My friend Annie is going through a difficult divorce right now. Partly because they have a child and partly because her ex is still in love with her and doesn’t want to break things off. I’m proud of her for realizing that Martin doesn’t deserve to be in a relationship where his partner doesn’t give him what he needs, but that doesn’t make it any easier for him.
Last night I had a dream about him. He was driving a train or El or some other form of public transportation we don’t have around here. I can’t remember all the details, except that at some point I went up to him while he was yelling at another person and just grabbed and held him in my arms for a while as he started to cry.
I don’t know exactly what that means, except perhaps that I love both of them and I don’t want either of them to hurt, but that perhaps I feel Martin’s pain in a way that makes me feel empathy for him. Charlie and I went through a very rough patch during our second year of marriage and I felt like everyone was against me, thinking that I had made the decision to split up. Charlie has a lot of friends and family (including my own) who sometimes seem to like him more than they like me. I realize how paranoid and crazy that sounds, but his support network is just much larger than mine. In truth, I felt like he had stopped caring and just gave up and I didn’t want to be with someone who wasn’t willing to fight to find resolutions to our problems. He didn’t exactly express this to any of his friends or family, and I often felt like people were against me, thinking that I’d instigated the whole thing, but I didn’t want to call Charlie out and force him to tell people THE TRUTH.
This morning I walked the dogs over to the coffeeshop and as I was making myself a drink, Martin came in. I smiled at him and said “You were in my dream last night!” I was trying to figure out what about the dream I would actually tell him, since I didn’t want to give all the details, and I noticed he had neither responded to me, nor was he smiling back.
I realized then that I’m on “the other side” of the divorce. Most likely I’m the enemy since Annie is primarily my friend, although I wanted to tell Martin that I care about him, too, and want to see neither of them in pain.
This is the first time I have experienced the legal divorce of a couple where both parties are people I like and who are close to me. It sucks.