With all the soul searching I have been undergoing resulting in my recent decision to seperate from my loving husband of 20 years, I have been thinking a lot about the nature of relationships and our sacrosanct concept of soul mate and partner for life.
Slipping on the amateur intellectual hat, I remember discovering with interest and an uncanny feeling of recognition, our origins as a matriarchal society under the protection of Mother Nature. Women were goddesses bearing children and governing the group, mating was done on primal instinct and male companions came and went, sharing your hearth and providing for the mate and whatever children were there. If I recollect well it was then the concept of war within groups which created a need for division of groups and most importantly religion, among which Christianity with the concept of family, marriage, ownership and little by little women slipped into an underdog position whose ability to provide children and provide care for the male was the main attribute.
Sure it is easier to have a partner for life, who will fall in love when we are gorgeous and fresh, share a lifetime of memories, learn together, have children, help each other through the ups and downs and have a familiar companion in our later years to potter around with..But is it natural?
The sort of boys I fancied in my early twenties I would never have considered as a husband.
When my husband asks if I feel our marriage was a mistake I recoil in shock: not at all! He was what I wanted in a husband and even more importantly the man I chose to have children with.
But now 20 years later, our expat life on hold and the children a lot more independent, it just doesn’t work anymore. The things that we shared are no more and the differences seem so blatant to be incompatible.
There comes a time when one thinks: is OK good enough? I guess that is what is meant by “midlife crisis”, we take stock of where we are and if we are still on the right path.
In my case the inner turmoil was intense, we who as mothers work so hard protecting our children, I was going to have to hurt them more than anyone! And my loving husband who had always done his best and deserved a lot more than my constant irritation…
We are in a society which gives up easily and I refused to be part of the selfish group who just walk out on a limb. So it took me a long time to realize that both he and I would develop more happily apart…
But I am not sure I feel it is wrong. I read not long ago a sociologist stating that maybe we were heading for a society where indeed we had different partners at different stages of our life..somehow it makes sense to me. Not that we have to, some of us do mate for life, but should it be a rule we have to strive to withhold?
Yes, it is different when children are involved. In our case, though of course they suffer, we have chosen for the friends approach, share a car, all eat together on Sundays, help each other out and I am hoping that the patchwork family concept can work, maybe in the long-term, also involving holidays with extended families…
What do you think? Is having a partner for life a natural disposition or one society at a certain time needed to create itself and maybe no longer a sociological necessity?
Looking forward to your comments.