As I go up and down, as one commenter said, even zigzag through life, I’m starting to see that some events change my life, and that some don’t. Well life is different today. I am calm and looking to a different future. Therapy yesterday has given me new understanding.
I feel like I have given my marriage everything that I can right now. It has consumed me. The effort of making a broken relationship function properly has nearly done me in – again. That is why I dream of escaping and can’t enjoy my children. I’m all used up. Everything is just work, just too hard.
Hubby and I do well as friends, enjoy time together when we are alone, eating out, dating and drinking. But remove the fun and alcohol, and add in kids, chaos, sex and intimacy, stress and daily life, and well, it just does not work. Old resentments and old routines always surface. There are too many things I can’t forgive, both in him, and in myself. The pain is too real, and bigger than the both of us.
Our counselors have both told us they don’t think this relationship can heal. What? Aren’t they supposed to be positive we can work it out? Well, maybe not always. They did not tell us to stop trying completely, but they did tell us we need a break from one another. A break from the trying and constant effort and stress to regroup and just breathe.
I have put Hubby in a terrible place, where he feels he needs to be perfect for me to love him. I know that place is terrible, because I grew up there, and I will not stay in that position, feeling like I am my parents and he is the struggling child trying endlessly to please me. No matter how much I tell Hubby to stop being sorry and saying sorry, he feels the constant need for my approval. His happiness depends on my mood, and I feel responsible for him. Just like I felt with my Dad. Yes, I said it. Just like with my Dad. Well, fel, not feel – past tense, now that I understand what this is – I can no longer do this.
Over the years, I have told him many times that although I love him, appreciate him, feel grateful to him, and often enjoy being with him – I have never felt like I am in love with him. There just has to be something else for him to be the love of my life, just has to be. In my twenties and plunges into depression, this feeling of emptiness was blamed on my depression. He would convince me to hang on, that my feelings would change when I feel better. I hung on and tried. During my thirties we were all in survival mode. I had so many babies so quickly (not quite planned that way – stupid malfunctioning ovaries – but I can’t imagine not having my little ones, well, except when I’m worn out and dream of tropical islands, but anyways . . .) and we had barely enough money to pay half the bills each month, and it was pure hell. We filed bankruptcy when the first was just a few months old. We sent out resumes daily for him, and he was forced to accept the first low-paying entry job that he could. His stress at that terrible job left him unable to support me and babies emotionally. I think now he sank into his own depression there, and I felt abandoned. For about 8 years this went on, with me and kids as a unit, and him as an outsider. We took care of him and got little in return, except fear from his temper and yelling.
For the past 2 years, I have been trying day in and day out to make this family what it should be. I have read every book, blog out there. I have gone to therapy. I have even prayed, which is not a habit of mine, but I had to try everything.
But sadly, I can no longer play the good wifey role. I need a break. I realized this week that some of my resentments actually stem from my mind/body connection, or rather my survivor’s ability to disconnect mind and body. In our early years together, the flashbacks of my dad’s abuse would be so terrifying, but I knew from a past relationship that I could not share that with Hubby. Instead I suffered in silence through years of intimacy combined with terror. I learned to listen to my body and react to the pleasure and shut off my brain and heart. I suppose that is what prostitutes must do, wow, eww, just had that thought. Eventually the flashbacks faded, but I never had a desire for my husband. My body would want him, as a need, like my stomach feels hunger. But there was never any emotional desire. So sad. Sad because for years I accepted that life. I never thought I deserved more, or could even ask for more.
And so I am left with a man, that I often fear and resent, one that I feel responsible for making him happy – not one that I desire. And I don’t know how to get past that.
And so, we will be spending separate holidays this year. Him at his parent’s house with the kids, me home alone. I’m sad that it has come to this, but really just feel relief to get the break I so desperately need. Will we need a more permanent separation, or at least a longer separation after this week? I don’t know yet. My guess is ‘yes’, his guess is ‘no’. He does not want to leave me. He still does not understand any of this. But he can’t keep me forever in this state of twisted obligation. I need to be me, and that seems impossible while trying to love him.
- The Need to Be Understood (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- Is Love a Choice, a Duty, or a Gift? (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- Need to be Understood, Part 2 (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- Examine your motivation to marry (sacbee.com)