A few months ago, my husband decided he was finished with our marriage. Or, more accurately, he decided he was finished a long time ago, but he only recently informed me. We hadn’t been fighting; in fact, I thought we were doing quite well, but that just goes to show what I know. I would like to be able to share the details, but, to put it in very generous terms, my husband had difficulty talking about what led him to his decision. If I had to speculate on his reasoning, I’d say he just lost his damn mind. However, since the “experts” say divorce is never simply one person’s fault, let me just say we apparently want very different things from life.
As it turns out, my husband is not suited for what he would call “mainstream living.”
It is embarrassing to admit my marriage has failed, but it is even worse to have to accept that I have been rejected in favor of modern day hippies. (The long beard he was growing should have tipped me off.) My husband has decided he wants to live in a co-housing community. He wants to rent a room in a large house and create an urban utopia with his housemates. He wants to make granola together, have regular potluck dinners, grow food in the yard, and just be among like-minded people.
These types of communities already exist so clearly he is not alone in his thinking. He even tried to get me on board. It’s not that I completely reject the idea; I suppose one could make a decent argument on the benefits of living this way. It’s just that I don’t want to be around people all the time. I don’t want to spend my evenings talking about the environment, or how to end wars, or 500 ways to make tofu, even if I do actually care about those things. (Well, maybe not the tofu.) My idea of a perfect evening is sitting around without my bra on, holding a glass of wine in one hand and a pint of ice cream in the other, while binge watching serial killer dramas on Netflix. I really do not want to have to share my wine and ice cream. Clearly, misanthropy and cooperative living do not mesh.
In spite of all of my objections to my husband’s vision for how to make a meaningful life for himself, I will admit that he is right about one thing: forming connections with people is important. Going through this divorce has left me emotionally wrecked. I have had to admit defeat and surrender myself to the fact that, as stubborn and independently- minded as I am, this is not something I can go through on my own.
This means I have to sometimes call people late at night and force them to listen to all of the terrible things I am wishing upon my husband, or they listen to me sobbing over the fact that I don’t want him to go. It means I have to let people treat me to dinner sometimes or let them take my kid off of my hands for a few hours. It means that I have become a needy mess, and as uncomfortable as that feels, it really is OK.
When it comes to friendships, I have an embarrassment of riches. I truly have some incredible people in my life. My friends are the kinds of people who will drop by unannounced with flowers and chocolate, and not even care that I am wearing the same pajamas I was wearing the last time they saw me; they are never offended by the absent bra. More importantly, when I start ranting about all of the ways I have been wronged by that man, they always take my side. Somehow, without even being aware of it, I have cultivated my own little community, my own private utopia. Maybe we aren’t actively doing anything to make the world better, but we do make each other’s lives better, and I don’t think that is insignificant. My community of friends would never ask me to share my ice cream and wine with them, even though I would, but best of all, I don’t have to live with them.