I was alone, but lived with my family. I was married, but was not connected to my partner. I loved my children, but it left me with a great sadness. I was a mother without a partner, yet there was someone who lived in my home. This person loved the children, but did not love me. This person was not willing to try to love me. He was only willing to pretend to get along so the children could have two people who loved them in the same house. He slept in my bed, but he was a hollow stranger.
There were eye rolls. There was disrespect. There was an attempt to make sure I did not receive any more of his money. He was not interested in supporting me any longer. Over the years he had encouraged me to try new things to keep busy, without the inconvenience of me actually having the responsibilities of a real job. I needed a project. I needed to be valued. I was not valued at home. I sought to be valued outside the home through volunteering and taking on projects for which I did not get paid.
I was a very involved parent. I organized, planned, procured and projected. I started a foundation, played tennis and had many friends. I didn’t have a husband to hang out with and I needed to hang out. I spent time with my friends. We didn’t go to dinners with other couples any longer. There was no one he liked to go out with. The family parties at home had ceased. He did not like to be inconvenienced by people he did not like.
How did I get here? Where did I come from? Is my story that different from so many others? What choices are available to me? Live with a stranger? Try to hold my family together for the sake of my children? I imagine him gone. I picture his coats out of the closet. I visualize his car not being there. I wish he would not be home when I return.
He must love his children. Surely this cannot be working for him as a human who needs love and respect and companionship. Maybe he can go on like this forever. Maybe I cannot.
Moving through life as strangers, did we just imagine we knew each other for the past 14 years? We had two children together. Surely we loved each other at some point. Where did that love go? We were on a ride that we did not think about long and seriously enough to slow down and get off before it was too late. The ride kept going faster. It was time to get off, but it kept going faster. The children were born. There was no time to get off. Maybe it’s time to get off the ride.
Is there any rush? What is out there for me? There will only be time without my children, when they are with their father. Will the children ever understand that I had needs? Will they understand that he did not love and respect me? Will they understand that I did not want them to see their parents’ sad relationship and repeat it later in their own lives?
Perhaps it is better to be alone than to be in a home without love and respect from your partner. Perhaps there is someone out there who would love and respect me. Is this more important than stability in my children’s lives? Am I putting myself before my children? How can I not feel guilty?
Can I ever love and respect my partner after what he has done over the past several months? His treatment of me had been inconsistent over the years. Sometimes treating me well, other times being demeaning and cruel. This led to a very confused and unstable life for me. At least as I write this I know where I stand in his life. There is no instability, only loneliness. I sometimes see a glimmer of what once was and think I may be able to feel something for him again. It doesn’t matter. He has drawn the line. He does not love me, but I can stay in the house to care for the children.