Friday, May 14, 2010

Eric Clapton - Pilgrim (Video) and My Sour Marriage

This is my mood this morning, Eric Clapton's "Pilgrim." I used to play this song a lot during the end of my marriage, thinking it was about me and not feeling loved. Lately, I've been thinking this song is more about my ex. At least he would see it that way, that he was a sorrowful pilgrim for my love who was cast aside. That's how he plays his story for others. Does he believe that?

He once told me that the Doobie Brothers song, "What a Fool Believes" made him think of me. What is that to tell your wife? And he used to go around the house singing "If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty women your wife."

I'm not sure he ever really loved me, but looking at some song lyrics he's written but I won't link to, I think he thinks he loved me. However, I think what he thought was signs of his love from him were his projections onto me of his desire to be elsewhere in later years. If he were saying "I love you," I was only hearing, "Where you been? Who is that you're talking to?"

My mother and a friend of mine used to say, "If he's checking up on you that much, you need to start checking up on him." But I didn't. I figured if he's gone, he's gone. I refused to be the woman hanging around the man's leg, letting him drag her along as he walked out the door.

A new study bears out what my mother and friend were suggesting, that men are more harsh on their wives about minor infractions that could signal she's straying when they are thinking about straying themselves.
Other McGill studies confirmed differences in how men and women react to such threats. In one, attractive actors or actresses were brought in to flirt with study participants in a waiting room. Later, the participants were asked questions about their relationships, particularly how they would respond to a partner’s bad behavior, like being late and forgetting to call.

Men who had just been flirting were less forgiving of the hypothetical bad behavior, suggesting that the attractive actress had momentarily chipped away at their commitment. (Science of a Happy Marriage)
They don't mean the man suggested consciously that the attractive woman he was looking at or talking to was chipping away at his marriage, but that because he felt attracted to another woman, the chipping had begun, and he was more likely to assume his wife or partner was cheating or should at least be closely watched.

That's projection. I want to steal so I think you're stealing.

I don't know about Clapton. These lyrics may have nothing to do with his actual life, but if I were speaking to the person these lyrics make me think of today, I would say, "Well, if you were in love that deeply, if you were to the point where you felt you were on a pilgrim like a man seeking a goddess, then why didn't you find a way to say so?"

He'd probably say he did in many love letters, but for me, his love letters that were written while we were dating turned into statements like "You didn't do my laundry" over the years. (Sad coming from a man who could afford to pay someone to do his laundry but instead wanted to make his marriage about laundry.) And a man writing after the fact how much he loved you when you know damn well he was seeing another woman instead of working on his marriage is not worth the time it took him to think of the words for his sorrowful lyrics.

Nevertheless, in more vulnerable moments I am tempted at times to write the ex and say, "I'm sorry that we couldn't work out our marriage," but as I wrote in my poem "I See It Now," which is also posted on this blog, that would be a mistake. I wish we could have worked it out is not the same as saying I wish we were still married, but I don't think he would get that difference. And whatever peace I might get from saying it would be washed away by the craziness he'd act out afterward. So, I must forgive him from a distance.

Another friend of mine who's been divorced for longer than I have tells me that my analyzing my marriage five years after the divorce is probably a sign that I'm healing. She's convinced that's why I never have seriously entertained a relationship with another man, no matter what it looked like. I've got deep wounds.

If she read this post right now, however, she'd say, "Don't let him do that Jedi mind trick on you. Any sad lyrics that m*th*rf*ck*r's written are more about his need to control."


William F. DeVault said...

Another aspect of this, "damned to be a ram". C.S. Lewis spoke of the tendency of people who, when they are thought to be bad, or labeled as such, to go "well, I am already labeled as a ram, I might as well act like one". It's a huge problem in not only relationships, but in our justice system. My work with juveniles tells me that when they are told they are "bad" or "outsiders", they tend to be more likely to behave, as our prejudice motivates and excuses their behaviour.

Rahkyt said...

Yeh...that is a standard, if he goes off he needs ta b watched. I dont c any reason u should delete this Nordette. What u write of r things experienced by many. It is salient experience n can help others grow. Much love.

n2ative1 said...

I do SO love Clapton. Something about a man with a slow hand. After hearing this, I searched You Tube for a favorite Clapton tune. The 1987 version of “After Midnight” still thumping in my head, I went to Amazon and ordered his “Crossroads” box set, the novel “The Help” by Kathryn Sockett, and two Octavia Butler books. It’s high time I started the Xenogenesis Trilogy.

Now, back to our program. I admit I am said friend in Nordette’s post. Yes, I would indeed say all she imagines I would—and then some. Trust me when I say our ex’s are quite similar and that mine proved the aforementioned theory. Be wary of the mate who’s checking you so closely you can’t go to the bathroom with being asked, “Where are you going?”

Healing takes time. It’s been almost ten years since I packed up the old U-Haul and bailed. There are still things that remind me of the bad times but now I can grin about some of the good. That’s a milestone. I try to chase out any remaining marital demons, chop off their heads and reduce the size of my carry-on. It was once a steamer trunk, so you can see I’ve grown significantly. Remember that forgiveness is a contract between you and God; you don’t have to track the forgiv-ee down and deliver an apology for it to work. Let the mo-fo sleep!

Lovebabz said...

I guess there is some value in analyzing why marriages fail. Why men/women act they way they do in and out of love.

All I know that healing does not take forever. That's bullshit. The truth is we like telling the story of how we were wronged. It is comforting and keeps us from moving on. It's wasted time.

Once you decided that that marriage that experience is not the blueprint for your life and love then you let go and move forward. No one ought to have that kind of power over your heart & mind. Fuck that. My ex husband will not have that kind of power over me. I loved him. It lasted for 13 years, 10 of which were grand, the last three was a long unexpected death of sorts. I am not standing in this life right now and pondering how it all went wrong. I am learning that my destiny was NOT tied to him. That I can and will love the way I want and each day brings me closer to loving myself supremely.

I may or may not get married again, but whatever I do or don't do, it won't be because of my fear of marriage, or choosing poorly again. I didn't choose poorly. I welcome love with open arms. I love the company of smiling men...a caress on my spine. No Sister I ain't giving that up.

For Your Love
for your love
for your love
...Eric Clapton

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

I agree with what you say on the level of liking tough love speeches that ask humans to be stronger and overcome frailty, LoveBabz, but I also know that my marriage was longer than average and the divorce process was brutal. I think when you wake up and realize an old wound is oozing again, you don't wallow in it, but you do take a little time and clean it up, which for me is writing about it. You don't pretend you have no wound. Repression is rarely helpful in the long run.

Actually, it's probably repressing emotions and pretending that we don't have wounds that causes the healing process to take longer. I made it through a long marriage pretending not to see what was staring me in the face, so I'm not going to make that mistake again. I'm going to face the pain, and when the spirit moves me, I'm going to write about it, all of it.

In the early stages I tried to pretend I was more angry than hurt, and that got me through for a while during the time I dealt with financial issues such as no lights and a skimpy pantry plus scarier stuff like being told I'd need a kidney, not to mention some stalker action from the ex, followed by moving home, caring for my mother, and her death. Probably doesn't compare to your ordeals. I've been very proud of you and impressed by how you've faced them, but my life's just settling down to the point where I can look back without a boogieman jumping out the closet to stomp on me. So, I'm grateful for these moments of reflection and soul searching.

Thank you, n2active1. You and I have gone through the let-it-go and don't discuss it ever again phase and the unexpected rehash that surfaces because the ex made a phone call or stuck you with a bill you know he can and should pay, not to mention dealing with how children deal with their issues about the split. You had a much cleaner break than I did, but it was still hell, I know. You and a ton of grief counselors agree that for most people, a divorce is akin to a death, and so healing does take time. If it didn't take time, there wouldn't be so many people writing about how to heal after divorce, but thank God recovering doesn't take forever.

Thank you, Mark. :-) I love it when men are honest about game playing.

And you, William. I appreciate the visit. It's true that when people show no faith in you, it's sometimes easy to fall.

But you and Mark are both poets, so you know how we poets readily venture into emotional forests. :-)

Oh, and Babz, I avoid marriage for very practical reasons. I wouldn't do marry again unless I had a $ Million of my own in the bank someplace, untouchable. At 50, I don't have time for romantic games and have no qualms about being that practical about my future.

Now, that doesn't mean I wouldn't let the right person sweep me off my feet, but actively look for love? No. Been there, done that. I have more productive matters at hand like doing the things I wish I had done during my nearly 25-year marriage. But thanks for the tough love speech. They are always appreciated. :-)