At the outset of our separation, I was decidedly and expectedly distraught, but I managed to retain my trademark optimism. The infrequent updates I’ve made here since I think have been progressively more positive and hopeful. My feelings presently, however, are a bit more sobering.
Don’t be alarmed. Nothing terrible has happened. Things are still generally good overall, situations haven’t changed, and nothing has “gone wrong.” I just find myself reacting in unfamiliar—or perhaps simply long forgotten—ways. Outwardly, I’m still the generally cheery person that most would find familiar. Internally, I feel a bit of a mess.
As I have stated before, Lissa and I weren’t bitter toward each other over the years that we struggled. We weren’t miserable. But we weren’t truly happy either. We had each other’s love. There was just something missing in our relationship—some sort of connection that made us really “feel.” Perhaps you might call it passion. I’ll leave it at that for lack of any other way to put it.
Despite this missing element, there was present a certain familiarity and stability. While we weren’t quite fitting together as well as we would have liked, we certainly had plenty of experience with each other to know how we operated and what to expect from each other. This kept me pretty even keel—not especially happy or sad.
While I still draw upon that experience, my life is very much different now. I no longer see Lissa daily—usually just once or twice a week...sometimes more, sometimes less. So, where once a majority of my life was my relationship with Lissa, that relationship now plays a much smaller direct role. All of that time gets replaced with something, and many of those “somethings” are a lot less familiar to me.
At first, I was very uncertain as to how I would deal with this change. I never really doubted that I could. I just wasn’t sure how I would. That resulted in a cautious optimism. More than anything, I wasn’t sure how I would reconcile my feelings for Lissa into a new type of relationship with her.
With the passage of (a lot less) time (than I expected), I felt as though that optimism was being fulfilled. I was finding joy in both old and new experiences with old and new friends. All the while, I was able to maintain a comfortable relationship with Lissa. I found both my mood and attitude on the rise. Life was looking up, things were falling into place, and I was finding my way. I felt as though I was moving on…and it was ok. I latched onto those feelings and rode the wave.
But in the past month or so, that upward swing has taken a turn and I’ve found myself on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I think I rode the wave out and found reality in its wake. I haven’t moved on. I’ve just moved forward. I got past a roadblock, but I’m recognizing that I’m still very much stuck holding on. I still love Lissa, and I’m still trying to figure out how to do that in a way that both of us can find acceptable. The cliché of “loving but not being ‘in love’” is far too simplistic, but it will have to suffice.
This has created something of an internal conflict for me. I don’t want to put things back the way they were. Too much has happened both between me and Lissa and in my new life apart from her. This is new territory for me and much of it has been very good. But the uncertainty of it has caught up with me and replaced the status quo of my former tenuously happy but stable life with unpredictably higher highs…and lower lows.
I’ve experienced tremendous joy in experiences I previously had never have even conceived or had even actively ruled out. This has added to my life in ways I wouldn’t dare take back. But I’ve also suffered deeper and more sustained lows where I just can’t enjoy things I know I normally would and feel isolated and alone even while around people.
I’ve not had depressive states like these in quite a long time and probably never to this extent. I found solace from them in the stability of my life. But my life is presently not at all stable. The future is unclear, and it is both exciting and terrifying.