“So it looks like we’ll more or less live separately but continue to see each other”, I tell her, “I’m fine with that, in fact, it’s always been my fantasy although I’ve said it to any partner, and now it just looks like it’s going to happen without fuss”.
We’ve just rented a flat in the city 30 mins drive from my home in a village, ostensibly for nights out and a place to stay for my partner after a particularly exhausting shift in A&E, but it’s real purpose is quickly becoming apparent.
“Funny how that’s a fantasy for so many women”, she replies.
Is it? I’ve known quite a few women who nodded in absolute agreement whenever I’ve mentioned it, even a few women who managed to achieve it. Is it a woman’s fantasy? Actually, I have tentatively suggested this possibility to previous partners. They always took it badly, as rejection. It doesn’t seem to be a fantasy among the men I’ve lived with up till now.
I love my partner, but living with him kills it stone dead. There’s endless resentment about who does what in terms of chores. Conflicts about how to organise the house. Sleeping and energy level incompatibilities between one who works shifts and another who has no imposed timetables. Endless directions on how to do things I’ve been doing fine for years without his help.
“He told me how to cut sellotape yesterday, and I just snapped”, I told another friend. “Do you think it’s a particularly Spanish trait?” she asks me, as her Spanish partner tells her unnecessarily how to drive to a particular street in a city she has lived in for 20 years.
I feel suffocated. I can’t even wash salad without unsolicited advice. For someone whose husband has been unfaithful, this probably sounds like small fry. In my case, my previous partner was violent, but even so I am in no way thanking my lucky stars right now to have found someone who limits himself to advising me on how to cut sticky tape.
Jen’s post about losing fear of separation hit home. Separation becomes just another chore. But there’s also the loss of flexibility, in my case, at least. Been there, done that, ain’t ever going to do it again for anyone. But unfortunately, that anyone isn’t part of the process, the process predated them. So they just meet a wall rather than the pair of us slowly working out a compromise.
I have no idea how this is going to work out. I feel guilty because this is not “for better or worse”, it’s trying to take the good side only. And it’s very much pandering to individualism rather than trying to find common ground. And it’s a solution that depends on income*. But for now, I’m just grateful for a little space. And I’m sick my resentful thoughts about the day’s conflicts smothering my sexuality. This is new. I have hope. On the other hand, hope has always been my worst enemy in the past.
* The flat is very cheap because it was filthy and abandoned beyond belief, and that’s where the last three weeks of my life have gone.