I have an appointment later today with a real estate agent to discuss the sale of my marital house. It’s only been sitting there four years since my divorce decree became final in 2008. There are many reasons for this; my ex-husband put it on the market at too high a price and then the housing market crashed, my son was still living there so I didn’t push the sale too hard, even though I had moved out I really wasn’t sure I wanted to see the house go…eventually I let it be taken off the market to wait for better times.
Four years later the market is better but the house might never regain the value it lost. I have to take legal action to get it put back on the market because my ex-husband and I don’t talk. I realize now that a big chunk of the reason I’ve just let the house sit there was because it represented, on some level, my family. Even though I was replaced by another woman before I was even out the door, I look back now and realize that as long as that house was still half mine, I was still connected to both my ex-husband and my children. I had the right to know something about what was going on there, and if the house was being maintained…or so I thought. In reality the only reason I knew anything was my son would tell me what was happening once in a while.
The house itself became a symbol that even though the parents divorced, the family was still intact. I might have been the one who filed for release from an untenable situation; I might have bought a house of my own and moved into town two miles away; I might have been willing to accept the label fostered on me of “home-wrecker;” but in the end everything would be okay because I was still there…I’d just moved to a new location in physical space. I could not have been more naïve.
The reality as I see it now is that it has hurt me, and perhaps my kids, much more than moving on might have. I didn’t want to lose that last tie with someone I had been married to for thirty years and had known for another ten before that. Just because he wouldn’t speak to me, or lied to me when he did, I still knew where he was. He tried in every way to disconnect me not only from him, but from my children, too. And for at least the time being, he’s almost succeeded. I believe he did irreparable damage to what was. Still, that house somehow represented a physical place I could still go on the planet and see what had been the center of my being for so long.
Now, seemingly overnight, a huge shift has occurred in me. My daughter moved out of my house and in with her boyfriend a few weeks ago. It was as if the time she lived here while she finished college was a reprieve for me, time to evolve internally while seeming to do nothing externally. Now I am anxious to shed everything. I went to the lawyer to initiate the sale of our marital house, the way it was originally set up in the divorce decree. I am looking around my own house and putting it in order, too. I may want to sell it now that neither of my children call it home. I am seriously thinking about where else I might want to live. Maybe I’ve owned my last house.
The ties that bind me to that marital house, that man, that imaginary family, have become suffocating. If my children someday want to talk to me about my side of what happened, so be it. If they don’t, I can’t change that. The best I can do is stop holding on so tightly. I know I will bring yet another wave of wrath and blame down upon myself by forcing the sale of the house…or buying me out, whichever comes first. It really doesn’t matter to me anymore.
It is time to become all I have been incubating for four years of sitting around and waiting for…what? The pain to go away? The picture to miraculously rearrange itself so that I am not the bad guy? My children to “get it” and forgive me for choosing life instead of staying with their father?
How about that the day has finally dawned that I no longer hold the psychic space for what was, and instead choose to move on to what might be? I’m not sure I know what that is, and I know that definitely there are a few more cliffs to climb to get there, but now I am ready. I am excited. It feels good. I can at last take action for me.