It wasn’t that John didn’t care about Jenny

He just didn’t love her.

This afternoon I was doing pretty well, all things considering. There’s a lot going on right now: racism and police brutality are rearing their ugly heads and then of course we’re in the middle of a pandemic and trying to get used to the idea of wearing face coverings everywhere we go. But I was fairly successful in finding something to distract me: an online writing course. I was learning how to “Write with Flair.” And then this example showed up on my screen:

It cut straight to my heart. It just sounds a little too much like words I heard coming from my husband just two nights before: “I can’t say that I don’t love you.” It’s not quite the same, but it’s also not “I love you.”

I shook off the quick burst of tears, paused a moment, and carried on.

Fast forward to a few hours later. The two of us are sitting on the back deck while he puts on his shoes. He’s headed out to meet a friend for a couple beers. As he ties the laces I noticed something missing on his left hand. Yes, he took off his ring. It’s only been a couple days since he broke the news and my heart is still in shock. Yes, he’s sleeping in the guest room and planning to leave. But this caught me off-guard. And yes, you guessed it, another burst of tears rushed down my face.

I brushed them off and listened as he reassured me that it wasn’t about wanting to meet women or start dating. He gave me a hug and went on his way. I sat on the porch and tried not to cry some more.

I will be ok.

I can do hard things.

Get a grip!

Life is not over.

I deserve more.

Don’t beg.

Take it a day at a time.

These are mantras I’m trying to adopt. I have a notebook at my side and write these down when I’m feeling inspired and refer to them when I’m not. I’m making to-do lists (because I love a good list) of all the practical matters we need to discuss and another list of all the things I can be doing to become a better version of myself. This second list includes yoga, photography, baking, and all those other activities I’ve already tried and written about. It also includes stepping outside my comfort zone and doing something to connect with other people — make some friends.

It’s going to be a difficult few weeks and months, maybe longer. I’m going to cry some more. I already know that. I’m hoping to only do that in private if at all possible. I have to get past the shame I feel for failing at this marriage. It shouldn’t be happening to us, but here we are.

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