I'm not particularly interested in thinking about my wife having sex again.
For those of you who aren't familiar, conscious uncoupling basically means that two civil ex's agree to dissolve their marriage with mutual maturity—keeping each other's best interests at hand.
Basically: "I want to show the world how graceful I am, especially when it comes to ultimate forgiveness and perpetual friendship!" It's a couple's counseling dream!
There is a certain ego involved in it, which is slightly annoying, but if it means less nasty break-ups and drawn-out fights over child custody, I'm all for it.
That said, little is written about the gray area in between the most perfect and imperfect divorces. Seldom do we hear much about the everyday awkward conversations that occur bewteen separating couples (and no, I'm not talking about alimony and division of assets). So on the eve of my own divorce, I decided to shed a little light on the the more private convos. Time for you to eavesdrop:
1. Who was to blame
Lots of divorcing couples take great lengths to never blame the other person for what went wrong. But trust me, the blame comes out one way or another. My ex, Monica, and I are trying our hand at moving on graciously and we've been pretty good at that. But still: we're human beings going through a divorce. And I'd be a d*mn liar if I didn't admit there have been quite a few times when we've finger-pointed. In fact, we've probably blamed each other for so much stuff that it makes us wonder what the h*ll we ever got married for in the first place!
But we did. And we lasted nine years. And made three awesome kids. So, in the end, as we extricate our hearts and minds from a very familiar (but sad) place, it doesn't seem all that unhealthy or strange that we might toss a few last blame-zingers at each other as we exit the stage. The thing is: I keep it in perspective—and she does too. This Blame Game is awkward as we're moving on. Plus, who even cares anymore?
2. The thought of my ex having sex with someone new
As you move through the divorce process, the reality starts to settle in: you're going to be single again. And unless you're dead in the next few months (don't drink anything your ex offers you!), you begin to understand that you're probably going to have sex again someday with someone new. And so is your ex. Thus, couples parting on pretty good terms will often end up having a few 'good buddy' conversations in the spirit of their progressive path toward totally separate lives.
But when you end up trying to open up to the other person about sex with other people—trust me!—it can get seriously weird. Wrapping your head around the idea of someone else in bed with your ex might seem easy. (Since you're obviously not into each other at all anymore, right? WRONG.) But no matter how open and "cool" you want to be with the person you're divorcing, you can't disguise the underlying pain you feel when they talk about moving on sexually. I personally don't want to think about it.
3. Your crazy dreams for the future
When you're married, discussing the future and what lies ahead for you two is natural (and expected). You're in this thing together, and your lives are on a trajectory towards some far flung point in time where you will share so many ups and downs that your individual existence will merge in a million ways with his or hers.
All of that ends when you break apart, though.
It's one of the strangest feelings that come with divorce. Aside from your kids (if you have them), you two no longer have any real reason to merge your plans for the future. I realize that sounds harsh, and that's because it IS harsh, my friend. I will really miss having a partner-in-crime when it comes to drinking wine and daydreaming about buying a house together someday or running away for a month to Thailand. But the fact is: any particular dreams we shared together are now dead. And whenever we even graze the idea of talking about who we may become in this world, I find myself crawling back into a hole, unwilling to share that part of myself with her anymore.
I'm hopeful this is a feeling that could fade with time—I hope it does. But for now, mid-divorce, it seems odd to talk about anything regarding the proverbial 'tomorrow' that doesn't concern our kids.