Sometimes happiness comes under the most unexpected of circumstances.

A Room of One’s Own

Posted: June 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: challenges | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments »

My ex has clearly taken a trip to the Land of Oz, or the Land of Us, that mythical terrain where everything is moonlight and roses and we get along like new lovers because he recently mentioned that he misses living with me and the kids.  Now, I understand if he is lonely or nostalgic or even romanticizing me, but I am truly floored that the part of “us” that he misses is cohabitation.  I mean…that was the worst part of it for me (except for the way he kept our house spotless).

My divorcee friends and I often talk about how one of the most enjoyable aspects of divorced living is having your own space again, or at least part-time because we have the kids with us a lot too.  It’s nice to call the shots around the house, to leave things where you want to, to not have to worry what someone else will say, to listen to the music you like (or keep it quiet) and to know that no one will eat the ingredients you purchased to make a special dish (or drink the last beer).  I love having the bed to myself (of course when the kids aren’t in it with me).  I’d be eager to hear my readers’ tales of domestic bliss because I just can’t get excited about the notion of cohabitation at this time because I adore having a house of my own.

I used to love living with my husband, but Virginia Woolf is right.  A woman needs a room of her own to think, write, dream, scream, do yoga and talk on the phone to her friends in peace.  And a man needs a “man cave.”  I have a 55-year-old bachelor friend who is renovating his condo, and he showed me pictures of where the man cave is going to go.  When I asked him why a childless bachelor would need such a space, he said that every guy needs a man cave.  Well, that was a contributory factor to the downfall of my marriage.  Hugo didn’t have a man cave.  And we knew it.  At the time we discussed how we could add just one room somewhere, like over the garage, so that he could get some peace and quiet.  My dad suggested that we buy an Airstream trailer and park it in our large backyard, an idea that we humorously scoffed at.  Now I realize that it was a brilliant idea, but like many of my dad’s creative notions, it was an idea before its time.

Now I fantasize about sharing a duplex with a partner (or maybe a really good friend).  I could have the benefit of proximity and intimacy but with the opportunity to retreat to my own space when I need it.  Wasn’t there a time (the Medieval days?) when men and women had separate bedrooms?  That might be a good idea.  Somehow, in some way, the independence and identity of each partner must be maintained, and physical space is an essential part of that equation.

So when Hugo said he was “kind of” wishing that we still lived together, I told him that he had to rethink that.  If he harbored any serious thoughts of reconciliation (which frankly, I don’t think he really does), he would at least have to date me first, just like any other suitor.  He hadn’t considered that point.  This is the edge that the new guys have.  Unlike my former husband, the man I was with for thirteen years, they know that they have to woo me to get anywhere.  A girl can’t rush into sharing her space with someone, now can she?  Start with a sleepover for Christ’s sake.  And, if you really do want to cohabitate with me, you’d better bring an Airstream.

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12 Comments on “A Room of One’s Own”

  1. 1 sabine said at 10:04 am on June 15th, 2010:

    Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera certainly had an interesting living arrangement. That might be what you’re looking for?
    You ex certainly seems a bit confused . . .

  2. 2 Molly said at 10:22 am on June 15th, 2010:

    Ooh…Frida and Diego. I love it! Now that I have broken out of the mold of the traditional marital arrangement, I am definitely intrigued by alternative family constellations and love relationships.

  3. 3 Tawni said at 11:33 am on June 15th, 2010:

    I love the idea of a duplex marriage! If and when I end up in a LTR having separate bedrooms is a must… Or at least separate beds like I Love Lucy!! :)

  4. 4 Laura Furey said at 4:44 pm on June 15th, 2010:

    Perhaps our generation is overly self-centered but I agree sharing a home and bed is difficult. I adore my husband but we are much happier now that he has his own space (closet, office, television, storage – are all men pack rats?) in the basement, leaving the majority of the other rooms for me. I think a man cave could save many a marriage.

  5. 5 Molly said at 7:18 pm on June 15th, 2010:

    I used to think that my ex’s desire for his own space was self-centered, but now I realize that it was unrealistic to expect that he could be such an involved father and spouse without having some space to escape. I think that if we try to sacrifice our own personal happiness for the sake of the marriage, it ends up backfiring. If we are able to transcend traditional notions of what a marriage should look like, we might find creative arrangements that allow each partner to get their needs met. So congratulations for making your basement your hubby’s man cave!

  6. 6 Sarah Buttenwieser said at 3:22 pm on June 16th, 2010:

    i love the last line!

  7. 7 Molly said at 3:58 pm on June 16th, 2010:

    Thanks, Sarah. Hugo said he liked it too!

  8. 8 Barb said at 12:38 am on June 17th, 2010:

    Hilarious! The line about your dad..”Now I realize that it was a brilliant idea, but like many of my dad’s creative notions, it was an idea before its time.” LOL!!

    And of course, “And, if you really do want to cohabitate with me, you’d better bring an Airstream”..brilliant!

    In the olden days the men had an office or the garage and ladies had a sewing room or reading room. It makes a lot of sense. Having a basement certainly helps.

  9. 9 Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said at 6:11 pm on June 24th, 2010:

    […] It’s basically another variation on the Airstream idea. […]

  10. 10 Dawn said at 10:48 pm on August 29th, 2010:

    I never really read blogs but I just decided tonight to search some things out. I found yours. I like the way you word things and the ideas you mention seem to speak to me a little. I just want peace right now as I’m going through a divorce.
    Have you seen the movie “Its Complicated”? Good movie. It’s just one example of how it is difficult to get involved again with your ex. Not that it is impossible but its a funny portrayal of how it can evolve. Check it out if you haven’t yet. Or better yet, tell Hugo about it. He might reconsider, haha
    Thanks for blogging.

  11. 11 Molly Monet said at 7:40 am on August 30th, 2010:

    Dawn- Welcome to my site! Keep reading. Peace takes practice, but it is very doable and so worthwhile!
    That movie is on my list and one that I will see for vicarious pleasure so that I don’t have to repeat that same mistake.

  12. 12 Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce » Blog Archive » Living Together? said at 11:34 am on January 8th, 2012:

    […] of living alone, and cheekily said that any man who wanted to live with me had better bring his own Airstream to park out back.  Yet my circumstances have changed.  Now I am living in a more expensive town, the Boston area, […]

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