Separated. Whenever I am filling out a form that asks me for my civil status this is the first word I look for. Some forms have it and some don’t. Much to my stubbornness of being a “free” woman, I have to choose “Married” every now and then. In a country where there is no divorce and annulment can cost a gazillion of pesos for somebody like me that lives from paycheck to paycheck, being separated is the next best option. And yes people, not all marriages end in happily-ever-afters. The reality is there are just some marriages that don’t. And not for lack of trying. When asked why am I separated, I simply answer “because…”. There are a lot of reasons why. But to simply put it, even though you loved someone with your whole heart and soul and you thought in your deepest of hearts that this would be the person you would grow old with and die with and be with for the rest of your life – it turns out you both have differences. Irreconcilable differences that you thought in the first years of marriage that you both can surpass. That your love is bigger than anything and that it can conquer anything. But then, like Pandora’s box – everything unfolds. Lies happen. Deceit. Hurtful words. Moments that you can never get back no matter how many times you ask for forgiveness.
I can say it now without bitterness and hate because its been years since I actually felt “Married.” My current status is still a taboo to society most especially to those who believe in the sanctity of marriage. I do not argue with these people. I respect their beliefs because I see it every day in my parents. There are some marriages that work. Both my grandparents were together until their spouses died. So yeah, it does happen. But not for everyone. And our society just has to accept that fact too. Nothing lasts forever. And a lesson, I would teach my children is that life would not give you everything you wanted no matter how hard you work for it. Because a marriage is hard work and it takes commitment and love. A great deal of love. And when that love dies, everything will come crashing down. It just does.
So what does it feel like to be Separated? Well, it feels like I am in limbo all the time. Neither married nor single. The pro’s about it is you get to save money on Valentines Day, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas. I am no longer bothered by my conscience to be with this person 24/7. But the con’s is the same as well – you have no one to celebrate Valentines Day with or anniversaries or birthdays or Christmas. It will always be a double edge blade. My children’s father would always be special because without him I would never have my children and I did love him – it just wasn’t enough. We have become strangers to each other. It’s so weird to see a person that you once knew and then realize you don’t know an inch about that person anymore. It’s surreal. A little bit weird and scary too.
The question now is, what happens next? As for me, I still don’t know the answer to that. Maybe because I still haven’t found the answer. Do I start looking for a new love or do I even have the right to look for it? Happiness, as it turns out is very elusive to people in limbo. One, not everybody gets it. Two, people still think that you can just go back and start over. Third, it’s simply isn’t right. I still have a lot of questions that are not yet answered up to this day and I have not met anyone that can really give me a clear answer to the question – do I have the right to be happy or because of a certain piece of paper, my happiness would always be tied to it no matter what? Freedom always has a price and this was mine.