I have always appreciated the opportunity to be alone. I find great pleasure in reflecting on things; giving thought and consideration to what I have experienced, working diligently to come to terms with my feelings and squaring away my current reality with my growing spirituality. I have never thought twice about spending quality time with myself, and very arrogantly assumed that once married, I would always be okay with being alone in contemplative bliss in between being a wife and mother and everything else that I needed to be.
For the most part, this has held true-I can tell when I need a reset because my attitude becomes unbearable. I am snappy and unpleasant, sarcasm engulfing even the most loving moments. My children have learned(through many failed attempts) to give me some space. In fact, we have this THING every day after school where everyone decompresses with snacks and tv or games or a book before we get into the business of being together. It is really great for everyone; I have time to reset and so do they.But what I did not and (with my natural proclivities for solitude) COULD NOT account for was the loneliness that came with being married.
There is an expectation-albeit mostly unspoken and presumed-that you and your mate will engage in a different, more complex level of intimacy that grows out of the initial connection that led you to marry to begin with. And I think that for many couples this happens the way it should. But for mine (and many, many others ) it does not…and I found myself lonelier IN a relationship than I ever could be by myself.
Let me explain.
Nobody can prepare you for how life just happens…the shock and awe of it all blindsides you. New jobs, moving, school, kids, job loss, in-laws, bill collectors, sickness, failure-these unforeseen and knee-bowing circumstances place major weight on often already fragile connections. Because let’s face it: what man have YOU ever met who wants to have a deep and continuous communication concerning feelings? Even disagreements languish and fester as you find out how much (or how little) compromise has to (or will) happen. You begin to share your heart less and less, and he becomes used to derailing any opportunity to be intimate in any nonphysical way until finally you find yourself in a room with someone that you just…live with. A roommate with whom you share kids. A partner in the business of marriage, just trying to keep the whole enterprise from going belly up and desperately trying to salvage the wreckage of your lives together by remembering when…
Or at least that is my story.
Some days I find myself suddenly weeping. I can’t see pass the wall of no communication that exists between us. I choose to go whole days without saying anything at all because I simply cannot bear the polite surface conversations that die in the air between us. I find ways to occupy myself but there is truly no activity that can soothe the gnawing loneliness that comes from losing your best friend. Nothing that I can conjure up in the machinations of my inner being. And the worst part is that there is not much I can do about it except watch and wait.