It was simple, really. We had become one person.
I suppose it happens in some marriages. Merging a life with someone else’s might mean we are destined to become them, and they us. For us it was certainly that, and it was also the dynamic that was created as a result of our joining; two desperate souls searching for the opportunity to entwine. I was, ultimately, the one who needed looking after. And Scott? He stood steadfastly by, waiting (needing?) to provide assistance. It worked beautifully.
Until it didn’t any longer.
That’s the problem with relationship dynamics, once one person’s shifted out of that ring of functional dysfunctionality, it all fucking falls apart. That’s what happened to us. I tried to stop but he kept going. And as he did he dragged me back into the original operation – further in, towards the dynamic that had me exacting restrictions upon him that I had no business forcing. The dynamic that made me attempt to control certain aspects of his other relationships and even parts of his work. The dynamic that allowed him to encourage this control by appeasing me with empty promises and by lying to me about things that were meaningless, trivial, stupid.
It was utterly fucking exhausting.
Scott napped quietly one afternoon last week. He had come home from work early because he felt ill. His body did what mine usually does under severe emotional stress (but had somehow managed to avoid succumbing to) – it shut down. I hadn’t seen him quite so subdued in a very long time. I had told him I wanted a divorce. No more, I said. I was done. The dynamic was choking the life out of our marriage. And I, too, was suffocating. He collapsed onto the bed. Slept soundly.
I was working at my computer when I heard a sudden, disconsolate sobbing issuing from his station across the room. I ran to him, leaned into him, loved him -felt it fiercely and resolutely even- and waited for him to collect himself. Once he had gained composure, Scott began to speak.
With heaving chest and unconditional intention he illustrated to me how he had just, in a freeing flash of consummate clarity, discovered the fastest route towards leaving the circular, defective mode we’d been cycling in for so many years. The cycle I’d been attempting to circumnavigate since I stopped drinking. And as he spoke I listened. And nodded. And when he was through we talked. And talked. And talked.
We talked for hours and have logged countless more ever since. We have talked without pain. Without judgment. And without the need to win a battle we didn’t even realize we’d been fighting.
Independence. For ourselves. From each other. So that we can both be ourselves. But with each other.
And with that revelation, as affirmation, we begin anew.