Inspired by: “Kylie from Connecticut” (2008) from the Ben Folds’ album Way to Normal
The song itself is about a wife finding out about an affair that her husband is having, with a note stating that “Kylie from Connecticut” called and confirming her suspicions. It all triggers memories to earlier in the marriage, and a “man she hadn’t seen since the children were small.” It’s about growing apart but not really realizing it in the moment and instead taking the path of least resistance to keep the peace in a long marriage.
My first marriage didn’t last 35 years. It didn’t even last 35 months. And it wasn’t an affair that ended it, though my affair after we decided to get divorced but before we actually did probably ended any chance of saving it, permanently damaging a relationship that we thought would endure even after we went our separate ways.
Part of that was due to me leaving the state, though that was nearly three years after we had divorced and moved on with our lives. But I also said some things that I regret out of anger and burned all those bridges on my way out of town, and even a little later when we were still in contact a little once I settled here in Utah. I even wrote some stuff on this blog (or its predecessor) that have long been deleted because I was lashing out because I was in a pretty bad state of mind about everything and my ex-wife didn’t deserve that, so I took it down.
Sometimes it’s hard to deal with the fall out of things that end when you weren’t really expecting it. I knew there were problems in our marriage, in our relationship. Instead of addressing them like a rational person, I just ignored them, or lashed out when things weren’t like I expected them to be. I didn’t work on the marriage like I probably should have, and that’s 100% my fault. She gave me every chance to try, but I didn’t.
Part of it was simply because I thought that’s how marriages were supposed to work. My parents were married my entire life, and though they had small issues every now and then, they always came back to one another at the end of the day. I thought that could be us as well, but if there’s anything that I’ve learned in the nearly nine years I’ve been with Kim – including seven-plus actually married – is that marriages work best when they aren’t on autopilot.
It doesn’t require much, honestly. The meme that marriages need conflict to survive and do well is a myth, but the opposite is also true. It’s only when both people are actively engaged in ensuring that things work well, or at least well enough to avoid the big problems that lead to alienation, distrust, or worse.
It’s been nearly ten years since I last spoke to my ex-wife. There’s a small part of me that is sad about that, if only because we were in each other’s lives just as much before then. But we’ve both moved on, and I hope that she is as happy with where her life has taken her as I am with mine.