Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Perspective altering questions

Have you ever been asked a question that triggered an epiphany? One that shed light on something that until then, you hadn't considered? When SweetieDarling was ten years old and playing softball, I would associate with the other mothers. Usually only at games, but we were friendly. During a conversation one afternoon, during which I was lamenting yet another shortcoming of Sams', this woman looked at me in all seriousness and asked "do you even like your husband?". Needless to say, I was taken aback. But after much consideration I realized that there would be no way for her to have any other perception. I never praised anything he did or any efforts he made. I only criticized.

And there was a lot to praise. He was a considerate and helpful person who wanted me to be happy. He would surprise me with weekend trips away, where all I had to do was pack and leave. Bring home something he saw that he thought might please me. There are years worth of examples I could give extolling his virtues. We were deliriously, stupidly happy for six years. We were living our lives to the fullest.

But it's all changed now. We've both changed, and I am so torn. When taking inventory of this relationship, the bad is starting to outweigh the good. The inequality is starting to weigh heavily on me and I don't know if I can continue to bear it. Poppets, I do everything. He won't even mow the lawn! I do all housework and household related chores and errands. I do all the yardwork. I run our business and handle all of our money. He goes to work, comes home, and sits on the sofa. This person is not someone that I would choose to be friends with if I met him now. We're strangers. We have no shared interests anymore. I am a person who reads voraciously. Usually one or two novels a week. I have a library of over one thousand books. My husband doesn't read. Well, he can read, obviously, just not for pleasure. But it was this way years ago, why does it matter now? Our other differences that didn't matter then suddenly seem like deal breakers now. We haven't slept in the same room for six months and I don't mind. When I'm on my way home and come around the bend in the road and see his truck in the drive, I wince. When I see his number on caller id, I cringe. I don't wish him any ill will. As a matter of fact, I want only the best for him. He'll always be the father of the best kid in the world and that has to count for something. We just have such different ambitions and goals. He is never happy, always wanting more, bigger truck, bigger house, bigger and more more more. Whereas if I have a dependable vehicle and an adequate home, I'm good. I just can't see spending the rest of my life always looking for that one thing that's going to make it all right. There is no thing, it has to come from within and I can't make him see that. If we, his family can't be enough, then nothing ever will.

I know that I can't stay in this marriage. But I also know that I need to be very smart about leaving it. I know it will take me at least a year to put together what I need to be able to walk out with a clear plan for taking care of our future. It is imperative that I wait until the housing industry picks up, because until that happens my stock isn't worth the paper it's printed on. It also has bearing on how much equity there is in our home, of which I'm entitled to 60%. There's just so much to think about. But since I'm actually to the logistics stage, I think that's a fairly decent indicator that I'm ready. The emotional stage is over.

So in answer to that long ago question: No, not anymore.


CelticBuffy said...

Oh hon, I'm so sorry. I've been there. I used to dread my ex coming home (he worked in another state) and my oldest would count down the days until he left to go to work again. That's no way to live. You're right, you do need a plan. Even in our case, where it was a mutual decision to divorce, things still get messy & bitter. My thoughts are with you.

Twisting Ivy said...

Oh Shania... big hugs.

You're right, I think we did marry the same man, lol. And I'm sorry you're unhappy.

I wish it were easier to fix things once they've gone downhill... 6 happy years was a good run, compared to my... 1?

But it is daunting when you get in that rut together, and that pattern of behaviour. Hang in there and set your goals, a plan will hopefully make it smoother.

Candy said...

Lady, I think you just described my life. The difference - I'm not strong enough to leave, so I'll just stay forever, miserable most of the time.

I realized last night, though, that I have been unnaturally sharp with him of late, and wonder if it's possible I'm peri-menopausal. Maybe. That would be a great excuse, rather than I just don't like him.

::hugs:: This is a tough one. Thanks for having the courage to say it.

Dingo said...

Oh my. Did you marry my ex-husband? I should've warned you. I got out. I didn't have children, we didn't own a home, and we had practically no assets but it was still a painful, bitter, pain in the ass. But worth it.

I am not saying that's what you should do (only you will be able to make that decision) but that you should think about how you want to live the rest of your life.

No matter what you decide, you need a plan. If you stay, what can you do (if anything) to get some happiness to feel that you are valued and respected (because that's what it comes down to really). If you leave, well, that's a whole sort of different planning altogether.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Willow said...

"When I'm on my way home and come around the bend in the road and see his truck in the drive, I wince. When I see his number on caller id, I cringe."

Oh Shania, I had such a lump in my throat, It was like reading something I would have written myself a few years ago. Judging from commentators here, many people feel the same way.

Whatever your future holds, stay strong. You will get through it.

Ree said...

I'm so sorry darlin. It's tough, so so tough to just admit what you've said.

And very brave.

You're strong. You will get through this. Just be sure you keep in touch with someone who knows, okay? Don't do the planning and stuff on your own.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to learn of your situation. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you face the challenges ahead.

the queen said...

I've been there too. Strangely, I like him now. But I changed, he didn't. (Also, there is dog shit all over the floor and no one cleans it up.)

jen @ the cubicle's backporch said...

I can't imagine how hard this is. But you're right, you need a plan so that you're not hung out to dry.

Life is short, so happiness shouldn't be put off. I'm glad that you're focusing on YOU now.

moo said...

you know what? marriage is a lot of hard work and it's really easy to get in a rut of daily life and forget to work on your marriage.


there definitely are times when you KNOW that things aren't right. That it's time to move on and live your own life. You aren't his mother and it sounds like he wanted you to be. And I know it's going to be a long, hard process, but you are a strong woman. And I know you'll get through it.


Anonymous said...

So sorry. I had no idea. But I do know what it feels like when you know it's over, and have to stay awhile longer....


Jocelyn said...

I can't believe that you can be so articulate about this huge sea change. However, your articular-ity does show how "done" you really are. You're not in the midst of feeling this thing; you're already over it.

That's how it reads, anyhow. All power to you, dear.