Kind of an odd title, eh?
Essentially, Rita and I are separating. We’d be divorcing but I want to keep her on my insurance until she gets a job that provides insurance. Then we’ll finalize the entire thing.
While it’s been a problem for years (hindsight is wonderful), it’s been getting more and more pronounced over the past few years. September 2010 we had the “we don’t have the same interests” talk. It’s never a pleasant discussion and requires some soul searching to figure out how to address it.
It came to a head back in February this year. We were to the point where we needed to seek counseling, perhaps something we should have done sooner. We only had a few sessions, enough for the two of us, who don’t much like to communicate, to air some of the grievances we’ve had but been reluctant to share. By the last session, we’d come to the conclusion that we should separate.
But a few days later, when commenting on the problem I twigged on part of the problem. I just wasn’t understanding what Rita’s requirement was.
See, Rita wants me to want to go and do things and like it. This came out in counseling as well. Rita had said that she was unhappy because I’d go with her, but not always like what we were doing or I’d complain about it. The counselor asked me about it and I said that sure, I didn’t always like where we were going but most of the time I enjoyed it. She asked why I went if I didn’t like it and I said that I wanted to be with Rita, even if I didn’t necessarily like where we were going. The counselor told Rita that that was a good thing, that I wanted to go with her and whether I liked it or not wasn’t something Rita had any control over.
One of the problems though wasn’t what we did but was the abruptness of the request. My grumbling wasn’t because we were going on a hike, but because I’d find out about it Saturday morning.
In thinking about that after the sessions, I came to realize Rita was having a problem with the grumbling. She wanted me to like going on a hike (for example). So I took the initiative and suggested a hike. It wasn’t a particularly long one and it wasn’t a 2 hour drive into the mountains. But I did enjoy it and even went a bit farther because we’d missed the trail. I do enjoy going on hikes.
That seemed to do it. The problem wasn’t with the hike, it was with the grumbling. We decided to give it another shot and spent the past few months trying to work on it.
Unfortunately after the trip to Florida, I finally understood the full extent of the problem.
Rita has a set of interests that include hiking, going on walks, bicycling, going to museums, going to concerts, etc.
I have a set of interests that include computer programming, board gaming and role playing, and most recently learning to play guitar.
Rita has little interest in what my interests are and is resentful over the time I spend doing them.
I want to do new things like hiking, museums, etc so Rita’s interests are things I don’t mind doing. I do mind not being able to enjoy my interests though and of course are resentful over the head butting.
So I reasoned that what Rita really wanted was someone who had exactly the same interests she had and no additional interests. That’s not to say that Rita is wrong or that I am right, just that our expectations are not the same. She wants someone who shares her interests. I want someone who can share my interests but has different interests too. In this way, we’re both broadened by each others interests.
When I had my moment of enlightenment, I of course presented my findings to Rita. I said that if she couldn’t let me enjoy my interests as well, then maybe it is time to separate. Besides going on the defensive (I assured her it wasn’t her or my fault), she agreed and decided that she would leave. I think I really wasn’t expecting that answer but am not going to stand in her way and in fact, I’ll be doing my best to make sure she is fully supported until she can get back on her feet.
We’ve spent the past month or so going over the process to fill for legal separation, getting accounts change, getting a credit card in my name and in general getting ready to move one. Rita’s packed up 95% of her gear and is looking to move to Virginia to be close to her daughter’s family (she has a new grandson so she’s pleased). We’re taking the savings we have and am using it as a down payment for a new place, originally a condo but they’re dragging their feet so she’s looking at a townhouse next weekend.
We’re quite amiable about it and I think from a mental health point of view, it really is for the best for both of us. It’s sad that it has to happen, but while we do care for each other, as Rita said, I don’t think we can live with each other any more.