State of the Marriage

To quote one of the last lines from the movie, "The Help": "Once I told the truth about myself, I was free." Here is the beginning of the truth, and hopefully the beginning of my emotional freedom.

I think the primary reason why I sometimes feel angry with my husband (with my earlier suspicions set aside) is that he & our relationship has fallen way below my expectations. Why, then, did I have expectations to begin with?

Well, first of all we were friends. I was able to tell him ANYTHING. I mean anything. We were completely open with each other. At least, I know I was with him & I felt comfortable being open with him. My feelings were accepted & respected & therefore I felt accepted & respected. As time went on, that became less of a reality. He'd dismiss an idea I had, only to accept it if someone else said it. If I brought up a problem (such as money & his spending), his reaction was that *I* had to deal with it somehow. His political views (although not a personal issue to me) became more rigid & inflexible--i.e., if Rush said it was so, then it was so, no questions asked (not that I hate Rush, but I tend to believe things once they stand the test of time). The compassion for people that he once had became judgementalism. When I reached out to friends, asking them for prayer for a certain situation, he'd become angry that I "made it their business". And counselors are just "full of psychobabble" and "want to take your money". (See my journal entry from early Feb 2010 for an example.)

Secondly, I felt he was depending on me to keep him happy (& still feel this way). I could feel that when I was laid off from my first job, he was disappointed (even though the whole building was closing & I wasn't the only one being laid off). And when he went back to school & wasn't working, he seemed to get very emotionally needy. When he talks to me, it's very superficial; like he'll say "you're cute" a million times. I don't mind being told I'm cute. But if it's practically the only thing he says to me (other than information-sharing things like, I'm going to the store), then it gets annoying. There is no deeper level of emotional intimacy on his part. As for my part, his reception of my deeper feelings is met with dismissiveness, such as the previous paragraph, or "competitiveness". For example, if I say I'm tired, he'll say, well he's tired because of x, y & z, with no acknowledgement of my tiredness or even "why are you tired?" It's like only he can be tired & only his tiredness is valid.

Thirdly, kind of tying in with the above (keeping him happy), I expected that he'd take control of his own life, his own course (like his career). He started to when he'd gone back to school & did extremely well in it (straight A's & he was never that way as a student, he says). Then once he was done ($30K later), he did absolutely nothing with it other than know how to do Photoshop on the computer (which could have been taken care of with a $300 course at the community college). He'd often make big talk about doing his own photography & making up photo business cards, spending money on equipment & supplies. I'd be excited & willing to help with the "business" side of it. But then he'd stop & do nothing with it. He's only done 2 photo shows & there have been plenty of shows & contests in the area. He's not involved with any professional or even amateur groups (there are plenty in our semi-urban area). Once in a while, a freelance opportunity will come up, but there is little return on investment. So at this point, whenever the Big Talk starts up again, I find it difficult to get excited about it, because I know it's just talk.

Fourthly, based on all the complaints about being in debt & talk about hating credit card debt while we were dating, I expected him to be more thrifty, or at least more aware of how much $ he's spending vs how much he has. If I say, we have $20, he'll go & spend $20...then another $20...then another $20, not thinking that it all =$60! Fortunately, after all these years I've *finally* developed a good workaround to save $ & pay off the debt. I just wish I'd figured it out sooner instead of succombing to feeling "trapped". And I wish I could be more open with this plan, but I know the minute I tell him there is a dollar somewhere, two will be spent.

Finally, the thing I NEVER expected was the stuff on the computer. This is not work-related art, which I am totally OK with. What it boils down to is emotional infidelity, whether he realizes it or not. I know it's affecting him physically (though he probably doesn't realize it & doesn't want it to) & probably emotionally. I know that if I confronted him about it, he'd either (1) deny it, or (2) blame it on me (since I don't feel as up to it as him, probably due to lack of emotional intimacy). Call me a big chicken, but there it is.

So there is the state of our marriage. I think my biggest struggle has been getting to the point of accepting these facts & accepting the fact that it was not what I expected/hoped for. I can't pretend that things are what they are not & I think my husband does pretend (with all his, "you're cute! you're nice!" statements).

I'm at the point where I realize what "is" & I know I don't like it. I know that I can't change or control him, because I have tried & it didn't work. And now I know it's not *my* job to do so--it's his! What my job is, now, is to deal with my feelings/issues/life in this context...or in spite of it. I feel that I should not make a decision about the relationship in general until I've addressed my own crap. I need to be healthy. I need to know what the relationship will look like once I am healthy.

Of course, there are "deal-breakers" that would fast-track that decision, but the deal-breakers have not happened at this point, so I can live with that.