Definitely Not a Separate Peace

It's ComplicatedWriting regularly about your life means that you discuss a lot of minutiae.

Today isn’t one of those days.

Today I get to tell you that E and I are separating. It’s not something I’m excited to do.

And I apologize to those close friends and family members who will find this out from the blog. I know it sucks. But forgive me for not wanting to get in touch with each of you individually to discuss really awful and sad news.

I could just keep up the fort here and pretend this isn’t happening. But I don’t want to do that. You probably don’t know this but last summer when the kids and I went to Texas, that was also a brief separation. And it was much harder since only a small handful of people were aware. Keeping up a good front was painful. 

So this time we have an agreement that I can write about it.

As you would probably guess, it sucks. It sucks especially because I don’t want it but this isn’t the kind of situation where I get to veto it.

It’s not like things have been hunky dory around here. I like to think that even the strongest couple would really struggle with what we’ve been hit with the past few years. We’ve had a good 4 years or so of one thing after another. Long hours, stress, depression, kids, lack of sleep, anxiety, autism, the works. It hasn’t been easy for a long time. But I actually thought things were better lately only to find out that I was wrong.

It’s been a really long time to live with someone but still feel alone. It’s been a lot to go through without feeling like you’re both on the same team. It’s taken everything I have to go for so long without affection and connection and love. I’ve been trying to just push through the best I can. Both of us have. And with so much on both of our shoulders we have different priorities and different ideas of how our lives should work. Sometimes it’s tiny stupid things and sometimes it’s this enormous chasm. 

Sometimes I just take this new change a day at a time and try to just live my life as best I can and be there for the kids. And sometimes I feel like my whole life is just crashing around me and I question every choice I’ve ever made since I met E.

Right now we have lots of things figured out. I stay with the kids from Sunday evening to Friday evening then pass the baton to Eric for the weekend. I found a very small (but still sadly expensive) sublet for a couple months. We’ve talked about counseling and I’m hoping we can start soon. 

I am trying to look on the bright side. Weekends without the kids. (Though there will still be Saturday morning soccer.) A bed to myself. Weekdays won’t be much change since I almost always do dinner and bedtime by myself anyway. 

But despite a few perks it’s hard to have everything up in the air. I worry that anything good that happens over the next few months will just be a sign to him that we’re better off apart. I wonder how we can make progress when we hardly see each other. And then there’s all the things to worry about if it doesn’t work.

My biggest concern, though, is about being able to reach out. I am fortunate to have an incredible, supportive community. I know people from many different walks of life. I know people on their 2nd marriages. I know people who have worked their way through terrible times in their marriages only to find themselves even stronger than before. I have these people for help and advice. But I don’t know that E has any of that. 

I won’t be able to tell his story here, obviously. But at least I can tell mine. Hopefully there are other people out there who understand or take a little comfort knowing they’re not alone. I feel a little better writing it, even if I still have trouble talking about it. 

The blog is not going to turn into all-separation-all-the-time because that’s not how life works. I have to find my footing. I have to figure out where things are heading for me. I have to keep myself going and keep the kids playing and keep everyone fed and tucked in at night. 

If you don’t know what to say to me, don’t worry. I don’t know what to say to you, either. It’s a lot easier talking to a disembodied group of readers than it is talking to a person who’s looking right at me when it comes to this stuff. 

I’m just going to try and do the best I can here and everywhere else. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what I want to happen. I am scared of being alone and starting over. I am scared of staying in a relationship that makes my life worse instead of better. I am scared that I’m going to try everything and it won’t be enough. 

All I know right now is that he stopped calling me “Baby.” He’s calling me by my name, which he hasn’t done in nearly 7 years. It makes my stomach turn every time. 

It wasn’t until these last few years that I wanted to just run away from my life. Not forever, just to find space to breathe and close my eyes and just float away for a while. But unless someone can find me a long-term stand-in and a free sensory deprivation tank I’ll still just be right here. Trying to find me way in a strange life.


  1. Laura says

    Jess, I’m so sorry. Please call if you want a friend to talk with or share a meal with on a weekend, or anytime absolutely. I hope I can help in some way.

  2. JoLee says

    Oh Jess. If there is anything I can do for you, however large or small, I will do it in a heartbeat. Know that I love you, dear friend.

  3. Ashley C. says

    I’m so, so sorry Jessica! I’ve stood by my sister as she’s been through a marriage that turned bad, a separation, a divorce, and now a year’s worth of dating. (She has four kids–things went bad right after she had the fourth.) I won’t claim to understand the hell that she or you or anyone who has gone through this knows, but I do know that she survived and is SO much happier now. I know you are not at the point of divorce yet, but in case it helps at all, here is a post she wrote about things that helped her survive her divorce–I think it applies in a separation too.

    • says

      Ash, tell your sister what a fantastic post that is. I’ve thought of her as all of this has been going on and I’m glad to see her doing so great.

  4. says

    This is such a hard thing to talk about, let alone write about, so thanks for your honesty. I’m sorry, but I pray things get better for you and your family.

  5. says

    Your headline caught my eye on Honest Mom, and I wanted to stop in and tell you that I’m so sorry. I went through a divorce in 2004, and I wanted to curl up a ball in a dark room for a long time. Luckily, at that time, I didn’t have kids. I created a mantra for myself that I would not be bitter and I would find love again. And I didn’t believe it for a while. But day after day, things got better and better and I found someone who loved me the way I always wanted, and now we have a family. I’m not saying that you’re definitely headed for something as permanent as divorce, or that you should. I just wanted to tell you that I know how hard it is to separate from someone who used to call you Baby.

    For you, I wish peace and comfort as you figure out what will work best. No one can tell you exactly how to proceed, but if you listen to your hearts (you and your husband) you will know.
    Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) recently posted..The price of a secret

  6. says

    I’m new to your blog…I found you via Honest Voices Tuesday link-up. I am so sorry you are going through this. This is beautifully written and you have a way of making the reader feel like they’ve known you for a long time. When you wrote about him not calling you Baby anymore I filled up. You will get through this and come out the other side, whatever it may be waiting for you, you will find happiness.
    Outsmarted Mommy recently posted..My Promise To Little Girls Everywhere

  7. says

    Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I have been on the brink of separation…it sucks. I got a pit in my stomach when I read about him calling you by your name rather than Baby; if that happened with my husband I’d know something was wrong, too. Hugs to you, mama.
    Sara recently posted..Finish The Sentence Friday

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