I've been married for twelve years, and I have to say that I am still shocked at how often I leave my marriage' in my mind' every time we have a fight. I hate that I do this because it absolutely tortures me. I have an ideal image in my mind that I think my marriage ought to live up to, so every time my husband and I fight, I am confronted with the gap between reality and what I think I deserve. To make it even more dramatic, I walk through the house humming the Nancy Sinatra tune, 'These boots are made for walking' hoping my husband will notice!!! Am I sick, or what?!?
In many ways my husband and I are a great match, and we have two wonderful kids. I want our kids to have the stability that I never had (coming from a broken family), yet I don't want to stay in my marriage just for the kids. That doesn't feel like a good enough reason. As selfish as this might sound, I want to stay in my marriage because is what is best for me!
When my husband and I make up after a fight, I am glad I stayed and that my 'boots didn't do the walking'. But somewhere in the back of my mind I am haunted by images of the possibility of a better 'someone' out there for me.
Help me Goddess' what should I do?
One thing you should know is that whenever any human being is triggered, upset, or in a fight, no matter how much they love their spouse, their inner cave man/woman pushes their adrenaline button, signaling a fight/flight response (in other words, if you can't beat sense into 'em, then put on your boots and walk out the door!)
Because you don't sound to me like the fighting type, it makes sense that when survival mode kicks into gear, you search for an escape hatch (even if only in your mind.) The issue here is not a matter of having the 'I gotta get outta here' sensation, it is the dramatic meaning you attach to the 'I gotta get outta here' sensation.
When your adrenaline button is pressed, you are suddenly in a tug-o-war between your inner Hera and your inner Artemis.
On the other side of the tug-of-war is Artemis, the independent, headstrong daughter of Zeus. She is the goddess that doesn't need a man to survive, and she doesn't take any #$%@ from anyone (think Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith). The moment a fight ensues, she is quite content to run off into the wilderness and live off of nuts and berries, and care for those creatures that would benefit from her protection.
What to do with such extreme inner goddesses?
You tell your husband and your kids that you are leaving. You are sobbing as you pack your bags with all the mementos you've accumulated over your twelve years of marriage. Your nose is bulbous and chafed, your eyes- bruised, sagging bowling balls from all the heart wrenching crying and sleepless nights. After months of couch hopping, you settle on a place to live that has bare walls and is a stale shoebox compared to the home you shared with your husband and kids, (not to mention it is in a bad neighborhood, and more expensive than your house payment). You walk your heavy heart through moonlit streets with a parade of happy couples strolling by, hand in hand in hand, arm in arm, lips locked in passionate, sloppy kisses that make you want to make a citizens arrest. You go out on the occasional date with men who, though are handsome and strong in some of the ways your partner was weak, just don't have the same level of depth, intimacy, understanding, and ability to finish your sentences like your husband did. Until one sunny day, you do meet someone that you decide to open your heart to. He is wonderful, perfect, the best man you've ever met, and he feels the same way about you. The honeymoon passes, you have PMS, and you have the dreaded disagreement with Mr. Perfect, and suddenly those old thoughts of leaving come back to haunt you. OH NO!
There is no end this hypothetical Artemis daydream' however, at this point, your inner Artemis probably feels at least somewhat satisfied, and possibly clearer and better able to come into communion with your inner Hera.
Now if you thought the drink through, and still feel like putting on your boots and running off to the forest, then you can do so from a sober place of clarity that is non-reactive, clear, and lucid.
However, if you feel like the prodigal wife that now knows for sure that 'there's no place like home', then perhaps you can contemplate breaking up the underlying pattern that caused the fight between you and your Zeus, without necessarily having to break up the relationship' and perhaps you will find a willingness to stay because the lessons and the blessings that this relationship affords you makes this relationship that is not just best for your kids, but that is best for you!
You go goddess,
Kelly 'The Goddess' Sullivan Walden