My husband was married once before. For over 20 years he’d been with the same woman. They’d been married over a decade. She’d had a boyfriend for over a decade. They had built a house together, gutting and renovating a one room schoolhouse. They’d just finished the house, just gotten married, and then she went to Haystack.
He stayed home, working and tending to gardens and dogs, and when she returned, she told him she’d fallen in love.
“You can’t be in love with two people.” He said. But they were exceptional. They did not say no just because something was difficult or painful or unusual. They would lean into this, work through this, figure it out and accept this new reality. She left for Chicago, and he stayed home making the fence she’d always wanted, so the dogs could run out back. He stopped sleeping, and started taking walks for countless miles. He grew a beard, and saw a therapist. He was on several medications for sleep and depression and anxiety. Panic attacks were common. The trees, especially, made him anxious.
Before she left to visit her boyfriend he asked her, plain and pitifully,
“Are you going to sleep with him?”
She scoffed, “Yes, that’s what adults do.”