My best friend constantly reminds me to be careful what I say when I’m angry. As she says, when we’re angry, we often say things we don’t mean, and we don’t necessarily know how much damage those words can do. Lately, I’ve had a real lesson in just such a thing.
Several weeks ago, Ron said he wanted a divorce. He also said a lot of other things that were extremely hurtful, although he didn’t mean to be hurtful, he was merely being honest. That’s the problem. I realize he was just being honest…he actually meant the things that he said. It wasn’t a tirade against me, or anything like that. Ron is never puposely mean. But he had a lot of bottled up resentment, and said some really awful, generalized things: “I never wanted to blah blah blah;” “I never should have blah blah blah;” “I’ve wanted to blah blah blah since blah blah blah.”
After a few days of cooling off, we agreed that we would give our marriage another ten months, and then decide in January what he wants to do. He wants to be divorced before our tenth anniversary, so he won’t have to pay alimony. I can understand that. Meanwhile, we would pay off debts and see a marriage counselor. If nothing else, we would both be able to walk away guilt free, say we tried, and we’d be in a better financial position. I used to joke about it, and didn’t realize exactly how true it was, when I would say that for us, it wasn’t, “’til death do us part,” but it was more, “’til no debt do us part,” meaning that where other people stay together because of the kids, we’ve stayed together because of our finances. Gallows humor, to be sure; I just didn’t realize exactly how accurate it was.
We did go together to see my therapist, but she recommended we go see someone who doesn’t know either of us, rather than Ron possibly feeling like we’re colluding against him. I understand and agree, although I truly detest having to go through my entire past one more time. Crappy childhood? Check. Failed marriages? Check. Children hate me? Check. Emotionally unstable? Check, check, check.
Of course, that’s all standard, so I’m not surprised by it. I’m grateful my meds are fabulously keeping me in a zero state. I’m not sad or upset. I’m also not happy. On a scale of -10 to +10, I’m exactly at zero. It’s good, because it means I’m less likely to try to off myself again. It’s bad because it means I feel pretty apathetic about everything. However, none of that is what’s really bothering me.
What’s really bothering me is that I can’t look at my husband without hearing all the things he said about me, our marriage, his feelings. I lie awake on the sofa night after night, day after day, and the words play through my head like some kind of pathetic liturgy, over and over. When we’re talking, there’s a secondary soundtrack that only I can hear, whispering, “I never wanted, I never should have, I never, I never, I never…” Sometimes I’m looking straight at him while he’s talking to me, and I have no idea what he’s saying, because all I hear is, “I never, I never, I never…”
For the first week or so, I was absolutely adamant that we were going to work things out. The second week and I was pretty sure. The third week and I thought maybe. Now, I have no idea. I finally managed to get an appointment with our first choice marriage counselor for tomorrow. Thank goodness for cancellation lists. Part of why we chose her is because she is close to both our house and Ron’s office, so if she calls with a cancellation, we can be there in five minutes.
Fortunately, the situation isn’t completely untenable. There’s no abuse, no one has cheated, we don’t argue. Ron still makes dinner and does the laundry. He still calls when he leaves work, and asks what we need from the store. When Aubrey is home, she and I still watch tv shows. If Aub’s at work, I sit here on the sofa and listen to music, or sleep, write, read, crochet, or work on photos. Ron studies for his CPA exam in the living room or bedroom until 10pm, then goes to bed. I stay on the sofa.
Superficially, nothing has changed, other than I now brush my teeth and go back to the sofa, instead of brushing my teeth and going to bed. Superficially. It’s the deep, bitter, festering, unseen, but unable to be unheard words that have changed everything for me. The sound of them drone over everything else, until my world is just a constant gray hum. I do want to work on this, or at least, I think I do. Maybe I just thought I did. I do have a strong sense of committment, but part of me wonders if I am just being stubborn, refusing to face reality. Lately, as I lie on the sofa smothered in apathy, I wonder exactly what it is I’m supposed to be fighting for if he “never, never, never…” I know there are efforts I could put forth on my part; I know most of what the marriage counselor will say. The problem is that every time I think about all that effort, all I hear is, “I never, never, never…”
It hit me one day, while I was laying here, that I have forgotten what it feels like to be loved in the way that most women think of as love. I don’t remember what it’s like to fall asleep wrapped in someone’s arms, or have them come up behind me, put their arms around me and tell me that my hair smells good. I don’t remember when was the last time I was snuggled on a couch while listening to the rain, or music, or nothing at all. I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation that had nothing to do with the kids, the house, the dogs, the cars, the bills. Hell, I can hardly remember what a real conversation is. I cannot remember what it feels like to be with someone who wants to be with me. More than anything, I cannot remember a time when everything wasn’t my fault.
So what do we do now? I guess we wait. We wait for the marriage counseling, wait for our debts to drop, wait for next January to turn to next February, wait for…what? I don’t know.
“The nights are long and cold and scary…can we live through February? I think Christmas was a long red glare, shot up like a warning. We gave presents without cards, and then the snow, and then the snow came. We were always out shoveling. We drop to sleep exhausted, and we wake up, and it’s snowing.”