During the time just after Christmas, we were out shopping at a store that sold jewelry. She had taken to playfully rubbing her foot on my leg when she wanted to talk to me about something serious. It felt good, and initially I had thought that just maybe she was interested in trying to make things better. I was torn, because I knew she was very sexual, and good at using her sexual mores to get her way. I wasn’t fooled, but I was tempted.
My fears were confirmed, when she very flirtatiously brushed up against me, pressing her body against me, and said while looking at the rings, “So, If I decide to stay, do I get a new wedding ring.” I sighed. It was the safest thing to do. I was disgusted. It reminded me that she constantly complained about the ring that I spent almost two months salary to buy her when we got married. The same ring that she hadn’t worn most of our marriage. She wore other rings, but had stopped wearing those as well for almost two years.
This was a turning point for me. This is where all my efforts to lure her back stopped. I still wanted to reconcile, but I was not going to settle for anything less than her deciding that she wanted to rebuild our relationship from the ground up, because it was the right thing to do for our kids, and because the vows we took mattered. I was willing to work for the relationship, but not buy it, or gain some temporary reprieve, because she felt better.
This led to multiple talks, where after she expressed that she still didn’t feel in love me. My response was a very stable non-emotional, “Of course you don’t, and you won’t unless you decide to love me. You won’t feel in love unless you choose to love. We have been together too long for you to have that spontaneous romantic love you desire. It is going to take work to get back to a place where we can feel that.” Her response was something along the lines of “I don’t want to work on our relationship” or “I don’t want to love you.” She also told me things like “I have too much life to live, to continue living with you.”
These are some of the most hurtful things I have ever heard. I couldn’t believe them at first. I now use them as inspiration to remember that I don’t want what we had. I want to honor my vows, but I cannot do that if she isn’t willing to as well. I want to raise my children with their mother, but I cannot do that if she isn’t willing to as well. I want to be in love with the person I married, but I cannot do that if she is not willing to as well. Perhaps some of those are doable without her, but I am no longer willing to try. If she wants to go, then she can go. Its about my kids now.
She continued through this nebulous time while we lived together, to try to flirt to get her way. She also tried to use anger to get her way. She became increasingly agitated as neither route has the desired effect of control on me. I was breaking free of her bondage.