Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What Does It Cost? Peaches from Petaluma on Love in the Academy.

My divorce became final today. I know, I know, call the "WHAAAAAmbulance" for poor widdle me. But I think this topic is germane to what we talk about here.

I have nothing but academic friends, and many of them have pleasant and enchanting relationships. But not all of them. And not me. My own sob story started with the "trailing spouse" dynamic that seems so prevalent.

I got the big job; "Kevin" followed along. I moved up, got opportunities, and Kevin sunk lower and lower into an adjunct funk that he could not get himself out of. No infidelity, no loss of love, no loss of attachment. Kevin just got to the point where his self-worth was so low that we couldn't stand to be in the same room together.

I didn't want "more" than him; I didn't feel as though his career held me back. He just became so full of self-loathing and so depressed that we could not have a regular life together.

We went to a clinician for a while, and we even talked to my chair and her husband, a happily married couple of one tenured prof and one "happy" adjunct.

None of it worked and now I'm single, childless, facing tenure year alone, and missing my best friend.

Like I said, maybe you want to beat me up for being so pathetic, but this story of mine surely isn't so extraordinary or rare. I knew an academic life would cost something, money, prestige, sleep!, whatever. I didn't know it would cost me love.