At night, lying next to him, I stared at shadows on the ceiling and kicked the sheets around and didn't sleep. During the day, while he was at work, I felt exhausted and nauseous and distracted. My ring finger felt exposed and wrong. I tried to imagine what leaving him would be like. I tried to imagine moving on: Going on dates. Finding an apartment of my own. Making enough to pay the bills. I tried to think logistics. Would he let me take the cat we'd adopted together? Would I have to bribe him with furniture? The coffee table I'd ordered from Target? The china cabinet I'd inherited from my mother?
Sick of being alone with my thoughts, I e-mailed him, feeling that what I hadn't been able to convey verbally, I'd be better able to express in writing. "I feel as if I'm your lowest priority," I wrote, "and that, frankly, you'd rather spend time with anyone—or anything—other than me." I wrote that I had been trying to be a better wife, but that we both had to be willing to compromise. I told him that there needed to be a change, and that I wanted us to try therapy.
I waited almost two hours for his response and, when it came, I curled into myself. "We aren't a good match," it began, and my heart lurched up into my throat. "I thought we were, and maybe we were a better match in the past, but it's very clear this isn't true. Or at least I don't feel it's true anymore."
He suggested a trial separation. Divorce Or Separation? Lessons From The Cox-Arquette Split
I cried, alone, for the next four hours. I tried to think of someone to call, but I didn't want to burden anyone with this, not even my mother.
Besides, telling someone would make it real, and I didn't want to make it real. Not yet.
I waited for him to come home.
When he finally arrived, we sat on the bed beside each other, me cross-legged, him with his knees hugged up to his chest. "Well… " he said, glancing at me nervously, waiting for me to speak. I sputtered, unsure of what to say.
And then, despite all the doubts I had felt in the past—about our compatibility, about our relationship, about our future—I fought for our marriage.