May 20, 2017 § Leave a comment
It’s been a few weeks since I wrote properly. My thoughts, like my life, have been disjointed and somewhat sporadic of late. With me being back at work for the last two weeks, time to sit around and be moody and artistically inclined has also been in short supply. It’s nice to be back at Il Ristorante with a coffee (followed by a glass of Prosecco, ovviamente).
Yesterday would have been my sixth wedding anniversary. How do I feel about this? Well, not as nostalgic as I would have thought to be honest. Having said that, Adam is having dinner with his new girlfriend at one of our favourite restaurants tonight – ironically over the road from Il Ristorante – which I don’t feel awesome about. We spoke briefly today and I’d have liked to have caught up for a drink or a dinner tonight but he had other plans. These are the ways in which our lives move on I guess. I am spending the night with my beautiful Italian fidanzato, and Adam is creating new memories in old haunts.
Many people expressed their surprise at our separation, which in itself is not that surprising I suppose. It was easy to look at Adam’s and my marriage, our life, our things, and envy our apparent joys and successes. It was the same when I left Rome; people couldn’t understand what happened, they needed reasons and explanations as to what I wasn’t satisfied with to try and compute, to try and understand. And the answer was/is that there is no simple answer. There is no one thing that makes a marriage untenable. With Rome, my decision was practically instant and therefore probably quite reflective of how much I had already exited the relationship. Despite my mindset, his reaction to our breakup was so incredibly traumatic and something I wanted to avoid again at all costs. I never thought I would ever see a man as stricken as Rome was again. And although with Adam it was a slow and excruciating disentanglement, the severance from him and our marriage was worse than I could have ever expected. It made my breakup from Rome seem like childsplay. True, Adam and I had been together almost twice as long as Rome and I had, and we had the added complications of marriage and children and a house and all those things that I didn’t have to worry about when I walked away from Rome. I tell you, there are few things that bring on guilt and self-loathing like leaving a loved one.
Several of my/our friends asked over the ensuing months what happened, why we broke up and where we went wrong. Despite it not really being anyone else’s business, I had to start making up vague answers like “Well, it was a lot of things really…” or “It’s too complicated to explain…”. And whilst these are true, for the most part these answers got me out of having to tell someone that I left my husband because I met another man who I wanted to spend my time with instead. The Young Italian would die if I told him, but if it wasn’t for him there’s a good chance I would still be married, though not for long. My marriage to Adam was never going to last, I knew that going into the marriage (although I think Adam had secret hopes of being able to tame my wild heart), but I did love him so it was going to take someone magnificent to be able to pull me away from him. I’d had my dalliances but these sorts of men come and go. I knew it would have to be someone very special to draw me away from my husband, and it did.
What I haven’t spent any time doing yet is exploring for myself the reasons why I left (other than a stunning, brown-skinned, young Italian man). For one thing, there was the age difference. This was never, ever, ever a problem for me, not a consideration of any type at all in all our long years together, until I met The Young Italian and his friends. I remember distinctly the first weekend that I met his cousin at the pool at their apartment, and it was like a blinding moment of lucidity – THIS was what it was like to have friends my own age, to socialise with people my own age, to feel like the young age that I was. To go from having a 45yo husband to a 30yo lover – well I mean it’s hardly comparing apples with apples, is it? Aside from the obvious superficial benefits, there is a distinct difference in the life stages (i.e. where they are in their lives, in themselves) between a 45yo man and 30yo man. Since I was a teenager I had always been ahead of age, mature beyond my years, an old soul. For that period of time in my life and into my early 20’s, I was purposely seeking an older man – someone who was intelligent, experienced, worldly, financially secure, solid in their career, possibly already a father, someone comfortable in their own skin and their own habits. At the time I was creating such turmoil in my life trying to find out who I was that I needed someone who already knew who they were. My head was in the clouds so I needed someone whose feet were on the ground. And so in a sense these relationships provided with me what I needed at the time, they served me a purpose until they didn’t.
Then there were the children. The truth is I never loved Adam’s kids. I cared about them, I absolutely wanted the best for them, I was considerate and thoughtful towards them and I made an enormous amount of sacrifices to provide for them. Every single person I’ve spoken to has told me that it’s different when they’re not your own children – and of course it has to be true, not that I know any different really. But the kids and I never really clicked; in fact worse than that, they caused me an incredible amount of grief and resentment over the years despite my best efforts to have it otherwise. Because of my experiences with them, I decided while I was with Adam that I didn’t want to have my own children, that I just wasn’t a babies/kids kind of woman. And I was completely set in my resolve, ask anyone who tried to tell me that I would change my mind eventually how fiercely I would argue with them.
But… it’s so interesting how these things, these core values of who you are (or who you think you are) and the things you want in your life can change when you meet the right person. Since meeting The Young Italian, children are most definitely on the [somewhat distant] horizon – and believe me, no one has been more surprised by this than me.
Whilst I think it takes more than just these two things to uncreate a marriage, the more I think about it – and have thought about it for the last several months – the more I suspect that these things, plus other more trivial things, slowly ate away at the foundations of why were were together. Our day to day living was very comfortable. We had always been great friends and that never changed, to the very end, and even now to some extent I suppose. We laughed a lot, we indulged a lot, we lived a very comfortable lifestyle and wanted for little. We fought infrequently, but when we did fight it was awful and it would take me days to recover. Adam was very capable of being a vicious, spiteful man when we argued and in the days following. I often felt alone and trapped, simultaneously. I almost always felt misunderstood, which exacerbated my loneliness exponentially. In our later years we did not communicate well at all. I kept my mouth shut for the vast majority of the time on any matters potentially controversial because these discussions would always end in disagreement then argument, followed by tears and finally isolation. Perhaps it was these things that undermined the integrity of our relationship, that chipped away at the basis of why were together, why we stayed together. Why did we stay together for so long? Was it true love? Or just that we were so comfortable that we had no reason not to be together? Are these things the same?