Before I begin, I have just one caveat about what I'm feeling right about now. It's not really bad. It's kind of...neutral, or detached, at the moment. I think it's important to say that before people feel the need to commiserate and start distributing "hugs n' slugs" :-) in well-meaning comments. It's not that I don't appreciate sympathy -- I do -- it's just that I'm not feeling a need for any right now, and this post is not about fishing for some. I really dislike being the object of sympathy except when I really need it. It's okay. Everyone who has commented to me has been wonderful, and if I were really down I'd appreciate your kind concerns, it's just that I'd prefer that you saved them for some time when I really need them. It happens still, every once in awhile, and it's been kind of off and on and unpredictable, but it's not bothering me right now. If I find myself in need of a lift, I will not hesitate to say so. I like to maintain a positive outlook and I am leery of unnecessary treatment! Any other comments, hell, even "hugs n' slugs" if you really, really must, are more than welcome.
With that said, ...as I said above, morganaus asked what I found to be an interesting question. On the surface, it looks rather innocuous: "Can I ask how long you'd been with your ex and how long it's been since she moved out?" Well, I'm here to tell her that the answer is, "Yes, you just did, Dear." Okay. Just kidding. To begin to answer the question I can say that I was "with her" (as in living together) for twelve years. Sounds like a pretty straightforward answer to the question doesn't it. It does, until you stop to ask, well, what did Mary mean by "together?" Crystal (I can't just keep calling her "my ex," even if I have to "risk" my anonymity just to get rid of that foolishly ambiguous term) and I had known one another and had "been seeing each other" for six years previous to that dozen years of living together, so really we have "been together" for eighteen years, if that is considered to be the working definition of "being together." To some people, I know that constitutes an incredibly long time, but to me it doesn't really feel like it. It doesn't really feel like it, not because it's not a long time, as lives go, but because to me, it just felt like "my life." It's hard to chop your own life up into phases and chapters while you are living it. It is harder still, even now, to regard a relationship that I had expected to last the rest of our days, as having a finite limit that I have lived to see. I really don't know if I can really help anyone who hasn't experienced this phenomenon to understand it, but it is a strange thing to experience. Perhaps this feeling does not seep out of the wreckage of shorter-lived relationships. I don't know. Certainly the evanescent relationships in which I had previously been involved did not give this perception when they ended.
When the dust in the field has flown,I sit here and wonder if anyone is ready or willing to hear the answer to a question that was not asked: What was the nature of the relationship? Crystal and I were married. We were married in 1991, and that constitutes our dozen years of "living together." Why didn't I just say that before? To tell you the truth, I am not really sure why I didn't, although I will indulge in speculation, presently. It's crazy, really, downright funny, the more I think about it. You have no idea. I have "neglected" to mention, to the people I have met since Crystal left, the fact that I was Married, and that is only the half of it! Almost all of the people I have known before she left, the ones who have known me as "a happily married man" do not know that she is gone, even now. I pack my lunch and make my suppers and trade off, depending upon how late I am running, between cooking myself breakfast and buying it from Ronald McDonald. To the 50 or so people where I work, all of whom I know and to whom I speak regularly, nothing has changed. This includes even the three or four of them with whom I go out for coffee at lunchtime. Prior to now, the only people who knew that I was married, but that my wife is now gone, are my parents and my brother, back in Ohio and two others in Ohio, who are friends from my college days. If my brother does indeed know, it is my parents who informed him. He and I get along just fine, I guess. We like each other fine and all, but when a phone and 2500 miles separates us, we find that our lives are too alien to each other for us to have anything in common to talk about. My mom kind of acts like a bulletin board for the two of us and that's about all we have to say to each other. Hmmm. That reminds me that I have to call him tomorrow (first time in months) as he has just come home from the hospital and is recovering from minor back surgery. Hmmm. Perhaps we shall have interesting things to discuss this time. As I said, only two other people knew. One is a lady I went to school with, and shared a house (platonically) with in our senior year, and the other is her husband, who I know less well, but also consider a good friend. Them, I talk to all the time, but they also live in Ohio, so it's all on line. All I can say is that if it wasn't happening for real, and especially to me, it would be comedy.
And the youngest of hearts has grown,
And you doubt you will ever be free,
Don't bail on me.
-- Sheryl Crow
I have a few ideas about how this weird set of circumstances has come about, why I am reticent to mention to some that I have been married and to others that it is gone, but the clock now reads 5:00AM and I can't type any more. Thirty more words and I will fall over on my keyboard, drool into it and electrocute myself, and as I said above, my self-preservation instincts are working just fine. Probably I will post the remainder of the answer to morganaus's question in a few days. Real life intrudes.