Sunday, March 3, 2013

breaking, not broken

Archer is leaving me. I don't know whether he'll complete that process or not. He sees it as us deciding whether or not we can stay together. I know we can, but only if we're both trying. He's been pulling away for longer than I care to contemplate.

Actually, I know exactly when it started: when he had to resign from the job he thought would last until he was ready to retire. Not that same day, but the next. That same day, I was needed. The next day, I was in the way.

Besides being busy, this is why I've had so much trouble writing lately. A few minutes just wasn't enough to put my thoughts to words, and I was too overwhelmed to begin. 

And this time, it isn't my fault.

The chaotic elements of my lifestyle - my pets, my child, and all the household chaos inherent in those charges - frighten him on an instinctive level; he avoided my home only semi-consciously. I won't share his story here. You'll have to take my word for it that his anxiety is well-based, despite being no longer a useful adaptation for him.

Last night, I stayed awake until quarter to five, crying and writing, because the wine I'd drank hadn't touched me and I couldn't sleep. This morning I felt mired and lost. When he called me, our brief conversation told me that he believes no lasting good would come of our efforts; he'd said as much last night anyway. This morning it was in his heart, though not in his words. But I know that what Archer believes, comes true more often than not, particularly concerning matters of his own heart, as it is with most people.

He hung up, and I began to honestly examine the potential of living without him. I placed my emotional self in the mindset of being without him, allowing the emotions to form themselves rather than trying to predict what I would feel. It's a trick I do frequently, very useful for any sort of empathy work. It didn't let me down. I felt lonely, and I felt his absence painfully, but I also felt a new acceptance - happiness even - with my home as it is. Every time he comes here, I get anxious, too. I know how it looks in his eyes: messy and "unsanitary" because there's dog hair and toys everywhere, and because my child's bathroom etiquette still needs some work. I remembered, in that moment, that last night Archer had told me that all my efforts to make my house more orderly and  livable just made him sad. It seemed so futile to him. Every time I'd shown him my progress, so proud and happy with my home, he'd congratulated me while feeling like I was a little more hopeless each time. I felt so foolish when he said that. Like a peasant girl trying to impress an aristocrat. And maybe that's the problem.

He considers himself a very relaxed, accepting person - an old hippy on the inside, despite his corporate lifestyle - but his fears keep him from that side of himself, if indeed it's there. I've seen it so rarely, it could have been an illusion. His fallback framework, the man that comes out when he's angry or stressed or just unhappy - is a snob. Since he resigned, that's the only side of him I've seen with any regularity. It's not a good side. Maybe that's why I'm finding it easier than I expected to let him go, if he wants to.

Still painful. Hellishly painful. Overwhelmingly painful. But not impossible, as I feared.

He's just another strong man, to overcome by his own issues to stay in a relationship - there will always be something too wrong, something that requires too much faith. He has no faith in anyone. Not that I blame him.

The irony is that I know, once I am able to be comfortable in my home - not worrying constantly about how it looks in his eyes - I will find it much easier to find the energy to contain the chaos a better, and keep my house cleaner in general. Maybe I can force myself to find that peace even if he does stay.

I hope he does.

I really, really hope he does.

I love him.

1 comment:

  1. Oh E.M., I find myself saddened after reading this entry of your situation.

    I don't know what I can offer by way of support, but the Quakers, with whom I sit weekly, have a phrase they use to indicate remembering people, sending good heartfelt thoughts and vibrations ... so, please do know that I'm holding you and A. "in the Light".