Really? That's what you want?


At the therapist's office, where I had gone for two months alone, trying to make sense of where our relationship was, my ex and I walked in together, trying to put the relationship back to rights. It was our first couples' session. The therapist had barely asked three or four questions before she asked him, "How long was your father an alcoholic?"

The question took both of us by surprise. He had told me his dad drank, so I knew that, but he didn't dwell on it. I had attributed my ex's emotional distance to his military family upbringing, constantly moving every 2 or 3 years, never getting very established in one place before having to move and start all over again.

Turns out, with a few pointed questions, the therapist honed in on where all our problems started. She gave us a book to read about children of alcoholics and I pored through every page, finding my ex there. Every page. This book was the story of his life.

He, of course, refused to read it.

At the next couples' session, which would turn out to be the last session, we talked a bit about what we (read: I) had learned from the book. The therapist then asked us what we wanted our lives to be like. I said I wanted to play, to laugh, to cry, to travel, to learn, to have fun, to experience everthing, good and bad. How can you truly know the good if you don't have the bad to compare it to?

He said, as he put is hand out in front of him, palm down, moving from left to right, "I want my life to be the same. Even. Calm."

I sat there, with my mouth open. The man who had once told me, "Life with me will never be boring," was telling me that's what he wanted. I interpreted his motion and his desire as a flat-line. Dead. Nothingness.

I moved out a week later.


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