It’s now been 9 months since my runaway wife said it was over and moved into the basement bedroom suite. It’s been 7 months since she moved out to her own apartment. In that time she has had very little contact with me and very little contact with our daughters.
Over the course of this year, as part of coming to terms with the breakdown of the marriage, I’ve given some thought to the marriage we had. I’ve read and listened to many stories of men and women who have split up. I’ve tried to place ‘where’ our marriage was compared to that of other couples.
One perspective is that of outsiders. Many people were surprised at our break-up, including my runaway wife’s own family. Other people saw us as having a strong relationship. We seemed very connected and affectionate in public. We seemed to get along well when others were around. We seemed very compatible. Things weren’t dramatically different in private. We didn’t have one kind of a relationship in public and another behind closed doors. There was a lot of laughter and many happy times.
There were rows and arguments, like most other couples seem to have. (I take a little peverse pleasure in seeing other couples who are obviously having a row of some kind but are trying to put on a good show in public. I don’t think it’s nice they’re having a row. It’s just nice to see that other people don’t have Disney-perfect always-happy relationships either.) The serious rows were always started by one small spark and my runaway wife’s temper would build that into a flaming wall of fire that would take a long time to dampen. *sigh* One thing I always thought was damaging was allowing an argument to carry on for a long time–overnight, for example. I never saw how that could be good for the long-term health of the relationship.
Thanks to the separation in 1998, I was prepared to put up with most things. Had I wanted to be free and wild Mr. Divorced Guy with children living elsewhere, that was my chance. I eventually made a clear decision back then that this was not the path I wanted and, since that time, was content with the family, even during the tougher times. I was prepared to endure the things I thought were unreasonable just because it meant that we’d stay together and survive through the long-term.
When my runaway wife said she was leaving, she promised that we would be good friends. Yet I have barely seen her. She is so ‘busy’ all the time. I don’t know what she does or where goes or with whom. I just know that it is difficult to make time to meet up. Over the course of the last 9 months, the percentage of phone calls that have ended with her hanging up on me is still over 50%. As she does it less frequently now, the average is dropping. Yet there is still a great deal of anger in her, trying to burst out, but over what? She left us! I’ve asked a number of times why she gets so angry, but the answers are not there. I suspect she still doesn’t know what is wrong with her or why exactly she left. She hasn’t taken the time to analyze this, with or without the help of a therapist.
Some of you have left your marriages. You struggled mightily with the decision and still did it. I can’t think of a single story, told from the female perspective, where the justification hasn’t been clear and reasonable, even as it has been very tough to do. One day, somehow, it would be nice to hear my runaway wife’s version of events. Perhaps the mystery is as simple as a longing for someone else, a crush that needed to be attended (but how the girls figure in this?. Perhaps it is, as she has said, tied to the death of her father and the realization that she missed freedoms many of us experienced when we were younger.
Solving that mystery won’t make me feel any better about the outcome nor the pain it’s caused all of us. AS 2011 closes and 2012 beckons, this is history now. But it would at least answer those questions that bother me sometimes. It might also answer why she has seen so little of the girls that she loved so dearly when they were little, and why she today feels that they are rejecting her rather than the other way around.