I Don’t Care Where They Are
I used to obsess about where my estranged husband was and who he was with. It bothered me to think of him with his girlfriend when we opened the marriage almost five years ago. I’ve known him for 40 years so thinking about him is like a bad habit that is hard to break. I’ve made a lot of progress since he had that first girlfriend.
There were layers of bad feelings when he was with her. In addition to traditional jealousy related to my man being with someone else, I felt awful about how they were able to hike, ski and scuba dive together. She wasn’t just ten years younger than me, she had an intact central nervous system which allowed her to be physically fit. I have an acquired brain injury from a stroke I had when I was 35 and 6 months pregnant with my second child. I had a mommy body that had also been broken by a serious injury. The girlfriend was childless.
I used to sit home and stew thinking about them hiking, camping or skiing in the mountains of Colorado. I also thought about them being in bed together. Ugh. I remember suffering with this relentless rumination over the course of their 5–7 day visits with each other.
That went on for 2 years. I couldn’t seem to break the habit of ruminating about what they were doing.
For a short time, I had some hope that my husband would change his mind about us separating and we might reconcile. Toward that end, I sometimes called or texted him while he was away with her to remind them he still had a wife.
I knew this was all unhealthy behavior on my part, but again, it was a lifelong habit to think about my husband because I met him when I was 16 years old.
It became clear that he did not want to be with me anymore, and the new relationship was where he wanted to be. I slowly gave up on the notion of trying to be with someone who did not want to be with me. Duh.
I have been in my own relationship now with someone who very much wants to be with me which helps me to not think about what my husband is doing.
I’m reminded of my time in community theater when actors would complain about the other player’s failure to learn their lines or the dance routines. The director’s note was to remind everyone that if we all just worry about ourselves and not what the others are doing, the show would come together perfectly.
This week is my estranged husband’s 60th birthday. He mentioned his newest girlfriend was taking him on a surprise trip. He was a bit in my face about it; telling me he was leaving on Thursday morning for the weekend. I made a small attempt to take a little wind out of his sails by asking him if he was going on a plane or in a car.
They are traveling by car. I left it at that. I made no effort to find out where they went or what they are doing. I guess I know they have not crossed an ocean.
I spent zero minutes ruminating about their trip yesterday. It is now more of a mild curiosity similar to what I would feel if any of my friends was going somewhere without all the dark jealous feelings. It feels better.