I Call It Dating. You Call It Stalking.

The Tin Anniversary

Adam Avitable in a tuxToday would have been that day. The tin anniversary. The one that surely would have been punctuated by a weekend trip to Savannah or Atlanta or the Keys. Where I would have spent too much on a pair of diamond earrings just for the look on her face.

Ten years is a long time. I thought we had it in the bag. It was a done deal. 10, 20, 30, 50, 75. Piece of cake.

I had to look through my blog archives to figure out what we did for our five-year anniversary, and due to her work and travel schedule keeping her away for almost three weeks in a row, we did absolutely nothing. That was part of the issue. At first, I hated those long work trips, leaving me alone with the dog, lonely and bored. But over time, very gradually, I began to anticipate her trips. I would count on them – that was my time to relax and do what I wanted to do. I would encourage her to travel more and more, just so I could have time to be me.

A little honesty and communication would have gone a long way towards that issue. It’s my fault that I wasn’t willing to open that dialogue and that I continued to push for us to lead our separate lives, and I accept responsibility for that. Taking responsibility is something that I’ve come to learn in the last few years, and I’ve realized that I needed to take a lot more, both in my marriage and outside of it. It used to scare me, that idea of being responsible for the negative things that happen, for the bad choices that are made, but now I realize it’s just part of being human.  You don’t need to hide all of the bad things in order to truly enjoy the good.

Had I acted honestly and told her how I felt, would I be celebrating with her today? I don’t know – probably not. But I’ll never know.  And while I am at peace with that, with the potential that any tin anniversary I may ever have (or any anniversary, for that matter) will be with someone else, there will always be that small part of me that feels like a failure.

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26 Replies to “The Tin Anniversary”

  1. The Honourable Husband

    A nice, normal, healthy attitude on your part, Adam. Take the rough with the smooth, the good with the bad, the icky with the sexy, the missed opportunities with the averted disasters.

    In our black-and-white, winner-takes-all, second-is-the-first-loser culture, such moments of temperate realism are rare.

  2. Maura

    I’ve never been to the point where I’d be anticipating a tin anniversary, but I can understand how hard it must be to be looking back and doing the wondering thing.

    This struck a chord with me: You don’t need to hide all of the bad things in order to truly enjoy the good. I think that can apply to a LOT of interpersonal relationship stuff.

  3. Kirsty

    Great post, very honest and insightful.
    I DID make it to the tin anniversary, but DIDN’T make it to crystal (missed it by almost exactly one year). And yes, it felt strange.
    It’s easy for me (given the nature of our breakup) to blame my ex exclusively for all the shit that went down, but I know that I have my share of the responsibility (though I will maintain till my dying day that my share is much, much smaller than his). When a partnership fails, even when one partner becomes psychotic, paranoid, delusional and very mildly violent, the other partner is to blame a little.
    But yes, it’s hard to admit. Especially when you’re trying (me, I mean) not to just become all eaten up with frustration and anger.
    I hope to be as wise and insightful as you one day. Maybe I need to get my feather boa out…

  4. Robin

    Happy non-anniversary, Adam. I’ve gone through some of the same thoughts over the last couple of years and I feel like it’s important to still mark these occasions if only so that we remember not to make the same mistakes in our new lives/relationships. Honesty and communication…if I learned one thing in my marriage, it’s that without them, you don’t actually have anything no matter how much you love the person you’re with.
    Keep being honest and being you…you’ve come a LONG way, baby! 😀

  5. Stacey

    You’ll have your tin. Maybe with someone else ,maybe as a famous comedian,maybe something else. I don’t see this as being about failure. It’s really about growth and having found out who you really are. Ultimately isn’t that a success?

  6. Nenette

    I completely understand. The feeling that you could’ve given 100%, even knowing that it probably wouldn’t have made a difference, is something hard to put aside, especially in hindsight. Try not to be so hard on yourself. At the time, you made the best decisions you could’ve possibly made. And really, that’s all you should expect from yourself. xoxo

  7. Mandy_Fish

    I like your honesty too. I made it to my tin anniversary but not beyond. I still struggle with guilt over that, but I am working through it. Here’s hoping I’ll make it to that tin anniversary and beyond with my second husband. I certainly have learned from my mistakes and this marriage is stronger for it.

  8. Annabelle

    Excellent words to ponder.

    Though my marriage alternates between strife and bliss, I do assume it’s a permanent arrangement.

    That could be a fatal mistake, no?

    It’s easier for me to accept my mistakes than those made by other people. I forget they are just as human.

    Thanks man.

    oh, and for the record, I like tender, introspective Adam just a much a offensively hilarious Adam.

  9. B.E. Earl

    Just yesterday (or the day before) I spent an hour or so looking for something funny you had posted several years ago. Not that I had to go back that far to find something funny, mind you. I was just looking for something specific. I now can’t remember exactly what that was. But I got caught up in reading some of your more personal stuff like this, and I was wondering how you were doing with it all.

    Tackling it all with honesty and acceptance, no matter how much it makes you feel like a failure, seems to be the way to go.


  10. Al_Pal

    Coulda, woulda. *hugs* Good post.

    I’ve been reading people’s advice a little more lately, on the whole marriage thing, as my dude & I will be undertaking that endeavor after ten years together…

  11. Jan(e)

    I think you can add realist to your banner.

    Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets.

  12. Lynda

    I’m amazed that I barely think about those days that use to be so important. Well, they were important to me. I sometimes get the, “Something happened on this day….” feeling.

    This struck a cord with me: “I would encourage her to travel more and more, just so I could have time to be me.” I spent a lot of time not being me, and I think it’s important to stay true to yourself. Hopefully, that feeling of failure goes away over time, and you’ll get some insight into what did and didn’t work (the traveling, the communication, etc.) and you’ll find those things in the person you want to be with.

  13. Karen Sugarpants

    I want to write about how proud I am of you, but I don’t want it to sound condescending or anything. You’re doing so well – and you are so honest with yourself. I like this Adam, very much. You deserve this healthy state of well-being, this growth. Good on you, budbud. xo

  14. J

    Diamonds on a tin anniversary? No, give her tin. Silly. Though my husband gave me gold on our paper anniversary, and I didn’t say, no, please, take it back and give me paper.

    Such a lovely and sad and open post. I hope that your next relationship is one that will last and be strong.

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