Friends, I’ve left out a really important part of the story. I haven’t told you how much hurt there is between me and Sweetie. Every loving thing I’ve said about her is true and sincere, but there is a very deep sadness between us that’s getting harder and harder to push aside.
Every so often, we trigger something in each other that is very hard to live with. We only have bad fights a few times a year, but the things we’ve said to each other are a very heavy load to keep carrying. Any couple that’s been together for twelve years might have deep angers and resentments, but in this case I don’t understand how we can get to the point of liking ourselves, individually or together. For a long time she attacked my sexuality whenever we were fighting, so even though she’s almost always supportive now it is hard to accept myself as bisexual. I have a very, very deep wish to be gay for her, to make all of the complications and dissatisfactions (well not ALL of them, I suppose) go away.
Saturday, we thought we got it figured out. We were bickering on the nude beach of all places, exchanging barbs about how I always want her to go in the ocean and she doesn’t want to. It, um, wasn’t really about the ocean. I told her I couldn’t deal with the idea of swimming alone for the rest of my life, couldn’t deal with paddling around by myself with all those happy couples. I didn’t want to hit on them, I wanted to be them.
She pointed out, incorrectly but insightfully, that the wave-frolicking pairs I was envying were all boy/girl combinations. I’m sure this is partly because I was hurting over Mr. Sweetheart, but I know that’s not all.
“I haven’t been your primary partner for a long time.” she said, again wrong but not wrong. What I feel for her is closer to best-friendship than romance to the point where I dearly wish we could skip right past divorce to being pals. But she would have to not be madly in love with me for us to do that.
Having been back and forth about divorce bunches of times, we decided we were finally going to rip the Band-aid off as soon as we got home and start the divorce process. I got up and walked into the ocean, suddenly and completely fine with swimming on my own. It was cold and it took me a while to settle in, pick my feet up, float and even smile. I felt relief. I could finally stop trying to squeeze into this thing that no longer fit me. My long hard quest to somehow what she wants was over. I could stop running and finally turn to face myself.
Of course she swam out to meet me. I started to cry. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”
I started to cry harder and sobbed out “I want a husband.”
There in the water, cool and naked and facing the person who knows me best in the world, it seemed so clear. It seemed like such a simple truth.
It’s impossible to overstate the amount of shame that my failure to be gay and monogamous has brought me over the years. I felt, I still feel, like I let her down so much. I’ve been given a partner who is almost perfect, almost every single thing a person could need, why couldn’t I just TAKE it? Why couldn’t I just be satisfied?
I’m not sure if I can every really love myself within the context of this relationship. It is certainly very hard to accept being bi, let alone the taboo and crazy-feeling wish for a male primary. Every time some dude wrecks our evening in whatever careless way, I overflow with sorries, for taking away her time and happiness, for the fact that I could never manage to just settle down and let myself be loved.
Day to day, she’s understanding and giving, the most supportive a poly girl could hope for, but in the fights the truth always comes out. Like I started to say, for years she’d attack my sexuality during every fight, calling me a slut or a whore and telling me that I’m disgusting for wanting men. She talked so disdainfully and I gave as good as I got. These days she doesn’t tell me to go suck a dick like she used to, but she does go from zero to you’re-a-stupid-selfish-bitch-and-you-never-shut-up-about-boys every so often. I wish there were some in-between there.
She doesn’t say those things because she really hates men or bisexuals or anything like that. She does it because I do get self-involved, yammering and fussing through every crush, and it makes her feel insignificant. I am not loving her the way she deserves to be loved, and I am not loving myself, either.
As we drove home from the beach, stopping for sundaes and listening to Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me as usual, the enormity of losing each other kept hitting us and what to do next became a lot less clear. Whether I stay with her or not, a husband seems like an impossible dream-where does one get one of those? How does that happen?
The best thing about this, though, is that I’ve allowed myself to stop denying it, to stop wishing and trying and struggling to be the wife I planned to be ten years ago, to be what’s expected of me, to be what she really wants. I grieve for the nice lesbian wife I didn’t turn out to be, but I’m also glad to be (almost) free of her. (Free of the imaginary me, that is.)
Since Saturday, we’ve been intermittently fine and sobby. We fall asleep separately but she still crawls in with me every night, we still hit the snooze a million times and hold each other in the cool morning air. I wish we could hit the snooze on this decision forever.