After the Separation – June 2010
Lots of things have gotten in the way of writing in the last year. I got separated – which sent me for more than a little loop since this marriage was one of those “going to be forever” things. My consulting business tanked quite a bit after the 2008 recession. I moved – that came with the separation and not having a lot of money. I had to leave a place – a house and the surrounding natural environment – which I loved.
I broke 4 ribs coming off a horse in the middle of all this. I learned some things about pain as a result.
You go to the emergency room, careful to move slowly and cautiously, otherwise the pain drops you to your knees. They take some x-rays. They are nice enough to let me stand when they were doing so. Then they give you some nice pills, grin at you and tell you to heal all by yourself – no strapping and no bandages – the new way – guaranteed to make sure that you do not develop any nasty lung related complications. They tell you that it will take some time for this natural healing to occur – anything from 6 months to a year to get it all done. Then they tell you that you are not going to go home for a couple of days because you are going to experience some increasing pain. That is what the nice pills are for.
They mislead me though, will maybe just understated things when they said, “some increasing pain”. Getting out of bed to go to the bathroom was not a lot of fun for a week or two. It was one of the many tasks that I could not avoid doing. Much as I enjoyed their pills during the first few days, I needed my head back. I had work and personal things to decide that required clear thinking.
The ribs more or less healed in about 6 months. “You heal fast” , the doctor told me. He was wrong. My ego, more than a little bruised by the separation, took a a lot longer – years to heal. Moving out of the house – me and my brother and a rented truck – probably set me back physically and emotionally. Lots of 2 cubic boxes of books – each about 100 pounds – and a fair amount of furniture – all of which I had bought during the marriage – needed to move. There was also a set of stairs.
Long hard physically taxing days over the course of a week meant that I often felt those ribs in rather excruciating ways by the end of the day. It had turned out to be an unpleasant separation, involving by the hour lawyers to resolve silly things. I had wanted to go to a separation mediator and work things out differently. But even during the separation process, some things take two to make happen. At least the physical pain covered up the emotional pain of the move. Thanks to my brother’s help, I also saved lots of money by moving myself – money I simply did not have.
Separation is an Identity Issue
Just before and after moving, I did research on the psychology of separation and divorce. Turns out that I am exceedingly normal. The adjustment process takes at least 2 years. Reading that research literature did not speed up my emotional healing at all. Knowledge is often the wrong kind of medicine, I guess. My healing took many more years.
This November I will be in the new condo for 2 years. I have started to exercise seriously again. But I can still tell where the breaks in my ribs were, simply because exercise brings back localized pain – minor pain in comparison to the past – at the 4 places where my ribs broke.
I have also started to “date” again. Being an on-line type, I signed up for a number of on-line dating sites over the past year. I found that I simply could not relate to the romantic illusions I read in the profiles of many of the women on these sites. So I moved to on to more “adult oriented ones”, looking for short term physical connections. That turned out to be even more dis-illusioning.
Many women in my age range do not seemed to have moved beyond a somewhat teenage version of Hollywood’s romantized picture of male-female relationships. Others are so clearly afraid of being preyed upon both financially and emotionally by men that their profiles are distancing rather than inviting. Many clearly were focused on “younger men”. The cougar phenomena has become commonplace. My physical age was a disadvantage; my mental age irrelevant, my physical drive not believed. I wanted to understand more about all of this.
So I engaged in an experiment. I wanted to experience dating sites from “their shoes”. I put up a fictional profile for a couple of weeks on one of the better known dating sites – a female version of me. The responses that my fictional female me got from most men discouraged the hell out of me. I never realized how crass and boring we men can be. After several weeks, I put an end to my fictional female presence on this dating site. I also tuned down my expectations for “on-line” dating.
Living with Suzan Frazier and Hob Hoberly
I am going to have to find some way to work what I have learned in the past 3 years into a future novel. During this whole time, even though I was not actively writing fiction, Suzan Frazier and Hob have never really left my mind. I have had lots of internal dialogue in which I write the words in which they live. They are alive and well in my imagination.
The Little Freedoms that Separation Brings
Today, I can do some things that I found a lot tougher to do when I was still married. I have one less sensibility to take into account on a day-to-day basis – an important sensibility to me at the time. My writing is starting to be freer. I am more explicit about the sexual interactions between the folks in my fictional worlds. I am more open about the violence, physical and emotional, one character does to another. I don’t have to explain why these sides of human beings intrigue me. I hope that this greater freedom will start to appear on this site and in my writing, and lead to increased interest and hopefully, even charm.