Separation is an emotionally tough experience. This is not only something I’m learning personally, but definitely something that friends have also shared with me too, and separation –> divorce, well, even when it’s a cut-and-dry situation where one party has done something unacceptable (like have an affair) it’s still damn tough emotionally, a rollercoaster of highs and lows.
What’s rather surprised me, however, is the ambivalence I feel when I walk into the “old house”, into the house where Linda has stayed as I have moved out and set up a new home for myself and the children.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about everything but since there’s such a sense of inevitability about our slow journey towards disassociation, I’m rather surprised to find just how ambivalent I feel when I walk into
our her home now.
It’s not that we have different levels of organization and cleanliness (I’m tidier, but have fewer animals to deal with) but that it’s striking to me how quickly “our” stuff became “her” stuff in my heart.
I look around the house and see pictures we bought together, furniture we picked out at furniture stores, decorations we made together, and even little presents I gave Linda, and it all seems no more emotionally involving than visiting a model home at a new condo complex.
Which is weird. Somehow I thought I’d feel a dramatic “whoosh” as my heart was continually assaulted by memories each time I walk into her house, an overwhelming sense of the loss of our separation and divorce, of the pain, pathos and poignancy of divorce after almost 17 years of being together. But I don’t.
I can’t decide whether its a good sign, an indicator that I am making the emotional break from the past and moving into new territory as we all must do, or whether it’s because I’m just wrapping that part of my heart with some handy duct tape and suppressing the emotional response that I should actually be having.
Nonetheless, we remain friends and, heck, I am typing this blog entry in on Linda’s computer (that I bought her) sitting at her table in her house, having just set up
our her (gotta keep recalibrating) network backup device so that she will have a reliable backup of her data, photos, music, etc. And it feels only a little different from how I’d feel if I were at a non-former-partner friend’s house doing the same. If anything, I’m struck by the trust that she exhibits by asking me to set things up on her laptop, but at this point it’s not like there are many secrets between us anyway. Even now.
For those of you that have gone through a similar transition, especially those of you who moved out of the “family” house, how have you felt / do you feel when you go back?