Missed Connections – Decoupling

From the National Archives in Washington, DC. A photo taken by Erik Calonius, of a man backing away from a speeding subway train.

How does a couple’s intimate knowledge of each other dissapate like morning fog, leaving only the faintest wisp of a memory behind?

Last night Caroline asked if I could come over and take our two dogs for their morning exercise. She had an early court date. I readily agreed.

I arrived around quarter to seven. Caroline was gone. The dogs were happy to see me. Very happy. They always are.

I texted Caroline saying I assumed they had been fed. I left for the dog park, the girls very excited. I looked forward to seeing old friends I once saw every morning.

Halfway there, just a four minute drive, I received a text from Caroline. She was on her way home from spin class and hadn’t fed the girls.

I turned the car around and headed home where Caroline greeted us.

I said, being mindful to sound lighthearted, “Hey, when I get here I assume the girls have been fed. If you could let me know when they haven’t I’d really appreciate it. No big deal.”

Caroline became a little defensive.

“The dogs were still asleep when I left for spin.”

“Not a big deal. Honest.”

“I figured I’d be back from class before you came.”

I repeated, “It isn’t a big deal. It would just be helpful for me to know.”

“Let me explain what I was thinking… I assumed you wouldn’t be here before…”

I cut her off. I could see her cringe in her eyes. “I’m not mad. I get what you were thinking. It isn’t a big deal. Moving forward if you could just let me know.”

By then the girls had eaten their breakfast and we departed. I wished Caroline good luck in court.

I’ve been thinking about this moment all day.

Caroline’s cringe breaks my heart. When our marriage dissolved, was I that angry, that impatient, that hostile, that even now Caroline instinctively takes a defensive  stance?

Oh good, a new source of shame with which I need to develop a relationship.

At that moment, however, I kept thinking how nice it would be if Caroline simply and sincerely said “sorry.”

I had personalized Caroline not telling me because she didn’t value my time. So what if, after taking them to the dog park, I had to feed them and take them for a walk?

In retrospect, I realize I had suffered a setback. I wasn’t looking at the moment with the right perspective.

One of the many lessons I’m gleaning from Buddhism Is understanding I wasn’t mad at Caroline when she explained not telling me about the dogs. I was mad at how it made me feel.

That’s different. That’s something I can change.

Caroline and I are adjusting to a new relationship, maintaining a partnership as parents to our three daughters, and nothing more. It is an amalgam of intimate familiarity and a future riddled with unfamiliarity.

Regardless, I have never been better equipped to meet the challenge than I am right now.

Stay in touch. Connect. Comment.

PS: I guess this is a missed connection.

4 thoughts on “Missed Connections – Decoupling

  1. Okay, “Oh good, a new source of shame with which I need to develop a relationship.” That just made me laugh…probably because I’ve felt that way many times. I really liked the way that you resolved this, though. “I was mad at how it made me feel.” I am definitely going to keep this in mind the next time I am defensive or snarky with the hub. Love your blog!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like an snoop reading someone’s diary they left on the coffee table. And wondering: does the wife know her husband is blogging. What do the kids think. Do they know he blogs. Or maybe he’s blogging under an alias. And I think I’ve caught whiff of a narcissists, but I’m not sure. Is the wife a narcissist? What did he do that was so wrong? What were his parents like? Depression is usually pent up anger. Anxiety is repression of the Self. Too many unanswered questions. I’ll keep reading. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! You cover a lot of ground Anni.

      Let’s see. I do write this under an alias.

      All the character names are aliases. I’ve changed some details and try to be hazy about others.

      I don’t think the wife knows the husband is blogging. She’s made no indication that she has.

      I am extremely confident the wife is not a narcissist. The husband might have a touch of it but after the dark place where he once was, that might not be the worse thing.

      What did he do that was so wrong… nothing. There was no third party. No betrayal. No contempt. There was resentment. There was drift. There was a realization, first on the wife’s part and more recently on the husband’s part that the two of them are not destined to grow old as a couple.


      His parents? Interesting. I think Vlad Nabokov once wrote, “Do you need to know the spider to appreciate the web?”

      With hope, my perception of my parents will come out through my writing. I’ve already written at least one post about each of them. More will come.

      As far as your comments about anxiety and depression, honestly, they make me a tad nervous. I think it is how definitively you identify their root causes and my concern that generalizations may often be true, they also have the potential to prevent one from seeing anomalies or other factors that contribute to our emotional states.

      I am so gratified you took the time to share your thoughts. And I hope what I’ve shared assuages concerns you have that I could be breaking confidences without the approval of other portrayed in my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

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