Gut Checks and Realizations

January 8, 2014 By Tom

This is going to be a bit of a gut check post, one of those ones that is a little uncomfortable to write and depending on who you are, a little uncomfortable to read.

Heartbreak sucks.  Life changing sucks.  That’s the truth.

I had a reality check the other day after getting to hang out with some awesome kids for 24 hours.  What still strikes fear into the hearts and minds of many of my friends, the thought of having a family, absolutely makes me smile and is a huge hope and dream of mine.  After romping around with the little ones for a day, I realized just how sad I am that what I thought would be something happening in the near future was absolutely ripped away from me when L elected to file for divorce.

Don’t worry…I’m not running out and trying to recreate the possibility of making a family happen with anyone.  It’s something that will take me years to want to build towards again and quite honestly, something that I’ll most likely never be as cozy and ready for as I was 8 months ago.

I’ve had a ton of time to reflect and move forward, I’ve had a ton of time to analyze what I did wrong and take responsibility for my actions.  I readily admit errors and mistakes I made as a husband that I didn’t even know I was doing 6 months ago.  I know that communication was lacking in the marriage, there was either no vocalization of the real problems or lack of listening and compassion on both sides to work through them.

My ex-mother-in-law summed up this whole thing really well at one point while standing at Rockville’s wedding, “we both fucked up”.

L’s big comment to me was that she felt like she was walking on egg shells, something that I often felt I was doing as well.  I’m not sure how we both managed to feel the same way and yet never addressed the issues that were causing it.  One of those things that when things were finally out in the open, I was certainly hoping to address but she had already packed up and moved into the arms of another guy.

At one point I had the illusion there was a chance to save things, somewhere in the summer when I thought stuff was out in the open and we were both working towards the same goals.  But the gut check I’ve realized is, her goals were totally different from mine and our intentions were totally different.

One thing she told me the last time we talked was that she hoped I learned from this, something that I have, things I’ve learned that I’ve implemented into life and friendships and relationships personally and professionally.  Another thing I realized was how on a few major things, I viewed L as a safety net; I knew that I had health insurance, there was a steady income and I felt entitled to take risks with a start-up, fight the “norm” and at the end of the day I expected everything to be “good”.

Only, it wasn’t.

I put an unfair burden on her, something that I didn’t realize I was doing, and I was doing it because I was being selfish, something I also didn’t realize I was doing.  I wasn’t being supportive of her thoughts of going back to school, I wasn’t being _totally_ supportive of her running and while some of her demands were a bit much, I could have done more to cooperate and not make things about me.

None of that excuses her actions, but I’m owning up to my actions and hope one day she’ll do the same.

With all that being said, I’m in a good spot now, in many ways better than I was 6 months ago.  I know who I am, I know what I value as important, I know the morals and needs I have in a relationship, I know the work I need to put into friendships and relationships that I previously ignored.  This whole thing has made me a better person, has forced me to grow in ways I wouldn’t have with the cards being what they are.  I’m not the same guy I was 6 months ago, and I’m sure that will change even more over the next few years.

I had a former friend who once said, “that’s what the first marriage is for, learning for the second marriage”, a saying that I absolutely hate and don’t agree with, but a saying that I think also highlights the mistake most people make in their early 20’s when they get married, a total lack of communication.

Trust me, I’m communicating now.