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Separation Roller Coaster

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We have been separated for three months now. I told my husband I wanted to see other people, he told me that doing so would be a dealbreaker for our marriage.

sad woman

Marital Mess: Our sex life had been in hibernation for years. He was always "too tired" or too angry or too silent. I'm 36 years old and my hormones were raging like a caged animal. No way was I going to spend my sexual prime sitting on the sidelines with a vibrator.

After our separation, I felt a huge awakening. A total high. I was glowing. I was unafraid and empowered. I think I lost my mind for a minute. I dated. I had sex. I found a friend in a similar situation and we bonded over our unsuccessful marriages and found comfort in one another's bodies.

My energy shifted monumentally. Work flourished like never before. Parenting felt like a joy and a privilege. The change from the life I had been leading in my marriage, which can only be described as living with the volume turned waaay down, was clear. I felt alive and liberated and hopeful. Our 2-year-old son adjusted to the separation better than anyone and would never remember Mommy and Daddy together. This rocked!

Fast forward three months. I'm not glowing anymore. Work is still good. I've chosen to stop seeing other people to focus on ending my marriage. I've gone from the glow of the Big O to the sobering reality of the Big D. I cry a lot. The thought of extricating our lives from one another is completely overwhelming and incredibly sad. Just figuring out how to have separate households without shackling ourselves with debt is enough to bring on an ulcer. Not to mention child support, lawyers, our house, how to handle the holidays ... I haven't been 10 feet from the toilet this morning because my intestines are in knots.

Wouldn't it just be easier to avoid all this and stay married? Can I go back? I wasn't happy in our marriage, but let's just be honest here, who really is? Was it unrealistic to expect that we could still love and desire each other after a decade together, a 2-year-old, and his recovery from alcohol and drug abuse? It wasn't working, but maybe if I just tried harder ...

Oh hell no. Life is messy. I am finally acknowledging my own needs. I don't regret the choices I made to have sex during our separation. I needed to be reminded that I am sexy, that I am a woman and that there's nothing wrong with desiring sex and being desired. My needs weren't getting fulfilled in our marriage, no matter how many times I asked or how hard I worked on it. I've come to accept this: I'd rather be lonely alone than lonely in my marriage.

If I could go back and do it over again, would I have made the same choices? Ideally, I should have waited until we were divorced to explore other options, but I didn't. And so I'm dealing with the fallout the best I can in the hopes that I'll find my glOw again and live my life with the volume turned waaay up.

next: Age+Impatience = Mean Mommy
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris December 14, 2009, 5:20 AM

I’m happy that you have been able to find some happiness and peace during your separtion but I think you need to finish your divorce and deal with the emotional feeling concerning the divore. Don’t let guilt hold you back from moving forward with your life without your soon to be ex. It sounds as if your marriage wasn’t meant to be “a lifetime” and you need to tell yourself that it’s okay. Sometimes, even when divorce is the best answer, there is still emotions involved and you need to deal with them so you can move on whole and complete. I wish you the best of luck.

Corey December 14, 2009, 6:53 PM

Hi! Your openness and honesty in your article should be commended. It’s great to see someone who is willing to share the aches they are experiencing. Pains within a relationship are very, very real. And, you already realize that making any relationship work takes a lot of effort and hard work. Thank you for sharing!

I hope that my response to your article is not too blunt. But, honest feedback is likely what you truly want (and need). So, please do not be offended if my words are a little harsh. In all seriously, I must take my own advice. I speak to you - and to myself also.

First, it seems apparent that you are very focused on yourself. In your article you use the word “I” nearly 40 times. And, whenever you mention your husband, your words are only unkind. (Yet you consistently excuse your own behavior). As well, the overall sense I get when I read your article is that you’re like most people: selfish. This is something that we ALL struggle with in varying degrees. And, this is why many relationships and marriages fail. Of course, your giving up and chasing your own “needs” is another reason why many marriages end in divorce. Relationships take A LOT of work. And, it sounds like you’re not learning from your mistakes in this marriage. It also sounds like you’re not willing to work for it anymore. You’ve given up (like many do). If you don’t learn, you’ll repeat your old ways and will find yourself unhappy in the next relationship after the next honeymoon ends. Your new husband won’t be meeting your needs, you’ll find various problems with him, etc. If you’re looking for another person to make you happy on the inside (and you seem to be doing this), you’ll be let down time and time again. (Even your three months of single “freedom” ended in unhappiness).

Again, excuse my blunt response. But, I truly do hope that something I said helps you. At times we are our own worst enemy. And, our society is becoming increasingly obsessed with having other people meet our needs, validating us, etc. We’ve never grown up. We remain children, never learning and changing.

May your coming days be better than the past ones. If you can salvage your marriage, I commend you. If you’ve cheated on your husband, and apparently you have, maybe he’ll forgive you and you can move forward. I don’t know of all of your problems. And, I’m sure that there are many that you haven’t shared. But, from what you did share, they appear to be solvable problems. Again, don’t look to others for your own happiness. You’ll be disappointed in people time and time again. No one is perfect. And, relationships take work! The best to you.

pk December 21, 2009, 10:20 PM

when i read this article, i thought so much about how similar it is to the situation that i am currently living. no words can describe the torment that a woman feels when the man that they marry, who is supposed to love and cherish and want them refuses to be interested in them sexually. in my eight years of marriage, i always thought that something was wrong with me. not until i had my son did i realize that i cannot share a lifetime with this person. there is absolutely no way. i am bitter for the time that i invested in living with this person in a sexless marriage. i am pissed that i’ve lost my youth. and yet i am looking forward to leaving the past and rebuilding my life.
yes, people can say “work on the marriage,”etc.. but how can you make someone love you and want to be intimate with you? you can’t and for that reason, you cannot just live in a relationship that is not going anywhere. it’s sad that that is the case, and i don’t think it is selfish. what about the man who doesn’t put out, wouldn’t that be considered selfish? anyway, my point is that no one understands really what the reader is feeling.. i do. i completely agree and support her decisions 100% because living a loveless and sexless marriage is emotionally destructive to your psyche. i wish you all the best.

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