I am currently experiencing the first official separation of my marriage and it might end in divorce. I realize now though that each season my husband has returned to California to work on the vineyard his house in Portland has become more and more a place he visits but doesn’t live in anymore. We have been together for 10 years now, and we’ve been married for almost 8 of those years, but it hasn’t been easy with him gone and with my ongoing health and injury issues.
Only 10-40% of trial separations end in resolution and although emotionally I’d like to be a winner, I am doubtful. I cannot speak for my husband, and that makes this post awkward, but I can speak for myself and I can now see how much damage has taken place. He may not have meant it when he said that he wasn’t sure if he’d ever been in love, and that he isn’t sure what love feels like, but I am pretty sure those meant something. I know what they meant for me. What I’d been feeling was true. I’ve been feeling his lack of love off and on for several years now.
We have agreed to 6 months apart, and although he requested that I not contact him for a month, I’ve had to do so already. We have a house and responsibilities we agreed to and just because I’m left holding the bag doesn’t mean I can hold it. Right now I want to leave. I want to walk away.
I am in a house that I see as a house full of my attempts to make it a home while year after year my husband’s heart was in his winemaking work. This explains why there are so many unfinished projects and a messy garden. They are all great representations of my anxiety. I have been so anxious about so many things and I have felt horrible having my husband working in California. I’ve longed to be with him so badly for years now but we never committed to a plan to sell the house and figure out a way for me to be with him. I waited for him to ask me and I missed him so much but now I feel kind of stupid.
I am still in love with him, but I am wondering how that is possible. I know I sound like an idiot. When someone says they probably never loved you that’s not good. For years I’ve told people how amazing he is because he works so hard and has had a chronically ill wife. I really admired him—but of course I did. I was the ill wife. (Obviously, I have not been a perfect wife either and there are a lot of other factors being considered, but I couldn’t imagine ever telling anyone I didn’t think that I loved them without it really meaning that I was over them.)
Our house just happens to be in my garden, and now I must decide what to do with it. If we decide to get divorced in 6 months, we will have to sell it, and if we make this marriage work, we will still have to sell it because that would mean moving to California—but in my heart I feel the odds are against that since so few couples get back together. It makes me sad too because who knows what kind of garden I could grow there.
I don’t think I will sow any seeds this year. If I do, they’ll be annuals because I think otherwise I would look like the woman not facing the reality that her whole life and garden are about to change. If I am angry about anything, it’s the frustration I am beginning to feel that so much of my own little seed and garden business takes place right now and he used to help me with some of it. I don’t think he liked it a lot, but he was supportive most of the time. I just wish my life wasn’t the one being torn apart right now, literally, piece by piece, but I know he’s suffering emotionally as he tries to sort his feelings out.
I realize now too that the furious attempts to germinate so many different plants probably also stems from anxiety about my marriage. I kept trying to get my marriage to sprout growth, but I couldn’t do it so I sprouted seeds instead, but I was more successful with them. I realize that now.
I don’t feel very interested in gardening at all right now, but maybe that’s because I need to focus on how I will survive when my husband tells me it’s over. I’d be really dumb if I did nothing and just hoped he’d come back and everything would be fine but if he started this process four years ago—when he left for California the first time—and we’ve not done any marriage therapy at all since then, I cannot imagine he’ll want to continue.
Instead of the gardening I love to do, I think I will sadly have to spend the next few months editing my garden for its eventual sale. This will be very painful and I have no idea how or where to even begin—especially because without help I must still place limits on my activities even though I am at least feeling better.
So right now my future is a blank page, and not a garden blog. No matter what happens though, I am a still a gardener, and I know for a fact that no matter where I land, I will plant seeds and grow plants at that time. If it’s going to be with my husband, that’s difficult to say, but I need to be prepared. Now is not for gardening and I know and can feel that in my heart. This time is about my growth, and it’s no longer about the growth taking place in my garden or in anyone else’s.
(Ironically my blog started when he left for California four years ago so maybe it makes sense that I should take this break. He once told me he left at that time because he couldn’t handle living with a chronically ill wife and as much as he tells me I am a wonderful writer, he never realized how much this blog had to do with my feeling so alone and betrayed when he left me and I needed so much help. I see that now too and I need to discover what all of this means to me. But don’t worry, I’ll let you all know what I decide. Good night.)