I've been pretty excited about 2011 so far. The end of 2009/beginning of 2010 left me feeling as if everyone around me was falling apart. So many people in my life had relationships in flux. I was going through my own self-analysis of my sexuality, marriage and learning to allow myself to adjust to a long distance relationship.
One of the most difficult relationship demises of the past year was between my sister and her (now ex) husband. My feelings about this went from trying to be there for her to jealousy of what this new man was providing for her.
Sadly, we don't have the relationship we once had. We were never close as children. She confessed later in adulthood that she was jealous of many things about me. We finally bonded when she lived with me for a brief time and have been good friends up until this past year.
We were both pregnant with our children at the same time as well. My daughters have looked at my sister's children, not as cousins, but as extended sister and brother. We've spent every holiday together since my sister and mom moved to town. Last spring break, Mom, my sister, my brother, myself and all the kids went camping together.
Then, as her marriage disintegrated and she grew closer to the new man, our family fell apart too.
It appeared to me that she emasculated her (now) ex-husband. He was a successful, handsome single guy who'd already been married once. They were inseparable and he moved from his beautiful home to be with her. Soon they had 2 children of their own.
My sister brought in the money as he could never find a job that gave him the same income of his previous position. He'd left his home. He'd left his job. And now he was trying to adjust quickly to parenthood. In her eyes, from my outside observation, he could do nothing right.
I'm certainly not taking his side of things. I'm certain that she obviously felt some unhappiness in their marriage. But knowing her... knowing how WE are (meaning the women in my family*)... and watching as this once eligible bachelor soon became a vegged-in-front-of-the-TV-unmotivated-"yes-dear" kind of guy, I can see where they were BOTH unhappy.
Now she's left him for another successful man who has left his wife, children, job and his home for her. The difference this time?
HE is emasculating HER.
He is extremely wealthy. He is very controlling. He never leaves her side. He is even more type A than she is. He, she once told me, is so powerful that "no one tells him 'no'".
She has now left her lifestyle as the bread winner to be a kept woman. Thus far, she claims to be happier than ever before... but there are little cracks showing. She isn't allowed to spend money. She isn't allowed to do much of anything unless he is with her. I haven't even spoken with her because she is never without him, a complete stranger to me, at her side. He hasn't reached out to get to know me, my brother or my mom. He never says more than 'hello' to any of us. When I've talked to her about him before her divorce, it almost seemed as if she was hypnotized by him. She even told my grandfather that this man was her 'soulmate'. She sounded, to me, as if she'd joined a religious cult rather than simply fallen in love with someone.
I miss my sister. I miss our girls' nights with our mom. My kids miss their cousins. I want us to be comfortable around each other again. I don't know how to break through this change in her. I don't know this stranger in her life. I feel very sad about losing her.
She travels the world. She lives in a posh home. She drives brand new cars. She is home with her children now. She's never had this life before and she is experiencing something brand new.
But I can't help but wonder: will this lifestyle suit her?
In the meanwhile, her ex-husband is lost, stumbling, angry, raging, completely discombobulated. He is trying to regenerate the testicles she took from him. He is wondering who he once was, who he is now, how to be a single father, how to watch his (in his mind) wife be with some other man who enjoys taunting his "stolen catch" in front of him.
And I'm sad to say that one day, I think my sister will be in the same boat.... trying to regenerate her "balls" too.
I sure hope I'm wrong.
I can't tell her that this fits her perfectly or that it doesn't. She has chosen to experience something dramatically different from before. Only she can know if it is a life she is well-suited for or not.
All I know is that none of us know what to do to reach her. She claims to be open to us but then gets shut down... for some reason or another. I know she's enjoying the money, I have no doubt. But to imagine my sister in all of her independent glory, getting squashed by a tantrum-throwing showoff (yeah, I said it)... I just don't see it.
What can you do when someone chooses to live a life that isn't something you would choose for them?
All that we can do is be here, on the outside sadly, while she decides if it's worth it.
*The women in my family are very hard-headed, strong-willed, and independent.