Relationships, they’re bigger on the inside.

heart___tardis___doctor_who___white_by_stickeesbiz-d6fr2qyI must have heard it a dozen times when I announced I was divorcing Seth after 10 years together.

“I’m confused. You guys were so happy.”

“What happened? You were the perfect couple.”

“I can’t believe it. If you two can’t make it, who can?”

“Are you sure you’re not giving up too soon?”

*

I used to take this rather personally. I felt certain that there was something I was missing, that somehow on some fundamental level that the decision I was making was wrong (perhaps even tragically so) — despite feeling like divorce was the most natural outcome to the persistent relationship problems Seth and I had been experiencing for years, especially since Seth was unwilling to go to counseling with me to work through our issues other than one dubious appeal of “Don’t you want to work things out?” after I cut him off financially.

Somewhere along the line, I more or less made peace with the divorce. Putting aside ethical and moral concerns relating to how I handled things (as I am a consummate pragmatist and am always very concerned with if something “works”), I made the right call for me. I’m infinitely happier without Seth as a romantic partner, and my second marriage is a huge improvement. Not only that but Seth has flourished without me, finishing a degree in social work, leading group therapy for adolescents, and enjoying a second career as a photographer — all a far cry from the unwashed, unemployed, depressed, alcoholic man I was married to. Seth is not a person who swims unless you throw him off the dock, and I was a big fluffy life raft.

What I didn’t do, however, was deal with the unhealthy view of relationships that I internalized through my divorce — that they can end suddenly, for no reason, that people can just walk away with no warning. Lots of people thought that’s what I was doing, and because I was really sick with dependent personality disorder at that point, a pattern of behavior in part characterized by trusting others’ intuitions more than your own, I believed them — all the while knowing that practically, it was the decision I had to make for my own survival.

So I find myself believing I could be left by Skyspook at any point for any reason with no warning whatsoever, despite the fact that this is completely not how either he or I operate. Seth and I had problems for years.

*

Remember the next time you’re stunned by a couple’s breakup: Relationships are like the TARDIS; they’re bigger on the inside.

I’ve found it’s easy to misunderstand the relationships other people are having, even with close friends, simply because you’re not in them and don’t have access to everything that goes on.

Really, the couple had problems but kept them private. Not everyone fights like they’re on reality TV.

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