Marriage: When Separation is a Means to an End

sunset on the lake through the trees in Lake Arrowhead

Every time I sit down to write about my separation from my husband and most probably, divorce {ugh that word}, I get a lump in my throat, as I have right now typing this.

I feel my throat thicken and my shoulders tense up and it scares me, and so I run from it. I close the post or whatever I may be writing on or with in that moment and distract myself with whatever it is that will completely consume me so that I don’t have to actually think about what’s happening in my life right now… what’s happening to me, to my husband, to us… which no longer means what it used to.

This is hard. And I want to escape it.

As much as I think I’m dealing with it head on, the lump in my throat surely gives me away, shows me the truth. Which is, that I’m not so much as I think I am.

I’m clearly forcing my hands to type the thoughts that are pounding in my head right now, tight shoulders, closed throat, and all the other discomfort my body is feeling at the moment, but I’m determined to walk through it and get to the other side, wherever that may be.

I’m doing it, and I’ll do it with this lump in my throat and a few tears welling up in my eyes, threatening to really send me over the edge, soaking my keyboard. I’ll do it because I have to do it. I have to face it. It was, in fact, my choice and decision. It’s what I wanted, and it finally just, happened.

dogwoods

I find it odd though, when I do talk about it with people, and mostly I try to avoid it, but when I do, they always assume he broke up with me and offer some gentle condolences with a compliment to soften the edges even more. And when I correct them and say that it was my choice, they immediately assume he did something horrendously wrong to make me want to end it.

But that’s not the case. I didn’t do anything “wrong”, he didn’t do anything “wrong”, in the sense that one would think. It was maybe a series of so many wrongs we both fell prey to, just trying to make everything right, losing ourselves in the process. It’s probably not so uncommon, really, but in so many cases, people stay together anyway.

It just didn’t feel right anymore to pretend it was right, when we knew the truth. It’s like believing in Santa Claus when you goddamn know he doesn’t exist. You can’t un-know it, so you can’t go back to believing.

I think we simply grew apart. Or maybe, just maybe, I was very good at pretending we were right for each other, right from the beginning. God that sounds harsh. It’s not that it was premeditated, it’s only in retrospect that I can see this, of course, as most things are. But maybe there was a part of me that did know, or maybe I just had a feeling that certain things weren’t right, but we did it anyway. The way couples do. I think we confuse compromising with getting our needs met as we try to be what the other wants us to be to make a relationship work.

I know that we were best friends and that I loved him for that. We managed to spend much of our days together the year of 2003 {and almost every day since}, and a solid friendship grew, intertwining us maybe forever. I knew at the time, not even a year out of my previous relationship/engagement, that I wasn’t ready to get into any kind of new relationship, it was one of the most insane times in my life to be honest, but I also knew that I was in my late twenties and he was offering what I thought I wanted then, which was to get married and to have babies, and live that life we’re all supposed to live.

What truly tied us together was tragedy. I even knew it then.

But we jumped right in. We were committed to it, and to making it work. I think we were desperately trying to prove to the world that we had made the right choice, since it was rather tumultuous in the beginning, and we were both probably a little out of our minds.

But we did it. We made a nice life together. For a nice long time.

We changed. We stayed the same. We had some fun. We had some lonely nights. We laughed. We talked. We talked a lot actually. We tried to build a family. We couldn’t make it work.

I couldn’t make it work any longer. And really, I think if he were as aware as he might be now, he would agree, that he couldn’t make it work either, though he would have kept trying, unhappily.

And our light just faded out.

It didn’t happen overnight, it happened over time, but once it happened, everything started to change. He could tell I was done. I resented him, and he knew it. I resented him for so many things really, and he probably resented me to, nothing is one-sided, but for me, the final acceptance that we weren’t going to become that dream family I had created for us way back in 2003, I wondered what it all was for anymore. We weren’t happy together, and we weren’t happy alone. Last year was the worst of it. We simply had become different people. And the people we were, didn’t make sense together any longer.

It’s sad, really, but I think we were both sad too. And I think we both deserve to be happy too. And no matter how hard this is sometimes, I think we both know it’s probably the right thing to do so that we can each go on to live our truly authentic lives now if we so choose.

We haven’t seen each other since mid April, but we talk now, or text, and we’re friendly. We even say I love you still, out of habit, and out of truth because there is still love. There is still a plentitude of love. There’s no possible way you can spend 13 years with someone {almost ten years married} and not have a bond for life. Is there? I’m not sure, but I’d like to think we can stay friends forever. Being best friends was the best part about us, well, according to me. I’m guessing his first response may be of the sexual variety, but deep down, there’s a friendship there that hopefully will stay with us forever.

I hope I’m not being hopeful, but I’d like to believe that’s true.

I wonder if a love like that can exist…

pink dogwood flowering tree

I sometimes wonder if I’ve ever been truly in love in that all-encompasing all-consuming way I’ve only seen in movies and read in books. I don’t know what it feels like, but I want to. And I bet a therapist would assure me it has to do with my father. Because his love was only in passing, and never enough. I’m sure my quiet subconscious mind thinks that’s all I deserve, but I know my husband loved me.

But I’m definitely not looking for love right now… At least I don’t think I am, but maybe we all are. Maybe it’s just human nature and to deny it, is like saying no thank you to living. I dunno.

But I’m dealing. Being alone the first few months was hard, but I made it. I’m staying in our house for now, hopefully I’ll keep it forever, but we’ll see. Everything is uncertain at the moment, except how much I enjoy sitting outside and writing on my deck/patio with my dogs.

I’ve found parts of myself that were lost in time, and I’m learning to love those things about me I thought just existed in my past. I’m writing more than I have in so many years I’ve lost count; of the years, not the words. Maybe, actually, I’m writing more than I ever have before, it seems that’s all I do with my nights, now spent purely out on the patio with the dogs, in the warm summer breeze with the fluttering moths under the dim lights. I’d like to think that someday in my lifetime I’ll get something published and though it’s a passion, it won’t so much feel like it’s for naught.

So I sit and I write in one form or another until all the spaces in my head are finally blank, with music and the mountain sounds and the dogs’ snoring as my soundtrack. I dance and I meditate and I stretch and then suddenly it’s dawn, which is when I finally find myself in bed.

I am a creature of the night… and I feel like myself again, alive after all these years -trying to be somebody else. I have me again. I’m learning and growing and hopefully evolving into the person I’ve always wanted to be. It’s my time. It’s finally my time. I’ve put in my time, I tried it the other way, but here I find myself. With no one to answer to. And it’s divine.

It’s my favorite part of my day; the night and the morning of the following day. There’s just something about it…

It’s beautiful. Life is beautiful.

I’m sad sometimes, I’m happy most. Happier than I’ve been maybe all my life. Which sounds so fucking crazy, I can’t even believe it’s true. But it is.

Just a few years ago I was terrified of who I would be if i didn’t procreate. If I wasn’t “a mom” who was I going to be? What was I going to do? You can’t “have it all” or be a successful woman if you didn’t also make babies, or so they told us. I was so lost in it I felt hopeless and confused and running from life. I wasn’t awake to life around me, I was stuck in my own turmoil of ridiculousness.

But there isn’t a better person I would have rather experienced it all with, we had some magical times together, it’s just that that life isn’t for us, it isn’t for me. It never was, but I didn’t know it… I was lying to myself, because I thought I had to. I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel free.

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

17 Comments

  • RedSportsCar

    July 28, 2016 | Reply

    I think you have considerable talent as a writer… this was beautiful and heartfelt. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing it, and I sincerely wish you all the best in this most difficult time in your life.

  • Jenna

    July 28, 2016 | Reply

    Thank you so very much for writing this beautiful post. I am going through something very similar. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through so I really admire your openness and honesty about something so personal and difficult.

  • Iva

    July 28, 2016 | Reply

    So proud of you. You are brave, creative, full of love, life, and good energy. You deserve living a life that is nothing less than fulfilling, beautiful, happy, full of inspiration and true to you. You are perfect.

    Impeccably written.

    I love you.

  • Kez @ Awesomely Unprepared

    July 28, 2016 | Reply

    Sending lots of love to you. I have been feeling similarly in my marriage recently. I think the strain of 2 years of secondary infertility have been taking their toll (I am well aware of how that is not a long time for a lot of people on that journey and we are grateful for our beautiful 4 year old). We’re working on it for now, but it does highlight some of the issues that have been there all along in the background.
    In saying that, I hope that between the sad moments, there are moments of joy and freedom xx

  • Kim

    July 29, 2016 | Reply

    Sending you as much light and love as possible as you go through this scary but infinite opportunity for a new life.

    My husband and I have been in a rough patch for almost a year — very similar reasons. We have grown apart and are different people than when we met. We are in counseling and trying to fight through it. All relationships ebb and flow; I hope ours isn’t at its end yet. If it happens, I have hope that I’ll come out on the other side as free as you are.

    Lots of love to you.

  • Kryslin Weston

    July 29, 2016 | Reply

    Wow Maegan. Months ago you hinted at something going on and in that post you were slightly cryptic about it all. In my heart I thought oh man, it couldn’t be their marriage!

    While I’m sorry to hear about the separation and quite possibly divorce, you sound more alive and self aware than I’ve heard in years…and I’ve been a daily reader for a long time!

    I have been contemplating “courage” and “commitment” a lot lately. It takes courage to embrace yourself and your own life just as much as it does to be in a committed relationship of any kind. I think all too often people make commitments to all kinds of things, including their relationships, but lose the commitment they made to THEMSELVES to also live their life. It’s so easy to lose yourself or lose a relationship when the balance stays one-sided for too long. It’s a silent killer of either one’s sense of self or a bonded relationship.

    I’ve been in a committed relationship for almost 4 years now and there have been struggles. What relationship, even the one with yourself, isn’t. I’ve come to realize my self commitments or ideas about my life have sometimes been the destructive and hurtful components to my relationship and ultimately to myself. It always takes two to tango but it recently dawned on me that my fears of getting married, getting too old to have a child, etc. are weighing me down so heavily and making me act out.

    I still don’t know what it all means and how things will ultimately shake out, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an ever constant self-awareness as well as relationship-awareness! We need more hours in the day : )

  • MA

    July 29, 2016 | Reply

    This had to be so very difficult to write for you. There will be tears of sorrow, but the joy of happiness is coming your way, you are very positive in your thinking. Much love to you through your continued journey. xo

  • shannon

    July 30, 2016 | Reply

    You are amazing and strong. You’re doing exactly waht you need to- staying true to yourself. So glad you are happy and free now! (Also I love following you on Snapchat 🙂

  • Allie @ LunaVida

    July 31, 2016 | Reply

    This is so beautifully written. ❤️

  • Brook

    August 2, 2016 | Reply

    Beautifully raw and true. I send you love and prayers.

  • Natalie

    August 3, 2016 | Reply

    Sending you SO much love! This was beautiful and heart breaking to read, I can completely understand what you’re saying. It’s amazing how after everything, you look back and see things clearer. Sometimes you just go along with things because it seems like the ‘right’ thing to do, what is expected. It’s hard to act on changing things, even once you know it needs to change. xoxox

  • Lorena

    August 4, 2016 | Reply

    Oh M. You are so brave, its admirable.
    I have been in that rut for a while now. Not knowing… that is the worst part.
    Wondering..

  • drollgirl

    August 5, 2016 | Reply

    oh girl. this shit is so tough. i am not going through the exact same thing, but very similar, and it is all difficult. but then there is a tiny (or gigantic) part of you that thinks you can do better and life will be better, and i sure as shit hope that is true. you just want to put misery behind you and find something better. living a lie is definitely not for me. i’d rather face up and face facts and figure shit out. you know.

    hugs to you!!!!!

  • Andrea A.

    August 6, 2016 | Reply

    I remember reading about your struggle when you wanted to make a family. I was about 19 and it make me question weather I wanted to have children or not. I never had a boyfriend or even a real crush. I thought I was asexual or simply not interested in a partner at the time. Now reading this I have a stable relationship of almost two years with a man that I truly love. But -and what a dreadful but- I can’t say I’m happy. He is so stubborn and sure of himself, and he always is telling me to change for no one, but I can’t keep myself from changing to keep him pleased. I feel so alone. So angry at myself. I feel like i have to take a break for me, for us, from us, and I’m not sure that he’ll understand that. How do I keep me from feeling like my love for him is like a bad habit?
    Reading this I know it takes a great courage to accept the reality, to even dare to look for it. For that I thank you. You’re a great woman, a great writer and a voice to be heard.
    Good luck!

  • Michaela

    August 10, 2016 | Reply

    I’ve been a “silent reader” for a long time and have never commented yet. Today, however, I need to tell you that you’re an admirable woman with the beautiful capacity of honest introspection – a rare thing. I respect you so much for this. You will always have yourself to fall back on and be alright. You’re a hell of a lady!
    Michaela, Germany

  • AJ Rogers

    August 29, 2016 | Reply

    Oh no…

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