Wednesday, March 12, 2008

But...but...Coasting Richly??

Coasting Richly was always more than a reference to my status as a long-term resident of Costa Rica.

From the moment it occurred to me as a nom de blog, I recognized the truth of the phrase.


Richly, to be sure. But...coasting.

Well, I'm not doing that anymore, and it's time for a new name.

I'm making very conscious choices now, and I need a title that reflects that. And, hey. If it happens to place me near the top of folks' blogrolls? Well, I'll just have to live with that ;)

* * *


I am in the process of separating from my husband of 14 years. Early in the process. It's been two weeks and one day, in fact. That's pretty early.

I've had a lot of different reactions from the people I've spoken to about it. Some are immediately "on my side" - those who know me better than they know us. Others have gone, understandably, into "save the marriage" mode, in various ways.

I've heard horror stories. I've heard success stories.

And that's fine. The stories are...anecdotal. Each person, each couple, each relationship, is a world unto itself and, while the stories are interesting, they're not terribly applicable to my own situation; just as my experience may be interesting, or even instructive, to someone else. But more as a story than anything else.

* * *

I am doing something I don't think a lot of people do. I am choosing to step away from a marriage that is...not bad.

It's never been bad, in any sense of the word. It's never, and this is the important part; it's never--ever--been really, really good either. I have, for years, recognized it consciously as "not bad." It was only recently--and, in the eyes of my friends and family, precipitously--that I decided that "not bad" was, sadly, not good enough.

What did it take to make me really, really reexamine my life, and my marriage? To actually take (and to keep taking - it's a daily decision...hourly, even) a step I had never done more than skirt in the most superficial levels of my mind, even as I recognized more consciously that that my marriage was not what I would have wished for myself?

It took something big. Very big. To coalesce these quasi-conscious awarenesses into a single, conscious recognition. And to acknowledge it. And act on it.

It took something as marvelous, and as devastating, as falling in love with someone who is not my husband.

You all know Bob.

Yes, that Bob. Phydeaux. That's right, it's an Internet thing. Go ahead. Raise your eyebrows. Shake your head. Say whatever you've a mind to. I can wait, and you certainly won't be the first. It's fine.

Humans will reach out to other humans and connect with them through any medium that is available, because that is human nature. Even if neither of them has the remotest intention of entering into a deep and meaningful relationship; these things, they do happen. We don't get to choose. Little gifts from the Universe. Some of them are decidedly double-edged.

But here's the thing.

It's not about Bob. If--as has been pointed out to me, pointedly, by more than one caring soul--if, as I say, this relationship with Bob is "the real thing," then it will still be there in the future.

Its purpose in the present was to jar me. And jar me it did; to the extent that I really, truly acknowledged the things that I had been aware of for years--from the outset, really.

* * *

So what now?

Well, right now, Alex and I are simply living with the new reality. Giving it some time to sink in. I am standing beside him as he reels. We comfort each other as best we can. We have talked and shared more in the past two weeks than we had in entire years past.

Strikingly, working together to make this separation a gentle process by which the inevitable harm to all involved is reduced as far as humanly possible...may be our finest moment; the most wondrous thing we do as a couple, before parting.

I'm proud of both of us for the way we have handled the situation thus far, and I believe that we will have a strong relationship far into the future.

* * *

Updated to add:

Thank you, Mom and Dad. They arrived less than half an hour after I posted this. They're beautiful. And kind of quirky. Which is just right.


pidomon March 12, 2008 7:23 PM  

I think you know where I stand on everything.

Bottom line for me is I am glad I know you and that we are friends and I want you to be happy.

And most importantly I TRUST you and the decisions you make.

And having my own "fiddly fiddly zigzag cutting quilt of friendship"
has not swayed my opinion in anyway! :)

Robin March 12, 2008 11:13 PM  

WOW Jen.

Obviously you've thought about this a great deal, so I won't say anything critical, particularly as I ended my own "not good enough" marriage 11 years ago. I always did wonder how you two made your relationship work when one or the other of you was so frequently away. Now I see I had good reason to wonder.

You don't mention the girls--are they aware of this change? I figure if you haven't talked to them directly, they are still aware that something is different. Take good care of them during this, as well as yourself.

ouyangdan March 13, 2008 12:12 AM  

who am i to judge?

so odd that i lurk here on occasion and only now speak up in a very personal matter...don't judge me...

my marriage was worse than "not bad", and was definitely not good...that is a post for my own site on another day...but stepping away from it made all the difference in my own life...

it made all the difference in how i lived it, saw it, and thought of was the first time in my life that i started living the way that made me a better person...

we all deserve, all of us, to be loved in exactly the way we are able to love...anything less does no one any good.

i hope you find sure sounds like you are on your way...

i know i don't know you well...but you can find a way to contact me from my own page if you ever need a (mostly) non partial ear (or eyes as the case may be)...


Charlotte March 13, 2008 12:15 AM  

Good luck, Jen. I appreciate how honest and frank you are, which you didn't need to be. I send all of you positive energy and light.

Trin March 13, 2008 12:51 AM  

Best of luck. I came here from Christina's blog, and read this. I'm sorry for all the hurt that you and your partner will go through, but I'm finding myself strangely excited for you and the brave new future you are stepping into.

Brave Sir Robin Hussein March 13, 2008 5:08 AM  

**huge hugs**
to you, the kids, and everyone involved.

Anonymous March 13, 2008 5:12 AM  

Imprisoned petals: An arrangement.

Actually, reading and watching from here, I did wonder. Greece, Turkey, Christmas holidays.... no hubs.... Well...

Please though don't ever confuse "being in love" and "love".

As I tell my patients "in love" is a delusional state wherein one person projects onto another. It's not about the other person. It's about the self.

Love on the other hand is a delight and acceptance of the other. It's not about the illusion of a perfect fit.

Regardless, one way or another, I wish you all the best. Take care.


konagod March 13, 2008 12:23 PM  


Is this where the hold your hand and walk with you part comes in? I told you I would and I've kind of been waiting to hear what was going on.

You have to do what you feel is right for you, and this is obviously right for you. A marriage should be more than just OK or not bad. If it isn't working for you I say more power to ya.

Nevertheless, what a bomb you dropped! :-)

NameChanged March 13, 2008 8:57 PM  

I am thinking of you, and I am proud of your courage, both in ending it amicably, and in sharing it with us.

Lilymane March 14, 2008 8:28 AM  

I'm a little late catching up - but I wish you all the best. Your new blog name, your intentionality, your bravery - thank you for sharing them all. Truly, I wish you peace.

Anonymous March 14, 2008 4:54 PM  

I can only imagine what it took for you to write this post. I wish you the best for all of you.

Erin March 14, 2008 7:34 PM  

Wow, Jennifer. That's some news, girl.

I second everyone's good wishes and thoughts and prayers and stuff like that.

I definitely strongly recommend an amicable parting for the benefit of your girls. My parents divorced when I was 2.5 and were not amicable until I was about 8, I think. Then my stepmom pointed out that we would all be better off if they would/could suck it up and if not be friends, at least get along and work together. Genius idea. Absolute genius. The four of them are now good friends, they ganged up on me when I was a teenager, they all 4 came to rescue me when I got myself into a pinch in Philly, my dad and stepdad both walked me down the aisle...

Anyways, I wish you (and Alex) the best of luck in your new reality.

Dr. Psycho March 15, 2008 5:15 AM  

It's hard, I know it's hard. I'm being forced to choose between my wife of 23 years and my lover.

Each of them is astonishingly devoted to me, far more than I deserve. So what now?

Anyway, good luck to you.

The Cunning Runt March 15, 2008 9:10 AM  

Jen, Beautiful Jen. To see the possibilities in a different relationship, to have the Light of Happiness shown to you, is a gift not all of us are offered.

And to not take the chance, make the move, thank The Universe for it's gift, would be a shame, a mistake, an opportunity, perhaps once in a lifetime, missed.

Even though this is not "news" to me, I'm typing this with tears in my eyes; I was the man left behind in a similar situation, though our marriage wasn't "just OK," it was pretty rocky. We kept it amicable for our two daughters' sake, and are now better friends than we'd been for decades (albeit with some rough patches, still.)

Best of luck to you and Alex and the Gurrrlz, and to Bob - I'm having trouble logging into his site, but will keep trying.


Kit March 18, 2008 12:59 AM  

Wow Jennifer - I'm only just catching up and your life seems to have made a major shift suddenly. All courage to you for making that shift and following your own path, even when it's not easy to shake everything out of its old pattern. Good luck in making it all work in the best way for all of you.

theotherbear March 19, 2008 9:05 PM  

My thoughts are with you. I told my husband almost 2 weeks ago the same news. Not because there was someone else in my case, just because I am not happy with him any more. He is a great man but he makes me unhappy. So I can really understand what you are going through. Hugs to you.

juliloquy March 26, 2008 1:17 PM  

Oof, add me to the "late" list. Sorry not to be commenting until now.

I, too, left a "not bad" marriage, although it wasn't as complicated as your decision. (Ever heard the term "starter marriage"? That was me.)

I am wishing the best for you, and all involved.

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