Kleefeld NOT on Comics

By | Tuesday, July 24, 2007 9 comments
When I started this blog, I made an active choice for it to NOT be about me. It would have my thoughts on the subject of comics, but I'm not enough of a personality that anyone would really care a whit about what I ate for dinner or how many squirrels the dog chased. It should be focused on one topic that you all might care about -- and I don't personally fit that bill.

But, today, I'm going to talk about something deeply personal and not-at-all comics related because, well, I need to talk about this somewhere.

When I came home from work Thursday, my wife sat me down and said that she was leaving. Not a weekend away, but "I don't think I want to be married any more." Her bags were already packed and loaded in the car. She was on the road to her father's an hour later.

We got married on August 9, 1997. Our tenth anniversary is in a few weeks. We'd planned a trip to Great Britain to celebrate. My 35th birthday is a week after we would've gotten back. I'm in too much shock to feel pain.

I knew our marriage wasn't everything she'd ever hoped it would be, but I had no idea our relationship was that bad. Our marriage wasn't everything I'd hoped for either, to be honest, but it was pretty much what I'd expected. I didn't realize how much of disconnect there was between her expectations and reality. I mean, I know that I'm often obtuse when it comes to nuanced and subtle human interactions, but I just did not see this coming.

In retrospect, I can see the signs. She bought insurance for our trip because she knew she'd be leaving before then, not because she though her grandfather would die just before we left. She was asking about dry-cleaning, not out of her usual inquisitiveness but because she wanted to know what was available to pack. She'd offered to go to the Harry Potter movie without me not because she knew I wouldn't like it, but because she knew she even wouldn't be with me.

I'm sure a lot of it has to do with what we get out of the relationship. She gets me to become a better person than I am. She makes me want to go farther than I would otherwise go, and strive to really be the best person I can possibly be. I am so much more than I really am because of her. I got my MBA because of her, I'm in arguably the best physical shape I've ever been in because of her... hell, I'd probably still be working at that shit job I first got when I graduated college if it weren't for her. But I just don't seem to be able to do the same for her; I'm just some guy she's been living with.

She's mentioned before that she didn't feel our relationship was everything that it should be. She made some suggestions, and I tried my best to follow up on them, but they weren't really substantive and only helped in the short-term. I'd suggested a year ago that we might try marital counseling since I clearly wasn't able to do any better on my own, but she was pretty set against it. I think it was a combination of not wanting to discuss personal matters with a third party and just being generally biased against psychologists. In any event, I convinced her yesterday that getting some couples therapy is worth a shot and I'm trying to set up an initial appointment with someone now.

But this has been devastating for me. I've had girls say, "No, thanks; I'd rather stay at home alone than go out with you." And that's painful, to be sure. But to have someone who you've spent almost half your life with say, "No, thanks; I'd rather be single than married to you any longer." She can't even articulate why -- and in case you think I'm still being obtuse, she's flat out said that she can't really articulate why. I'm left wondering about all the things I could've done differently. Or things I could've said. I'm more than I should be, but not by enough. I should've tried harder, and gone farther out of my way to make a decided effort.

And do you know why I'm rambling about all this on my blog that I don't want to be about me? Because I don't have anyone else. You guys who're reading this? More to the point, the small handful of you that've posted a comment or two here in the past? You guys are my best friends. Seriously. I have exactly one person in my social circle who is not A) related, or B) someone I only associate with because of work. And I only talk to him once every couple of months. All of "our" friends are her friends. "My" friends are the few people, like yourself, who I've never met and only know by some obscure internet handle. I haven't talked to anybody I went to high school with since my class reunion seven years ago. I haven't talked to anybody I went to college with (my wife aside) since I ran into an old roommate by complete coincidence at the local Ren Fest about five years ago.

So, tonight, I'll go home and... probably zone out on some bad television, lying in a pseudo-fetal position on the couch, because it'll be less painful than contemplating just how much I must've screwed up to have my marriage in as bad of a mess as it's now in. I know you don't care, because this is a comic book blog. Even if you've bothered to read this far down, you're not really concerned because Comic-Con International starts this week and there's going to be a flood of new information coming out that will completely absorb your interest in, at most, a few hours. But on the outside chance that you visit this blog semi-regularly and are surprised not to see anything for a day, or two, or five, the reason is because I've receded into my own nightmare and can't motivate myself enough to give a damn about comics.

I've never really believed in a happily-ever-after. I've never really believed in Fate. Everything that I have and everything that I am is because I had to do something to achieve it. Similarly, everything that I am not and everything that I have lost is my own fault. So all the negative emotions that are ripping me to shreds right now doing so because I made them do so. I blame no one but myself, and I think that's the hardest part to deal with.
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Sean, there's nothing anyone can write here that can help much, but please accept my commiserations. I hope things get less bleak for you soon.

What Steve said.

I appreciate it, guys. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Brother Sean
I too have walked your footsteps and I truly ache with you.
Right now no words of wisdom or rationale really matter or
even make sense. At some point life will matter again.
As you walk ‘through the valley of the shadow,’ I will be
praying for peace in your life. Though you have noted
that you are not necessarily a man of faith, please accept
my friendship in this act of faith!

Albert Dale
Spring Hill, TN

Mithel said...

Jesus dude, that's harsh.

PenguinFish said...

I'm sorry Sean...I don't leave comments very often (i think once or twice) but I read your blog all the time, and it's a very scary thought to have something like that hit you, somewhat blindsiding you...I know things will get better but I hope it's not a long process for you. If you feel that counseling could still help, I truly hope all the best for you.

Anonymous said...

I came across this blog just now. I broke up with my GF of 10 years after leaving the US and losing a chance to make my career and life without her. Now she left me and moved on. So Sean, I can understand what you are going through, and hope you (and I) find the courage to set our lives straight.


Anonymous said...

Sean -- sorry for your troubles, and I hope the counselling works out. Wish I had some great piece of advice, but of course I don't...just remember to keep eating properly, when you're depressed. It's a little thing, but it's important.

Hope things get better soon.

Anonymous said...


I've never been to this blog before but I followed a link from my friend Joe Fludd. Joe's one of the Good Guys and anyone he vouches for is worth knowing.

After reading this post I feel like I know you, a bit. I went through something similar, although every such thing is different for everyone who has to endure it.

My advice--as the poster above suggests, take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep well, exercise even more. Through yourself into projects that require creativity, occupy the mind.

(All this is assuming things don't work out. Obviously at this point you are probably occupied with working on your relationship.)

When my first marriage ended I was in a fog for some time. Too many contrasting emotions, too much disappointment. The future seemed completely unknown, except for the parts that were going to be pretty damn bad.

That seems a million years ago but I doubt that even a visit from my future self would have made me feel much better then. It's one of those things that requires time, sorry to say. I wish you the best.