Credit where credit is due

Having got home from the pub, my head was down. Metaphorically and physically.
She asked why.
I briefly articulated my sense of having let my kid down. (I know, Dear Reader, that it’s just a birthday cake, and it tastes fine – it’s trivial. But it’s not.)
She insisted I hadn’t let them down.
I pointed out that, if this was to be the last time I got to do this, it’s a shit way to bow out.
Why would it be the last time?
Had She not noticed the current climate in the house? The cloud that threatened a terminus?
She took the point.
A few weeks ago, She had virtually spat at me that, in the event of divorce, She would not surrender custody.
She didn’t remember saying that. [Ed: Really? How do you say something like that and not fucking remember it!?]
I did!
She insisted this wouldn’t be the last time. Whatever happened between us.

But that’s not how these things work in the real world, is it, Objective Reader? A good friend of mine is separating from his wife, who has their kids. He is in a bad way, and hanging onto the idea that he will be able to see them whenever he wants, but fails to consider what will happen when she has another husband and they have another dad. What access can he really expect when they have built a life without him? That’s how these things really work.

I extracted myself from the conversation and took myself to my room.
A few minutes later She came upstairs and sat next to me on the bed.

For once there was a sense of genuine concern, even empathy. For once there was a definitive statement that She didn’t want us to split up. That She couldn’t imagine a future without me. Without Me.
I couldn’t remember the last time She’d said anything even remotely like that. It was possible She had said it, but I couldn’t remember when.
She acknowledged that. It’s hard to say such things in an unfavourable atmosphere.
It’s a vicious circle.
She thought there is a lot of anger between us, but not really knowing what about.
I’d though the same for a while. I related the heart breaking conversation I’d heard in the pub, and how I could list numerous friends whose marriages are in the antithesis of idealistic states.
Perhaps We’re not so unusual. Perhaps there’s something else* going on that makes partnerships difficult.

She put a hand on my shoulder. A half hug. A suggestion of consolation. Solidarity. And She asked if that was ok.
I nodded and dug deep to keep my face dry.

The conversation didn’t go much further, and the rest of the evening was spent mostly in silence or solitude.

If you’re cynical, Dear Reader, might view all this as evidence of something insidious. The swing of a malevolent hypnotist’s watch – love – hate – love – hate – love – hate – Maybe that is not exclusively inaccurate. Or maybe it is a sign of something more worthy of optimism. Of cracks in the ice. Maybe it’s not that simple. Not binary.
But credit where credit is due.

* If She’s hinting, as I suspect She is, at something in the wider world, some social turbulence, the pressure of political expectations, then I tend to agree. Whether We would share a less superficial analysis is another matter.

2 Responses to “Credit where credit is due”

  1. Yes. I’m glad you got to open up about your true feelings.
    Fwiw: even if you were to split and she were to introduce a new man in your kids’ lives, he would never be a new father to them. This is something akin to depression talking.
    And I’m talking here as both the woman who doesn’t regard her ex as exactly the best person in the world, yet sees and respects our children’s love for him, and as the woman whose role could have been replaced (I even want to say he wished she would replace me), yet whose kids definitely love ME as their mother. Well, those he hasn’t brainwashed at least 😉
    I am grateful that they appreciate the help and support they get from her. Nd that she can give it to them. But I am still and always will be their mother.

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