Monday, November 15, 2004

Thoughts, part 2.

And then there's the question of what's best for J. Are what makes me happy and what's best for him mutually exclusive? If they aren't the same thing, do I have the right to put my happiness ahead of his ultimate well-being? Do I have the obligation as a parent to put his well-being ahead of my personal desires, no matter the consequence to myself of doing that? What will hurt him more, having two parents who are happy (or who are at least taking a chance on finding happiness) but not together, or two parents who stay together for J's sake but who aren't happy with each other as spouses? (I mean, how would I have felt if my parents had split up while I was in college or law school, and told me, "We only stayed together this long because of you"?! Talk about that dumping a load of guilt on a kid.) If I do stay with K (which is probably what many people would consider to be "best" for J), what sort of example would he be learning from? What would he think a "good" relationship should be, based on what he saw between his mother and father? God knows I didn't have the best example in my parents, and neither did K, so I guess it's good that we realize now that we aren't happy together, instead of waking up after we've been together for 30 or 40 years and thinking, hey, this has really sucked rocks. If we tried to fix the marriage (and I'm not even sure I have it in me at this point to try that), would J learn that marriages don't have passion in them and that that's how it should be, that being friends is enough? (Because believe me, at this point, there is *nothing* of that feeling left in me for K. It's long dead and gone, and I can't imagine a scenario where it would come back. More on that later, I've got another thought on that topic - it may be a post in and of itself.) Would J learn that it's OK for him to expect the woman in his life to do most of the work around the house, to bear most of the responsibility for the running of the household, even if both of them work full-time? What sort of man would he grow up to be if K is the biggest male influence in his life? Not that K isn't a good dad - I know he adores J and would never do anything to hurt him. But it seemed like he tended to fall back on me to do things, rely on me to take care of a lot of household matters, and I don't want J growing up thinking that's how things are. I guess I thought that's how it should be since my dad very seldom did things around the house - my mother did the cooking and cleaning and most of the taking care of me, and paid the bills, and did the grocery shopping. Granted, my mother stayed home with me, and my dad worked 10-12 hours a day farming, but still, I grew up with the example of mama doing most everything around the house and daddy coming home and kicking back and relaxing (well, as much as my dad *could* relax - he was always wound pretty tight, and even now, after 36 years of being his daughter, I'm not sure what he considers "fun"). And who knows, maybe my perception is just skewed, maybe I just expected too much from K, maybe things were the way they were supposed to be. It's so hard to know. But it's not hard to realize that you aren't happy.

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