So the common question when I tell people that my husband and I are splitting up is “OMG Why? What Happened?”. And I stare at them for a moment and say “nothing happened…that was the problem”.
The breakdown of a marriage I suppose is a complicated thing and every marriage (and divorce) is different. For some, there is an event, a big thing that happens and that is it. For us, it’s a way longer story. It will take me a while to put all of this down…so I will start from the end, I guess, and tackle it in parts.
I’d been thinking for a long time about splitting from my husband. In the last few years, 75% and sometimes even more of what we had was just fine. Friends would say “don’t talk to me about that 25%…it’s only 25% of my marriage that’s good”. Well, okay. How is it that we get to this point where we think that not being satisfied is okay? And don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about not being partners, not compromising, etcetera. Of course, if you have no desire to do any of that it’s going to be a challenge for you to be in a marriage of equals. It wasn’t just about the sexless part, although that was an issue off an on throughout the years. Once a month (or less) is NOT okay. But somehow we just became resigned to the lack of passion and physical intimacy in our relationship. We were okay with not really being satisfied, on many fronts.
My husband famously (to me and my friends) said to me, about putting our son to bed (which he never did), that he “wasn’t interested in doing that”. I was stunned. I remember thinking “how can you be such a blatant asshole?” Isn’t there a rule that says you should be subtle about these things and resist quietly? But instead, he saw it as a positive that he could “share his feelings”. I told him once that saying mean or crazy things is not the same as sharing his feelings.
We both knew that the writing was on the wall for our marriage when the following happened:
1) He said he didn’t care if I slept with other men (see “Open Marriage”);
2) He was asked to take a job a 7 hour flight away for 18 months and
I decided we seriously contemplated that I wouldn’t go with him;
3) I traveled to a different city every week for work and didn’t miss him (didn’t tell him that, but we both knew); and
4) I met new friends and felt more alive than ever and knew, finally, what I had given up and what I sorely missed (again, didn’t say that….but he could tell).
While I was in the throes of trying to figure out how to end it, one day he just said that he thought we should split. And I decided, like I hadn’t done before in any of the conversations that included “do you want to divorce?” that this time, when the door was opened, I would walk through it.