Why We Leave

My sister-in-law stopped by yesterday, and when I say "sister-in-law," I mean my ex-husband's wife. She had some things my daughter had left at their house. We are friends. These last couple of years, we have all celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together. We were laughing about something else my ex had said or done - something that proves to us that he is, generally, averse to trying new things or going somewhere he hasn't been. I once again reminded her that he had once told me that he always felt like reining me in, and how that remark had seemed to settle and grow as time went on.

He wasn't the first to do this. I cannot, for the life of me, remember doing or wanting to do anything extraordinarily outrageous. But I suppose that is all in the eye of the beholder. My sister-in-law had more staying power than I had. More determination. Perhaps she loves him more. Maybe it's just that simple.

This is me writing a few years ago about why I left another man - not a husband, this time. A fiance'. Someone I still miss sometimes. Although I suspect that the man I miss and the man he actually is are two entirely different people. I had been reading old letters, trying to recall the girl I had been, and to remember why I left him.

Another clue to why I may have decided to flee. I quote:

"On the whole our conversation was the best I have participated in. This is not meant to be a grading of your ability to converse on the telephone (I might like to do this sometime though - also your letters should be appraised)."

See, this kind of thing would have made me very nervous. Honestly, I do not believe he meant any of this in any severely critical way. I think, rather, that if he had "appraised" them, it would have sounded very dry and academic, but would have been actually full of praise. It was just his way of sounding appreciative. But it would have made me nervous all the same.

My father was always "appraising" me, and I always came up short. I always came up short in my own appraisal. Looking back on things, I believe I began choosing men on the basis of whether or not I would ever have to fear coming up short in their appraisal, and this meant - not always choosing someone I admired. There were a few times when I chose someone I felt equal to in some way, but usually someone I felt superior to in most ways. Sometimes I was wrong in my own assessment. I most always paid for my miscalculation.

In spite of his seeming judgemental attitude, I do believe this man did love me and would have continued to love me, until I left him, which I do believe I would have in any case sooner or later. But of all of them, he was the only one who considered me an adventure. I didn't know enough to consider him mine.