Today my RELATIONSHIPS ARE HARD guest is Lizzi Lewis.
Just shy of a year after telling Husby I couldn’t be married to him any longer, I stood with the decree absolute in my hands. Unassuming paper and complicated legalese confused me at first – was this really it?
It was really it, and after a *jumpyhappydance*, which was mostly just relief at the wait finally being over, I paused, paper in hand, in the hallway.
Fingertips to the smooth, plain, flimsy piece of print-out certifying…freedom? Failure? The culmination of the last piece of teamwork Husby and I effected (and the first successful piece in years)?
Yes to all.
Probably. Or maybe not…after all, how is one *meant* to feel, upon notification that all legal bonds have been officially recognized as broken, long, long after all emotional ones fell in tatters against the ever-retreating halves of our erstwhile partnership?
Elated? Hopeless? Liberated? Stamped forever with the seal of societal disapproval (however faint)?
Yes to all.
Our marriage ran the gamut from spending long hours snuggled together talking, to not being able to stand being in the same room; from delicious talks of baby names, to the loss and loneliness of miscarriage; from employment and professional plans, to everything unravelling into unemployability; from gazing into each other’s hungry eyes, to lying naked, our backs turned, both inconsolable and unwilling to even touch the other.
From plans of being old together, to “I love you, but not enough to want to be alive at the end of the day.”
From refuge to utter, utter rejection.
And so much pain, contained within those nearly-five years. Incredible, uncontainable, unmanageable pain, which rippled unstoppably through our too-flimsy foundations, tearing away the layers of fantasy and hope, leaving us both exposed as charlatans, to an extent (for our individual self-deceptions) and irrevocably incompatible.
How could I be pleased about a paper which decreed publicly, for all to know, we were Unable To Make It Work? Not with all the good will in the world (and there was precious little of that, by the end) could we have continued. One or both of us would have ended.
Circumstances; ill health (both mental and physical), unemployment, trying to make ends meet, distance, and the ever-present niggle that neither of us were up to spec as people in our own rights, and possibly had no business trying to make a go of a ‘we’, while the ‘me’ was still a work in progress, all combined to form the perfect storm.
The frustratingest thing we found was trying to lay blame. As the one who officially ended it, I was the one who had to find ways to point the finger. We were trying to work as a team. I tried to explain nicely to the courts that when one partner has repeatedly attempted suicide to escape the marriage, it is not a relationship compatible with his mental or physical health. When the other partner has fallen afoul of anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder, it is not a relationship compatible with hers.
Never try to explain nicely.
My next attempt screamed blame, not with vitriol, but with justification based on a legal framework of acceptable parameters. Cold, hard blame, and the impact of his actions and behaviours which made it impossible then, and ongoingly, to sustain a relationship.
Stark words which received a flurry of retaliatory remarks, and the need to bite my tongue and remind him this was means to an end. Stark words which, in the beginning, when we were still surrounded by light and the dazzlement of either of us having Found Someone, I could never have conceived.
People do change.
Bad stuff does just happen.
Sometimes there’s truly nothing left to try to fix, because you’ve tried to fix everything as it fell apart, and even if you both try, it’s like trying to nail smoke to a wall whilst breathing its poison.
Sometimes the end is too tired for elation and too relieved for mourning, but somehow encompasses all of those points and leaves you standing in a hallway, holding a piece of paper, wondering.
But sometimes, in spite of the hurt and the badness and all the unbearable pain, there is learning and life, and…yes, love (in the beginning, at least). The marriage was short, but my goodness, each of those years stands testament to courage, determination, resilience, and sheer bloody-minded insistence to NOT let go.
For better or for worse. For richer or for poorer. In sickness and in health.
Because we didn’t want it to be death which parted us.
So how do I feel?
A mess and a muddle.
A mixture of things.
Lizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth-Teller and seeker of Good Things. She’s also silly, irreverent and tries to write as beautifully as possible. She sends glitterbombs and gathers people around her – building community wherever she can.