Patterns   Leave a comment

Patterns through the day/I seem to use tpatterno give my life a shape/Patterns through the house/That give me comfort/When i need escape/Patterns that lead me nowhere/At all. – Richard Maltby, Jr.

I had an epiphany the other day. Even though I’ve been divorced for almost two years, I’m sort of still married.

How is that possible you ask? You’ve been whining complaining writing insightful blog posts about being divorced for a while now. How can you still be married?

Because, I respond, not much has changed.  I seem still to be doing the same things I did when I was married. Here are a few examples:

  • I live in the same house.  (Although I did have the entire inside repainted. It’s lovely. You should come by for a visit some time.)
  • I work at the same place I did before. (I’ve now been at the library eighteen years, and don’t see myself leaving any time soon.)
  • I still do most pretty much all of the cooking and cleaning. In fact, the list of things I do has grown over the past few years, as a few hated additional chores have been added to the list. (The child, thank G-d, runs the snow blower.)
  • I continue to be the primary carer for my son. (Bonus points if you get the Doctor Who reference.)

Where the ‘still married’ piece comes in is in that last bullet point.

My ex recently got a job. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, it would be a cause for celebration. Lots of people get jobs, and I’m really glad he now has one so there will be larger monthly contributions coming in to the ‘let’s feed the growing child’ fund. This one, however, involves ten weeks of training. Where he doesn’t necessarily know what his schedule will be on a daily basis.

Yes, you read that right. Ten weeks of training without a set schedule. Which means the one night a week I’ve been getting to myself for the last two years is history.

Granted, now that the boy is a teenager, it’s less child care and more refrigerator stocking and mood management, but you know what I mean. I’ve never been a proponent of leaving my son home alone so I could go out and do my own thing on a regular basis. That’s not the vision of family life I want him to have as he gets older.  I have always enjoyed spending time with him, and want to enjoy as much of it as I can before he decides he no longer wishes to be seen in public with his mother or goes away to college, whichever comes first. (That said, I am starting a ballroom dancing class soon that will have me home late one night a week, making him responsible for feeding me for a change. I can’t wait to see how this works out.)

And here’s where the patterns come in to play.

I’ve spent the last two years trying to rebuild my life. Have I been successful? In some ways, yes – I am not as terrified of the future as I was when the bomb was dropped. I no longer wake up at night in a panic worrying about my retirement or what will happen if the dishwasher breaks. Again. (Been there, done that.  Three times.)  I’ve tried, and occasionally managed, to get past my introvert tendencies and get out and do things with other people, most of which (not so much the speed dating) have been fun. My son and I have discovered I’m a kick-ass grill master, which is something I never knew about myself and is very cool as well as tasty.

In other ways, no.

I know I complain about this a lot, but I’m still lonely. Introvert or not, I need someone (not only my son) to talk to at night. I need hugs and kisses and closeness. I need that someone special in my life who thinks I’m special, too. And I’m not going to find that person (online dating fiascoes notwithstanding; that’s still a whole other issue) if I’m back to being the primary parent six nights a week one week and seven nights a week the next.  I don’t know how truly single parents manage it.

Intellectually, I understand this is not my ex’s fault. He isn’t doing this to me on purpose. He didn’t get this job to keep me single forever. He got this job because he needs a job, a way to help support our son, and to have something to do with his life. I do get that. Really.

But, it still has me smack dab back in the pattern of our marriage, where I am forced to put the needs of others ahead of my own on a fairly constant basis. And, just like it did then, it makes me angry and leaves me feeling powerless.

So what do I do about it? I have no idea. I am still trying to get out and meet people, even though my opportunities to do so are now more limited. And I am still trying to carve out time for me to indulge my inner introvert and have some time alone to lie on the couch and read, or write, or walk up the mountain wearing my earbuds and listening to a book. It’s just a bit harder right now.

Translation? Even though I’m divorced, I’m sort of still married. And until my son is grown, I probably will continue to be.

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Posted October 8, 2015 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

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