of the persistent kernel of guilt that burns in my heart for causing such upheaval in the lives of my family. I don't live here anymore. My distress was so profound that I almost sat down at the computer to seize control of the finances in an eminent domain take-over, but then we'd delay the separation process, draw it out, like slow torture--the slow Bandaid rip. Establishing boundaries and severing the ties that bind are imperative. Money is a big one.

But, I'm clinging to the old life in my own ways too. I bring my laundry over every week for the "kid exchange," rationalizing that I'm there anyways--might as well do my laundry in the washer and dryer that saved up for and researched all those years ago. It would piss me off to go to a laundry mat and I certainly don't have the money to buy my own yet. It took 20 years to wind together all the threads that make up a marriage, it's going to take some time to unravel. Small steps. Just like training for a race. I must keep sight of the goal--the finishing line, and somehow not trample on those around me in the process.
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