Welcome to a completely off-subject post. . . (I know, it never happens chez moi n’est-ce pas?)
It wasn’t my intention to write about my friend today, in fact I had started creating my wardrobe sets for an imaginary resort vacation, but after my conversation with her last week I can’t stop thinking about what she told me.
“On Saturday we’re going to sit down with the children and explain that we will be separating,” she said.
A little background: My friend is in her mid-forties; owns a thriving business; has been married for 18 years and has three children, the oldest is 11, the twins, nine, and now she wants out.
I know her husband less well, so I’ll let her describe him (which she did on Thursday): “He’s intelligent, hard-working, nice looking, an excellent father and boring.
“I feel like our life is a small enterprise,” she said. “Day after day it’s the same routine. He leaves for work at 6 a.m. and arrives home after eight. I get the children ready for school, walk the dog and head for my boutique for the opening at nine.
“When he comes home we have dinner — I’ve already made dinner for the children, helped them with their homework and gotten them into bed — and then we sit in front of the television, sometimes with a glass of wine. We go to bed and the next morning the whole thing starts again, just like the day before and the day before that. I stay on the very edge of my side of the bed.
“We argue: we’ve said terrible things to each other. I cannot continue living like this. I feel like I’m dying.”
She wanted my approbation it seemed, but who knows the dynamics inside another’s marriage? I simply asked her if she loved him. She said, “No,” and added that she didn’t think she ever did. He was there and he loved her.
Then she told me she had recently had an affair which made her realize how bitterly unhappy she is. Her husband found out about it and, she said, “He forgave me, but I don’t want his forgiveness. I’m not sorry and I didn’t apologize.”
When I asked her if her husband loved her, she said “He loves me too much.”
From what I’ve said it makes her seem like a terrible person, but she’s not. She is by all accounts an extremely complicated woman and I think she somehow feels her suffering and doubts are unique.
She moved out of the house over the weekend into an apartment near her business. She tells me the affair is over. She said the separation is “a break” to see where they will go from here. She added that she doesn’t want to live the rest of her life with a friend, “even if he’ll be happy with best friend status, or whatever else I can tolerate as long as we stay together.”
Separation, divorce, affairs, families torn apart, unhappy parents, frightened children, grandparents who worry about new couples forming and losing contact with their grandchildren and on and on. . . it’s always awful. I know that, many of you know too.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t been up close and personal with this situation for a very long time. All my friends and their families have recomposed or stayed, mostly happily with their spouses, or reconciled their differences and discovered they were ultimately content to remain together.
I’m wondering if it’s my age, this point in my life where I think, “surely they can do something to save themselves.” (I didn’t say that to her. I mostly just listened.)
She cannot stand for him to touch her and maybe that is what she cannot imagine for the rest of her life.
She’s young and she “has everything” as she readily admits, but she doesn’t have the one thing she wants more than anything else: She wants to love someone and she seems ready to put everything on the line, risk everything she has constructed over her life to see if she is capable of not only finding the love of her life, but being able to understand what love truly is.
How about this for a nice, long ramble? I can’t stop wondering why this bothers me so. Maybe because, no matter my age, I really, really want to believe in love.
What do you think?