When my last relationship ended, I had this feeling, this cold, cold feeling. I wasn't mad anymore, and I wasn't sad. I was just done. It was as if a switch inside of me had been flipped, and I couldn't find a way to turn it back on.
I remember the moment it happened. He was drunk, again. I was looking at him, and I expected to feel angry. I didn't. I didn't feel hurt, either. It was just nothing, just cold, empty nothing. It scared the hell out of me. I tried describing the feeling to a family member on the phone the next day, and she suggested that maybe I was really done. It wasn't long before I asked him to move out, and I was moving on.
Reaching that point took a long time, and as I've been going through the addiction mess with my husband over the last year, I've gone back again and again to that moment. I want to believe that there will come a point when I'll be done, when the pain of staying will outweigh the pain of leaving, and that I'll know when I reach that point.
That's part of it: I want to trust that I have a stopping place...a bottom...a boundary that I won't cross, where I won't keep letting myself be dragged down by my husband.
And I am also afraid of finding that switch, finding that it's turned to "OFF." This man has meant the world to me, and the idea that I could stop loving, stop caring, stop being invested in participating in a future with him is terrifying.
For now, I am still hanging on to the hope that has been looming for so long, that thing just around the corner...that moment where he gets it, where things change, where he realizes that he's got to deal with his demons. I am afraid that he will never round that corner. I am afraid that he'll make the turn after I'm already done, that I'll have given up on him, that I won't have put in the extra month, the extra minute...that whatever it is inside of me that hangs on to love for much too long will let go before he finds his own answers. I am afraid that my letting go is what will lead him to his own answers. I am afraid of more loss, more sadness, more hurting.
I've been avoiding him. I've spent every night at work as late as I can stay and then at yoga or meetings or with family or friends. It's the holidays, and I want to want to be with him, but I can't take him right now. I can't take the tantruming, the constant need for reassurance.
"You never make me feel like a man," he said to me.
"You never act like a man," I responded. I don't know what else to say.