Inevitably, when I’m feeling this, I start thinking about moving to the city house. Just me…well, the kids would no doubt spend a lot more time with me if I lived in the city as well, I assume. So in reality, I’d have a lot more responsibilities in that regard.
Also, Ad says I’d have to take the dog.
We joke about it. “That would be my punishment, wouldn’t it?” (Not that I consider my dog punishment, but the responsibility of dog ownership would be. And he knows this.)
“Does it bother you when I talk about this?” I ask. He shrugs. “No. Separating this house into two places would be hard though. It’d empty this place out if you took everything over there.” Then, as an afterthought, “We’d see a lot less of each other if you lived there. That makes me sad.”
It’s interesting that his initial reaction is not emotional, not a reaction to me actually moving out, but a practical one: dividing up the houses. But that also says something else that I find comforting. He recognizes this for what it is, a need I have that has nothing to do with wanting to not be with him, but wanting to be with myself.
Still, while the city is where I would choose to live, the house is not the house I would choose to live in. It’s too big, too much, and too expensive for heating and cooling. I really don’t think I could afford the gas bills in the winter. Something about the way the hot water pipes are run incorrectly or not insulated right or something…I don’t know. It’s those things I don’t know that scare me about living in a big old house. Terrify me to the point of paralysis, if I was honest.
I want a small space, a contained space. I want the other condo we own, the studio, in the city. But that wouldn’t give me room for the kids. And I can’t afford to rent a place all on my own. Ad pays a majority of the bills, and I have it pretty easy financially. Once, in the midst of this feeling a few summers ago, I was driving back from Chicago with a girlfriend and the guy that she and I were seeing. I was full-on in my “escape” mode, and talking about it. Part of this has to do with just that: Ad pays for most everything, and sometimes I want to know that I can survive on my own financially. I’ve never been good with that part of my life. Fiscal responsibility is not my strong suit.
“Why make it harder on yourself?” the guy asked. He didn’t advocate “using” Ad for the financial stability and ease that living with him affords me, but was pretty practical about it: “You each provide things the other needs and wants. He gives you your freedom, financially and emotionally, you give him your love and companionship (and hot sex and a means to not have to live the hermit-like life that he used to lead.) You both care about each other and like having someone to live with, to share your lives with. Why change things when it will make it harder, just so you can prove you can be alone?”
I don’t know the answer to that. But I think about it, and wonder. At least until this mood leaves and I am once again settled into my life, into myself.