When I wrote about my two husbands, I really mean that it doesn’t seem like he has mood swings, but is like two entirely different men. The sad thing is that it’s come to the point that when he’s being sweet and seems so normal and decent, that I think I struggle more with depression. I think that’s when the collateral loss (what could have been) and damage (the impact on the kids and on me) seems to shimmer in and out in a kind of unbearable focus.
It’s also the lull in the relational weather where I try to sort through my thoughts, my feelings, my choices, and my life. In past years, I spent far too much time trying to figure him out. I do think he has huge areas of unhealthy disconnect, but not as much as I used to credit him with. For so long, the younger me took the view that he just couldn’t realize what he was doing. If he did realize, then surely he’d stop? Surely he’d be filled with remorse, with compassion, and stop hurting me?
The younger me would reason within: Because if he doesn’t love me, why would he marry me? He married me! He must love me!
Sometimes he says he feels all those things. Last night he told me that he’s haunted by all of it. I’m not sure what he really meant. He must feel something intensely, and to him, that feeling or belief is love.
He said I love you.
These days, when he says he loves me, I’m no longer sure what he means. It’s kind of like the Inigo Montoya line: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Yet, I still want, with a sharp painful wanting, to believe him.