Monthly Archives: May 2011

The End

The End

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships. What is love? How do people express it? When there is disconnect, is it due to lack of love or simply lack of capacity? Fidelity, as you know, has always intrigued me, because it’s this violation of trust, a breach of honesty… these acts aren’t committed by strangers: they are committed by people for whom there is utmost faith and confidence. Have you ever been betrayed on a level so deep that it changes how you view the world? Even if the doubt and uncertainty influence your relationships for only a few years, the innocence and naivety are gone forever.

My friend is filing for divorce, because trust has been broken, not by infidelity but by substance abuse. Words expressing apology and contrition, no matter how sincere now, are only words that didn’t align with the actions.

I read a disturbing article yesterday about Political Sham Marriages. Basically, the author refuses to sympathize with educated women married to men who are either alleged or confirmed cheaters. The accusation is that these wives tolerate the infidelity in exchange for their own power and political gain. The article irks me on so many levels. First, love is a complicated thing. It really is. Regardless of socio-economic or political status, love isn’t simply about “I love you and you love me.” And who the fuck is she to question whether Shriver’s love is true or not. Sure, adultery seems like a pretty difficult action to place under the love column, but hell, does she know the stats on infidelity? The percentages are pretty fucking high, inside or outside of politics, so is she saying then that most people in marriages and relationships in fact do NOT love each other?

That’s why I’m asking: what is love? This notion of forever, of unyielding loyalty… who are we fooling? Do you know people who have cheated? been cheated on? It’s a depressing state of affairs, no pun intended. What I’m saying is, why should we withhold empathy for Maria Shriver? Because she should have known better? Honestly, if that were the case, everyone should know better and no one should be in a relationship at all. Because, just point to the numbers. Odds are, you’re going to screw or get screwed.

Forgiveness can happen. Change can happen. I like that saying, “Dance like no one’s watching, sing like no one’s listening, and love like you’ve never been hurt before.” or however that saying goes… But that’s where individual capacity comes into play. After feeling pain and betrayal, do you have the capacity to live again with the same vigor? And if you have the capacity, do you have the will to risk it all again?

My friend is leaving. She has neither the will nor capacity to risk it all again. And so that’s where things end… when one person is done punching the timecard. I suppose the triggers that push you to that threshold vary. There are no right answers, and life has a funny way of circling from one end to another beginning. Still, it’s hard to watch the end of something I once witnessed as true and loving. All these paths in life– they seem so dramatically different and yet their beginnings– all started at a single trailhead.

Colorado Redux

Colorado Redux

Last week, John and I hit another breaking point. Ironically, the fight started the night of our 8th wedding anniversary. He said he was thinking about going back to work… Since all his contacts work at start-ups, those are the only options he is currently considering. Given his history with start-ups, I immediately expressed my reservations about those very limited options. What he needed (and yes, that’s how I said it), was a comprehensive search that involved combing the job ads, researching companies, and making new professional contacts. He argued that introverts don’t hunt for jobs that way, and that was that: within a few short minutes, the conversation had turned sour. I pulled out my laptop and started hunting for my own options… when other things are beyond my control, I can only refocus on myself. He, on the other hand, went to watch tv, and that’s how our special day ended.

The next morning, I was furious that voicing my concerns resulted in a curt and pissy conversation followed by the cold shoulder. I made a medical appointment to deal with my breakouts again (hmm, stress maybe?), and during the long drive, I thought long and hard about how I was no longer able to communicate my thoughts to him. I thought about how, after five years, I still hadn’t determined the “proper” way to support a depressed person. I thought of another day of work– totally shot due to my preoccupation with our sometimes strained relationship. Was our eight years of marriage something to celebrate, or was it simply a symbol of stubbornness? Were we just dragging out something that had lost its magic?

The last time I had visited the therapist, it was following another blow-up. My takeaway from that session? She said that by my efforts trying to be patient and trying to respect that he was not Type A, had in fact “made room for the depression to grow.” In suppressing my own needs and denying my own voice, I had practically grabbed depression a seat at the table. But what are my needs exactly? I didn’t even know I had needs.. I just wanted him to be happy– however way he wanted to get there, on whatever timeline.

But no, now I was being told that I was an enabler. So last week, after replaying all of this through my mind, I decided that hard-ass needed to make a comeback. I wasn’t going to live like this anymore. Whatever the problem, figure it out. See someone every fucking day if you have to. I have waited 9 months and now 4 months, and we are still dealing with this bullshit. I am not going to censor myself anymore. Get help, because handling your shit on your own isn’t working.

I suppose my anger got the better of me that day, because the message delivery was angry and swift and blunt. Consequently, the response was a blow-up of tremendous magnitude. And just like that, the rest of the day was shot.

Thankfully, a few hours later, things calmed and we returned to the drawing board. Who knew so many damn shrinks would either be “no longer accepting new patients” or fully booked a month and a half out. FML, right? Back to the waiting game. Fucking A.

Of course, prior to the blowup, we had planned a weekend getaway in Colorado to celebrate our anniversary. The significance? We had gone to Boulder about 11 years ago, when life was grand(er). We really loved the mountains. Now the trip just felt like bad timing.

Luckily, we made the most of it and the trip ended up being a nice little break/escape: a bit of hiking, lots of good food, some city walking, plenty of hot tubbing, and many hours of sleep in a comfy bed. We had fun.

There are still many moments when I obsess over what to do, how to be, how to help, how to self-preserve… My natural inclination is to be impatient and to search endlessly for SOMEthing. It’s like when I have a scab, I never let it be– I always pick and scratch until it bleeds. I’m trying to learn to let things be, to not insist on answers… but it’s hard, because I believe so strongly in living with intention and purpose.

It seems like there must be a way of living, of coexisting happily and peacefully in the presence of depression. But I feel a deep inner pain wondering how long and how hard to reach for this notion– is it even realistic and attainable?

I think I’m a romantic at heart– I believe strongly in the power of love. I believe it conquers many things. Still, even I’ll admit that love isn’t always enough, and love doesn’t always have a happy ending (You’ve seen The Breakup!). Ultimately, we’re responsible for our own lives and our own choices.