K's wanting to separate freed me up to think about a lot of things. I've come to realize that I'm a very different person now than I was when I was 25 (and believe me, it's an improvement). My wants and needs have changed, I've changed. Since he's said he wanted out, I've had the chance to talk to different people and meet a few of them. I've realized that there are guys out there who are stinkers and not worth my time, but I've also realized that there are interesting, intelligent men who find me interesting as well, men who *are* strong and who *do* know how to be responsible when need be. (This is greatly appealing to me - sometimes with K, it felt like I made every decision, even where we'd go eat out.) I am *tired* of being the one who's strong most of the time. I don't know if I could spend the rest of my life carrying K (and if I take him back, that's what I feel like I'd be doing) - for once, it would be nice to be with someone who, every so often, could carry me. Not that I wish I wasn't a strong woman - all of the women in my family are, and I'm glad. I'd hate to think I didn't have the fortitude to take care of myself, that I *had* to depend on someone else to take care of me. But I don't enjoy being placed in the position of feeling like someone who's old enough to take care of himself, or at least do a bit more for himself, is instead wanting to completely rely on me to do for him. And that's how my marriage was making me feel.
But then that gets me to thinking - I took a vow. I said for better or for worse. Is sucking it up just part of "worse"? But if it is, what if it never gets "better"? Does that vow mean *I* should just suck it up, put aside my personal happiness, and do whatever I can to keep the marriage together? I've posted a bit on a "coping with divorce/separation" mailing list, and people there have said, you aren't responsible for his well-being, you need to look after yourself and not worry about him, he'll either make it or he won't. Is that true? (This gets into what I'm currently discussing with my counselor, the concept of responsibility for someone/something thing vs. responsibility to someone/something. I'm struggling with it, that's for sure - I tend to feel responsible for way more than I should, to take things on myself that aren't my problem. No doubt, I'll have more thoughts on that later.) Does the marriage vow I took obligate me to put myself in a position where I feel like K's caretaker, even if the situation isn't a good one for me? Is there a good reason to break my vow, and if there is, is the fact that I'm not happy, that I'm tired of being the strong one, that my needs and wants have changed, a sufficient reason to do it? I don't know. I wish my mother were alive so I could ask her why in the world she stuck it out with my dad for 43 years, when it was pretty apparent to me that neither of them was particularly happy with the situation.