What Did She Say

My mind is always open

This is going to be another one of those stream of consciousness posts (which most of mine are) where I have a basic idea what I’d like to say, but no idea where it will take me, how much I will expose, or where it will end.

Deep breath and here I go.

When something happens gradually, you usually don’t notice until you’re well into it. Or until it’s too late. You’ve heard the “frog in the boiling water” tale, right?

Basically the idea is this, you throw a frog into boiling water and it will leap out. But, put a frog into comfortable water and slowly heat it up… Different story. The frog won’t notice the slight yet consistent change in temperature and will boil to death.

Photo credit: http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/08/17/were-all-frogs-boiling-in-water/

This is how I can best describe what happened the last few years. But not with things heating up.

Things got numb.

I got numb.

Comfortably numb. (Thanks Pink Floyd for that term. It describes what life was like for me.)

Except I didn’t realize it. Not quite. Not on the surface anyway.

And before I go any further, this is not about anyone else. This is about how I felt. This is not about my kids. Or my husband.

(And a side note here to my kids. If you ever get around to reading this, and I know you might since the interwebs hang onto things forever, you did not “do” this to me. I do not regret anything. I have never wished to go back and do things over. I have never wished to go back before I had you and change course. You both are the most important things in my life. Period. Never for a second think that you caused – directly or indirectly – ANY of this.)

I mentioned when I started I wasn’t sure how raw and exposed I was going to get…

Well, I’m going to get raw.

And exposed.

Looking back and autopsying what happened is not easy to do. Where did it all start? Who knows.

I know there was never really that passion that many couples have. Hub and I were great together. We had a rhythm. Similar sense of humour. Many of the same likes. Was there an attraction there? Absolutely. Was it physical? Not necessarily. Did we make it physical? Yes. Was that good? Oh yes. We had fun together. But there wasn’t that “OMG! We need to leave right now so we can go ravage each other somewhere.” Or “Meet me in the bathroom because I need you right now.” Or “Come home for lunch. I can’t go all day without seeing you.”

Does a relationship need that passion? That’s debatable. Maybe not. But, as Hub said, “It’s that passion that fuels the roller coaster to get over that first big climb.” I guess we never made it there.

We sat in the roller coast car and never experienced that euphoria of getting over that first major hill and the amazing ride that follows.

We stayed flat.

There were some great times in that flat, don’t get me wrong, but there weren’t the amazing high-highs and I see that looking back.

I love my husband. And think I always will. And I do truly believe we will be good friends.

As our relationship went on, the physical part waned. (I know it does in many cases, but this really waned.)

Even before we got married we were barely having sex anymore. It wasn’t the kids that killed our sex life. Hell, we didn’t even have sex on our wedding night. (I hear that’s fairly common.)

When I got pregnant with my first child, my amazing daughter, I knew exactly when I got pregnant. We had only had sex once that month. It wasn’t hard to figure out.

Same with my second child, my incredible son. It wasn’t hard to pin down when conception happened.

Then it started to dwindle even more. Once every couple months. Once a season. Once or twice a year.

Then none.

Then a year passed.

Then two.

With no sex at all.

Yes. I (we) went about two years without sex.

And it wasn’t just sex that dwindled to nothing.

The rest of the physical eventually ended, too.

We used to kiss hello and goodbye for the kids. I wanted them to see a healthy relationship.

But even that ended. No hugging. No touching.

And I’d resigned myself to the fact that this was going to be my life.

I didn’t ever want my kids to come from a broken home. Be the children of divorce. And that still kills me.

My life had gone grey.

And I was ok with it. And I use “ok” loosely. I just thought that’s what the rest of my existence would be. I’d just carry on. Be a good mom. Be a wife.

I was walking around, floating through life, without really realizing it.

As one dear friend put it, it was like swimming just below the surface. Seeing life. But not being part of it.

I put on a face of everything being “fine” for a long time. To friends. To coworkers. To family. Especially family.

But I wasn’t fine.

I didn’t feel the highs.



Lacking oxygen.


Like the frog.

I had retreated into myself. Leaving a shell exposed to the world.

I began to connect with people online. Through twitter I met some amazing people. Like energies attracted to each other.

I began to get out more.

I started to see some colour.

And it was only in seeing colour that the grey became apparent.

It was only in experiencing some highs that the numb became known.

I felt my light returning. I didn’t realize it had dimmed.

And it seemed like I could go on like that. Feeding myself by going out and being with people who got me. Who enjoyed being with me.

That’s key, isn’t it?

We all need to be wanted. And I wasn’t wanted by the one person who was supposed to want me above anyone else on the planet. (At least it felt that way to me.)

I was wanted again. People were disappointed if I wasn’t there.

It felt so good.

It still feels good.

I thought, “Ok. I can do life like this. Grey with a splash of colour. I need to keep my family together above everything else.”

But then it got to be not ok.

Another amazing friend said something that kicked me in the gut.

“Is the relationship you have the one you want your kids to have when they grow up?”


Throat punch.

Gut kick.

And the answer was absolutely not. Hub and I were co-existing. We had even passed the roommate stage. We were barely communicating anymore.

That was NOT what I wanted for my kids. At all.

And with that, I knew that’s what we were modeling.

That was their normal.

And that wasn’t ok.

I love my kids and that wasn’t ok.

People – many people – told me I was not the same when I was with Hub. That my light was gone.

And that meant that when I was home I had no light. My kids were getting a grey, dim mom.

And when Hub and I had our talk, we both seemed to be on the same page. Our relationship was at a point it needed to end.

Too long without oxygen.

We were at the point it was going to be better for our kids for us to be apart than be together.

And we continue to do what we think is best for our kids. And some of that is being the best “me” I can be. And it’s being the best “he” that Hub can be, too.

So now there is some light, some colour.. more and more all the time.

That also means there’s less numb.

And less numb means I’m feeling some highs again.

But, just as it is when the freezing is wearing off, I’m feeling the deeper pains, too.

Sometimes numb seems better. And I fight that urge to retreat to numb.

Numb was safe.

In the numb there was not real, deep pain.

And my inner, protective, lizard brain wants me to go back there. And it’s a struggle sometimes.

I still haven’t really cried since we told the kids and I wrote two posts about it. I’ve started to cry, but I’ve always stopped myself.

I’ve retreated back into the numb a bit. And I need to really work to not go back completely to the safety of numb.

The freezing is in the process of wearing off. And I need to let it. And feel the joys and pains that come along with that process.

I need to be strong.

Going back to numb would be the easy way out.

But I’m determined not to go back there.

I need to get better at asking for help when I really need it. Cuz honestly, that’s when I don’t. Not when I’m at that raw and really-needing-it stage. That’s when I turtle.

I am determined to live in full colour again. Euphoria. Blinding pain. It’s all part of the colour. And I’m working at embracing it all.

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44 Responses so far.

  1. Such a sad post, but with a happy ending. It is good that you and your husband can be friends, it will be better for the children.

  2. […] been doing ok with all this. This process of emerging from numb. Experiencing colour again. Telling the kids their world is changing. Being strong for […]

  3. Peter H says:

    “I need to get better at asking for help when I really need it. Cuz honestly, that’s when I don’t. Not when I’m at that raw and really-needing-it stage. That’s when I turtle.”

    I hate preachy…but
    It’s when you need help the most and feel like turning inside and the last thing you want to do is ask for help from anyone is when you have to turn to God for help. God is love and the source of all love. He loves you more then you or I can imagine. He made you and knows how you tick. He understands you. Go to him. Tell him how you feel. Yell, hit, scream, pound oh his chest, whisper, cry, whatever you have to do to get it out. He can take it, He is God. Like a little child that is scared or angry or sad and goes to their parent for comfort even if they are having a tantrum you hold them closer and take what they are giving until it passes, you tell them you love them, let the negative emotions pass and they will feel better. So too you must go and let God hold you while you tell him that you need his help.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I agree with all the comments above and could repeat the same thoughts but I think I’ll just remind you that you’re much loved and there are many of us who know all the colour you have within and are willing to bring over a multitude of crayons any time to help remind you!
    Luvs Ya!

  5. Marta says:


    Such an honest and open post. I just have to say that no one is ever really 100% cool with everything a partner does or says because we are individuals. However, we have one life. As my brother once said to me when my first marriage fell apart” it’s your movie, your the director the producer and the star , if it’s not the way you see your movie, make the changes.” My unsolicited advise , from an older gal who has a mirrored experience – take all the time you need to know you to find What you like, really like, do what you want for you and your kids. Everything else will fall into place. Really , just when your not expecting or looking, bam opportunity and then you’ll pick the seat you want! Chin up ! Cry! Laugh! Live your life!

  6. Beth says:

    Thank you for writing this. It really hits home with me. I’ve been aware for a LONG time that I’m living in the gray. And that something needed to change. I thought that time came a while back but things got better. Now I think I’m on the cusp again. I’ll be back to reread your post – maybe it will give me the courage to do what needs to be done.

    Thank you.

  7. Loukia says:

    You are so brave, and honest, and by taking the steps you know you needed to take, you will be seeing rainbows soon. xo

  8. i do not know what to say to this. it makes me really sad, and i am not sure why.
    but i am thrilled for you that you are unfreezing…it is spring right? it is time for this:).
    you are very good at putting the intangible into words.

  9. marci says:

    You are one of the most vibrant colorful people i know, both online and in real life!! I’m so glad to know you and so appreciative of you for writing this post – it really helps more people than you can imagine! {Reluctant, awkward} hugs and kisses to you, my friend!!
    ps. um, Am I allowed to say how HAWT I think that pic is??!!

  10. Alison says:

    Honest painful beautiful. You. Thanks for sharing your true colours.

  11. Karen says:

    Great post. Raw. Your kids will be proud of you for finding the colour. Thank you for sharing.

  12. I wish you luck while you discover the colour in your life again. Yes, it will be hard, but so worth it in the end! Hugs and thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  13. great post, make me think and realize a tons of stuff. I admire you to put yourself out there. baby step is the way to go cheers

  14. Kathryn Brubacher says:

    …thinking of you, Jacki
    Much of your story resonates with me.. my ‘no longer looming’ was 5 years ago.
    There IS sunshine and brightness on the other side!! Even though it’s between bouts of sadness, pain, and yes, some anger, as you have to part with hopes, dreams and expectations you had of your life…
    The sunny bits get more numerous and longer and the sad bits fewer…
    Hang in there…
    Kids also have to learn that life is complicated and adults do their best..

  15. Tracy says:

    Jackie you shine! -you are a beautiful person inside and out and you are doing exactly what you need to do -by being the best person you can be for you -you are also being the best Mom you can be for your kids 🙂
    I have been where you are and yes it was painful and hard and oh such a struggle but coming out at the other end and having a relationship that now has that passion -SO worth it! keep smiling beautiful lady! xxx

  16. Karen says:

    I agree with Marcy. By sharing you will be helping so many other women (and men too) who are going through the same emotions and experiences. Very powerful post! Thanks for sharing.

  17. mara says:

    It’s better to feel pain than not feel at all. The numb was not good. You only get one life and you must experience it with all of its highs and lows, pains and joys. You’ve taken a big brave step towards your own happiness. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but so excited for you to find your colours again.

  18. Jenn says:

    So powerful and real – thanks for being brave and sharing. My wish for you is a life in full blown, HD techicolour 3-D awesomeness! You so deserve it! hugs xoxoxox

  19. Maria says:

    You are so brave and amazing for sharing your true emotions. I think this post will resonate with many people. I’m happy you’ve come to realize the truth and are making the necessary changes to “live” again.

  20. anonymous coward says:

    I believe the attraction and passion may be nurtured and sparked, brought up to a roaring fire. How about counselling and some hard work to bring your relationship with your husband to that? That initial spark that others feel does die if not worked with. You’ve already come so far with him.

    • jackiyo says:

      This has been a long time and coming and we did work through all our options. And I’m not sure you create a passion that was never there. We do have a good relationship, it’s just better when we’re not together. Do I feel like chickening out? Sometimes. But this definitely isn’t the “easy” way, either.

  21. I soo soo get this, I get what numb is, and what color is, for way to long I too lived in numb, it is a comfy place but you can only stay there so long before you fall into the abyss of dark..finding the light, the color is so so important, glad it is starting to shine through.

  22. Tanya says:

    Well Written Jacki!! Colour will fill your life again!! Takes time!! I am finally feeling more normal everyday!! 🙂

  23. Sharon says:

    You WILL live in colour again. It will take time and energy and an investment in you, but the returns are well worth it.

  24. Marcy Berg says:

    Many feel it and few share it. It’s the brave people like you that will help others work through their feelings.

    Better days ahead!

  25. Lis says:

    I hope to live in colour again one day too. I’m glad you found yours. xo

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