And they arrived. In January last year, just before the pandemic, he had a crisis of faith and broke up with me. This time, it lasted. Neither of us entered this relationship thinking it would be forever, but still I was devastated.
There is a peculiar kind of bittersweetness to living with a broken heart in winter, even more so while socially distancing alone with my son. I kept expecting to wake up and not miss Rich, but each morning was a disappointment.
It turned out that he missed me too, so in July, while my son was at his father’s place for a long summer stretch, we got back together, and we were honest with each other — that we didn’t know where our lives were going, but we could be committed to each other while holding space for that unknowing.
I have never existed well in a space of uncertainty, but my divorce taught me that there are no guarantees in relationships. Maybe, I thought, just this once, the train would jump the tracks before impact. But if it didn’t, I knew I would have the endurance to survive it.
In the eight months that we have been back together, we have finally said “I love you,” and he has met my son (they like each other). We have also talked about making a home together. I send him listings from Zillow, and he offers commentary. I know that neither of us has ever loved another in this way, and that what we have is special.
Still, he has told me that he thinks he wants to have children someday, and more children are not in my future. The monsters loom. I have to live with this unknowing. My endurance keeps me here: Watching the train and hoping that it will jump the tracks. He told me the other day, “You’ve helped me grow so much. I’m a different person than I was when I met you.”