|Me holding a tattered copy of my handwritten vows |
on my wedding day.
I haven’t focused much on the grief I feel over losing my life partner. The extent and pure shock of his betrayals made me feel more like that partnership never actually existed. Why mourn the loss of someone who so clearly had such little respect for me? I’m better off now that I know.
I never experienced the pull some women have to stay with their partners in hopes that he’ll change. There is no yearning to go back, no unrequited love. But now that I’m working my way through some of the knee-jerk anger that has dominated my emotions, I do admit there is grief.
A lot of the grief is for the loss of the marriage I thought I had. There were ups and downs and it was damn hard, but we always got through the tough times. Whenever we hit an impasse that seemed to have no solution, a creative path forward would somehow appear. I thought we were in it together, sticking to the whole monogamous lifetime commitment thing and supporting each other as we navigated through life.
But apparently we weren’t. One of us didn’t want to come home at night. One of us wasn’t happy about our rate of wealth accumulation. One of us wished I was a more “dynamic person.” One of us wanted out.
So here I am.
I don’t know when it happened, but my life partner changed. I saw him enter a new phase of life, as he was so often prone to doing. I stuck with him through countless job changes, cross-country and even international moves, various fashion phases, advanced degrees, vehicle exchanges, and wildly fluctuating travel plans. Despite his many changes, the one thing he always stuck with was me.
I know it wasn’t about me. But that’s not how it feels. I’m the house that was no longer luxurious enough, the car he suddenly realized was too old, his childhood cat that got traded for a new CD.
I should have seen it all coming—both the way things ended and the inevitable hurt feelings that remain. But I didn’t. I was too busy holding on to my original vows and the good I thought I could see in him and in us.