Yesterday was an emotional day. I cried in the morning because I felt so disconnected from my family, and once my family meant the world to me. They still do, but I’m not part of the day to day anymore. The existence that defined my life for twenty years. I’m not sure exactly why yesterday, but I just broke down and cried, remembering all these joyful moments of togetherness, and feeling like I’d ruined it all.
I invited Zoe and Nick over to dinner, and it felt good to see them, especially Zoe – even though she didn’t stay long. Then I went over there to drop Nick off and I stayed for a while. I asked Christine if she was happy living without me, and she surprised me by being honest and saying she was lonely. She has a way of talking about her feelings like it’s no big deal, which maybe is healthier than my tendency to feel everything in such a full-blown way.
I asked her if she was angry with me and she hesitated before saying no, sometimes things just change. But I know she is, sometimes. I’m sure she feels rejected and replaced, and I hate making her feel that way. Of course I can’t control it, but I can show her that I still care about her, and even though it is personal it’s also not personal. We had grown apart, as they say. I was seeing someone else, and so was she. We were seeking fulfillment elsewhere because we couldn’t do it for each other anymore.
And that does make me sad. I think back to the time we spent together before we had kids, seven years. Almost all the memories are good. Even the difficult parts of childraising are erased by the passage of time, and luckily what remains are pleasant memories of raising these little babies into cute little kids, and then watching them grow up. I think we did a good job together of raising those kids, and continue to do so. We just couldn’t provide for each other emotionally.
I wanted someone I could really talk to and bond with, someone who wanted to travel and do things with me. Someone who would excite my heart and my mind. Someone to hold my hand and sleep with, to make me feel loved in a way I hadn’t felt for years. And which I couldn’t give to Christine anymore, because it didn’t seem like she wanted it. At least not from me.
And now I have that, at least during the times I can be with Christy. I know she’s the one, and I made the right choice. When I’m with her, I feel the fullness of love in a way that leaves no question about what I’m doing. Where else could I be, what else could I be doing? It’s the only place to be, and everything feels right.
But it’s a love I can’t share with my family, obviously, and sometimes it does seem like a zero sum game. When I’m with her, I’m not with them, and I’m robbing them of my presence. The same thing goes for Christy, I guess, although we can talk about it openly and I know how she’s doing. She deals with being apart better than I do. And she doesn’t demand that I choose between my family and her, for which I’m grateful.
So I feel guilty sometimes for not being around them like I was for the last twenty years. For not being there when Zoe comes home, to hear how her day at school or work went. I don’t know if she feels my absence or not, or how much it hurts or doesn’t hurt. Maybe I should have waited longer before moving out, but at the time I didn’t want to wait. I could have waited, could have been there physically, but emotionally I would have been somewhere else. It’s probably better that I can be alone here, figure out what I want and how I feel, and how I want to try to manage this. But it’s lonely, to be between two worlds and not fully in either one. It feels freeing also, sometimes, but freedom can be a lonely thing.
I want to be involved in Zoe’s life and I want her to know that I care, even though I’m not there all the time. I don’t want her to feel I chose Christy over her, or over the family, even though in a way that’s what I have done. I was desperate to feel some kind of love and happiness and joy, even some of the time, and that wasn’t going to happen living with Christine anymore. And it does happen with Christy.
At some point I’ll explain it to her, and ask her how she feels. I don’t want to bring it up now, because I have so little time with her and I’m afraid of scaring her off. But I want her to know that it hasn’t been easy, that I miss her, and that even if I’m not physically right there in the same house that I’m always there for her. I never wanted to be a father in absentia. Those fathers, like Mike, always seemed sad to me. But that’s essentially what I am now, and I guess the sadness of it hit me yesterday.