There are two definitions of the word "asylum" that come immediately to my mind:
asylum - a shelter from danger or hardship
asylum - a hospital for mentally unbalanced persons
In a few weeks, my apartment is destined to become one, or perhaps both of those things because, due to financial and other considerations, my ex will be moving back in with me for a time. To be certain, this is neither a reconciliation, nor a (re)marriage of convenience, but rather a backup plan that was to be used in the event all else failed. Unfortunately, all else has failed.
When we parted, some three and a half years ago, we thought it would be for the best if we each go our separate ways while maintaining a friendship. We figured that we would offer mutual assistance and make the parting as amicable as we could. After all, why throw away a 20 plus year relationship because the marriage failed.
Of course, things didn't work out quite that way. (Do they ever?) While I was able to make a fairly clean break, after a period of intense emotional turmoil, it hasn't worked out so well for her. She has since been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder as well as Complex PTSD, both of which are long standing issues from her distant past, that have become debilitating due to being left undiagnosed and untreated for such a long time. In addition, there is the battle against alcohol abuse that we both fight on a daily basis, and finally, she suffered back and knee injuries, after being physically assaulted in 2011, leaving her physically, as well as mentally partially disabled. She is doing her best to overcome some terrible circumstances in order to regain her independence, however she still needs my help... A LOT. We are waiting for her to get disability benefits so she can get back to living on her own, but it's taking forever and we have had to hire a lawyer to help us. We are hoping for a positive outcome by year's end.
I will confess to being a little nervous about doing this. Even though she is doing very well with medication, and counseling, and we have known each other for over 20 years, there are still the memories of how it ended the last time. There are also the outstanding issues that broke us up to begin with, and perhaps a bit of left over hurt. (We have been trying our best to tread softly around those things) Not only that, but we will be moving into a new and more expensive apartment in order to make enough room for both of us, and that alone will be kind of a big thing.
In spite of being somewhat anxious, I think I'm doing the right thing. It's one thing to talk about “being there” for someone, and another thing to actually “BE” there when they are running out of options. Let's face it, friendship is easy when things are going well, but the true test of any relationship happens when things go wrong, and even though I am making myself vulnerable by opening my door, she is likewise making herself vulnerable by trusting that her time with me will be peaceful, and secure.
We have been talking things through and even though neither of us thinks that this is an ideal solution, we are both willing to try to make it work. Only time will tell if we've made the right choice.