My nearly 15-year marriage has always been held together with bubble gum and bailing wire. He and I were traveling on different roads almost from the day we had children and it only became worse as our financial success grew. I am pulled to be the Mom I never had and he seems to be pulled by his business and friends. So, when he texted to tell me he had booked a marriage counselor appointment, I cleared my calendar. I was hopeful. The hope was not long-lived.
During our first three sessions, we discussed family, our history and our main issues with each other. He felt like I had distanced myself from him, and to be fair, I had. I communicated that I felt like too often he stays out excessively drinking and gambling. I also felt that he was generally volatile to be around.
Day Four was set for mirroring exercises.
Doc said, “Is there anything new you want to put on the table?”
I held back. I wanted to talk about him staying out until 3 am the Saturday before Easter and blowing a thousand dollars at the casino. I bit my lip because I knew it would cause him to explode and could result in him walking out of counseling… we were not there yet. We were not ready to dig deep into our issues.
He held back. I could see it on his face. There was something ready to erupt like one of the cystic pimples on my peri-menopausal face.
Then, he popped it. “I want a trial separation,” he said.
My heart sank and I got a weird floaty feeling.
Doc kept it together and told me to mirror what he said.
Instead of screaming “We just started, of course, it’s not working yet!”, I did as I was told and mirrored.
Me: You want a trial separation, did I get that right?
Me: Is there more?
Him: Yes. I need a space where I feel wanted.
Me: You need a place where you feel wanted. Did I get that right? Is there more?”
He looked at me with the lift of one eyebrow and a screw you look and said, “Yes. You removed yourself from me, now I’m going to remove myself from you, PHYSICALLY!”
That was the start of our separation. We have now been separated for 2 weeks. My husband travels a lot for work. His absence at home has been explained easily to my children; however, I am left to put on a happy face and pretend that our lives were not being ripped apart.
To the ex: