Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Out of Practice

It occurred to me today that I haven't broken up with anyone since I was 20 years old. I am now 35.

Back then, the primary concern was "am I ever going to find someone I like as much as this person I am breaking up with?" That sentiment seems sort of quaint now, as most of my contemporaries are building their lives with their spouses. Back then, no one knew what the hell we were doing and we were sort of bouncing from potential long-term relationship to potential long-term relationship. Hell, during our marriage, I knew a lot of single people who were always lamenting about the dearth of available men. I was sort of indifferent to that whole concern then, but have a new appreication for it now. Starting over at 35 was never in my game plan, but life is what happens when you are preparing for something else.

I am not even the least bit interested in dating or whatever. I would love to rediscover or find some male friends who I can hang out with and have platonic outings, but truth be told, dating is the farthest thing from my mind. I am not yet the woman I want to be and I don't want to get involved with anyone while I am getting my shit back together. Now is a time for friends, not replacements and I would be a horrible girlfriend to anyone right now. I fully intend to take some unapologetic "me time" and travel, read, spend time with friends and rebuild a lot of things that have been shattered.

What is different when you break up after a long (10+) year relationship is the mourning (cheesy? hell yes ! OPRAH!) and disentangling of the life you built over that term. That involves some serious pain and reflection and rage and sorrow. Back then, it meant getting your sunglasses and favorite boxers back from him. Now, it means almost erasing a decade long history together. Separating stuff from memories and realizing that you will always have the latter, no matter how hard you try.

I take a walk almost every night around Lake Union, where we lived most of our life together. I walk past our former regular haunt, the boatyard where that crazy thief ran off to, our first home, our former coffee haunt, his workplace, our friends' breakfast joint, where we got married, and a thousand other different memories. I need to remember that these aren't only "our" memories, but also milestones of my life. I told myself the other night that I need to forge a new route, as I've been walking around this lake for almost a decade. I may well do that, but until a blaze a new trail, I can see all of those milestones of my life, not just sad reminders of days gone by.

One of my best friends tonight remarked that she believes B and I will be friends again, someday. I remarked that one of the hardest things about this whole thing is that I am worried about B -- he has many, many buddies but few friends. I am who he would talk about this, if it didn't involve me, and I know for certain he isn't discussing us with his closer friends. It is part of the reason I don't want to talk to him on the phone -- my instinct, my pattern -- is to help him through it all and ease his pain. Truth is, I don't want to make this easy for him. I don't want to make it really difficult, but the friend in me (and the really pissed off, soon-to-be-ex-wife) wants to make him feel the loss.

If P is true and perhaps one day we will be friends, then my conduct now is constructive. As I am fond of saying, those who don't learn from their history and mistakes are bound to repeat them. I do wish for B happiness and peace and he won't get it until he realizes just how valuable and meaningful a relationship he pissed the fuck away. I don't want to live in a world where he is unhappy -- I've loved him far too long to wish that upon him, even after all of the indignities. Despite everything, I do believe I was once married to a great man and I hope he can rediscover or relearn all of those traits that made me love him. I hope the same for me -- that I can once again become the kind of woman that garnered the love and affection of a great man.

I am woefully out of practice but am willing to do the work.

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