It has been four days since Q asked me for a divorce. Yesterday, I went to an urgent care in order to get some prescription sleeping medication. I hadn’t slept a full eight hours in a week. In fact, I was probably sleeping only three to four a night, with some nights containing no sleep at all.
There I sat in the doctor’s office, feet dangling from the hospital bed, the crunching sound of the sanitary paper echoing in the empty sterile room each time I made one small movement. I’m sure I looked a mess. I hadn’t eaten or slept in a week. I sat there with shoulders slumped, periodically erupting into cacophonous sobs. When I checked in at the front desk, the receptionist asked me to fill out some paperwork, listing out my reasons for requiring urgent care. “Need medication” is what I listed. I am honest.
“Ma’am?” the receptionist called out after I had dropped off my paperwork, thanked her and was heading back to a waiting room chair, “Can you come here please?” I shuffled back. “You’re going to have to put something else as your reasoning or the doctor won’t see you,” she said. I believe I ended up filling the blank in with “extreme exhaustion.”
When my urgent care doctor finally entered the room to see me in my dishevelment, she gave me an unsanctioned COVID hug and whispered, “I’m going through the same thing.” Divorce is a uniting force it seems. She prescribed some sleeping medication, and I slept for a full 8 hours for the first time in a week. Bless this urgent care doctor whose name I do not remember. You have saved my sanity in these first few days.
I awoke this morning, four days after the culling, feeling weary, scared, and anxious, waking from my dreams into the nightmare. In the first few days after the bomb had been dropped, I awoke wondering if my marriage was really over. Now, I wake to acceptance. I pray, “Let what wants to come, come. Let what wants to go, go. If it is meant to be mine, it will stay. If not, whatever is better will replace it” (a Tosha Silver “Outrageous Openness” original). I pray to forgive the man I thought I would spend my life with. I pray to one day no longer hold anger in my heart for him. I pray for strength.
Last Sunday, Q came home from swim practice and asked if we could have a discussion. “I don’t think I want to have kids,” he started, “I don’t want to give up the freedoms I currently have. I want to spend more time with you in our marriage.” I reacted neutrally and expressed my desire to explore the root of what this means, to explore its potential impact on our marriage. We barely slept for the week, both of us agonizing over whether we could sacrifice our desires to have and not to have children. I agonized over whether I really want children. I wept during the day in between work calls. I sought out family and friends. Thursday night, after having spent the evening with a friend who has two kids, I came home resolved. I would choose my marriage over children.
I informed Q of this. He replied, “I’m feeling the opposite.” He wanted out. He cited feeling unfulfilled in our sex life, which had caused him to feel unloved and unseen. He cited this being a deal breaker for him. I was shocked. I saw issues within our sex life as very normal, long-term relationship issues, the kind that you continue to work on with each other, not the kind where you throw away your whole life you’ve built together. Besides, our marriage was by no means sexless. We probably averaged once a week. And sure, it wasn’t mind blowing, fuck you in the kitchen kind of sex, but we’d been together for nine years for fuck’s sake.
I suggested we explore opening up our relationship to other partners. He declined. I suggested we give his parent’s another call to talk through our issues and seek support. He declined. I re-read him my wedding vows. He replied that he no longer feels the same. I asked, “You really don’t think we can work on this?” His answer, a resolute no.
The next morning, I flew down south to stay with my sister.