Saturday, August 22, 2009

Life Is Good!

As the saying goes, "It sure beats the alternative."

My last post was three full months ago, which is a new record silence since I started "Apollo's Fire". But lots has been going on.

I'm not sure how many human readers I have left, but I'm sure there are a few RSS readers still patiently checking for updates. So for the benefit of those faithful servers checking the feeds I thought I'd briefly bring things up to date.

Three Months Ago

My wife E and I have a timeshare week in early May. This is the first time it's come up since we've been separated and we decided to split the week. It's only about an hour from home. On the day that we "crossed" in mid-week we agreed to hang out and have dinner.

This event was one of the "bridges to cross" that I had set myself. I wondered how it would be. The setting has always been a romantic one for both of us. Would there be flutterings of renewed desire?

Well, there weren't. And this affected me a lot -- it was a marker, in my mind, pointing me further down the path toward dissolution of our marriage. The few days I had to myself were pleasant and reflective, and by the end of the week I decided to send a short note to Tiggy.

Tigs and I had had no direct communication since November and hadn't seen each other since last July. At some point I may tell the full story of our exchange, but here's the executive summary: she was glad to hear from me, but also hurt because I was stirring her emotions with nothing substantive to offer.

She even drew me a picture: me sitting in a boat with E while I baited a hook and dangled it over the side into the water. Tigs was a golden fish swimming below, with old hooks stuck in her mouth. I cried.

I really do like Tigs -- she speaks the truth to me in ways that touch my soul like no one else. It's not usually pleasant, but it's almost always helpful. I think we both made heroic efforts to communicate, and she really did get through to me. As painful as it was for both of us, a week's round of email was sobering. In the absence of real contact it had been too easy for me, and perhaps her as well, to maintain an imaginary relationship.

Anyway, the main effect on me was to finally break the near-obsession that had been ruling my life. In some ways it was as if the enchantment had been lifted. But it left me empty and more confused than ever.

Two Months Ago

Last year E and I had bought a prepaid trip to Hawaii that needed to be used by the summer of 2009. We had gone ahead and made plans to travel together, even though neither one of us was sure how it would go. I think we both thought that it would be either the last hurrah, or a new beginning.

The trip was in early June. We even stayed in separate rooms, but other than that we did everything together just as we've done on vacations for 30 years. And we both had fun. It was nice -- not hugely romantic, but very, very comfortable.

Afterward, we both wondered where we should go from here. E made it clear that she didn't want to settle for a "brother-sister" platonic marriage. I didn't want that either, but with Tigs out of my thoughts, I found myself in even less of a hurry to dissolve the marriage. The practical, financial consequences of divorce have been weighing heavily on me.

One Month Ago

Well, nothing in particular happened a month ago, but I wanted to keep the timeline moving.

Some of you will remember that I have a major remodeling project going on at the house this year. Major as in "completely gutting the downstairs, building a new kitchen, powder room and entryway." No, I'm not doing it myself, we have a contractor. So what's been happening over the past month or so is that E and I are spending a lot of time together as we get closer to wrapping up this project: we get along well, we enjoy each other's company, and we need each other.

At the same time, we are beginning to talk more seriously about our individual needs. Neither one of us wants to try to "go back" -- we know we can only go forward. And we still don't know if we can offer each other everything we want in marriage. But neither is there any hurry to rip things apart.

Next Month

In a month my lease is up at the apartment where I've been living since last August. I thought a lot about moving home, especially to save money. But neither E nor I are ready for that step. And due to some unusual circumstances, it turns out that I can move into some rental property that we own.

So I'll be settling into a comfortable condo in an arrangement that is much more stable and could conceivably be permanent. And it's only a mile from the house.

It's a good arrangement under the circumstances, and I have every reason to be hopeful about where it leads. But I'd be less than honest not to admit that most days now I just feel tired. And when I look in the mirror I see some old guy I barely recognize.


Ro said...

Ahhhh, it's good to hear from you after all this time!

And it's especially good to hear that positive progress is being made. Oh yes, I can see it must be incredibly confusing and disruptive for you and it doesn't look as if you have any idea whatsoever where you're heading. Great fun!

But from my perspective, things are really moving forwards: it seems, painful or not, that you've managed to get a handle on the whole Tigs thing, which I suspect you really needed to do; you've started to see your wife in a different light; and, perhaps most importantly, it sounds as if she is seeing you and your relationship differently now.

I wouldn't want to predict where this is going either, but it sounds as if the fog is starting to clear. When you post your next update (in December, say ~grin~), who knows what you'll have learned :-)

And the very best of luck to you, sir!

Kyra said...

So glad to hear from you, friend!

I felt quite happy reading your update. Happy for you I mean. But then that last bit speaks volumes. I'm sorry that in the end you are feeling that way.

It is wonderful that you and E are enjoying your time together. I only worry, I mean, not once have you indicated any romantic feelings. I hope that those are sparked again or that you can find a way forward without them (either together or separate). I know all too well how hard it is to end something so comfortable and with someone who in the end is one of my best friends. And also practical and financial concerns weigh heavily on me.

My comment is of no use whatsoever is it?

So I go back to the beginning: so good to hear from you friend!

Wayward Wife said...

Very good to hear from you! I am excited you decided to update us and that things are going well with you.

It sounds like you are still quite undecided about your marriage, but as long as you are happy, it is OK to be undecided, I think.

As someone who is dealing with the end of a marriage right now, I can tell you that it is hard, and not something to enter into lightly.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Good to see you blogging. I liked this post... it's so very reflective of how real life is. No clear cut answers or events... just moving in a general direction with occasional detours. Good luck with everything.

Riff Dog said...

Wow, it's hard to believe that it was a year ago when you took the apartment! At the time, I remember wondering what the out-clause would be if you only kept it for 5 or 6 months.

Thanks for the update. :-)

Mags said...

Thanks for the update, Apollo.

It's just so damn confusing, isn't it? If I hadn't had someone to make the decision for me (The Mister), I'd be in the same uncertain place as you...

Hosea said...

Some days I'm not so sure I recognize myself, either ....

Apollo Unchained said...

Thank you all, I value your comments very much! And it helps me to have affirmed that in some things uncertainty is normal. As Marianne said, "No clear cut answers or events... just moving in a general direction with occasional detours."

Ro, you are quite right that E and I are seeing each other in a whole new light as the fog clears. More realistic, but still appreciative.

Kyra, I know you can relate to many of the same issues. Your comments are always valuable.

Wayward, I still love that cute cartoon of yours.

R Dog, I just couldn't write while you were "on vacation". Soon as you started posting again, here I am. So thanks! And by the way, I originally signed only a 6 month lease :-).

Mags, it's certainly simpler when tough decisions are taken out of our hands. And sometimes it really is better just to get it over with. But I'm glad that we've been able to take our time with this one.

Hosea, my story pales next to yours. I hope your next steps turn out well for you.

nitebyrd said...

That's a good update. It's positive and you seem to have more of a direction. Perhaps moving into a separate, secure yet close place will give you even more perspective.

Tired is more of a pandemic than swine flu, I think.

Apollo Unchained said...

Byrd, you sweet creature of the Nite, love the comparison with swine flu. I wonder how the CDC would deal with fatigue?

Who am I said...

Hey, Apollo. Great to hear from you. Glad you and E are getting along amazingly well and that you do reach out to her and help her.

Still rooting for you two to get back together.

You may remember I was separated from my wife for 16 months against my wishes, but I did get to the point where I realized that as much as I wanted back with her, I didn't want our old marriage- it was too dysfunctional- thankfully by God's grace He has made us a new marriage.

BTW- would love to hear about counseling. I have always been impressed with your counselor.

Riff Dog said...

" I just couldn't write while you were "on vacation".

Oh fuck! But I only stopped because I thought *you* were on vacation!