Feeling the pressure

Last night, as I was saying goodnight to Wildcard, my 6 year old came running in laughing, shouting that I wanted to marry wildcard and wildcard wanted to marry me. I laughed it off, tickled him, whilst Wildcard asked, ‘What did he say?’ With a smile on his face.

This morning I was unable to deflect and Wildcard asked my son directly. I was surprised a little by Wildcard’s reaction- he smiled at my son and asked, ‘and do you want me to marry your mother?’. My son’s answer was yes because ‘I like you’ and Wildcard replied, ‘good.’

I promise, I did not in any way instigate that.

Later this evening I was enjoying some painting and my 16 year old daughter joined me. She soon gave up on anything serious and started with purposefully childlike stickmen portraits. Wildcard called and I laughingly showed him her ‘talents.’ Upon seeing her pictures he asked her not to forget about him and she happily added him to our family portrait, saying he was one of the family now.

I joked with him that he was now accepted: my son wanted us married and my daughter considered him family.

Later again he called, quite thoughtful. Out of the blue he said he wanted to ask me something – why did I divorce my husband.

This is not the first time he has asked me this question. Previous times have not gone too well – language and cultural barriers as well as there being no easy reason to state. He said he wasn’t ready for the converstaion tonight and there were other things we needed to talk about. He said that if we are going to be in a ‘serious relationship’, ie, with a view to marriage in the future, then there are a lot of things we need to discuss first to make sure we want the same things. He said there has never been the right time – I expect he was waiting for me to visit him to have this conversation face to face – and that there are cultural differences to discuss.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a proposal. But it is an acknowledgement that a year of talking for hours every day is leading somewhere. His culture demands that marriage is discussed properly and that if it is not right, the relationship ends. He made me aware of this when I first spent time with him in February. He’s not said it out loud as yet, but I kind of feel that we are reaching the point where we commit to commitment or we don’t. I’m scared.

So, the divorce talk is scheduled for tomorrow. I have no idea what I am going to say. He knows this. He knows I am worried. He knows that I haven’t explained properly and he hasn’t fully understood. He’s told me not to be nervous, he just wants to understand. He wants to know that the same won’t happen to us. He can’t understand why my husband agreed to a divorce and how I could have had three children with him if I was so unhappy.

How do I explain?

That I’m old fashioned. I believe that marriages take hard work and commitment. That I didn’t want to give up. That I didn’t believe that you could find ‘the one’ – that I had to take my head out of the romance novels and just find a nice man. So when I did, I tried to make it work.

But it didn’t. And at only six months into the relationship, and just as I was about to end it, I discovered I was pregnant.

What follows is a pattern. A life event, often instigated by me (the pregnancy wasn’t!) In an attempt to fix or work on our relationship. A short period of success followed by everything going wrong again… buying a house, getting engaged, holidays.. another baby etc etc. I wanted it to work for my children. It didn’t.

Most people would have probably realised it wasn’t going to work within the first 18 months. I just kept trying.

My ex is not a bad man, but he was never right for me. There was no partnership, no true intimacy, passion or inspiration.

How do I explain that?

Wish me luck.

2 thoughts on “Feeling the pressure

  1. Just like you did here. You tried so hard and ignored the unhappiness for the kid, which then became the kids, because that’s a thing we do in western Europe. I have the same kind of story, if he wants proof that it’s a thing that (young) women can easily get themselves into, along with the deeply engrained belief that there is either unrealistic romance that’s the stuff of fairytales, or hard work for a realistic relationship. Not much in-between. And then there’s always society telling us what a good man the husband is, and it can’t really be that bad. We have no real traditional net to help detect and resolve disfuntional marriages (and relationships). It’s assumed that the relationship between two people is private matter, therefore, people will not get involved. How can he be sure that it won’t happen again? You’re now a mature woman, a different person than you were then. You’ve done a lot of self development, and thinking, and learning about yourself. Now, you are deciding that you want to commit for all the right reasons – because of who he is, and who you both can be together. Not to fulfill some performed ideas about family and relationships. Tell him that we rarely see the inner works of relationships so that we could learn from observations. We only see the shiny public surface. We tend to make mistakes until we know what we actually expect and want from a relationship, and it can be very difficult to admit that that big, life-changing decision back then was actually a mistake.

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