There were plenty of signs my marriage was ending long before it did, but I didn’t see them.
I was in denial.
Four years ago, the travel editor of the Sun Herald – a friend of my ex-husband – commissioned me to write a story about an 18-day cruise to Hawaii.
I was freelancing at the time, so it was quite the score.
The kids and I shared a cabin, but my ex decided to stay home. He wasn’t the cruising type. I talked him into flying to meet us in Oahu afterwards for a week-long family holiday.
My parents, sister and nephew joined us on the cruise and we had a pretty awesome multi-generational escape.
My ex was there to greet us when we docked at the wharf in Honolulu.
More accurately, he was there to greet the kids. He hugged them tight and vowed never to be separated from them again for that long.
He didn’t even look at me, much less touch me.
I remember noticing and pushing the implications aside.
Looking back, he was probably lost to me then, but our marriage tottered along for two more years.
There was the same weird vibe when we went on holidays together – just the two of us – a year later.
We travelled overseas for a friend’s wedding. He was easily annoyed on the trip, we were both constantly weary. It should have been a blissful chance to spend some time together as a couple, sans kids, but it was a joyless holiday.
We were going through the motions; I still refused to consciously acknowledge it.
There were many other signs something was very wrong, but I swept them all under the denial carpet.
So it came as a devastating shock when he announced how he really felt about our marriage and expressed his desire to leave it.
He’d spent more than two years working his way up to that moment – I was a long way behind him on the journey.
It took me a while to catch up, but I have.
And now it’s me who has trouble looking at him.
Not because I have anything to hide but …
I wonder if it’s a windows-of-your-soul thing? I don’t want to look into his soul or have him look into mine.
He lost that privilege and I found myself.
I feel a sense of gratitude towards him for giving me the chance to experience joy again.
But I don’t want him to see it either, tempting as it may be to flaunt my happiness, because he doesn’t deserve to be let off the hook for what he did.
Or maybe he does.
Add that to the things-I-don’t-want-to-see list.
I’m not ready.
Song of the day: Pink “I don’t believe you”