I was speaking to a friend about the current turmoil in my life, and he very astutely surmised that, in my mind, I was still in my relationship. My mother also made an observation to much the same effect. And the fact is, they are both right.
I am not prone to living in a dream world, as my feet are very firmly planted on the ground. I am fully aware that I am technically single, however I choose to think of this weird paradigm as not being over the relationship yet.
And of course there is a reason – isn’t there always? – which roots this whole confusion in emotion, romance, nostalgia, and love.
Way back in 2012, just after we had declared our love for each other, my French student and I were perched on my bed, snuggling. We were talking, as new couples are apt to, about everything and nothing. There were lots of little kisses, smiles, and soft touches and hugs. It was wonderful.
Bearing in mind that we didn’t take long to fall in love, nor to say it to each other, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we were already talking about marriage and children. He was in the process of getting a divorce, but I was unmarried. Also, he was just over 30 and I was 2 years away from that milestone. We weren’t getting younger, and were eager to get started on a new life together as soon as possible. Life had not been kind to either of us, and the gratitude of having found each was overwhelming.
So, we snuggled and talked about settling down together; having kids, making meals together, decorating our house when we had one, and so on. And there was much delicious pleasure in building these castles in air. Suddenly, he turns to me and actually asks:
“Will you marry me?”
I was so stunned. In spite of our conversation, an actual, honest-to-God proposal is still a momentous occasion. I blushed (*groan* really) and stammered out an affirmative. And then he says:
“No. I mean, marry me now. Forget that I haven’t got a divorce – that’s a paper confirmation of the situation. Forget the rituals, the people, and priest. Will you take me as your husband from this day forth?”
I stared at him, at this wonderful man I had known for a few months. He wasn’t perfect, but he made me feel safe, loved, secure, protected, confident, and so much more. He would be there by my side always, and I would love him till the end of my days. So I said:
“Yes. I do.”
And so I do. I love him. I will always love him. Always.