It started innocently enough.
“How do you like this new meal I made?” she would say.
“It was good except for…” he would say.
Then more often it became “it was okay” while he went for some chips or pop tarts.
It seemed to get worse after she had to change her diet for health reasons.
He so rarely complimented her or thanked her for her efforts providing meals.
There were a few things she would cook that rarely created any complaints.
Then he began to make snide comments, even in front of other people.
He “couldn’t” eat the tacos because there was no cheese. He continued pouting about the fucking cheese for three days until she made a trip to the grocery store.
Another day, she returned home after a long day of work and grocery shopping, at which time he informed her the milk was bad. When was she going to buy some more?
She wanted to check out a possible new hiking spot. A friend went so he went too. He said he would have looked at Google Earth, he would have known this wasn’t a trailhead, he would have done it differently.
Another time, they went hiking with the friend. Several others backed out at the last minute. He complained that they drove so far to hike when they could have hiked nearer their house. It was not a location they could get lost so she thought they could just go wherever the trails led but he did not like the trails because they criss-crossed and were somewhat unclear. He said she should have a map, looked at a map, brought a map… The friend told her to breathe.
Once after they went hiking with the friend, there were comments about having no buns for hamburgers. He said she never thought about him when she shops anymore. She sat in silence. What could she say? They usually bought them at a store for which he has a membership card. And she does not. The friend was silent, unsure what to say that wouldn’t cause him to hurt her more.
She bought something for him that she could not eat during nearly every grocery trip and it seemed he could not see it. He could not see how weary she was, learning to shop again, learning to cook again, thinking of what he might not have that he hadn’t mentioned, trying to keep up with what he wanted. So she began buying milk and bread every time she could and throwing away what was left from the last trip.
She tried to be a “good wife” by providing for him, making special trips to the store to buy the foods he wanted, the foods he shouldn’t be eating with his health issues. She tried not to think how she isn’t ever going to meet his expectations.
Under the advice of one of her doctors, she asked him to be kind instead of honest. He wanted to know why she would want him to lie. Not lie–just stop being brutally honest. It feels so brutal. So harsh. So unloving. So hard to overcome.