Wise words from “Happily Divorced.”
Have any of you watched “Happily Divorced”? It’s a comedy starring Fran Drescher based on her own marriage to a gay man. (Actually, he was the one who wrote and produced “The Nanny.”) They were married very young and it lasted 21 years, into their 40s. Neither of them realized it until they started going to therapy after the trauma of a home invasion. At that point he thought he was bi and they were both struggling with the situation. She felt it wasn’t fair to either of them to stay in the marriage, so she divorced him and he was so hurt that he wouldn’t talk to her for a year. He moved to New York and about a year later she was diagnosed with cancer, wrote a book about it and she ended up in New York on a book tour. At that point he admitted to her that he was fully out as a gay man and they reconciled. They were on Oprah talking about it last spring.
Anyway, the sit-com stars Fran and has her living with her gay ex-husband, Peter, because neither one of them can afford to move out. I think it’s on TV Land. It’s not very many episodes, and the first season was last year. It was funny, but still too soon for me to laugh much. A few weeks ago, the new season started, and I definitely like it more this year. Last week’s episode had two parts that I wanted to share. Fran and Peter go to anger therapy because she is having trouble dating anyone who is emotionally available. She thinks back to when they first met and Peter told her he loved her, but wasn’t in love with her. She’s trying to work out her anger and why that made her want him even more. And why she keeps dating men she can’t have. It comes to a climax and here’s the part that really touched me:
Peter: Why do you think I keep trying to set you up and find you somebody?
Fran: Oh, I don’t know…to relieve your guilt?
Peter: No. It’s because I can’t be happy until I know that you’re happy too.
Has anyone else felt this way? I have been frustrated because ever since DGH came out, he has been talking about me finding someone new and how he wants me to date, etc. Because I was blind-sided and in mourning, I didn’t want to hear it. He moved on to new relationships in the blink of an eye and I just felt abandoned and unwanted. The petty part of me felt like he just wants me to remarry to relieve his guilt and get out of paying alimony. But this silly sit-com really struck a chord with me. I know he loves me so much and he truly struggles to find happiness even though he is now living as his authentic self. I see now that me moving on and finding a new relationship would help us both to heal. I never blame him as the cause of my pain, but he is the unwitting source. I don’t know, just thinking about this in a new way.
The other part of this last episode that I loved, was at the very end. Fran and Peter are talking about how good the anger therapy felt and toasting the closure of old wounds. But before they can call it a night, Fran has to bring up the “love you” vs. “in love with you” from their early days:
Fran: When you said that you loved me but weren’t in love with me, what did you mean?
Peter: I don’t know. I was 19. I was a kid. I wasn’t ready. I mean, you understand that, don’t you?
Fran: Yeah, I guess so. But, were you ever…?
Peter: Madly. And deeply. In love with you. And to be honest, it’s still hard for me to see you with another guy.
For all of you wonderful straight spouses out there, don’t you ever think that your spouse/ex-spouse wasn’t in love you. I believe that they all were truly, madly and deeply in love with us at some point. Don’t diminish what you had. ‘Nough said!