Monday, June 28, 2010

Cahabitating Is Not a Word

But cohabitate is; funny language, this English.

Becky and I have been cohabiting for a number of months, but only on a part-time basis. She has the Monkey from Tuesday night until Saturday morning; her ex has him the rest of the time. I’m not sure when her mother began saying “See you Tuesday,” when Becky left for work on Saturday, but Becky’s been spending her weekends at the Treehouse since December.

I knew sooner or later I would need to address the wisdom of sharing so much time so quickly.

It started with a toothbrush, permanently installed in my medicine cabinet. It progressed to a razor, living in my shower. I buy half and half (or heavy cream so I’ll have something to whip into fresh cream for berries, French toast, or espresso) even though I drink my coffee black. Five pound bags of sugar used to last the better part of a year. Since moving to the Treehouse in October, I’ve bought two.

Becky’s emotional impact has been less subtle; Akimbo knew me before Andi, and says she’s never seen me this happy.

The flip side of that happiness is the deferred misery I’ve felt the last few weeks. I keep coming back to Matt Prior, Jess Walter’s protagonist of The Financial Lives of the Poets: “It is the only unforgivable thing, really…to feel sorry for yourself.” I’ve quoted it at SwF&F before, and I quote it again to make you aware that I’m aware of it, and hope you’ll forgive the unforgivable. We’re coming up on a year since she said I think we should separate, and it’s certainly time to move on.

Tuesdays have been fraught with misery for some months. Becky and I wake, cuddle, and make breakfast, knowing we’ll be sleeping alone when night comes. I worked later and later every Tuesday, but I had to go home eventually. As months passed, my solitary doldrums stopped being about the loss of my marriage, and started being about the loss of Becky. I went from wallowing on my own to being unable to function on my own. That’s cohabiting’s only real loss; the realization I can function on my own after so many years of making every decision communally. I know I can, so I’m free to move on from that, too.

Becky’s parents are traveling the mediterranean, and we’ve decided to spend three weeks together in a house that isn’t ours. The end of a few weekend nights led to a sadness that made us question whether to keep them going. How difficult will it be to face the end of a few weeks?

Wise or not, I'm loving every minute.


  1. Good morning Aaron,

    This post made me think back to my owm separation and ultimate divorce twenty odd years ago. After living alone for 6 months I began to see G, who was part of a group of friends and a work colleague too. Although we spent a lot of time together it was about 2 years before I felt able to let her into what had become MY space - which I had fiercely claimed as just mine to establish control of a painful situation. It took another 3 before we got married.

    Wise or not, I'm loving every minute too.

    I should have done it a lot sooner!

    Kind regards.......Al.

  2. Agreed. Life is short (but wide) and I don't want to waste time waiting just to wait. I know what I want, and I shouldn't let other's perceptions cloud that.

    Akimbo asked me, "Do you think anyone really cares that much?"

    I use that philosophy to council people all the time. I tell people not to worry, that people are so caught up in their own shit they'll barely notice yours.

    I should be wise enough to heed my own advice.