Believe me, I tried. Really hard. For some time, in fact, though it feels like a lifetime now. And so in that sense, and only since then, she is my wife as much as anyone is the other’s spouse- someone to come home to at the end of a long day and slink over to on the couch because you know they’re going to give you exactly what you need without asking for any reciprocity or acknowledgement or anything more than your company right then.
I, however, did not love her.
I didn’t even like her. At least not the way you should like a woman whom you are obliged to keep for a time, who you are supposed to make happy because she is supposed to be happy, and whom you are supposed to provide for and protect- even still, I didn’t like her very much at all. I really preferred my life before where i would go out with cheap London escorts. And though that was all right with me, it was only after a great deal of discussion (both with myself and with a trusted friend who’d been married longer than both me and my wife) that I decided I could reasonably tolerate it.
Because marriage was something that was not ‘supposed to’. It was supposed to be happy and full of love and making babies. And though I had made plenty of babies by the time I met my wife, I was not entirely sure if I’d ever found happiness in a relationship. And so, when we got married, there was this part of me that did not expect or even want the typical marriage; the one with love and joy and all those other things people write about on Facebook when they make their posts go wiggly or whatever it is they do. It was about compromise and giving and sacrifice for the sake of safety.
I didn’t like those things, but I did them anyway because it was what I was supposed to do. It was what I was supposed to be and that was that, no point thinking of it any further. (And though it doesn’t bear mentioning, I don’t remember ever being unhappy in my marriage either- she just never did anything exciting enough to make me want to think about or ponder a divorce.)
I mean, you could argue that all marriages are compromises- there are no perfect marriages; they all have their flaws and imperfections, their unmet expectations and unavoided pain. And I’d agree with that in theory, but in practice I have to say that my marriage was not perfect. It was the marriage described by ideals and moral standards: it was the one we were supposed to have and therefore it was not a failure on my part or hers.
It didn’t work like real marriages do. But it worked, greatly so. It worked better than my parents had ever worked as far as I can tell, and greater than mine had ever hoped for at least (though they’ve gotten to have many more years of experience where they can compare). But it was not the marriage I’d wanted, and it never would be.
I did not love my wife when we got married. In fact, I don’t think I ever loved my wife until after we parted ways. And then only because of her, not with her.
She got what she wanted from me before she left- that was after she started dating the man who would eventually become her second husband, but before he became so for real.