This is something I hadn’t expected to come up as often as it does. It plays to my overly sensitive sense of justice, and right, and the idea that your word is your bond. I knew as the talk of divorce cropped up, that this would be an issue for me, but I didn’t imagine the ways it would hurt. I figured I would internalize it, and process it, and after a time of mourning I would be done with it. That has not been the case.
I was struck by this the first time a couple of weeks ago. My grandmother died. We weren’t close. She was terribly manipulative of my mom, and had shown with my nieces that she wouldn’t be reliable to show up for a lunch let alone other grandmotherly things that you would expect. She had been a significant factor in my growing up though. We spent some portion of nearly every weekend when I was a child at their house for a family dinner or some other event. I was sad and grieving as you would expect. As I drove to the hospital to get there before she died, I was so angry. I couldn’t figure out why at first, and then it smacked me in the face. I had been there through multiple funerals for my wife. I had been there when her mother died shortly after we got married. I had gone through this turmoil providing what she needed at the time, or at least trying to meet her needs. They were obnoxiously hard to decipher. But now, here I was alone driving to the hospital. I would be there with my crazy aunt and uncle who had each other, my mom and dad, my sister and her husband, my cousin and his husband. They all had someone who had committed to be there through the tough stuff, through the sad stuff, and mine was not only there, but did not want to be with me through the tough stuff. She wanted to be happy. Such a shallow feeling, happiness is. It is something fleeting, and rarely found when you are looking for it. It sneaks up on you when you are busy being content with the crap life brings along. My mom was so confused by my reactions at the hospital, because I was angry more than sad. The grieving came later, but I was truly and justifiably angry. I didn’t take vows with this woman to be cast off when things weren’t as good as you planned. I took vows to stay together even if it sucked, and trust me there were many things that sucked. Basically, I felt ripped off by the fact that I didn’t have that person who pledged alongside me to be there for this stuff. To further dig the thorn in, she made a big deal out of the fact that my dad does not want to be around her, and that she wasn’t welcome at the funeral. My mom would have made it work, but there wasn’t any reason, she didn’t know my grandmother well, because as I said before we weren’t close. It was just so inappropriate at the time.
Earlier this week I had another moment. This one just made me sad. For most of my life, I have wanted what my parents had. They enjoy each other tremendously. They tell stories about when they were young before kids, and about life with us kids at an early age. They yuck it up with friends from years far past. I was sitting at a bar getting some tacos and a beer for dinner after dropping off the kids with their mom. I was sitting next to two couples who were telling these kind of stories to each other. They were easily old enough to be my parents, or at the very least the younger friends of my parents. I became sad, and very inwardly turned as I saw these couples and the joy they had in bragging about partner and how they handled a situation, and the occasional jab about something far in the past. These are things that I just won’t have. Not even if I were to get back together with the mother of my children. She is incapable of telling stories that don’t make me look bad, and her the hero. She doesn’t playfully jab me, she knocks me in the jaw and tries to call it light hearted. I have lost this part of the dream. There is no getting this back. I chose badly when I chose this woman, and the price of that choice is I will never have the dream. I will never have be loved by one person regardless of circumstance. I will never have stories to share with my partner about life before kids.
The first part of the promise I can have, if I ever venture out to find another partner for life. I would like to hope that my judgement is better than it was in my 20s, but I don’t know that I can trust that a woman is capable of this. Not that there aren’t women capable of this, but that I can’t tell them apart. Women, you need to police your own better. Marriage is off the radar for me for the foreseeable future. The risks are too high, and they aren’t shared between us. women are seeking divorce at an alarming rate, and that rate isn’t much different for the religious as it is for the irreligious. If you are woman who believes in marriage and desires to find men of quality willing to marry, then you need to do something about the culture fostered among women that men are interchangeable and disposable. I married a woman who all would have counted as a Christian woman of conviction, and those convictions were cast off chunk by chunk as she wasn’t completed by me. Which is another bone I have to pick the Jerry McGuire theology of you are supposed to complete me is crap. Marriage is supposed to be a commitment to working together to make it through life, not that I or you should be creating a whole person by the union, but that two whole people are better than one. That proposition is being broken in our society all the time, and I honestly don’t see how I could try at it again, especially while I have kids that would be torn apart by another family break up.
Sorry for the semi-random thought processes here. This has been a rough couple of weeks.