If I had thought that I was going to tackle raising a child on my own, I would perhaps been daunted by the sheer magnitude of the task. Maybe I would have chickened out and lost my chance to have one. I am therefore glad that I was too short-sighted to glimpse into the future.
Over the first six years of our marriage, I did everything Ron’s way. I gave up my simple dreams for his grand ones, and I even talked myself into completely adopting his dreams instead. Whatever I did, or did not do, failed to make him any happier. Ron’s unhappiness sucked my energy and I only experienced glimpses of contentment when I was away from him. His constant grumpiness was frequently blamed on me: My inadequacy, my poor cooking, my substandard cleaning and lacking organization skill, and my overall laziness. My unhappiness though had one reason: I was living my life in a mindless pursuit of some lofty goals and dreams he set for us. The days were rushing past and I was missing the pleasures of the journey, because of intense concentration on the goal. Also, I was getting older and it was becoming harder for me to lie to myself and deny my longing to become a mother.
When I left Ron for these reasons, he was the one who came back to me. He claimed he was starting to see things my way. He wanted to join me, living the good and simple life. He came on very strong, saying all the right words and making all the right moves. He charmed my friends and made them sing his praises. Everyone expected me to give him another chance, so I relented even though I was still enjoying my hard earned independence. As Ron grew more confident of my presence on his side, glimpses of his intense and grumpy persona started to show. Again, I was party to long conversations detailing his woe; I was sucked into the trials and tribulations of dissolving the business, and finishing the work on the house. And although I had left the past and all its baggage behind I tried to come with supportive advice and encouragement. I did not want to be part of any decision that involved the past, but Ron insisted on making me part of it. The pressure made my cool analytical mind realise that the conflict of interests between us is still very real, and that I needed to break away for good. Yes, I staged the break-up in a very cruel manner, intentionally perhaps, in order to make it final and drive the point home. In the end, however, it was out of my character and I suffered for it.
Last time the pain was unbearable for me. In theory I am more capable of finding happiness without Ron. I can take pleasure in simple things, and enjoy the here-and-now without lamenting over what or where I could have been if I had made different choices in my life. The burden of regret and blame was a main feature in our married life; Ron was on a mission to recapture his position in the world, the position and prestige he lost through the break-up of his first marriage. I felt as if I was living the consequences of decisions he had made even before we met. I would have been perhaps better off without this baggage. Still, I could not take the final step on my own. The price, for me, was too high, because it meant giving up permanently on someone I loved. I desperately needed to love someone, and Ron has filled this need for so long. When I realised that I cannot live with a cruel ending of our marriage, I begged Ron to give us another chance. I honestly thought that Ron and I were capable of patching things up between us. If it was possible for him to let go of this hunger for things that we could not attain, maybe we would have been both happy. But in the end his hunger won, and our “happiness” in the past two years proved to be an illusion. For my part, and at the risk of sounding stupid and naïve, I admit that I was blinded by my own happiness which became absolute with the arrival of Robert. Ron grumbled frequently, and I played counsellor to his outbursts of discontent, but I wasn’t extremely alarmed by them. Ron had an aura of unhappiness about him ever since I knew him, and I was beginning to accept that perhaps it was just part of his personality. He is just a chronically unhappy man, and I needed to get used to it. Maybe one day he will learn that happiness is a choice, it is the wisdom to be content with what you got, and stop regretting missed opportunities. Unfortunately things did not work this way. The fight for my marriage is over, for good this time. Ron has given up the fight, and I have learnt that one person cannot win, no matter how hard they try.
If I try to examine my feelings at these developments I come up with a whole spectrum of emotions. They come in waves of coordinated or contradictory shades.
I swing between sadness, anger, disappointment and worry. Notably absent from my gamut of feelings from two years ago are the guilt and the sense of terrible loss and emptiness. My life has meaning and purpose now, with or without Ron. Robert needs me, and he is someone I can love and cherish for the rest of my life. As for Ron, I hope he will find happiness elsewhere, although I doubt he ever will. Sad really, considering that even when I met him ten years ago he was fond of repeating this mantra: “I just want to be happy”. Happiness my friend is a choice, not a goal. Perhaps you did me and Robert a favour by allowing us to leave this black cloud of gloom behind us. It is going to be hard for the next few months, but there is light at the end somewhere, and we will be happy, with the grace of God.