Readjusting

I picked J up on Saturday.  It was good to see him, a little anxiety provoking, but good nonetheless.  Over the weekend, I just tried to keep things very neutral.  He’s got some severe jet lag and it is apparent that we are on two very different planes of communication.  I think this is due in large part to the fact that I have been in individual and group therapy.  So, I didn’t really think it would be productive to delve into relationship issues right away.

To the communication/perception issues, we’ve been having this discussion about him possibly working internationally since we first found it was a possibility in January of last year.  Even then I told him I thought it was a bad idea for a number of reasons, one of the main being that he wanted to start a family but would be gone for a month and back for two weeks.  I told him that wasn’t going to happen and told him why.  He wanted me to consider it.  Now, he has the opportunity to do a rotation in Nigeria.  I know he wants to do it, but I feel that it is a bit unrealistic given the current state of our relationship and the fact that he STILL wants to have kids.

I have worked in higher education for a number of years and prior to coming here, I had to give up an amazing job so that J could take a job with the company that he wanted to work for.  I told him that my former boss called me about a job (not the first time he’s called me) and that we had an interesting conversation that ended in my former boss telling me that he would want me to come work has his Chief of Staff with a tenure-track faculty appointment if/when he gets a presidential appointment (which he will in about a year or two).  Basically all could ever want professionally.  We were talking about this over breakfast on Sunday.  The short of it is that J told me that he doesn’t want to change industries and that he doesn’t want to leave his current job for the next 5 years; basically saying that he isn’t supportive of this opportunity.  He’s supportive if it means he doesn’t have to sacrifice, but if he does, he’s not supportive, you know?  I reminded him of everything I gave up (two orchestra job offers so he could stay in school and didn’t have to transfer and most recently, a job that I loved so that he could take a job he wanted).

I think this just goes to show that we are not thinking on the same plane.  He’s got a lot of work to do in terms of understanding my needs.  I didn’t go to school for 11 years, get a Ph.D. and work my ass off to become a broodmare for someone who thinks it is completely acceptable to leave me for a year/year .5  (one month off, two weeks back) while pregnant or with an infant.  So, we’ve a lot of work to do.  lol.

I’m meeting with my therapist today and am looking forward to it.  J is supposed to meet with him before we meet as a couple, but J doesn’t really like the idea.  I get the impression that he still doesn’t understand that there are some really big issues that need to be addressed.  In his mind, he’d rather just sweep the last few months under the rug and more forward without finding the right way to move forward.

I’m really trying to be open to this and to him so that I can make the best decisions moving forward.  I want to give him the “handicap” since he’s basically just been working and living it up in Europe.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep you posted about how he takes to reality.

~AA

 

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Ready… Set… GO!

So, J comes back this weekend.  I have been really anxious about it for the last few weeks, but I feel that I’ve come a long way and that I have some really great support from my friends and group.  I don’t feel like I’m as anxious about it as I’ve been in the past.  In a way I’m looking forward to being able to come to some resolution about the situation.

J is an engineer in the oil industry.  One of the things that we talked about when we first moved here is that he may have the opportunity to work expat.  I remember in early 2011 we were having this conversation.  He really wants to have children and so do I.  But I told him that we would have to wait until after he did the expat before we had kids because I didn’t want to be pregnant or have children alone.  I think I came off pretty firm about this.  His reaction was that I was basically not being very reasonable, that the money was really good (which it is), that it isn’t a big deal to be pregnant and by yourself.  (Much of this conveyed through patronizing remarks, tone, and boy language).  Prior to leaving for his most recent time overseas, before I told him I wanted a divorce, his “plans” included the option of me getting pregnant before he left (i.e. the first trimester alone).  I told him that was not going to happen.

Recently he brought up the fact that he has the opportunity to go expat starting in November.  Another element of this story is that his best friend, who he works with and has been in Europe with for the last three months, is going to go… although that “isn’t a factor”.  He told me on Monday that he thinks he needs to tell them ASAP if he is going to do this so that he doesn’t lose the opportunity.  I told him that considering all that has happened in the last few months, I cannot tell him “yes, go do this”, but if he needs to tell them yes and then back out later, that is his call.

First of all, given the state of our relationship, I find it almost comical that he thinks this is a good idea to even bring up.  Secondly, he’s still in the mindset that he wants kids ASAP, but doesn’t seem to really see the issue I have with being a single mother.  Why be married anyway?  I can get a sperm donor if I want one?  And why did I move here when I could be living where I want since he’s not going to be here anyway?  I guess I feel like I gave up so much to come here and I really didn’t need to.  Although, that isn’t to say that I’m not totally happy in this city and with my job, but you get the point.

So, I have a feeling we will have a lot of “Come to Jesus” meetings when he gets back.  It should be interesting.  I am hopeful, though.  I’ve found a great deal of strength within myself and have a better understanding of what my non-negotiables are in a relationship.

On a side note, I found out that one of my greatest mentors and friends had a heart attack yesterday.  He’s a marathoner, only 56, vegan and a very good friend.  He’s recovering in ICU.  But it reminds me that there is so little time and that we must do what we need to do because you never know if tomorrow will come.

Hope you are all having an inspired day!

~AA

Done

So, last night I told J that I wanted to end our marriage.  It was difficult and now there is a lot of pain and confusion, but also a sense of relief that it is out there.  When I told him, he wasn’t angry at first, he was more contemplative and pleading.  He doesn’t want me to do it and keeps telling me that we have too much going for us to not fight for it.

I told him the reasons and he said he understood and admitted that these are not new issues in our marriage.  But all of a sudden, he is now interested in trying to make it better.  That is why this is confusing.  I don’t understand why it would take such a “threat” to get him to take actions to make our marriage better.

He said that he didn’t realize it was so bad for me and the he wished that I would have talked to him about it.  I told him that I tried to talk to him about it and that every time I did, he would try to shut me down.  He said that was true and agreed.  And I told him that the reason we don’t fight about it and the reason I haven’t brought things up recently is because I was just done fighting against a brick wall.  That I was just done.

I am confused because he now seems more than willing to change or to “work” on our relationship, but I don’t understand what it means that it takes the threat of losing me to make him want to take steps to improve our marriage.  We went to counseling a year ago, but he said he thought that was about us fighting about dishes and laundry.

I just told him that I needed a break and went to a hotel last night.  This morning he left to go see his mom.  So he will be gone until next Tuesday.

He tried guilting me into saying “okay, we’ll give it another go”, but I couldn’t say yes to that.  I realize that we have this relationship that has been established over the past 5 years where I am very influenced by his tendencies to submit me.  So, it was very tempting to just say “well, I guess I should give it another go”, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

He asked me if there was someone else and said that if there was, he wouldn’t fight for us, but if there isn’t then he would.  That is confusing to me as well.  He’s been making comments periodically to “dominate” my decision, things like “why did you bother going Christmas shopping, then”, “my mom feels like she doesn’t know you (in an effort to get me to go with him)”, “this is the worst time that this could be happening.”

Right now I feel okay.  Rather positive considering.  I have the day off from work so I’ve just been getting rest, took a few showers and have let myself cry.  I’m going to see my counselor later today and am looking forward to that.

My girlfriend B came over to the hotel last night and we talked and finished off a bottle of wine.  I feel like I have a good network of support, which is helpful, but I need to make sure that I don’t slip back into doing what he wants because he is in pain and it is easier.  Part of me feels like I’m “supposed” to give him another chance, but that isn’t what I want.  And I feel like a bitch for even saying that.

Positive thoughts.

~AA

Intimacy

How important is intimacy in a relationship and what kinds are there?  There are two types of intimacy that I can pinpoint: physical and emotional, both of which are extremely important.  I need both.  I finally had to admit to myself that the only time that my marriage seemed remotely satisfying in the last 2-3 years was during an emotional affair.  For me, the emotional intimacy is so important and fulfilling.  While the sex, when we had it, was fantastic, it hardly occurs unless I just tell him to get in bed b/c we are going to have sex.  What kind of romance is that!?  How do you even expect to have children if you hardly have sex?  Immaculate conception?  I think not.

Once, I was trying to spice the sex life back up.  So, I got one of those couple games.  It included a card game that had questions that you asked one another.  He didn’t want to play any of the other games, b/c, well I honestly don’t know why, so we did the card game.  Right off the bat… I thought I’d pick an easy one, right?  So, the question said something to the effect of “finish the following sentence… I feel appreciated by my partner when…”  And silence ensued.  He had no answer.  I was kind of pissed and very disappointed.  He didn’t feel appreciated, apparently, at all.  Not when I gave him foot rubs after work or after a long run, when I had dinner prepared for him when he came home from work, when I did his laundry and cleaned the house so he didn’t have to, when I cleaned his car for no reason, when I bought him gifts for no reason, when I told him how proud of him I was for all that he was doing, when I gave him neck massages for days on end because he suffers from some devastating cluster headaches, when I made him brownies b/c I know they are his favorite, when I made him a fish dinner b/c he loves it even though I won’t eat it (I only eat what I catch), when I bought him the guitar of his dreams and encouraged him to play and to get lessons, when I lit candles and turned on music to be romantic and intimate, or when I tried to make our relationship better.  I did not appreciate him, apparently.  This was news to me.  Years of trying to make him happy and I failed.  Years trying to make him proud of me and I failed.  Years trying to be a good wife and I failed.  I was a failure.

I realize now that I am not a failure.  I am a compassionate and deeply loving person who gave everything I could to one man.  I gave him the opportunity to follow his dreams and to get an education by putting him through school and financially supporting both of us while he did it.  I’ve only supported him, ever, encouraged him and never asked for much in return except for reciprocity, love and intimacy.

~AA

Reprieve

All I have been wanting to do is write this weekend, but it is very difficult to find time to do it b/c I’m always being watched and he is always asking me what I’m doing.  So, being back at work is a welcome reprieve that will give me an opportunity to process what is in my head.  This was a good weekend.  An interesting weekend, but a good weekend.  There were periods of doubt, yes, but mostly I feel comfortable with my decisison.

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  I’ve just been thinking about when to tell him.  I want to tell him the Thursday before we are supposed to go visit his family, but then I feel bad that he’ll have to visit his family on his own and that his vacation will be messed up because of this news.  I know I’m not supposed to consider these things, but it is in my nature to be concerned about others.  So, I’ve been thinking about telling him the day before he is to leave for Louisianan, but that makes me feel bad as well… like I’m going to be sending him on the road with this news and he has to go to work the next day.

J’s family situation isn’t the best.  His mother, who is actually his grandmother, is a bit difficult to get along with and his father is an alcoholic.  I know how difficult it will be for him during this visit and I feel bad about adding another level of stress by announcing our divorce.

Additionally, I realized that I am concerned about his reaction to this news.  He will get angry, I believe, and I don’t know what else he might do.  He could very well start hitting the wall or door or he could be completely resigned about the news.  One of the reasons that I am carefully considering when to tell him is because I’m scared of how he will react.

He has never physically hurt me, but he does have a tendency to hit the wall or the door when he gets angry.  He used to do this more often before we went to marriage counseling, but I know he has the propensity to do it.  Hence, my worry.  I don’t think he would ever hit me, but you never know what people will do when they panic.  My dad doesn’t seem like the kind of person that would hit someone, but he has hit me and my brother, although this was before he began being treated for depression.  So, I think that is where some of my fear comes from.  It is probably unwarranted, but the concern is there nonetheless.

As I write that I’m struck by how sad it is that I let myself get into a situation where I let someone else determine my worth and, basically, submit me.  I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly strong person, and I know I am, but I have been in a relationship for the past 6 years where I’ve struggled to be good enough, have let my needs go by the wayside and, in many ways, have simply resigned myself to my plight.  Well… I forgive myself for this and I will move on.

In counseling she and I were talking about J and mine’s interactions in regard to various things.  She asked me if the reason I do all the work around the house is because I don’t give him a chance to do it or do I criticize his efforts.   I told her no because I really don’t criticize his efforts.  I won’t praise him for doing stuff that he should be doing like putting dirty clothes in the laundry, but I won’t criticize him for his efforts.  Which is funny, because I do the work and he criticizes how I do it.  For example, I do all the cleaning, but he does the criticizing about my cleaning.  I don’t use the proper cleaning scrub, don’t clean the baseboards and don’t clean the toilet correctly.  After cleaning the entire house, I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I hardly clean. WTF.  Really?  And part of me believes it, that’s the crazy thing.  Maybe I’m not cleaning well enough?  I realize, though, it isn’t me.  It is him.  He has expectations that I will never meet.

~AA