To rebuild or to leave


Marriage is a strange thing. It’s odd that we should make a decision in our twenties and have it the be a deciding factor in all we do for the rest of our lives. It’s akin to the saying, “Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.”― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Marriage is certainly similar, especially once you introduce a couple of tattoos into the mix. No matter what, you’re then tied to that person for the rest of your life, or theirs.

My point is, we go into marriage like going into buying a house, except, you’re expected to keep this house for the rest of your life. Hope it has enough rooms if you want more space, or that it has all the right things in it that you’ll ever want. Ever. The things you pick out when you first buy a home are not going to be the same as when you grow older and acquire more stuff, or on the contrary, when you decide to pare down. A relationship is quite similar. When you are young and needy, lustful and impatient, you look for someone who will feel your immediate needs and overlook their imperfections.  You assume, in all your experience, that you have made the best decision, yet you know at some point you may outgrow them. Your interests will diverge and life will throw you curveballs, with each of you responding in your own unique ways. Your needs will be different in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s etc… So will theirs.

I always knew I had a desire to be with women, but I never really acknowledged it until recently. This wasn’t in the house that he signed up for. It was only in fine print. Hell, I didn’t know who I’d be in 15 years so how could he see this coming? No one told him that his wife might need to explore, bunk up and break out to see if home was the right place for her. How is that fair?

Like a house, relationships require upkeep and love. If no one cares for it, it will go into disrepair in just a matter of time. The conundrum for me is if I want to stay in the same house, to care for it, and put the effort into restoring something that was so grand and dear to me. I looked at my life, prior to having kids, and I really enjoyed it. We would spend time together doing things that made us interact and listen to each other.  It wasn’t because of having kids that my house started to crumble, but it was a factor in the dynamic of my relationship with my husband. Was it so great back then because my list of responsibilities was a lot smaller so my resentment was easily checked? And as the list grew, so did my resentment? It’s easy to love someone when you are free from any difficult obligations, but when you place obstacles in the way, life truly tests your devotion.

There are some days when I am up to my eyeballs taking care of our house, our life, our marriage and his happiness. Some days, he is too. Other days, neither one of us care to do even the smallest things. I wonder sometimes, if leaving, instead of cleaning house, would be easier. I wonder if staying and rebuilding what was lost would be too hard or would it solidify our relationship. I wonder if after all the work, I will still want to leave because it was the wrong house to begin with.

So for now, I’m rebuilding the foyer, it’s close to the door, but it’s a start.

I just hope no beautiful women come knocking.

6 Comments

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  1. I swear, I read your posts and it’s like you’ve been picking through the swamp that is my brain and pulling out exactly what I want to say, then saying it a million times better than I ever could have.

  2. Having kids was a real problem for us, because we stopped paying attention to each other and doing those things we enjoyed doing together. I had to work three jobs and she had to take care of the boys and we never saw each other, much less alone.

    I read something once where the author proposed having three partners throughout a person’s life: one for your youth, one to bear and raise children with in middle life, and one to grow old with. As I’m transitioning between youth and middle age, I think it’s a good idea.

    Share some of this with him. A relationship is not a house that can be built alone.

    • I am constantly trying to share how I feel but also am wary of being the ever-complaining wife. I have a hard time gauging weather I am being too selfish, too demanding, or if I am being too easy on him.
      I know I have just as many flaws so I am not here to throw stones either. It’s difficult to pinpoint issues without stirring the pot and I’m such a Wimp when it gets right down to it.

  3. I love the analogy and have so often thought is it really true we’re meant to stay with the same partner for life? We all evolve (and grow apart) so differently. I wish it was as easy as buying a house. By the way, I loved your last line!

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