Tam and I are splitting up.
She got a job as an LPN at the Colorado State Penitentiary infirmary. She's moving to Cañon City at the end of the month. I'll stay in Lakewood (aside from a break I'll post about soon) for the next several months and then make some changes of my own.
Some readers already know this; to others it may be a surprise. I do not at this time wish to write about all of the details of this process, but if you would like to discuss it over lunch or instant messenger, let me know. Over time I'll blog more about my inner perspective on the past, present, and future.
Some key points in FAQ form:
- You're breaking up?! Why?!?!
- When we agreed to get married, one condition was that after a few years we would reevaluate our relationship and decide if it was worth continuing for the rest of our lives. With the benefit of experience and insight into each other's personalities, we can see that, though our relationship features many positive aspects, we can tell that it's in neither of our best interests to stay together for a long time. Tam has important needs that I can't meet; I have important needs that Tam can't meet.
- If you had reservations originally, why did you get married in the first place?
- We'd been together for eleven months and lived together for five and a half. Tam was too sick to have a job and be in school at the same time. We didn't know what was wrong, and she was concerned about health insurance and other bills. She asked me to marry her so she could have the support she needed. I had reservations about making a lifetime commitment after knowing each other for less than a year, so I agreed to provide that support "at least through the end of school."
- So... you got married for health insurance?
- It's not the only reason. We loved each other, and still do. We've taught each other a lot about life. But it is true that we would not have entered into a three-way legal relationship (husband, wife, and State of Colorado) if universal health care were available or if my employer offered health coverage to cohabitants.
- Do you guys hate each other now?
- No. Our relationship doesn't follow a lot of norms. Just as our marriage didn't have a lot of elements traditionally associated with such an arrangement, we don't fit the stereotype of an angry, bitter divorcing couple. We haven't argued about who gets to keep what stuff. We've probably argued less in the last six months than we did in the first six months we were married (perhaps because now we know what's likely to set it off). I'll help her move at the end of the month; she'll give me a massage after we carry all the stuff in to the apartment. She'll call me when she has a question for a computer nerd; I'll call her when I have a question for a nurse. When your relationship is based on caring and open communication, bringing it to its natural conclusion can be a very healthy and positive process.
- Who gets the cats?
- We're still working that out, it's the most contentious issue of property division. "You take Kitty Boy!" "No, you take Kitty Boy!" They'll stay with me at least until she moves in. When I go out of town, they'll switch custody. After that? We'll figure it out.