Sunday, March 27, 2011

On the Rocks

How I wish I was talking about cocktails... 

My last post is almost embarrassing considering how far I've gone from any positive feeling in my core in a very short time. 

Having two young babies so close together is very hard on a marriage.  Having your husband's father die is also very hard on a marriage. 

We've been distant. Bitter. Sad. Angry. Distraught. Frustrated.

Or at least I have been. I am only guessing that Steve has been too.  I wouldn't be able to say for sure because he does NOT talk about things. Not about anything.  It's hard for me.  Particularly hard since I am in my house with two kids 2 and under for most of the day. My only means for transportation is usually a stroller.  When it rains - which it does a lot here on the West Coast in winter/spring - I am literally trapped here inside my four walls.

I get lonely.  I crave support, love, discussions, kind words, emotional progress.  But when Steve gets home from work he's not able to provide much of any of those things. 

I have felt that he's been harboring resentful or angry feelings towards me.  There has not been a kind word offered. There is no touching. No kiss on the cheek.  No hugs.  Communication only when absolutely required.  And even then, it's been cold. 

I have been figuratively banging my head against the wall. Not sure what to do.  I've tried everything to get him to give it up. Talk. Tell me what I've done wrong. Tell me what's bugging him. He was maintaining that everything is "fine". When asked if he'd go to marriage counseling his response was "absolutely not" - even though he has been seeing a grief counselor to process his dad's death.

Hopefully I'm not sounding too martyr-ish when I say I have given my everything, my all, all my energy and then some, all my emotions, all my goodness - my EVERYTHING to try to be supportive to him and his family, to be a good mother, to be a kind and loving wife - during a really bad time.

However I've been feeling like, to him, I am not worth an effort on his part.  I have felt taken for granted. 

The other day an email exchange started between myself and my BIL's girlfriend (SIL) as we planned out our MIL's birthday dinner that was to take place this Saturday.  Well, as we started going back and forth with our emails, things started to come out. We started talking about the things that have been bothering us.  Things that MIL has been doing that have been making our lives very difficult. How our spouses are completely absorbed by her and her grief and how they dote on her and her occasional dramarama.  My BIL is the executor to the will and he had told SIL about some financial issues which she was supposed to keep silent about.  She confided in me in those emails. Honestly it felt good to have someone to talk to. Someone who understands what I'm going through, who is going through something very similar to me and who knows all the players in the game.  Someone to relate to. Someone who was willing to offer a sympathetic ear. 

Sometime in the afternoon my phone rang.  It was SIL.  She said, "Steve's been reading your emails".

In typical Steve fashion - instead of calling me and discussing it, he called his brother.  Told him what we were talking about, essentially ruining two relationships instead of just one. 

Steve feels that SIL and I are vindictive, evil women who hate his mother. 

I have explained that I do not hate his mom.  Not even close.  In fact I don't like some of the things she does.  And I said nothing in my emails that I haven't already said to him. 

He told me he's been watching me for a while.  Reading my emails and my tweets. He says he knows I talk about him "behind his back". He told me he didn't love me anymore and has been thinking of leaving me for a while. 

I explained that what I occasionally say about him on twitter is my way of communicating - in a joking fashion - to like minded friends who can relate to me.  Everything I tweet is out in the open and I would never say anything malicious abut him.  But he felt otherwise. 

Likewise with my email exchange with my SIL.

Besides having to explain and defend myself, I am furious and upset and devastated that my husband has betrayed me and violated my personal life. My personal conversations. My privacy. I am broken hearted that we are in that place.

Obviously there was a lot more detail than this but I care not to get into it.

My BIL and SIL are pretty much done.  This was the straw the broke the camels back for them.  Why Steve had to involve my BIL I don't know but it was a bad move.  My SIL is/was really, really mad at Steve.  He apologized to her and she did not accept his apology - which made things worse for me because I know it bothered him but... of course... he wouldn't talk about it. And also, she is my friend and I feel somewhat responsible for what's happening to her on her end of this mess.

To make a really long story a little less long - I had a really big breakdown.  Reiterating all the stuff I've been saying to him over the past few months. 

He told me he'd make an effort to be a better husband.  That he was going to make big changes.

The next day he got off work early. I had errands to run (since I offered to take a birthday lunch/cake to MIL the next day since her dinner at BIL and SIL's was cancelled) I managed to talk to SIL and we decided to meet for a beer with another girlfriend.  Steve said it was no problem. I brought him a 6 pack of beer before I met the girls and told him I'd bring dinner home.  I was out for a couple of hours. I sent him a text asking if he was doing ok with the the kids.  He didn't respond.  I called him. He didn't answer the phone. 

When I was on my way  home he finally answered. He was short with me. I asked what he would like for dinner and he said he already ate - even though it was just dinner time. 

When I got home he was back in that bitter, quiet mode. He'd obviously had a hard time with the kids. I know he was frustrated. *I* know what that is like - it is my daily life.  He was in a bad mood and quickly so was I.  We started to argue again.  It escalated.  Really escalated. It got ugly. I pushed him to the limit. I knew I was doing it but couldn't stop myself. I wanted him to react to me in some way. I couldn't take the passive aggressiveness anymore. I was so desperate I was willing to take the aggressiveness without the passiveness.

He lost it. I lost it. His eyes were dilated and he was in such a crazed state that I've never seen before. I was scared and mad and sad and very hysterical. Our yelling woke Lincoln from his sleep. Ruby... my precious, intelligent Ruby saw and heard everything.  For that, I will NEVER forgive myself. I even have a difficult time typing it out.  I HATE MYSELF when I think about her big blue eyes staring at me laying on the floor bawling. HATE. MYSELF.


Steve ended up leaving. Saying he wouldn't be back for two weeks and I would be hearing from a lawyer.  He returned a short time later when he had called his mom and she wouldn't come pick him up...

In a panic I called my SIL who came over and took Steve downstairs and had a really big talk with him while I cuddled Ruby in bed.

Eventually things calmed down and SIL left.

Steve and I slept in the same bed, with Ruby in the middle. I layed my head on his chest and sobbed. (Ruby was deeply sleeping by then).

Now... now... Steve has once again said he is going to try to be a better husband.  And I'll admit today has seen an improvement.  But there is some heavy underlying tension.  I am afraid to be anything less than smiling and happy even though my heart aches so badly. 

We have been torn apart and we need to rebuild. I just hope we have the ability to do it without ruining ourselves.  I know that my kids may see us argue again but they will NEVER again see anything so obnoxious as Friday night's events.  I grew up seeing that over and over and over. That was my childhood. It's not theirs.  It will never be theirs. I promise.

Steve's dad's death has done more damage than I thought it would. And my efforts to help and nurture and care for Steve have been sadly, futile. I cared for him the way I would have wanted to be cared for in such a situation. I've never been through a family member's death before and I did what I thought was best. 

I desperately want to have a happy life, a happy marriage. I deserve it. I deserve better that what I've been given recently. I can only do so much, be so much, give so much of myself.  It will take me a very long time to heal from this. I don't really know how or where to begin. I am just trying to take small steps forward in whatever way feels the most right.

Note: I do not know if Steve reads this blog or not but I have written this assuming he will read it and I have been completely open and honest and fair and regret nothing I have said here.

Ok, here goes... publish post.


noswimmers said...

Oh shit hun...I'm sorry. You weren't kidding when you said you know what I'm going through.

I can't imagine how you feel, caring for 2 little ones all day by yourself...then you have the added stress of a loved ones death, and the grief it brings. I am hoping and praying that you and Steve can find a way back to where you were before all of this.

I don't know what to say except I'm here, listening...


Emily said...

Oh sweetie. I'm so, so so sorry. You have had an incredible amount of shit on your plate in the last year and none of the support you really need. Parenthood is ROUGH, losing a family member is ROUGH, holding it together for everyone else is ROUGH. My experience is something always has to give.

I don't really know what to say but like noswimmers I'm here if you need to talk.

And I get the guilt about fighting in front of the kids. We did it once & Maisie was so scared she climbed into my arms, wrapped her arms around me and started stroking my back as we were screaming at each other. We're only human. And we can only take so much.

Massive hugs... xoxo

JJ Keith said...

I think I have a good marriage. It's not perfect, but we've been together for 8 years and we can communicate wordlessly.


These two babies have been hard on us. We fight about everything. I have so much resentment because if I'm a stay-at-home mom to our two babies than it's his job to provide, right? But without my unemployment we don't have enough money to keep our tiny cottage. We don't have enough money for date nights or gym memberships or me to get childcare while I write. Half of the time I think, "Oi, I'm too hard on him. He's doing his best. He's a loving father." But half the time I feel like, "No, fuck him. He's a shitty provider and I wish I had been more cynical in my 20s and married a doctor."

Sorry. My point being that the two two and under situation is mercilessly hard. Mercilessly! And my marriage, that I still think is a pretty good marriage is suffering. So I can imagine when you add the stress of a death of a family member it's all just too much. It is so much for a marriage to bear.

Can you find some affordable couples counseling? Would it be awful for you guys to get a little break so you guys can come back together with a little clarity? Just spitballing suggestions here. I totally feel for you guys.

Remember that if you can make it until Lincoln is two things will be easier. You guys are really in the trenches right now and you've been run down by the last year of difficult experiences. It's hard to be your best and most loving self in that scenario.

Hopeful Mother said...

Marriage is hard work even without the events that you've been through. Add those in and it's a shitty situation.

You are not alone - we are here for you and I think many of us have been through what you describe... details may be slightly different but the main parts are the same.

I hope that you and Steven can get some space, some clarity on the future for your family. HUGS to you Tara.

Anonymous said...

Oh Tara,
Many, many hugs.

JJ said...

God, Tara. I am so, so sorry to read this...

Remember when you and I used to talk about going on vacation to a tropical location together?

Wanna go? :)

Seriously, huge hugs for you and lots of thoughts. You are an AMAZING woman--Im so glad weve stayed connected so long.

Also, just an FYI--when you left a comment for me the other day I tried to respond, and I think your blog is still hooked up to your old email address since it got kicked back to me.