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Fiddle dee dee

February 12, 2010

Though my ex-husband’s total collapse was a harbinger of marital doom, there was another, even earlier, watershed moment. It was a couple of months before he flipped out completely. I was outside in the yard doing this and that, while my younger son napped, before my older son got home from school. For some reason I was thinking about my dissertation, toying with the idea of turning it into a book someday, as I sometimes still do in ambitious moments. The crocuses were coming up. The yard was muddy and green, and the trees were just beginning to leaf. It was warm in the sun but chilly in the shade.

On the acknowledgments page of my dissertation, I listed my ex-husband, my older son, and our dog (the younger son wasn’t born yet), as the “human and doggy loves of my life.” I figured, as I wandered around the yard, drawn into the sun, that I’d have to include the baby somehow. I thought about the dedication. I didn’t want to belittle what I’d earlier written; still, if I ever wrote a book, I’d have to up the ante somehow. I fiddled with phrasing, moved things around, rejected superlatives, sought equivalents.

And suddenly I realized I did not love my husband enough to acknowledge him in my imaginary book. I could not fathom calling him the love of my life any more.

I sat down in the driveway. It was May. I remember the date, actually, because it seemed important at the time. I dropped my head in my hands. I sat there for a while.

In a year, I thought, if I still feel this way, I will deal with this. If I still feel this way in a year, I will do something.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Debbie permalink
    February 12, 2010 9:12 pm

    You are wise and brave and strong beyond my wildest imagination.

  2. DES permalink
    February 13, 2010 12:00 pm

    Why is there so much less written about falling out of love than there is about falling in love?
    Maybe not the best-timed question on the day before Valentine’s Day, that heavily-orchestrated mandatory pantomime exercise that usually leaves me poised between laughter and tears.

  3. February 13, 2010 5:24 pm

    A while back a friend of mine formed a two-year plan to leave her husband. She lasted maybe another four months in the marriage. Why do we set such wide temporal parameters for ourselves? I mean, a year is just a year, but also it’s a WHOLE YEAR. Do we think we’ll learn to live with unhappiness, that until a certain age our children need us to live in the same house, that an unhappy life is actually quite tolerable, just as good as joy with fewer smiles, hearty laughs, and pancakes shared off the same plate? I wonder if men make these deals with themselves as well. I wonder if they think, I’ll give it a year.

  4. Jul permalink
    February 15, 2010 12:14 am

    You’re awesome. This is all.

  5. anna samantha permalink
    February 16, 2010 11:51 am

    I had a very similar experience but it came while shopping for a valentines day card to go with the perfect gift I’d already purchased. I stood there reading card after card and suddenly realized I couldn’t find a single one that didn’t make me feel like a big fat liar. I think I ended my marriage right then and there but it was a couple of years before anything was actually done about it.

  6. February 19, 2010 3:15 pm

    I passed on a Beautiful Blog Award to you last night. I’ve really been enjoying your posts! Details are on my site if you care to pass on the award. Keep up the great writing!

  7. November 16, 2010 11:03 pm

    It took me a long time to leave my ex. I think I first realized that the marriage was in crisis when we were living in the US for a year. I was stuck at home with 3 preschoolers and pregnant and my then husband, who was going to college, didn’t want me to go out in the evenings in case he needed me to help with his studying. I told him I felt cooped up and unhappy with life. He told me I had no right to be unhappy because he was 10 times more unhappy with our life than I was. It took another 4 years before I managed to break away. He would threaten to leave me and then change his mind after keeping me in limbo for a couple of days. In the beginning I was terrified that he meant it and he would. Gradually I started wishing that he would. One day a couple of months before our separation, when he again threatened to move out, I said ok, do it. But he didn’t. I spent the next 2 months thinking about all the consequences of being left and then I left him instead.

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