This blog has taken me a about 24 hours to write…started yesterday afternoon, a little late last night while I cried myself to sleep on the downstairs couch, a little more this morning while waiting for my coffee to brew before the kids arrived, and now finishing up while they nap.
Last night, the dynamics of my 16 year marriage (technically 20 years total together if we’re going back to when we officially started dating in college) came into sharp focus. I was really suffering trying to make dinner, I had bought ribs and corn on the cob to have for our Memorial Day dinner. My fever was back up to 100.4°, still barely eaten for days for lack of appetite, so weak I could barely stand to dust the ribs with spices and fill a pot with boiling water for the corn. I had to sit for 5-10 minutes after I did any minuscule thing. My husband gets home and I can tell is already pissed about something, I’ll never know what because I’m not privileged enough to be told about anything going on in his life — ever. I need his help starting the grill so the ribs can simply be finished off properly. You would’ve thought I asked him to cut off his leg, he was so visibly angry that he had to help his sick wife finish dinner that by the time everything was done he was LITERALLY throwing bottles of barbecue sauce across the kitchen (in front of his kids), slamming the tray of ribs down on the counter, then storming off to the bedroom and slamming the door shut. I would not see him again until he left for work this morning.
I quietly announced to the kids that dinner was ready, transferred the ribs to the cutting board to cut them apart, and set out plates and forks. Then, I went out on the deck, shut the door and closed the blinds behind me, and sat there and cried for about an hour. While sitting outside, I could see and hear every other family in our neighborhood all spending the day together, hanging out in their back yards, laughing and playing, grills fired up, music playing, relaxing and enjoying being together…but not us. My husband’s life was completely destroyed because he had to help his sick wife finish up the very last leg of dinner that he had no choice but to change clothes and leave the house for 2 1/2 hours without telling anyone. I’m assuming he went to the gym, but I don’t know, he was just…gone.
So there I am, crying as quietly as I can on the deck so my pain isn’t a distraction to anyone else’s holiday celebrations, and something that I have said before, and that others have said before, became crystallizingly clear:
He never wanted a wife.
He wanted a replacement for his mom — who he could occasionally have sex with. Read that again, nice and slow… he… wants… a… mom… who… he… can… have… sex… with… BARF 🤢
I have noticed lately that I feel squeamish when he touches me, I just figured it is because the shittier his attitude and the more he passive aggressively takes out his anger on me and the kids, the less I want any intimacy with him. These phases come and go in all relationships, ours is no different. However, in mature, adult relationships both people put effort into correcting these awkward times and learn from them to come out stronger on the other side. Relationships are NOT 50/50, they are 100/100. Ours has been 195/5, I’ve been doing all the giving for both of us and he puts in that 5% effort just to dupe himself into feeling like he still has any scrap of control over this household. Those phases have waxed and waned constantly in our time together, and I have never given much thought to them since it is a natural thing to occur. But there I sat on the deck crying my eyes out, with a fever of 100.4°, so weak and fatigued I can’t even stand, and my husband straight up LEFT ME ALONE with the kids after only being home for 1 hour because he was so put off by having to act like a husband — I became certain in that moment that I am married to a child. Emotionally, he is on the level of a pre-adolescent boy — and I take a LOT of classes in child development, these are not condescending, empty words, this is a subject I do actually know a lot about. He does not love me, and I don’t think he has for quite a while, I just happen to have a vagina he thinks he deserves access to because we signed a piece of paper back on January 4, 2003.
When the “replacement mom with benefits” label really entered my thoughts a few days ago, I have not been able shake it. It keeps growing, stewing, festering in my head, and when I think back to all his emotional mistreatment over these 20 years, it has been every time he has been forced to man up and act like a true partner, an equal, in this relationship. When he has had to step up and do something without any payoff or getting anything in return, we all suffer his wrath. The only times he shows affection is when he wants sex. The only times he acts nice and includes me in conversations is when other people (mainly our families) are watching and he can’t make himself look bad. The only times he does anything around the house to help is when people are about to come over (and I mean, like, that day, hours before they arrive). And he’ll mow the lawn from time to time to make sure all the neighbors see him “being a man” and “doing man things”.
He is not capable of empathy. To him, everything is either black or white, yes or no, no second chances. He has no middle ground, no compromise. Even if he knows he’s wrong, he will stand his ground and stick to his story because it would destroy him to ever admit he’s wrong.
I think tomorrow morning I will go ahead and give my fat ass a weigh on the scale and see what the damage is from 5 days of extreme stress, endless tears, fever, no appetite, and zero energy. So far, no fever today, but if it even tries to come back I’ll have to head over to the urgent care clinic after everyone leaves.
I want to address one last thing that I know is bound to be brought up after all this ranting I’ve done these last several blogs. I know people might think it’s inappropriate of me to blast my marital problems on my blog. I know many family members think that marital problems need to be kept between and husband and wife and they are no one else’s business and should never be discussed. But I can’t discuss anything with a husband who refuses to be an active participant. I’ve tried to talk to family before and I end up talking to myself, receiving no input, no feedback, no advice. Just a very awkward one-sided conversation. Even when he cheated on me, no one wanted to talk about it. EVER.
For me, though, I am the only one in this marriage. I talk, he never listens. I cry, NOT ONCE has he ever asked me what’s wrong or just put his arms around me and held me, he turns and walks out of the room. I tell him about my day, about everything going on with the kids, he won’t even look up from his phone. I have no one to share anything with, and it is absolutely unhealthy for me to keep all of this inside. Our finances are a disaster, so going to a counselor, even just me by myself, is not even a possibility. I have given 2 decades of my life to someone who has given me very, very little in return. I am certain his biggest fear is that I become 100% financially independent from him, because then I won’t need him anymore. Well, he should go back and crunch those numbers again, because I’m almost there…
A very fitting song for all this mess is “According to You” by Orianthi. Why is it the majority of the people in my life can see my worth except for the one person who should value it the most? I’m at the end my rope, there’s no more to give…all the giving is going to have to come from you. For now, you can be certain of this, I will not sleep in the same bed with you until massive, daily efforts are being put in long term. Even then, I cannot guarantee that you haven’t all already fucked this up beyond repair, my feelings for you may not ever come back, I don’t know…but neither of us will ever know if YOU never try. I don’t want flowers, I don’t want gifts, there’s nothing you can buy to fix this, it has nothing to do with money.
One thought on ““The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” Conan O’Brien”
Your post touched a cord within me. It’s understandable that you feel the way you do, and I believe you. You’re strong for being able to talk about this publicly. So many deal with this, but are afraid for their family’s sake (and theirs) to share it so openly. I’m a person that understands, I’m also a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line. I just want you to know that you can always text “HELLO” to 741741 if you’re in crisis (physical, emotional, etc.) to talk to someone. We all care and want to help get you through it. I will keep you all in my prayers. #ILoveYouStranger ♥, ~Tammy