Monday, November 12, 2012

The Three-Year Transition

OK, so I know several of you still follow both Casey's blog and my blog, and for your concern, care and curiousity over these several years, I thank you.  If you have already read Casey's blog, you know that we severed the final legal tie, beyond the children, last week.  It has been three years this month that we ended our marriage, or, to be really clear, that I declared I could no longer stay in the relationship.  Finally we are no longer on any joint loans, credit cards, insurance, auto, and now, the house. Casey is no longer on the title of our former home and the house has been rented to a couple with children.  I pay child support and am very involved with the kids, but the last of the "couple" things are through.  This really is best for each of us, our new partners  (who are really only "new" in comparison with our very long-term relationship) and our journey into our separate futures.  Still, it has sometimes been hard.

People tell me it is always difficult to let go of dreams and goals, and indeed, it has been. Marriage was both a dream and a goal - the goal of staying together forever, raising our childen in a two-parent household with not even a whisper of divorce - the whole "happily, ever-after"  package.  Fully moving out of our old house and knowing that someone else will soon be living there certainly brought back the pain of a failed marriage, of letting down Casey, myself, and the kids,  and wondering what could have been done differently.  We knew that once the kids were born, we'd have to make an effort to nourish our relationship. We talked about it...but the reality was, it was hard to do, hard to find babysitters we trusted, hard to have the energy for each other, hard to not get caught up in our own view of things, hard to let go of the bitterness of past hurts, and in the end, we did not do it.  Certainly, there was more to it than that, but that was a piece.  We had very different dreams, and saw the world differently. She likes the world  in black and white, and I revel in the world of grays.  She's a home-body and I love to travel.  She likes clocks and schedules and I live more free-form. Many differences....but also commonalities.....the things that brought us together, kept us together for years, and the things that still make us good parents together.  We still do that together very well, and I am very appreciative of that. 

Now what? Now I hope I have learned some worthwhile lessons as I build a relationship with Vicki.  I can more clearly see my old patterns now, of times I would shut down, or react rather than really communicating, and now, I stop myself and try something new.  Vicki and I are both learning together to recognize and break the unhealthy patterns of old relationships and replace them with ones that lead to growth and understanding.  We've done pretty well, so far, and I know I am motivated by not ever wanting to hurt those I love, and myself, again through failing in a relationship.  I truly believe Vicki and I are a good match for each other, but if there comes a time our relationship ends, we are both determined that it will not be because we did not learn the lessons from our past.  We are both highly aware that it takes two people to mess up a relationship and two people to keep it healthy.  We are on the road to good health!

Why did I feel the need to write this post? Maybe because this blog started when I started law school - when the future looked much different, when we were still a relatively happy couple with two young children and our lives ahead of us, and now, the last formality of that is gone. Maybe because although law school was not the cause of our breakup, it was a catalyst, and somehow, those who started following my track through law school maybe also deserve to get a glimpse into the aftermath, and the recovery.

Life is good now. Sure, there is still guilt and sadness sometimes.  I don't get to tuck my kids into bed every night and see them every morning. I don't get to be part of their daily routine, other than a phone call every night. I see them twice a week and every other weekend, but that certainly was not the original dream.  I don't get to wear the badge of honor of being married to one woman my whole life and know we'd someday celebrate our 50-year-anniversary.  I broke a sacred vow.  All of that sucks. 

The present is very good - Vicki loves me unconditionally and I feel that love every day. I love her and am aware of making sure she feels that love in ways that matter to her.  We enjoy time with the kids, and with each other. We have a beautiful home, good jobs, and the world is open to us - to travel, to learn new things, to experience life.  Vicki and I knew each other in high school. There is no way we could have been together back then, or really, almost any time before we found each other again.  Maybe we each had to learn certain things about ourselves and the world before we could be together.  Maybe it was always meant to be - and it just took a long time for us to get there.  I like to think we were meant to be together and that this time I have found my "happily ever-after." I hope the same for Casey. I truly do.