Red Responds: His Roof and His Rules

Sylvia in Johnson City writes:

I’ve been separated from my ex for going on four years now, but we have remained in contact the entire time. Most good, some bad… 98% of our thoughts, goals, and viewpoints are the same, but the 2% that we differ on are major issues. That’s why I left, and ultimately filed for divorce. But in the years since then, I have wondered if there was any hope for us, as we can get along great for months of weekends in a row, a week of vacation…. But the idea of being under “his” roof, and “his” rules again absolutely terrifies me. Is it worth risking the possibility of a repeat of what caused us to separate the first time to go back full time? Or should i just walk away completely,and count myself lucky that I got away as “unscathed” as I did?

Dear Sylvia,

Looking back and wondering if you made the right choice isn’t really going to help anything. What could have been is nothing more than a theory at this point. The reality is much more powerful. Since your split, you and your ex have found different ways of appreciating each other that you could not have accomplished without breaking up.

Sylvia, not every “good” relationship falls in line with what most people consider to be a “traditional” relationship. It just depends on what works, and what you truly want. From what I can see, separate residences seem to benefit this relationship rather than impede it. So, the real question is, how important is living together and possibly remarrying to you? If it is one of your personal “must haves,” then things are likely to get a bit complicated.

As much as each of you has grown and changed, many of your respective base personality traits remain the same. This means that your husband can still be controlling and overbearing, and you can still be reactive as well as submissive to his power-plays. Things wouldn’t be as bad as they were in the past, but some elements of history would repeat. Sometimes it is easier to love someone than it is to live with them.

I don’t see you walking away from this man, nor do I see you moving back under his roof any time soon. Truthfully, this does seem like the wisest plan. Under the current arrangement, both of you keep consciously working to improve your relationship, with the hope that “some day” you will be together full time once again. As long as each of you keeps working towards this goal, your fear will eventually subside, and living together is likely to become a reality.

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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