Monday, October 22, 2007

Don't Look Back In Anger

Been ruminating quite a bit on anger and my weird handling of it. In the heat of the moment, I guess I can get angry, or, at least, pretty curt and cutting, but truth be told, I just cannot hang onto it. I often have pangs of it long after whatever set me off, but for the most part, I just cannot expend the energy on it. Being pissed off takes valuable emotional energy and, necessarily, that energy is directed at events in the past. That seems so counterproductive to me and an irrational approach towards problem solving and bettering the situation.

In a nutshell, I guess, that is it. Being pissed off and angry at something that happened in the past does nothing to improve the situation or resolve the underlying issue giving rise to the problem. It seems to me that you can either move forward, with an understanding by both parties of what occurred, why it provoked anger, and the importance of not reoffending, or you can sever the relationship entirely and let the bad feelings seethe and fester. That just seems like a no-brainer to me. Even if the 'event' giving rise to the anger is a deal-breaker, such that the relationship is over or irreparably damaged, I am still of the "hash it out" mentality. Everybody wins, and you get the all-important closure. Without that kind of conversation, you just have raw, loose ends that perpetuate the random feelings of anger and hurt.

Part of what brought this to the surface is my ongoing relationship with B. I know I talk about him too much here (according to my sister, among others, I am sure), but I am trying to figure out where I want to go with him. What we have now is either ridiculously unhealthy or a changed but ongoing friendship. I am kind of betting on the latter. B called on Friday and wanted to get together this weekend, but I wanted a quiet weekend to myself. I didn't call him back, and today, sent him an email explaining that I needed a quiet weekend. He called a few hours later and we had a half hour conversation about various random things in our lives. It was a not unlike hundreds of conversations we have had over the past three years of our separation, although there was probably more of a friendly and sharing tone.

He offered to have his boss, an artist, donate a piece in my grandfather's name to the charity of my choosing and I am considering that. We talked about various pieces of furniture at the condo and he offered to give me this chair that I had long admired at the Boathouse. We joked and teased and were, quite simply, friendly with each other. Yet at certain points of the conversation, I became irritated with myself. Why was I having this conversation with my soon-to-be-finally-ex-husband and why was he wanting to have it with me? Why am I utterly unable to cut off all contact with him and let us both move forward? Why am I unable to play the role of the pissed off ex-wife? Hell, why am I unable to play the role of the disinterested, indifferent ex-wife? Why do I keep myself tethered to him in any capacity, knowing full well our marriage is long past dead.

I don't want to get back together with him. That isn't even on my radar. I have no desire to exhume a very much dead marriage. I know that I already realized that I think of him as my family, and while that is a flawed assessment, it is my current reality. He is my history, to be sure, but if I am all about looking forward, why expend energy on someone who is just a part of my past? Maybe it is just as simple as the notion that he and I are familiar to each other and know each other's stories and shit. But if I meet someone with whom I want to build a life, I don't know that it would be reasonable to expect him to accept my odd relationship with B. I know damn well that B's girlfriend would be aghast if she knew how often he calls me and how connected we still seem to be.

I guess the bigger question I have for myself is why I continue any relationship with B. Perhaps even more vexing is why continuing it makes me feel weak. Divorced people are supposed to hate each other, or be completely indifferent to each other. As I sit here tonight, thinking about it, I don't know that I will ever be indifferent to B, and I have long believed that indifference is the opposite of being in love. I will always love B, and, further confession, I think that part of the reason I indulge him in these conversations is out of that love for B. I know that he has constructed a world that looks so very different from the one that we built together. I know him well enough to know that I am a security blanket for him and a touchstone to his and our past.

I also know, rationally, that I need to relinquish that role. Not my job, he doesn't often reciprocate, blah blah blah. I guess what I am really struggling with is how to do what eventually needs to be done. Perhaps it will evolve organically, with little advance planning. I know it boggles the mind of my family and friends, who just can't figure out why I have anything to do with him, especially given his antics during the separation. Which brings me back to anger and my inability to harbor grudges. I'm over it - all of the hurt and pain of our marriage and its demise. What is left is an abiding connection to B that needs eventual severing. I guess that means I am looking forward on some level.

Just so I'm clear - I am fretting that I am not a pissed off, bitter person who hates her husband of 10+ years. I'm not pining for him, either. I am conflicted because I cannot be mean, nasty or indifferent to him. I only know how to be a friend, or at least friendly, to him. And fuck it, I am proud of something - I have shown the end of this relationship as much care respect as I owed it while we were married. I am inordinately proud of that.

Jesus, this is boring.

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