Met someone else

So has anyone ever met another man/woman and realized just what a crazy relationship you are actually in?  Just curious, since for me this was the wake up call that something was SERIOUSLY wrong with my marriage....

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Realizing the crazy relationship

justbeachy,

I had tried not to compare my relationship to anyone else's.  

So I forever kept trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, and why I couldn't get this relationship thing right.  

Took a long time to get through my own thick skull that it was not just me.  As much as I had to work through my eating disorders and the effects of growing up in an alcoholic home, my spouse needed to deal with this ADHD wired brain.

But he had a good thing going on - he blamed me, and I took the blame.  

I am SICK of counseling.  I have done it in one fashion or another for 30 years.  Enough already.

I like myself.  I am at peace with me and all my little character flawa.  I do not want to adjust one more thing.

I want to live.  Here I am.  Take me as I am . . or I am leaving.  

 

Figuring it out

justbeachy

Yes - I am non-ADHD female - if I had not lived with someone else for over 10 yrs and had another long relationship then quite possibly I would have ended up questioning my own sanity.  But I never did, although he had me fooled for a while there ;)

Since my H does not "get" subtle hints, I persistently (quietly or loudly as the case may be) asked the question "What if I'm right? What if?" whenever we ended up through the looking-glass in upside/down land. Since, according to his work and academic records, he is (or ought to be!) quite intelligent, I eventually got through though I still have to resort to it occasionally.  Now the ADHD has been dragged kicking and screaming into the light (on a good day he admits that previously he always 'ran away from' any situation where he sensed people may be zeroing in on him). It has been identified, named (diagnosed), and will never be allowed to wriggle back into the darkness.  Otherwise we are done.

I will say

Just beachy, I will say that in the past few years, I had a spate of old friends and colleagues that I heard from who seemed to all be happily married, well off with good or amazing jobs, with "finished," orderly houses, or in photos of themselves on vacation looking like they were having fun. I could never get my own spouse to even take a trip to go visit family, much less a vacation, and realized one day that something must be going on with him, because when we were dating, I heard millions of stories about trips he had taken and places he had gone. But every time I asked him to take a trip or family vacation he freaked out and had a reason he couldn't. Ever. 

And of course, I just noticed one day that in some marriages I saw, my friends' spouses were actually kind and nice to them, spoke politely to them, and did things like cut the grass and pick up their kids. Their husbands did not stay up to 5 in the morning and sleep until noon on the weekends like mine did or get into road rage situations on the interstate. And that none of them left their houses gutted and half renovated for years with no kitchen and then stopped working on it. Not to be sarcastic--I am actually just being sincere about this, lol. These were a wake up call for me to realize that we were different. I could have lived fine with that, but it was when my spouse would not treat his ADHD or address it that I could not be with him. When I found these boards I realized there were people out there who had marriages more like mine was. 

I also know, getting to this ripe old age in my forties, that even most of my friends' more "normal" or charmed lives are not storybook, either-no one's are. (Not that this is what you meant-it was just important to me to realize it). My jet setting old college friend with all the money? Works 70 hours a week and travels away from home a lot. The pal with the great family vacation photo? Worked 20 years to get where she is, all while taking care of three older, deteriorating, sick family members in a row while being a mother. And the guy with the picket fence house and beautiful wife? Lost both parents in his teens, one to suicide. 

At any rate, my best to you. I used to pride myself on being a little alternative, creative, off the beaten path, ready to embrace adventure. And fooled myself for a while that this is what I had- the creative, if troubled husband, and me the strong supportive wife. After that, I am happy to be in my own boring little world with my kids now...planning our first long trip this summer, just me and them.

I agree that no one has the

I agree that no one has the "perfect" relationship or perfect story.  I am just beginning to realize that a lot of people are more connected to their spouse than we are in this house, and I am coming to realize that I need more than a roomate to share my life with.  Fortunately for me, my husband is not the type to leave things unfinished, etc.  His issues are more related to getting lost in his little world and not realizing that LIFE is happening, our children are growing up, there are bills to be paid and a wife to pay attention to.  I gave everything to this relationship for a long time and made excuses to myself and my family about his lack of attention to us and them.  No more...

 

 

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Now what do I say

justbeachy,

A big 'Men are From Mars Women are from Venus' realization I had  in recent years is this:  In the very same way as lots of men read Playboy while dreaming their perfect wife is in there - so lots of women watch 'The Note Book' or 'The Bachelor' or 'You've Got Mail' or they read romance novels while dreaming their perfect husband is in there.

In my own struggle to combat poor self-esteem , I realize I married my spouse in a state of awe - "Wow, he really wanted to marry me.  Wow, he really asked me."  

Now I am working hard to get past the reality that every person this man gets involved with is a  'scum-of-the-earth', 'Someone-I-can-rescue', 'I-will-show-you-compassion-like-Jesus-did-even-though-no-one-else-likes-you.'  

He got involved with me, so I must belong in that category.  Accccckkkkkk.  Yuck.  Yuck.  Yucky-poo.

I am at a good place with me.  Like myself.  Cringe when I act stupid.  Forgive my own humanness.  Get past it.  Go on.

For the past handful of years, I had been making sure no one sees who he really is. Didn't know that is what I was doing.   Protecting his image.  Not wanting anyone to think poorly of him.

I do not know how to get to the other side gracefully.  I want to scream sometimes:  "Hey everyone I know, listen up.  We are in a financial mess.  I can't help his plumbing business.  I hate the mess our yard is in.  I hate that the man that I live with is always angry - at me.  I hate that he piles all the responsibility for his unhappiness on my back.  I hate when he puts things in my space in the barn, and then yells at me when I tell him to move it.  I hate that our intimate life has died.  I hate feeling controlled. I hate having my emotions denied, stomped on and ridiculed.  I hate to  see him emotionally hurt my sister.  I hate that my subservient attitude has impacted my 2 children in a negative way.  I hate that I wasted lots of years trying to be what i thought was the good Christian wife who submitted to her spouse's wisdom.  I hate my life is a big fat lie.  I hate that after 30 years, we are not financially set.  I hate that even though we inherited a huge lump of money 5 years ago, we are now up to our dupas in debt.  I hate that I got lost somewhere.  I hate that I want to leave.  I hate that my marriage died a long time ago.  I hate doing all the housework and financial work and life work by myself, and adding his name to it.  I hate that I hate all this stuff.

Yep.  My life is a mess.  I do not like my living situation.  I do not like all our debt.  I do not like being controlled.  But - - - -(you knew that was coming, didn't you!) so after 29 months,  I am so ready to do something different. My daughter's wedding in in three months.  How do I keep that the focus of my joy and deal with my need-to-get-out without affecting the wedding?

And, why since I had decided to put all my own stuff on hold till after the wedding, has it all blown itself out of every nook and cranny and I am no longer able to contain it?

 

carathrace's picture

"why since I had decided to

"why since I had decided to put all my own stuff on hold till after the wedding, has it all blown itself out of every nook and cranny and I am no longer able to contain it?"  The first thing that occurred to me when I read this is........God has a funny way of bringing stuff to our attention at inconvenient moments.  Maybe as you're envisioning your daughter's marriage, it's bringing your own into sharp focus, all the things you've pushed down all these years are bubbling up.  But, can you see your awareness of your unhappiness as something God wants to happen? 

My heart aches for you.  You're at a bitter/sweet place.  And I think you're right where God wants you to be.  It's a hard place for sure.  Maybe you can focus on the hope of your daughter's marriage getting started on a good footing.  Maybe you could work on writing her a letter about your hopes for her and on what you see in her that will make her a good wife.   And at the same time, let your grief for your own marriage flow.  I know you write well, because I've read your posts -- what about letting your grief flow into the pages of a notebook?  Sometimes when I do this, God speaks to me louder and clearer than when I'm just talking to myself.  You don't have to come up with all your own answers in advance...sometimes just writing the first thing that comes into my mind starts me on a track that gives me some answers.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

The cost was great

Yes, I can see clearly now.  I love your encouragement carathrace.  My heartfelt desire is to write.  

God's timing is interesting at times.  I always hated conflict. For many years, I was an out-of-balance peacemaker. I slowly gave up so many tiny fragments of myself, that it made a huge gap in my soul. I am now meeting a LOT of resistance retrieving those fragments. God's divine plan is clear here: I am now a much stronger person, and I can do it

"It can be easier to try to meet others’ expectations and avoid conflict. We may even believe we are making someone happy by not speaking our truth. What’s the cost? Slowly giving up fragments of who we genuinely are: our authentic self." ~Tiny Buddha~ 

I am ready for some joy in my life.

Yes

I hear you, but I also know what justbeachy means. I do watch other couples, and tears come to my eyes when their spouses treat them like they actually cherish them (my fondest wish).

On the other hand, I recently found out that a friend whose marriage I admire recently had her spouse make a comment so hurtful, I was stunned. My husband is not at all thoughtful. I have let him know that I want help (and sometimes he promises to help and then doesn't follow through, even with reminders). I have let him know that compliments mean a lot to me (but he can't seem to remember to give them). In the end, it seems like our marriage must be lived on his terms or not at all, because when I fought with him once about his inability to pick up after himself or to sustain any positive change, he told me I was a nag and always wanted things my way. I read the latter comment as "Sometimes you complain about me getting to have my way all the time, and I hate that." But for all that, he isn't really cruel, like my friend's husband was. So, I try to remember that when I get down.

That said, it is hard, very hard, to hear my work neighbor talk about the loving things her husband does for her, to talk to another friend about how she and her husband discussed a marital problem and he actually took action, to spend time with that same friend and her husband and watch him help her with the kids -- and not to feel some self-pity and a desire for something better.

It's funny... I just got hit like a brick with this last night

I went to a dinner party last night that had a lot of couples.  They were a really interesting group of people, involved in the art and music businesses, and I found it enjoyable to listen to them and their experiences since that is a world outside my own. 

But instead of losing myself in glimpsing the lives of brave, creative people, I found myself marveling at the interaction between the couples at the table. The couples let each other speak. They didn't get threatened by someone else telling a cool story, interrupting them and inserting their own, bigger, badder and completely fabricated story. They didn't cut off their spouses, degrade what they had to say or finish their stories for them. They didn't change the subject each time their spouse spoke. They were not obviously embarrassed and uncomfortable with their spouses' behavior, not obviously trying, with gritted teeth, to somehow control their spouses with not-so-subtle looks, kicks under the table, rolling eyes and sighs.

Instead, they enjoyed each others' discussions, joined in, but left their spouses to be the center of attention for those few moments that they were sharing a story. They allowed others to speak, really listened and enjoyed hearing about new experiences. They complimented and complemented their spouses, their friends and the people they had just met. They were welcoming of new ideas. They were able to disagree with one another on political and life issues, have frank but supportive conversations and come to a mutual understanding or peacefully agree to leave the subject where it was, knowing that there would be no resolution that night, but that it was OK. 

These couples talked about their lives, their children, their ambitions, their vacations and the homes that they were building, and it was clear that each spouse was dedicated to the construction of their worlds. They sometimes teased each other gently, spoke of doing things that were important only to their spouses, and lovingly doing them for their spouses' sakes and not for some promise of future personal gain.

We all moved into the basement and many of the people took up guitars, the piano, and one fellow pulled out a clarinet and one woman a violin. They passed the instruments around, made requests of one another, and let each person be the spotlight. When someone's spouse played and perhaps reached for the wrong chord, their spouses laughed good-naturedly WITH them not AT them.

I know in the core of my being that I will never have this, but it still made me so happy, somehow, to realize that it is out there. It isn't some myth that you only see in television or in movies. It exists. Perhaps those couples will not always stay this way. Perhaps some of them were even faking it. I don't know. But the truth is that IT EXISTS, even for a limited period of time, in this world. After so many years never having experienced it in my childhood or in my marriage, I had never really understood why so many people, despite devastating odds, keep trying to find a partner. I could not understand how anyone could willingly attempt shoulder the crushing responsibility and disappointment of a relationship. Now I understand that my relationship and that of my parents and so many of my friends were unnecessarily burdensome, one-sided and soul-sucking.

Anyway, that really struck me hard and I woke up really happy and peaceful this morning. 

 

 

Relearning Everything, You

Relearning Everything, You described exactly my experience every time we meet with other couples in a social setting. I remember the first time I realized how different other couples' interactions were, and how I came home crushed knowing that I would never have that. See, my husband was my first and only everything, so I just assumed for many years that it was just difficult and painful to communicate with men. Not true... it needs not be this painful. Sure, no relationship is perfect, but what we live in our marriages is abnormally difficult and overwhelming. I wish I had dated and had more male friends... then I would never have married my husband.