Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Wished Out

It's 5:00 am and I have to write this out or I'll never go to sleep. The stupid lines I'm going to write here have been running back and forth constructing and deconstructing themselves until I write them or go mad. I'm so tired.

I was going to say that everything I've written about Andy has been a lie, but that wouldn't be exactly right. What's happened is that I've simply neglected to mention one very big looming aspect of our relationship. I read about Heather and John at Dooce.com and see that team, and the comfort she takes in him, and that is not what I have.

Andy is mad at me 100% of the time. It is alwaysALWAYS there just behind everything, lurking, and waiting to pounce. He is mad at me because I send Ethan to private school. We are nearly destitute, in a ludicrously tiny house that is falling down around our ears, barely able to keep our cars running and afford groceries, with astronomical debt load and not much possibility on the horizon of anything improving, and he thinks it's absurd and, well, offensive, frankly, that every penny I make goes to keep Ethan just one more year at this school.

We live in a public school district and there is no way I will throw my son to those wolves.

I would rather be poor and not work full-time, so that I can be home with my small children. I have done daycare with Ethan, and I will not subject my children to that while there is a breath left in my body. But you see, I would rather be poor and happy. And loved.

I can be poor and happy.

I cannot be poor and unhappy. And unloved.

Oh sure, he says he loves me, but what does that amount to, really? He loves me in that he'd-be-sorry-if-I-died sort of way. Abstractly. But nothing I do will make him be tender and kind to me. To love me obviously, truly, romantically, here and now. I am of no value to my husband, beyond maybe as the mother of his kids. And even that is apparently suspect because of my nearly criminal lack of concern for their well-being by working to keep Ethan at his school.

Nothing I do makes Andy behave any differently towards me. I have tried cooking elaborate, love-filled vegetarian feasts, I have tried spending the money I should be spending on Ethan's tuition on groceries, so that Andy doesn't have to buy groceries: he'd rather eat frozen burritos and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I've tried beautifying and cleaning the house: he'd rather live in squalor. I've tried having sex with him every single day: it didn't make him any more protective of me or gentle towards me when his ill-mannered brother and horrible sister-in-law visited. It didn't improve his mood any. All that hype about give guys sex and they'll do anything for you is a big fat lie. It makes absolutely no discernible difference in my husband's behavior towards me. I've tried being generous and caring to his family. Boy did that backfire. I've even tried to be a better, happier me, spending a little time with my friends in a once-a-month gathering that was so good for my soul I can't even express it, but it just made Andy mad that he had to babysit the kids. I've tried encouraging him to do things with his friends, but the best one doesn't live here and only comes around on holidays, and even then he's apparently really busy now partying, and the other one is kind of lame, and his wife hits on Andy.

None of this matters because, as Andy said to me the last time we had a small argument about something that quickly reduced itself to what underlies all of our arguments, my unforgivable sending of Ethan to an expensive school (for which I have not asked Andy for a PENNY since the disastrous first couple of times I had to early in our marriage, mistakenly thinking that my goals for Ethan would be his goals too), because I HAVE SACRIFICED THE WELL-BEING OF THIS FAMILY.

When he said that to me, I knew that this was why he doesn't really love me anymore, because that is what he truly believes. And in that moment I knew I couldn't be married to the person who really and truly believed that about me. And so I started packing. I will not be with someone who thinks that about me. I will not be married to someone who doesn't love me. This was a few months ago. Andy got scared and convinced me to stay. He said he doesn't think that I sacrificed the well-being of this family, but the cat is out of that bag. Once said, it cannot be unsaid.

So yesterday, realizing that the ice-maker is broken, and the refrigerator probably shouldn't be as hot to the touch as a curling iron, and the drier in the nearly completely dark basement (the lights don't work anymore) is taking 4-5 hours to dry a load of baby laundry, I crept up the stairs steeling myself to mention to Andy that the drier probably should be looked at by someone and fearing the reaction I knew I would get. Because I know that he is mad at me 100% of the time.

He told me to use some of my money to call a repairman because he doesn't have any money. He knows very well that I don't have a penny. Of which I reminded him. Then I said something about the ice maker, and while I was looking for ice cube trays he made some low comment to himself like, "Why don't you just go to Williams Sonoma and get some really expensive ones." Which is the most unfair thing in the world, and just nasty to say to me, because I NEVER shop. I NEVER-EVER shop. I am wearing the same old raggedy winter coat I've had for 9 years, with the pockets ripped out and the lining in shreds, and the same clothes I've had on for 5 days because I don't buy myself new clothes, in shoes from 3 years ago, and I NEVER go shopping. I have never stepped foot inside a Williams Sonoma, except if you count the 2 paces it took me to reach the peppermint bark sample table they had just inside the entrance last Christmas.

I can be poor, if I'm happy. And loved.

I can sleep on the deeply sloping, back-achy mattress that was once owned by my ex-husband's mother and her third husband. In the hideous black lacquer, ghetto, mirror-in-the-headboard, taste-affronting bed that that woman bought for me and her son as a wedding present, without consulting me. With matching bedside tables and 2 dressers. I can stack books and children on top of one another until they spout out the chimney, if I am loved.

He is too angry at me to love me.

When he made that totally unfair Williams Sonoma comment, I was already crying, but suddenly I realized the nightmare in which I am living. This is my horror movie. I am being stabbed in the shower. I am married to someone who doesn't love me, whose constant anger I fear. It is exactly like living with my parents. I am in the exact same god-damned situation I have been in for over half of my life. And I think a part of Andy told me that thing about my mom telling his mom how disappointed she is in me just to hurt me. He could've kept that to himself, but the part of him that is mad at me 100% of the time did that to me to be cruel. He knew I would brood and brood on it, and it would get worse by the day. He's met me, for Christ's sake. Why else would he do that to me?

And so, at the discovery that I am living in my own personal horror movie, this scream flew up out of my gut, and through my throat and the top of my head and suddenly I couldn't stop screaming. My children were there at the breakfast table and I was blood-curdlingly screaming, one after the other. I had to run to the bathroom and scream into a towel, but I couldn't stop. I screamed up blood and mucus and my heart until I couldn't get any more out because my throat hurt too much. This person, person #3, my person who I picked, lives with me but doesn't love me. He is not on my team. He does not comfort me. He is always and forever mad at me and thinks I sacrificed the welfare of the family.

All I have wanted my whole adult life is to bask in someone's love, rather than withering and fearing in the shadow of contempt and anger. I have wished to be able to take breaths knowing that someone loves me completely, without constant disappointment and anger at something I've done or not done.

I still want this. I'm still wishing. This anguish of this wishing is like death.

It was everything I could do not to drive my car off an overpass today. I didn't, because of the children.

I wanted someone who would not cheat on, or hit me. And Andy won't.

I wanted someone who would love me tenderly. And Andy won't.

I will not leave him. I won't do that to the kids. I will stay here and resign myself to this life, wherein I cook and clean and tend to the children, and am not loved. This is the life I have.

I write this because I had to, knowing that you will comment, and Andy will read. I did not write this to bash Andy. He cannot help his feelings. He cannot help feeling that he married someone who has done something unforgivable. But this is my forum, and I wrote this so that I can get it out of my head, and maybe sleep for an hour before the baby wakes up. I have never wanted this blog to be an Andy-bashing blog, and so I'm asking you please not to bash Andy in your comments. That won't help me or him. It would just make things uglier.


Anonymous holly said...

I must have read this just as it was posted... hang in there ( ( hugs ) )

3:39 AM  
Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

Sweetheart, I know how hard it was to write that and how difficult things are for you, and I am so sorry. Not in an I pity you kind of way, but in a I wish I could hug you and take you out for coffee kind of way. Don't despair, and don't give up hope. I'm here for whatever you need, and I mean it.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I am so sorry. I know you don't want our pity, and I'm not giving you any. I am truly, heartbreakingly, sorry for you.

My mother lives in that relationship, and has for the past 37 years of her life. She stayed for me.

I knew when I was 6 that my parents shouldn't be married. When I was 11, I begged her to leave.

She wouldn't.

She hasn't been happy for 37 years. She doesn't *do* anything now. She's always depressed, always sad. I would be, too, if I had wasted 37 years of my one and only life with someone who didn't love me.

I hope you reconsider; staying for the kids doesn't do anyone any good. Especially the kids. Imagine the burden *I* feel, knowing that the only reason she stayed was initially because of me and then she just didn't know how to leave when I was gone.

What I really hope for is that Andy comes to his senses. I do not respect my father for the way he treated/treats my mother. And if he thinks that the kids don't know, he's deluding himself.

The best thing, THE VERY BEST THING, that a father can do for his kids is to love their mother above everything.

Email me if you need to, OK?

9:37 AM  
Blogger jennifer starfall said...

i told my mom to make my dad leave when i was 15 because i knew she was going insane living with someone who didn't love her above all else. divorce sucks, but i've got 4 parents now, all of them happy. how lucky am i?

my husband and i have had our issues in our 5 years. no kids, but i get the "i can be poor and happy" thing. that's me. my husband needs the stuff; house, cars, gadgets, etc. we fought over that tremendously, mostly because he thought i wasn't holding up my end. until he realized that even if i live in his lifestyle, it's not what i've chosen and i'm not obligated to kill myself to keep it. we share everything, but i do live within my own means. it took a lot of screaming and listening and explaining and acceptance to figure that out.

and also remember that men tend not to express whatever it is they're really angry about, they use every unrelated opportunity instead. instead of pleading, yelling, or begging for an answer, ask him, as one equal adult to another "what are you angry about?"

hang in there for love and hope. not for the children. i wish you the best.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Marti said...

From what you reveal here, you and Andy seem like two reasonable people. I'm not going to generalize TOO much... but typically men are socialized not to verbalize their feelings. If not talked about, anger piles up into seething resentment. Seething resentment piling up often turns into neglect or hatred.

It's been 5 years since my ex and I divorced, and I still love her. But my ex-wife had no vent, no valve, no release. Well, I take that back... her release was a fist. Because she had no positive release, I became withdrawn and fearful of her.

To work this out, both of you HAVE to be committed to the mission. I would suggest couples therapy... and I know what you're going to say... "We can't afford it." In the end, you can't afford NOT to. Besides, many therapists (I'm a big fan of MSW therapists, because they concentrate on the issue at hand)base their fee on a sliding scale.

I probably always will love Deborah (my ex). But I've learned that love isn't always enough. There are three things I've asked myself since:

1. Do I love them?(to me love=respect+desire+loyalty+honesty)

2. Do they love me?

3. Do they make me a better person, or do they take from me.

If any of these three are answered negatively, there is no hope, IMO (in my case I realized that #1 was true,#2 I'm not sure to this day of, and #3 wasn't)But if you can say yes to all three, it's a matter of understanding and caring about each others history and POV.

It's taken me 5 years to heal from the ending of a 10 year relationship/marriage. I know what it's like to not want to go on... for YEARS ...3 to be exact... I felt just that way. The only thing that stopped me was that my dad died when I was 11. He drank himself to death. I didn't want them to grow up without me... and for a long time that is what kept me here.

That being said, I'm finally in a place where I've dealt with the loss, so I can move on.

I hope that whatever happens, this trauma leaves you with as little damage as possible. My heart and my thoughts are with you and yours tonight.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous ozma said...

I'm so sorry. This is a frightening thing to read. It hurt to read it. It is strange that I was with some family members who are experiencing something similar to what you are describing and I saw that pain close up. I hope it isn't true that there is nothing that can be done to change things between you and he, that it is not hopeless. I hope that it will change. For them and for you. If it doesn't though, I hope you won't stay.

It should never be that way.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Daisy Mae said...

Its better to vent and let it out then to keep it bottled up inside. You choose your forum and got it off of your chest and you'll feel better for it.

My own personal opinion on the private school thing is that you are investing in the future. How can you go wrong when you are putting your childs future above all else. He's a very lucky boy!

I am sure Andy loves you or he wouldn't stay. Sometimes things look darkest before the dawn so don't close the door on him yet.

We are all here for you any time you need to vent or just need a shoulder. And I am with oyu 100% as I too would rather be poor and happy and loved rather then rich and unhappy.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god-- I am sending you love and care and more love. And sending you more love. I want to help you. You are a great mother. You are DESERVING of a great nurturing love.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

The Internets are concerned about your welfare. Are you ok? We don't want to nag....

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you seem really one sided and not concerned with how he is feeling. it's all about you and what you feel and he's doing this to you. as though nothing you do could genuinely be affecting him or the family in a negative way and you're just such a martyr who gives gives gives and all she receives is pain. you need help.

8:00 AM  
Blogger grudge girl said...

God, you are soooooo right! Consider my husband's feeling? Why didn't I ever think of that before? How is it possible that you, anonymous, knowing nothing about me or my family, can have so accurately assessed the situation?

The world, anonymous, needs more people like you. People who courageously stand up, er, well, anonymously and pass judgements on people and situations about which they know nothing. (Unless this is Andy's sister, in which case, examine your own cry for help that this snotty, ignorant comment actually is.) Yes, the world needs more people who throw caution to the wind, along with centuries of grammatical precedent in the form of capitalization. People who care.

How could I not have seen this before? I AM a martyr! I don't flay myself to an exhausted bone, working three jobs and raising three kids! I am not in pain! I don't need love, I need to be grateful! I am lucky my husband speaks to me at all! StupidSTUPID me!

Thank you, anonymous. Your astute comments have changed my whole perspective. I have seen the light.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Angela said...

I hope things are going alright. You shouldn't have to justify your feelings to anonymous. I can't believe the nerve some people have and the cowardice at the same time.

Your feelings are valid.

Good luck.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I just came to by to check it to see how you're doing. I hope you're okay, and I hope "anonymous" gets a nasty stomach virus soon. Jerk.

7:29 AM  

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