Breaking bonds is so hard

It’s so hard to break the emotional bonds with someone you still love who is divorcing you. I’m in a coffee shop reading an article I know my wife would like and my immediate impulse is to forward it to her.  Then I ask myself why?  Why is my first thought of her, now when I need to let go.  Though still legally married she really isn’t my wife anymore, not in any ordinary sense of the word–a word actually she asked me never to use because to her “wife” implies a man’s property, not a relationship.  So I don’t forward the article and then I feel churlish, small-minded.  She would have liked it.  Why can’t friendship survive the dissolution of our marriage, our life together?

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My wife said to me that she’s a better friend than a partner.  She’s friends with another former husband–I’m the third–and several other former boyfriends.  She has said she would like to be friends with me, too, later when the separation is complete and I’m gone from her house and life.

That hasn’t been my practice.  I have had very few romantic relationships in my life, three in fact.  When my former girlfriend broke up with me, several years before I met my wife, I erased every scrap of evidence that she had ever been with me.  I had a fireplace in my Russian Hill apartment and for several days I burned everything she had ever given me: letters, cards, programs from concerts we had attended together, even the lovely collages she had made only for me.  I sold everything she had ever given me on eBay, or threw it away.  Digital evidence was harder.  I deleted over 7000 emails, and hundreds of photos stored in iPhoto or on Facebook.  Eventually all that remained were a few photos on Google Images for which I could never locate the original source files to delete.

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Am I sorry today, eight years later?  No.  Memories, such as they are, serve me well enough.

The question I keep asking myself over and over is why is my emotional well-being so deeply invested in these relationships–and in this admittedly disappointing relationship?  Perhaps if I had had more girlfriends and lovers in my life any one of them wouldn’t be so shattering when it ended.  It would be easier to move on.  My wife seems to have no problem ending relationships and then incorporating those men into the more casual, uncommitted, fabric of her life.

When I told my wife I liked being married, that I was committed to the idea of marriage, and to this marriage, and that I wanted the two of us to find a way to remain together, her response was of course men like being married because statistically married men live longer, whereas single women live longer. As though I checked the actuarial tables before asking her to marry me.

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Even writing this blog is part of the obsession to remain connected to my wife who has asked me to leave.  If I write enough, think enough, maybe I’ll come to realize and accept the fact that our marriage is no more, that the incomprehensible is deathly real.

And that I will be OK.

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