Yesterday I found out my ex has begun seeing someone new. I'll be honest - I wasn't completely surprised, but my kids sure were. In the end, I believe he did what he thought was best to bring the two sides of his life together, but it turned into an emotional train-wreck for my daughters (well, to be fair, mostly for my older daughter). And I was the one scrambling to pick up the pieces, while also trying to sort out my own feelings about it.
Now I haven't written much about my separation, mostly because it's not only my story to tell. I have tried to show restraint because I recognize I bring only one version of the story to the table, and that version is very highly tinted by my own hurt and loss. But there are times at which the cathartic lure of writing about my feelings is too strong and I simply Have. To. Write.
This is one of those times.
Let me be completely frank and say that I have been surprisingly upset these last two days as I have come to terms with the very concrete knowledge that my ex has moved on. I don't feel hurt that he is with another woman, and yet...and yet I still do hurt. For some reason.
First, I thought it was because he had bungled telling the girls about it, or perhaps that he hadn't told me first to prepare me for their reactions. Especially with our older daughter, who is so very emotionally fragile.
Then, I thought it was because I was jealous. To be clear: I wasn't jealous of her, this new girlfriend (I don't regret our separation - ever), but I began to think I might just be envious of him. Envious that he has found someone new, someone more suited to him who shares his interests. Someone to have fun with. Someone to have grownup conversations with. Someone to help bear the loneliness of being forty-something and single.
Because it is, you know, lonely. It's deeply lonely. And it's lonely in many ways. It's lonely simply to be unmarried when everyone else isn't. It's lonely to be the fifth wheel at dinner parties. It's lonely to want to invite a friend and her family over for dinner, only to back out because, well, who will her husband talk to if they come?
So yeah, there's that. It's likely that I envy him because he has something that I don't, but I don't even know that I want it...at least not now. Not when my life is so full of mothering and working full-time and just making ends meet and keeping house and...and...where would I find the time to devote to a relationship when some weeks I can't even find time to fold the laundry before it needs to go back into the hamper?
And this is where the truth starts to creep in.
It's true when I say I don't regret my separation, but I do regret how things have worked out in my life. I regret that I am not in a stable marriage with a partner who I still love and with whom I enjoy spending time. I regret that my children don't get to live with their Dad and grow up in a home with two parents who love and respect each other. I regret that I don't have someone to sit with of an evening, talking over issues at work, or re-telling funny stories our younger daughter passed on or worrying about our older daughter and her school. I regret that I won't grow old with the person I raised my children with. That I may not have anyone to grow old with.
My own Mom and Dad, a lifetime of love.
And I think this is what has had me so upset.
In the end, I'm so upset at this news because I'm mourning the loss of a marriage. Not the marriage I actually had, but the marriage I would have liked to have had. The marriage I deserve to have had.
And that can be a hard loss to come to terms with.