Despite having a humorous facade, my ex is not generally a happy person and was not happy at the time we broke up. I knew that. It wasn't a secret. I didn't have my head THAT far in the sand. But having to close your own business and reevaluate what you do for a living is tough on anyone (and their family). I thought I had been very supportive and understanding throughout it all. I knew the pain of business failure because I'd been through similar with my own business a few years before. We had weathered that storm together so I figured we'd weather this one. In the meantime, I was working harder than ever at work to ensure I didn't lose my job and we didn't lose the house we loved. My ex seemed increasingly resentful and distant but I had (wrongly, and perhaps unfairly) chalked it up to seeing me busy and succeeding where my ex wasn't. Regardless, I had thought it was only a temporary blip and small price to pay for keeping a roof over our collective heads. We were partners after all and our happy times would resume once this storm had passed. No relationship is blissfully happy all the time after all. Life unfortunately sometimes gets in the way.
On reflection, the real warning sign was that my ex was also having trouble adjusting to the idea of being middle aged. I noticed more frequent referencing of the joyous University and post Uni years: talking of drink and all nighters. The silly, irresponsible, fun nights that were had before I arrived on the scene and life became stable and boring. The fact that almost all friends associated with those days were married with steady jobs and multiple kids with changed lives of their own was conveniently forgotten. In retrospect it's so classic, it's a cliche. But being in the midst of it at the time, it wasn't so obvious what was happening. To start, you never think it's going to happen to you. Being left for another woman happens all the time, but to other people. We are different. We love each other. It won't happen to us, to me.
Except it did.
No amount of time passing will ever change that. It is something that still hurts incredibly deeply and I'm not sure I will ever completely recover from. But I'm trying...and hoping I can learn to love and trust again.