Anyone who has been in a relationship with someone suffering from depression knows the feeling of lonely togetherness.
You are there, but you are not there. They are there, but they are not there.
You are not like your other friends, who go on date nights with their spouses and curl up on couches to watch tv as couples, or talk politics over dinner, or have pillow talks about the kids before they fall asleep at night. You are not a sitcom couple, or a movie couple, or a neighborhood couple. You are hardly a couple.
There are moments. There are moments when you are both there, and laughing, and holding hands like a normal couple but those moments are so fucking rare, and yet you cling to them like powerful myths. Because of them you know a feeling of togetherness is possible, and the ability to feel loved is possible, and you wait for it to happen again. You wait a very long time. You wait longingly while you are lonely. And the lonely togetherness is hard, because it keeps you with a person, but you are also not really with them.
Your togetherness is you in one room, with the kids, while your spouse is in the basement, hiding from the world. Your togetherness is you making plans knowing your spouse won't join, and that they will choose to stay home while you go out. Your togetherness is your friends only ever seeing you and asking you how your spouse is. Your togetherness is you putting your children to sleep while your spouse takes pills and drinks from a bottle and passes out before you get to say goodnight.
You are lonely togetherness.
The present loneliness is different, but it is not that different. I am still alone most nights, watching my children with my own eyes, feeding them with my own hands, raising them with just my voice. And after the children are all asleep it is just my own words filling my head and my own body filling my bed.
This is what it was like most nights before my husband killed himself. My own words, my own bed, my own head. But there was still another adult breathing in this house. There were still footsteps, and words, and hands. He was still here, even though he wasn't here. Now he is not here at all, and I am the only adult in this house of four people.
I am in a relationship. I have been in a relationship for over a year.
But he is here and he is not here. We text each other. He lives a two hour long drive away and he has children and it is complicated. It is very complicated. I love him very much, and it is complicated.
The moments when we are together we laugh and hold hands like a normal couple but it is rare, and I cling to it like a powerful myth. I know the feeling of togetherness is possible, and the ability to feel loved is possible, and I wait for it to happen again. I wait a long time. I wait longingly while I am lonely. And the lonely togetherness is hard, because it keeps me with him, but I am also not really with him.
I don't want lonely togetherness. I want together togetherness.