Friday, June 19, 2015

Where Do I Go From Here?

Six months ago in a Chinese buffet surrounded by my husband, two grown kids and mother-in-law, I took the last fortune cookie left on the table (notice I didn't choose it) and this is what emerged.

It was prophetic.

In all the decades of unfolding fortunes after gorging on Chinese food I had never NEVER seen this fortune.  I took it as a sign. I held it up for my husband to see as I read it aloud at the table's request.  He nodded in acknowledgment as we both knowingly and sadly recognized the meaning of those words. 

It was the universe sending me a message.

There is no easy way to change a relationship of 35 years (6 dating, 29 married) other than to take the plunge. And I know how much of a shock this will be to those of you who know us, because frankly, we have one of the better marriages around.  Still, life changes and at this point in my life I've decided to move out and go it alone.

There has been no monumental event, no infidelity, no major upheaval nor anger.  I still love my husband and always will.  But as my contemporaries die prematurely (at 55, 59, 62, 63) I desire that my remaining life be filled with joy and companionship.

I've come to realize that there are two sorts of companionship: one where you actively engage and do things together and share interests; the other where you coexist, share a domicile, and take comfort in just knowing the other person is there when you want or need them.  I need the former and my husband is content with the latter.

As I have long said, he is happy to be reading, writing, watching sports on TV, or doing yard work.  All of these are solitary occupations.  You need no one for these activities.  I on the other hand feel solitary most of the time.  My companionship comes largely from Netflix.

"How did this happen?" one might ask but the reality is that the things that once kept me occupied/distracted (two kids,a full-time job, caring for everyone) are no longer filling my time and the things that weren't a bond between us before have become more pronounced as the years have moved on.  

When I got married I believed it was for life; I completely believed in for better or worse.  But now, I find myself questioning whether I must honor my commitment when I need and want more.

My husband and I have had a wonderful relationship, a long and loving, sexually adventurous marriage.  We do great on vacations (visiting cities, museums, historical sites, presidential libraries, friends & family) and we're a great team in crisis.  First, caring for my mother in our home during her last two dementia-distorted years of life while my sister was dying of breast cancer on the other side of the country.  Then my sister-in-law's 27-month battle with brain cancer.  And now, my mother-in-law's diminished mental capacity following my sister-in-law's death.   But we don't live on vacation and we shouldn't be living in crisis.  

Everyone (well, most everyone) who knows us is surprised and saddened.  We seemed to be a pretty happy couple.  Just before breaking this news, my daughter told me that we were one of the few marriages she knew that was good.  Knowing this was coming, I hesitantly replied, "Appearances can be deceiving, honey."

I hate hurting my kids.  HATE hurting their idea of what is possible in a relationship.  And it saddens me to hurt my husband who is a really wonderful guy, but my life has come to the place where I have to go with "truth over harmony."  I need to try to find more happiness in whatever life I have left on this earth.

If you've been reading my blog and reading about my past family history you know that for me the glass is always seriously near-to-empty.  I haven't lived happy.  THOUGH I've been happy I have never LIVED happy.  I don't know if I know how, but I'd like to try.

Will I find more? I don't know. Is it a huge risk?  Yes.  Can I afford to do this?  Not financially, no, but emotionally? I can't afford not to.    

With my husband's generous consent (one of the many reasons I married him in the first place) at times I'm going to chronicle this next phase as I try to find happiness living apart from my marriage.

As a wise Chinese sage recently informed me...

You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily.

READERS:  I am open to any and all comments, but for those of you who know us, I'd ask that you please refrain from using our real names.


  1. Only you can make these life decisions, it is not for us to judge anyone beyond ourselves. No one else lives your life or knows what you know to be true. You are brave to follow what is the truth for you especially when it may not be easy (certain that is an understatement). Obviously this is not spur of the moment, and has been coming for some time. I would imagine from what you say the loving friendship with your husband will continue whether married or not. That has to be a comfort and will likely be very supportive down the road. Wishing you graceful peace, love and blessings. Your friends and fans are with you. (-- Jackie S)

  2. You never have been one to just dive in, you research, you try to understand and you come to a sensible decision. That said, it is not easy to change direction. I know you didn't come to this easily, you never do easily. Have peace and a calm, it will figure itself out in time. I wish all goodness for you. Sometimes, life if half full, time to find out.

    1. Many thanks and yes, I did deliberate long and hard over this decision. Not an easy one by any definition but I felt I had no real choice but to try it differently. I appreciate your comment.

  3. Truly a difficult decision all around. I hope it brings you the happiness and fulfilment you are seeking.

  4. I wasn't sure which road you were taking, but now you have decided. You know your friends all over will like to help in any way we can. You have more energy and spirit than a twenty year old, so I'm certain things will work out great.

    1. Well thank you for that vote of confidence and i DO rely on my friends...many thanks.

  5. I have to say, I was very sad reading this. I know you always think things thru very thoroughly, and so I know this all comes from a long thought process. But, I still am surprised and quite shocked. You know we would love to see you, have you visit, and always have an open ear. Sometimes life leads us where we really want to go......go on your journey and write about it, cause I for one want to hear it all. xo JHW

    1. Thank you JHW, I'm sad too but feel that this is the right direction for me. Let's hope life DOES lead me where I need to go and thanks for the invite (may take you up on that one of these days) and for reading...REALLY appreciate it!