Classy

Hrm. I took one of those quizzes: what kind of wife are you?

Those Facebook quizzes…everyone does them, right? I found something on my computer after taking this one, so it might be the last.

You are a:

Classy Wife

You are truly a class act. Both inside and out, you are amazingly beautiful. You have an undeniably jovial nature that always gives off radiant happiness wherever you go. You are a perfect treat that always stays delightful no matter how much time passes by. And believe it or not, you have some of the most contagious smiles. Your significant other must be incredibly grateful for you!

These look like things my husband never says to me but my friends tell me. I have actually told my husband that he is lucky to have me, that he takes me for granted. He said he knows. And that was the end of that.

So I’m a classy wife. Now that I’ve decided to be an ex-wife, am I a classy ex-wife? Or can I reserve this for the possibility that I will once again be a classy wife? A classy wife, someday in the future, with a man who sees me, hears me, finds me.

perfect

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Grandpa

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Proud.”

I told my grandparents that I’m leaving my husband. The only other family members who knew were my sister (my very best friend in the whole world) and our dad.

I visited my sister in October and told her the real deal on a lot of things I’d been holding on to in my marriage. I didn’t hold back the lack of intimacy, the criticism, the feelings of being an inconvenience and disregarded, how I had been working on my marriage for a few years and couldn’t get him to come along, to hear me, to change anything, to go to counseling. She did not try to advise me, only to let me know she supported me and it was okay to be divorced. It is still hard for me to say “It is okay to be divorced.” I always thought it was not okay for me. I don’t know why I put so much pressure on myself. My sister told me I’m too hard on myself. She is one of a handful of people who tell me that as often as they think I need to hear it.

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My sister is divorced and after many, many years, considering marriage to a great guy. My dad has been divorced three times and has been married to his current wife for about 25 years.

In December, Dad called me when I was really upset but not ready to leave. He said he knew when we was in town in November that things were not good; it was the first time I had talked honestly and unfortunately, badly, about my husband. Dad has been worried about my mental state and just wants me to do what is good for me, my health, whatever makes me happy. It was a relief to know that.

My grandma had 9 kids with her first husband who died of an alcohol related illness. She then married my grandpa who had been previously married (and I don’t know if he’s divorced or widowed.) They have been together, I’m guessing, 45 years or more. Grandpa is about 15 years younger than Grandma. My grandma, who I’m named after, can be quite a spitfire although she is now in very poor health.

I told my grandparents that I’m leaving my husband, that I haven’t been happy for a long time, that he was not supporting me or my health, that his parents have constantly caused trouble and he has allowed it, and it’s gotten worse and worse, that he won’t change, or if he will it just won’t be enough.

Story

My grandma asked if he was hitting me or cheating. She has the story I used to tell myself: a good wife stays unless he is hitting or cheating. But that is not my story anymore and I will not feel bullied or belittled or ashamed because I don’t believe it. No, he isn’t doing the worst things; he is just mentally abusing me consistently, over and over for years until I lost my self-esteem and forgot who I was. I know that isn’t really good enough for her but I’m lucky.

I’m so lucky because Grandpa told me and my sister at Christmas that he is so proud of us, that after all we’ve been through, we make him so proud. He teared up telling us and I’m tearing up telling you. He is genuinely proud of who I am.

proud

So after I talked with my grandparents and told of some of the things that had happened and will happen soon, we said goodbye. Grandpa walked me out and hugged me tight and told me, with tears in his voice, “I’ll support you any way you need. I’m so proud of you.

Counseling

My friend, previously a relative by marriage, asked me to promise her I would schedule counseling although my husband had refused three times. She said I could go alone. I knew I could, I just hadn’t wanted to. Finding a counselor for solo therapy seemed to be the first step in admitting I was done.

That night, after making the promise, my husband and I went to a regular function we attend and argued on the way. A lady I know pulled me aside at the end to let me know she could tell we were having problems, was everything okay. We have been trying to become better friends for a while but our schedules and lives have not really helped that happen, so I opened up a little and briefly told her what was happening. And she gave me the card of a counselor.

I looked for another counselor due to the location–not really inconvenient for me from my office but not really my neighborhood either. But he was the only one who called me back. He caught me while I was eating lunch at the park near my office. And I was almost immediately crying. We only talked for a few minutes; I felt some relief that I had an appointment to talk to someone about the decision I was making, the options I might have.

When I got home, I told him that I was going to counseling the next day. And he insisted we didn’t need it. He asked how I found this doctor and I told him this person recommended him. At that point, I think he realized that I have started talking to other people about what is going on. He felt we could work it out on our own, although I kept telling him that hasn’t been working so far. Then he tried to negotiate going to another counselor, finding someone closer to home. I did not want to give him an “out” so I gave him a website and said find someone now. And he realized it was too hard. I said I was going whether he did or not. He finally said that he “had to go” as in he had no choice.

compromise

I took the day off work for other reasons in addition to having this appointment, so I picked him up at work and we went to the counselor. I was in tears as soon as Doctor asked why we were there. I said something like I was looking for options, choices.

Over the course of our hour, we discussed our marriage, our childhoods, and our parents. Doctor asked hard questions. We both cried.

I found out that my husband has not accepted my MS diagnosis. I know it, but to hear it…he has treated me as if it never happened, although my symptoms require that I adjust to having it. He has never cut me any slack for my MS fatigue. I was diagnosed 10 years ago. He has made me feel shitty about not getting things done or needing rest for 10 years. On the way home, he asked questions I asked 10 years ago, like “why me?” and did I blame my MS on something or someone. It was very disheartening to hear what I should have known and didn’t really realize.

superpower

The hardest thing for me to hear was that my MS diagnosis was when he knew we weren’t having kids. This is difficult for me because we talked about it when we were dating, before we even slept together. Anyone who knew me then can tell you that I was not having kids. It wasn’t in the cards for a lot of reasons and I thought he understood. To hear him trying to explain that his parents resent me because of this, and he did not stand up for me, and in fact, did not even really agree with my (I thought our) decision…it was beyond words.

Doctor wanted to know why his parents have any say in us having kids. Of course they don’t but my husband has allowed his parents to have a say in everything. The doctor got real with him about not standing up for me, letting his parents talk to me or about me in hurtful ways (my husband actually said his dad “said terrible things” which is totally true), and talking hurtfully to me–taking out his feelings about his parents on me.

My husband had a hard time understanding why the doctor kept talking about his parents “abusing” him; he thought he had a great childhood. But as I’ve told him, parents are supposed to raise you to be an adult, self-sufficient, independent, functioning. He feels he owes them and he is anything but self-sufficient. He finally realized he does not confront them or stand up to them because he thinks they will not stay around then. It’s a version of abandonment. And he will have to address it with them.

My husband talked about his goal of retiring in the house we currently live in. And I was pissed. I told him before we moved in that it was unlikely I could stay in that huge two-story house for the rest of my life. I. Have. MS. But he never accepted it so he made his goal ours without my consent. He seems to be coming around to the idea of not staying in that house, and went as far as to say it wouldn’t be his dream if I wasn’t there. But he spent the next couple days trying to rationalize staying there for 5-7 more years so we could recover the money we’ve put into it.

When we talked about my childhood, the doctor finally asked “has anyone told you that you’ve lived through hell?” And I said yes, my friends who know tell me all the time. On the way home, my husband said he was sad that he didn’t know half of what I said happened in my childhood but also that he has never been that person who told me how amazing I am to have lived through that.

hell

The doctor pointed out that I am a woman who needs nurturing. My husband has not been nurturing ever in our marriage that I can think of. And realizing this, after the fact, is making it difficult for me to see how things will work out. Can you teach someone to be nurturing? And do I want to be responsible for teaching this? I don’t think so.

At one point during our session, the doctor looked at my husband and said “you realize this woman is on her way out the door, don’t you?” And I think he does understand that now. And he wants to change. But I really don’t know if it’s enough. The conversations seem to be a lot about him not wanting to lose me, it would be so hard for him, it seems to be a lot about him and not much about me. And I’ve already had more than 15 years of that, now that I realize what has been going on right under my nose while I wasn’t paying attention. Why more?

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Done

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Enough Is Enough.”

I thought I wanted to go to marriage counseling with him. I tried several times to get him to go. When a couple we know separated and started going, he told me it’s a waste of time, a waste of money, the counselor always blames the guy, it doesn’t help. But I tried a couple more times.

And then I gave up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I totally gave up. My closest friends were concerned about me, that I might fall into depression, I might withdraw. I was concerned too but, feeling so much unconditional love and support coming from these few people who knew the pain I was going through, I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

A friend asked me to promise I would schedule counseling alone since he wouldn’t go. So I did. The night before, I told him I was going. I assumed he would either refuse to go (not that I really invited him) or he would go and be a jerk about it.

We argued about needing counseling. I kept telling him he doesn’t hear me. He couldn’t understand why I was unhappy. He had already made me feel that my unhappiness was the problem. If I could just be happy, there would be no problem.

And then he said he would go. And I picked him up from work and we went. And he heard me. And the doctor did not go easy on him. And he realized what he had done, how he had made me feel, what choices he had made, how he had bullied me into decisions I didn’t agree with, how he had ignored my pleas to be safe in my own home, how he tried to make his dreams ours, why I had started to rely on my friends instead of him.

He admitted saying hurtful things, allowing his parents to say terrible things and never standing up for me, never allowing me to stand up for myself, and in fact, being embarrassed when I stood up for myself in other situations. And I heard that he is embarrassed by who I am, the person my friends adore.

ego

He admitted that he thought we would have kids, although we talked when we were dating (and not even sleeping together yet) about my certainty I would never have kids. His parents resent “my” decision, although it’s none of their fucking business. He pictured himself having kids and finally accepted that we weren’t having any when I was diagnosed with MS, years after we married. I was shocked to hear this.

He told the doctor how he has never accepted my MS diagnosis, that he is hard on me because he acts as though it doesn’t exist. And for many of you, that may not seem like a big deal, but I have an incurable, invisible disease that causes me fatigue, pain, numbness, and lots of doctor visits. I used to give myself shots in the leg muscle weekly and was unable to do it in front of him because he couldn’t understand why I had to mentally work myself into doing it. And he is unrelenting, acting as if I don’t have anything wrong, I should do everything for him, never rest, never be upset, never feel anything about having MS.

So almost ten years after my diagnosis, I understand why I am worn the fuck out–my husband, the person who is supposed to care most about me in the whole world, has made my life harder and harder and harder to prove to himself that I don’t have MS. And I am heartbroken. Most of the people who have heard this don’t get it, but a couple of my closest friends, the ones who understand my struggle to be normal while I really am not normal, cried and said it broke their hearts too.

I thought I wanted to work things out but we’ve come too far. I realized after our session that I want him to be happy, I care about him, I want to support him. But I don’t want to be with him. I don’t want to give him any more chances to break my heart. I want to go.

done

The recent incidents in my kitchen with him disregarding my food allergies is fueling my desire to have my own safe bubble, to take care of myself and no one else. Someone asked me if I could survive without him. Yes, not only can I survive, I believe I can thrive in a way I cannot, or could not, with him.

I am sad for the end of this, but not sad enough to stay. I’m done.

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Heartwritten

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

I had not seen my friend for a few months. I’ve known her longer than I’ve known my husband. I’ve been reluctant to tell anyone what is happening. I always thought you don’t talk about your husband. But that was before I realized. So first, I asked her what she thinks of him. He’s a nice guy. Nothing negative to report.

Never

Then I began.

I told her about my feelings, how I feel disregarded and made to feel as an inconvenience. I gave her examples of him sending his dad to take me to surgery so he didn’t “have to” take a day off work. Of him wiping cheese on the kitchen towel with no regard to my food allergies and my use of the kitchen. Of his inability to understand why I would think I could come home when I want and not see his parents in my yard.

Any example taken alone seems somewhat trivial, like a blip in a long marriage. But as I take these examples together and see how many of them have happened in the past few years, I am unable to contain my concern that it is ending, that it is too late, that I’ve shut down and he is still insisting the problem is my unhappiness rather than the things leading to my unhappiness.

She suggests that I write an email; she thinks that, as an engineer, he will comprehend and respond better. I know he doesn’t read the routine emails I send him now so I’m reluctant.

He doesn’t read. He doesn’t write. He doesn’t believe in lifelong continuous learning. How are we SO different? How did I think that was going to work. Oh, love. Stability, partnership, security…

So I write. I write a love letter, turned into a letter of heartbreak. I write it on scrap papers, in pencil, the words flowing, ebbing, coming as fast as I can scribble, until I find myself writing over and over “I do not have to be perfect.” He has recently told me, as we discussed some trivial thing I had not done but he expected done, that I am perfect, that I must be perfect, and I am having a terrible time understanding what to do with that.

perfectloving

I am grateful I learned to love writing in cursive as a child, one of the few things I love about my childhood. If I give him this letter, it will be rewritten on a clean piece of stationary or in a card. I doubt I will give him this letter.

“…I cannot fulfill that role. You tell me I’m perfect, that I have to be perfect. I am not perfect; I do not have to be perfect. I do not have to be perfect. I do not have to be perfect for you. I do not have to be perfect to be loved. I do not have to be perfect to be valuable. I do not have to be perfect to hear the man who loves me tell me I’m perfect, beautiful, awesome, amazing, loved, worthy of affection. I do not have to be perfect.”

But I have a secret. I’m ashamed to admit, I lied. My friend asked if there was another. Of course there is no one else, I said.

But there is a friend. He was barely a friend in our circle, then just barely my friend. My husband introduced us because of some similar health issues. I only meant to be friends.

And then he hugged me. And I haven’t been hugged like that in so long, I almost couldn’t let go. As we became better friends, he let me know I don’t have to let go.

He said it was okay to cry. I haven’t had someone tell me that in so long, I almost couldn’t stop crying.

I asked him to kiss me. And he did. And I haven’t been kissed like that in so long, I hoped it wouldn’t stop.

We found the lines we won’t cross. We claim it is temporary, that it will end when my husband is ready to go to counseling or work it out with me. But his kindness, the gentleness in his soul, his friendship has shown me what I don’t have. And I don’t know how I will go back to accepting the touch of a husband who does not want to kiss me, just wants to fuck, who does not have affection for me but believes this is love.

I wrote my friend a love letter. It started on a scrap of paper just as this letter did. But the words are so different. I told him how he made me feel beautiful and amazing, but more than that, he made me feel heard and okay.

When I saw him, after he received the card I wrote his love letter in (never saying that word), he held me and thanked me for the beautiful words I wrote to him. Handwritten, heart-written words.

He continues to tell me I’m okay, it will be okay. I told him he makes me feel that I’m already okay. And he held me close and told me that is the nicest thing I’ve ever said to him. His appreciation of this simple comment touches me. And I think of writing another letter. Handwritten and heart-written.

Bestie

She moved in with her dad in the summer before her sophomore year in high school. On her first day of school, she met Bestie. Bestie teased her about her accent, which she quickly lost. They became friends.

They were friends for a couple of years. She hung out at his house and met his mom. They hung out with other friends. They went to parties and concerts.

Bestie was kind of known for being with a new girl all the time. She was not going to be one of those girls. But then, one day, they started messing around and they went all the way. It happened a couple more times but it was quickly evident that she was one of those girls.

She was hurt and angry. So they stopped talking. When she was done being mad, Bestie was mad. When Bestie was done, it had been a year they had not talked.

They began to talk when they ran into each other but they were both in relationships. Eventually those relationships ended and they ran into each other more often. Then they started hanging out and became great friends again.

When she met The One, she explained that her Bestie was a guy and what had happened, that the more-than-friends part was ancient history, and that she would not stop being friends with Bestie. He was okay with that.

Or was he?

After many, many years, he suddenly had an issue with her guy friends. Not his friend who flirts with her and even felt her up in public, just her guy friends.

He complained about her having (mostly guy) friends over to hang out and watch TV, since he couldn’t hang out in his underwear all weekend as he’d like.

So when he went hunting, she invited Bestie to hang out. When she told him before his trip, he reacted as she had not expected–upset that she would have Bestie over while he was gone. They talked about it and she thought it was okay.

She and Bestie hung out, had some drinks, watched TV, talked and talked and talked and laughed and cried. In the morning, they had some breakfast and took a nap on the sectional couch, one on each section. They held hands as they sometimes did. She slept so well, it surprised her. Bestie went home.

He called during his trip while Bestie was there. Later, he told her how furious he was. She has tried to look at it from his viewpoint but finds it so difficult to understand what she is supposed to do if he doesn’t want her to have Bestie over while he is home and he doesn’t want her to have Bestie over when he is not home.

She asked about trust. Friends for almost thirty years since “it” happened, why would they do “it” now? Anyway, it takes two… And he said no, it doesn’t. She was…shocked. What does he think of Bestie to say that? He says he doesn’t like or trust Bestie. And now she wonders if she has totally misjudged HIS character, that he can feel this way about her best friend, who has been through so much with her, and gets her.

getit

And she wonders if that is the problem. Bestie gets her. And he does not.

Disregarded

She met Friend at her first real job out of college, maybe a year or two in. She was already married. She would go to lunch with Friend frequently but they did not see each other outside of work.

When she moved to a new job, it was near where Friend lived so they would meet for dinner, or sometimes lunch if Friend was off work.

Friend went through a divorce. Then breast cancer. The son went to high school. Then college. Then the breast cancer was back in another location.

As Friend told her of the recurrence, Friend mentioned that it was a good thing the divorce was final before the breast cancer wad found the first time so Friend had not had to deal with the ex’s BS.

Wow. As that sunk in, she felt a little selfish. And told Friend what had happened in her head. And Friend said it’s not selfish; it’s time to think about what you need.

And what had happened in her head was that she thought, if I have a major health issue, a likely possibility with her unpredictable invisible disease, would she want him to be there? And she immediately thought how much harder it would be to have him there than not. And it was like having the air knocked out of her.

This man, who had been with her through so much, had been so unsupportive in recent years that she doesn’t think he will be supportive or helpful when the time comes. There are exceptions but she thinks of him trying to not be there for her thyroid surgery. Sending his dad with her for her eyelid surgery. Expecting her to just do things and not have fatigue or be worn out. A friend asking if he was helping her when she was sick and the only thing she could think of was that he brought her a glass of orange juice.

Then there was the recent hunting trip where he had an elk processed, quite a bit into sausages and similar things that have seasoning added. When she asked for an ingredient list, he was surprised, like he didn’t know she had food allergies. Then he got a partial list, enough that she was uncomfortable eating any of it. So she said she was not planning to cook anything she couldn’t eat. He and his parents were shocked by her statement. Her friends couldn’t understand why she would be expected to cook anything she couldn’t eat.

As they discussed all of this, Friend said something she was unable to forget. “He disregards you. It’s like he doesn’t think of you.” And she wondered how someone who disregards her will ever take care of her or support her.

Disregard

“But if a person disregards your feelings…they need to go.”

Pants

Her company’s Christmas lunch was on a Friday. She dressed up in a red sweater, black slacks, and gorgeous red peep toe high heels. Very high for her. Fierce, beautiful shoes.

At the office, she was reminded that they were closing the office after lunch so she could go run errands or go home or whatever. She had forgotten so she didn’t have plans.

When lunch was over, she decided she would have to go home to change clothes before running errands. Those fierce shoes were not for running errands.

As she arrived home, she was having some gut distress so she let the dogs out, left the back door open for them, and ran to the bathroom. Since she was changing clothes anyway, she took off her pants. When she was done, she walked through the kitchen (facing the backyard) to grab her shoes on the way upstairs. She changed and came back downstairs. The dogs had come inside so she closed the back door and put them back in their rooms.

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And then she left the house.

And his relatives’ car was there. The gate was open to the back yard. They were in the back yard.

Had they seen her walking around half naked? Why were they there and why hadn’t he told her they were coming?

She ran her errands. She went to the grocery store to buy the things he likes.

When she got home, he seemed upset that she had been home. That she hadn’t told him she would be home.

She was upset that he hadn’t told her other people would be at her home. He insisted he would have told her if he had known she would be home.

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But he had a history of not telling her. Or telling her last minute. And there had been issues. Many issues. But that was not for today…

When they talked about it again, he still insisted she was upset about nothing. But she felt that he was acting as if she didn’t LIVE there, as if she was a visitor and had no say in who comes or goes or when, as if she has to schedule time to be in their house, in her house. Of course she appreciates their help, and at least in this case it wasn’t their fault–he asked them to be there to help with something. He decided what would happen and she was the one who shouldn’t have been there. In their house; in her house.

After an hour of discussing it, she asked if her relative was there when he came home, and she had not told him in advance, how would he feel? And he said nothing.

This wife

As the holidays approached, she made a spring cleaning effort throughout the house. It was all things she would do throughout the year but concentrated in about a week long period. Before guests will be in the house, she likes to wash all the bedding, dog beds, clean the leather couches, dust all the wood surfaces, and so on.

Because of her health issues, in particular her back pain and her fatigue, she tried to be careful that she doesn’t overdo it.

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After a long day of church and lunch with a friend who was needing some support, she came home and did several hours of cleaning, including helping him with some items. Early on, he said how nice it was to be doing these chores together.

When it was time for bed, she was worn out. She explained that she had been productive but now she was hurting. He made a comment about how he loves this wife. So she asked what she shouldn’t. And he said he doesn’t love lazy wife. And she was hurt and she wanted to cry. When she rests her weary, diseased body, he thinks she is lazy. He will never be happy–she can never do enough. Her body will not let her. And he thinks she can just keep going. She cannot help him understand. So she is not understood. She is lazy. A lazy wife. Not to be loved.

hard

Criticize

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.

kind

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.

kindness