What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: I Keep Forgetting We're Not in Love Anymore

After a night of laughter and good times with good people I was feeling good, laughing in my head about jokes said over dinner and feeling renewed after a particular rough week of work. Then I looked at you in the passenger’s seat; stone faced and straight-eyed, like the last four hours never happened. Sure, you laughed a little with our friends, even told a joke or two, but once we were alone, we were back to our norm. Yeah, I keep forgetting we’re not in love anymore.

Of course I love you and I think you still love me, but we haven’t been in love in quite a while. We haven’t found the strength to dissolve our relationship and walk away from one another neither. Instead, we pose for pictures with smiles remembered from a lifetime ago and kiss one another like strangers. Yet somehow, people think we’re still going strong. I feel like I’m holding you hostage, keeping you away from the happiness you deserve, while I’m serving out a sentence for the previous cats to have broken your heart. I know I’m not without my shit and at times I’m bad, but not as bad as Eric Benet. Most of the time you treat me like I don’t exist, except when you want to yell at me, the rest of the time you stare through me.

The people at work always ask how you’re doing and my standard response is, “She’s doing great, keeping me busy as always”, when I really want to tell them you were abducted by aliens a short time past our 2nd anniversary and replaced by a drone hell-bent on my destruction. That’s exactly how I feel. That’s the first time I’ve been able to articulate it, but that pretty much sums it up, you want to destroy me. Maybe not physically, but you want to obliterate any chance at happiness I have. If I say it’s nice out, you point out rain in the five-day forecast. When I want to watch the game, you want to talk. When we talk, you scream or even worse, don’t say anything.

We’ve said nothing far too long and maybe that’s fine for you, but I don’t live in this house alone and I know I didn’t say those vows to an empty space. Remember our vows? That day seems like it was so long ago, almost like it didn’t really happen. If I wasn’t still paying the credit card bills, I would swear that it didn’t, because our marriage is nonexistent. There’s not partnership, no connection, no love. Just you. Just me. No us.

There’s us in photos and our relationship status on Facebook, but that’s about where it all ends. We’ve both suggested counseling at times when the other wasn’t receptive and separation seems to be a non-starter, but how long can we go on like this? Are we supposed to stay together because people expect us to be together or remain in our relationship because we can’t live without one another? When the fact is, we’ve been living separately for so long that I’m feeling like we’re roommates, going half on the rent and trying not to eat your leftovers from The Cheesecake Factory.  Perhaps you think I’m not strong enough to leave you; though it may hurt, I have to be strong enough save my sanity, because I’m going crazy in a loveless home.

As our anniversary approached, I wondered, almost aloud, what we had to celebrate. Were we to exchange gifts for another year of unresolved fights and unending pain? Would we end the night in bed together trying to string together the passion needed to make love? After the stream of phone calls, texts, emails and well-wishes from those who think they know us, I remembered your smile, and mine, and then I remembered we’re not in love anymore. 

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