I was hopeful but had a lot of doubts. We were on our fourth or fifth time “working” on our relationship without any WORK actually taking place. I should have asked for the specifics. I should have asked what the plan was and what were the steps and benchmarks along the way. If I could have found the courage to say all the words in my mind, I would have known that there was no hope to be had. There was no work waged toward our repair in any capacity. I found a house that I thought would sale quickly without a loss should the need arise. I was creating my own plan, but not one designed to repair our broken union. I had known it was over for some time, but memories of our glory days had a powerful hold. In a recent conversation with a friend he pointed out the early stages of a relationship is like crack, meth, or heroin. I immediately understood his point. I have read a few journal articles and psychology websites on the topic. Research has demonstrated that the high you get during the early stages of a relationship instigate the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. These are the same chemicals released when you smoke crack! Just like with cocaine, crack, or love I was chasing that first high. I keep trying to get as high as I did that first time. So I kept doing more and more but I never recreated that original high.
I was studding one evening in the middle of my second year, a few months before my qualifying exams. Adrian wanted to talk. He had gotten a job offer in New Mexico. The second the words left his lips our marriage was over! There was a scene in The War of The Rose’s where Barbara told Oliver that she wanted a divorce. She didn’t want to explain it she was just done. Meanwhile he couldn’t understand it, from his perspective they had a good marriage. He needed and explanation so would Adrian. The problem is it’s hard to explain that in fourteen years all of the little pieces that I had removed left a hole. I didn’t know how to say that the hole was filled with resentment, anger, and a desire to just be free from all of the mess that came with being married to him! I wanted to hit him just like Barbara did in that scene, but this was real life and not a movie. I swallowed it all. Let him take the job. I went to therapy alone to help me cope and decide what I wanted and needed to do. So much of who I was as a person was being half of something I was about to destroy. I was so afraid of what was to come but I knew I had to let him go or I would always exist as a shadow of myself.
I didn’t ask for a divorce that day. I went to the therapist every week and for the first time in a long time I cried. I cried hard. I talked it out. I had felt so isolated because none of my friends could really understand what I was going through. At the time their lack of understanding added to my frustrations, so I distanced myself. While all of this emotional turmoil was underfoot, I was also going to school, working in the lab, prepping for my qualifying exams, and taking care of the kids. One day while I was at the house alone working on a project the song The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore by James Morrison played on Pandora and the words hit me hard:
“I’ve been twisting and turning,
In a space that’s too small.
I’ve been drawing the line and watching it fall,
You’ve been closing me in, closing the space in my heart.
Watching us fading and watching it all fall apart.
Well I can’t explain why it’s not enough, Cause I gave it all to you.
And if you leave me now, oh just leave me now.
Its the better thing to do,
Its time to surrender,
Its been to long pretending.
There’s no use in trying,
When the pieces don’t fit anymore, Pieces don’t fit here anymore.”
I looked the song up on YouTube and watched it over and over crying more than I thought humanly possible. When Adrian walked in the house, I asked asked for a divorce. We were never together as husband and wife from that day. The extrication era was near its conclusion.
*** I do not take the blame, nor do I believe Adrian is solely to blame for the demise of our union. We were young and really had no idea what we were doing. For my part I struggled with asserting myself, setting boundaries, and holding on to my own induvial identity. This was due in part to my romanticized ideas of what it meant to be a wife. The notion that as a woman I was expected to just be ok with not living out my dreams and coming last, it was what “good” wives did. That is not a sustainable model and at this point in my life I am all about sustainability! Burring who you are for the greater good does no one any good. For his part Adrian is who he is he is a hardworking, good guy in general. Yet, still a selfish, stubborn, and negative person. He could only see what he wanted and really didn’t have much concern for my goals. It has been my experience that many men have a similar perspective due to our social/cultural structure. He was an immoveable wall and would hold on to the smallest of shit for years and his mind will always gravitate to the negative aspects of even the most amazing of moments. Man, hindsight is amazing!! Reminds me of a quote by the philosopher Kierkegaard, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ***