Reflections on an Unhappy Marriage

This is an essay posted elsewhere that I’ve decided to put up here so I can reference and refer to it – as it deals with some things I know I’ll be writing about in the near future. Until the divorce was finalized (an event that took place over a month ago now), I didn’t want to openly post too much nitty gritty, lest it sour my legal negotiations with Ex-Husband.

This piece was originally authored November 8, 2011, when my feelings surrounding the divorce were a great deal more confused and raw (we’d separated the end of July and had officially started the process mid-October), but many things still ring quite true to me.

———————————————————

July 2009 – April 2010

In the evenings my husband’s visiting his girlfriend, I watch a lot of reality TV while going full speed on my bike. Long hot showers. Tuna Helper made with fresh ingredients. I spend a lot of time trying to make healthy food that tastes like it should kill me. I do.  These evenings I’m almost happy. If only he could be happy, then everything would be okay. But he’s never happy. He feels like she won’t open up to him. Asks me what I think, what I would do. I give him the best advice I can, but it still doesn’t work. We try a double date, transform our living room floor into a giant bed, push the couches back, cover the floor in pillows. When she tries to hook up with my date, he’s livid. He feels interchangeable. I can’t blame him. I feel that way, too. I’m disappointed, rejected by all of them, but my feelings are inconsequential, inconvenient. I need to help him heal.

 

July 9, 2010

There is a placefor the singlepeople – and ho are they? who am I
I inventa person worthy of servitude – is there a line of pretenders

.txt file authored when drunk

 

July 18, 2010

I took a short nap this afternoon during a break from work and had a dream that I was playing the piano, a piece in a minor key with lots of arpeggios and heavy on the pedal. Some of the notes were not sounding. It occurred to me as I played that they were being randomly censored. Well, it seemed arbitrary at first, but as the song wore on, I had a sense that they were being winnowed out systematically, that it had somehow been judged obscene, though the precise logic escaped me.

*

Over the ensuing months, there is so much I can tell no one. I write copiously, chronicling my frustrations on a number of fronts. I become friends and then lovers with a girl I had initially thought would be right for my husband, but I find myself forming a bond with her. And then I become involved with her friends in Ohio. We visit Cleveland for 2 weeks over the Thanksgiving holiday, visit the dungeon. I meet, among many others, Skyspook and J. It is a great trip.

My husband is upset on the ride home. Tells me that my new relationships are a death knell to his dreams. He wants and has always wanted a tight triad with me and a unicorn. I point out to him that he never asked me what my dreams were, that he never stopped to consider I might have fantasies of my own. I can tell this affects him. He doesn’t know what to say.

*

My focus shifts away from Maine. I know I will miss little to nothing of my home, surrounded by fatuous jingoists who make a sport of drinking until they vomit and try to talk me into a little rowdy bathroom floor sex. My husband highlights these features as positives when confronted with the notion of change.

 

December 6, 2010

(4:13:48 PM) : my husband wants me to leave and not live with him
(4:13:53 PM) : he thinks I’m selfish
(4:16:41 PM) : I told him I was stressed out because he hasn’t been contributing financially the last 3 years (other than the 2 months he worked for his parents)
(4:16:52 PM) : and still wants to buy all kinds of crap
(4:17:02 PM) : and he told me to move to Ohio
(4:17:11 PM) : he wants to get separate bank accounts
(4:17:26 PM) : I can’t move to Ohio for 6 months as you know… I have nowhere to go
(4:17:32 PM) : I live with my in-laws atm
(4:17:40 PM) : he says I’ve betrayed him
(4:17:47 PM) : and that I’m selfish
(4:18:43 PM) : I’ve been feeling this way for a while, and I told him I wanted to talk today about it
(4:19:05 PM) : I told him that it’s hard to give him the space he needs to sort out his depression because it directly affects me
(4:19:28 PM) : that’s why I try to mother him
(4:19:33 PM) : try to help him and such
(4:19:42 PM) : and that I’m feeling burdened and stressed out
(4:20:06 PM) : he told me before the Ohio trip, a few weeks before, that he can barely stand to be around me
(4:20:10 PM) : that he’s finding me annoying
(4:20:15 PM) : we have virtually no sex life =/
(4:20:33 PM) : that’s been for… 4 years now?
(4:20:39 PM) : he’s the one with the low libido
(4:21:38 PM) : I dunno, I just dunno anymore
(4:22:42 PM) : eh, whatever

*

We make up later that night. He is contrite. I tell him that I will not stand for verbal abuse and that he needs to seek therapy either alone or with me in order for us to stay married. He agrees. (As of the end of July 2011, the date at which we officially separated, he has not done this.)

 

December 7, 2010

I woke up at 8:15 in the upstairs bathroom, my clothes a mess, completely unaware of how I had gotten there. Apparently when the alarm went off at 8, I stumbled around in the dark slipping and falling several times in a chaotic fashion crying out, “Help me, help me,” over and over again. I had lost bladder control in the dark, and my night clothes were streaked with urine. I had to mop up the floor before work.

*

I was paralyzed by honor, owned by the promises I’d made. To everyone. My life wasn’t working, but I saw no way out. You say forever, you mean forever. No take-backsies. You don’t return forever for store credit. It’s gauche. It feels like fraud.

And yet entitlement creates a comprehensive prison, self-fulfilling prophecy – a self-contained conspiracy. The external locus of control, a “plague of locus.”

*

Sometimes in weaker moments, I find myself wondering why I could never make him happy.

Every other break-up, every other parting of ways seems like a footnote when placed beside this failure. A mental exercise, frivolity.

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3 Comments

  1. A comment I’d left on the original piece:

    A wonderful thing happened today. My devoutly Catholic mother told me that divorcing him was 100% the right decision. That meant a lot.

    Some people have been surprised that it’s ending after 10 years together (6 of them post-wedding). It’s one thing to see a couple break up Hollywood celeb style 2 months after the nuptials – it’s really hard for people to fathom a split that takes place years after the fact. And yeah, it’s kind of hard to really grok until you’ve done it.

    But from my vantage point, I’ve had 10 years to decide whether I want to spend the rest of my years with him. And I don’t.

    I’m not saying he’s a bad person or that I don’t think he can be happy and functional with someone else. I cannot define that conclusively about other people.

    I do know, however, he and I are wrong for each other, just our plans for our lives, the way we want to live, etc. I know that. I’m finally accepting it.

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