I don't want to teach my children that spouses "quit" once and a while, live apart from one another, and visit when it's convenient. That this is how love works, or how a marriage operates. But then again, I want to teach them that forgiveness can be found in love and strength; that love endures all things. That love, no matter what, prevails.

That was something I posted on Facebook the other day.
I haven't yet figured out the dilemma; I'm not sure I ever will.
And in the meantime, I constantly worry about the message I am sending to my children.
And perhaps, the message I am giving myself.

We talk. We text. We visit.
We go out in public; it's no secret that neither one of us can bear to actually let go.
We discuss that this is (possibly, hopefully) temporary.
We discuss the issues. We discuss our love for one another.
We discuss the (possible) "ultimate goal"... Reconciling our marriage.
We've spent time with our respective step-children..
The two of us have had overnights.
Sometimes here, at home. Sometimes at the apartment.
- I italicize that because it seems the only way to convey the absolute profound bitterness associated with it. It is still something I have not been able to accept. The place that theoretically should provide us with some "alone time", (or apart time, for that matter), does nothing but represent dissidence and discord for me. I can't relax there. I can't enjoy myself, the time, or the company. I'm not sure that that will ever change.
And unfortunately, our visits here at home usually end in bitterness as well. Well, at least for me. One moment he's here, we're having dinner, watching tv, we're going to soccer, everything's... "normal"... and nice.. wonderful.. But the next minute, his pillows are packed, and he's gone. Back to the apartment. Back to our separate lives.
And I sit here...
This hurts... It's downright sickeningly painful..
It is so much harder than I thought it would be. Than it seems it should be.
Is the "end worth the means"... Is the "ultimate goal" even possible...
Can I do this? Can I?

This entire thing seems so bizarre. So unnatural. So abnormal.
And then, in talking with my therapist, she says it's actually quite normal. People (married couples), do it-separate- more often than you'd think. She's counseled hundreds of couples.
Seriously??? And how the HELL do THEY live through it? Is there a book on this somewhere that I can read?? Are there case studies somewhere that I can analyze??

Can I do this...

Most times, I've realized, it is much like (subconsciously) playing pretend.
At the apartment, I am pretending that it is a get-away, a mini-vacation, a hotel, perhaps.
At home, I pretend that everything is normal. That we are a united family. That my husband lives here.
But pretend play only lasts so long. Only as long as the moment itself.
And then, reality hits. Violently. Like a brick in the face.

Other couples do this? People ACTUALLY do this?

Often, I feel like I am simply floating along, waiting to gain proverbial consciousness.
Waiting for the moment in which my catatonic brain awakens, shakes me silly, and screams-
"What are you doing?!? Quit doing this to yourself! Get a grip!! Crista, YOU ARE DONE!!"

Perhaps I am hoping for that moment of clarity.
Or any moment of clarity, for that matter. A sign. An epiphany. Something. Anything.
Just give me something, for christ sake.... Please.

Can I do this...

I am waiting to find "the beginning".
I don't yet know what it is.