In a little over three weeks, Ron and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. When we were trying to figure out what day we should go out to dinner, we joked that part of why we’ve stayed together this long is plain inertia. There have been times when we’ve both wanted to leave, but just never got around to it by the time things got better. I don’t really consider that commitment…it’s more laziness than anything else.
This has been a really tough year; last April, we were pretty much set on divorce, but Aubrey talked us into marriage counseling, where we we’ve been able to work some things through. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to our appointment this month because that was right during my week of the norovirus. I thought out appointment was on Thursday, but it turned out to be on Tuesday. Instead of telling me, Ron just went by himself. I don’t know what went on during that appointment, but since that point, I’ve really been struggling to not say, “Fuck you, I’m outta here.”
THAT is the commitment side of staying together this long. It’s sticking together through the “fuck you” days, no matter what. The problem is I am really, really, really tired of there being more “fuck you” days than good days. Last night, I couldn’t sleep as I thought about how much I want to leave right now. It’s difficult to work through these days without a friend to talk me down from the cliff, but at least I have a therapist.
I know that at least a small part of my issue is that Ron’s behavior lately has been triggering my feelings from my first marriage. Ron’s not purposely abusive, but when he discounts my thoughts, feelings, and intentions, it brings up the same feelings as when my first husband would do similar things, but with a different intent. Duane MEANT for the things he said to hurt. Ron isn’t trying to hurt me, and I don’t think he’s aware of how much his actions/reactions do hurt. I am so incredibly tired of constantly defending myself against his unpurposeful attacks.
I think that marital harmony is like an emotion bank. Marriage has its ups and downs, but what makes it worth it is that during the ups, the bank gets stocked with positive emotions that help to balance out the negative ones that come along later on. Our problem is that our marital emotion bank is overdrawn. There hasn’t been anything positive to fill it, so all these negative things have nothing to balance them. When that happens with a single person, they end up with depression. When it happens with married people, they tend to end up divorced…or someone has an affair in an effort to stock up their personal emotion bank with positive feelings. Most people don’t stop to think that an affair will cause a serious overdraft; if they do think about it, but have gone too long without positive feelings, they tend to do it anyway.
I am too tired to have an affair, and Ron is too moral. I don’t think that’s ever been a worry for us. For Ron, the idea of dating, having to make conversation, talking about himself and listening to someone talk about themselves is pure torture. Just the thought makes him practically break out in hives. He said the hardest part would be having to spend money on someone; paying for dinner is anathema to him.
The thing of it is that neither of us is happy. I’m trying (really!) to make myself happy, but every thing that I do to work on that is cause for Ron to denigrate my actions, which of course makes me resent him. We’re not getting out of debt fast enough for him, so he resents me. With Ron, everything comes down to money. Because things need to be done around the house, we clash constantly over it. Yesterday was kind of the last straw when he made the comment that I should have married someone like my friend Leigh’s husband, Bill. He said that my passion for home improvement is something that he couldn’t care less about. I said that his passion for computer games is something that I couldn’t care less about. It seems that we just can’t quite find any common ground to share…we don’t like doing any of the same things.
Lack of common ground is usually balanced out by love and affection for the person themselves…who they are, not what they do. I think it also requires mutual respect. I truly believe that Ron wants (or at least WANTED) to feel love and affection, but just plain can’t. They are emotions that he can’t feel, or can’t recognize when he does feel them. So here we are in a marriage bereft of love and affection, and unfortunately lacking in respect. This isn’t the kind of marriage that I want.
My therapist and I have spent a lot of time talking about how there are no guarantees. Ron is kind and caring, moral, humorous, and a good person. I know that if I were to leave, there would be no guarantee that I would ever find someone with the same qualities. However, I am starting to believe that the lack of a guarantee doesn’t matter, because at least there would be hope that I might find someone who loves me; even if I didn’t, well…at least there wouldn’t be the disappointment of wanting love from my husband and not getting it. Hope vs. disappointment. Hm…
For better or for worse, we are stuck together by “for poorer.” Until we’re out of debt, neither of us will go anywhere, as we know it would take much longer to get out of debt if we were paying for two separate households. For the time being, I will sleep on my edge of the bed and he will sleep on his. I can move past the disappointment because after facing it for a long enough time, it just becomes the way it is. “It is what it is.”
I know that going through a divorce is much like dealing with the death of a person. One has to grieve the loss of the relationship in order to move on. I can say that I’ve experienced all seven stages of grief in the last year. I’m now in acceptance. “It is what it is.”
This process is different than my last two experiences. We don’t hate each other; no one’s cheated; there’s no physical violence or emotional abuse. We’re just not happy, and he doesn’t love me. “It is what it is.”
What to do now? Get out of debt as fast as possible. Keep going to marriage counseling so we don’t kill each other in the process. Continue to clear out my things and purge, purge, purge. Be responsible for my own happiness, in spite of his attacks and sabotage. Take it one day at a time, but start planning for the future.
“I never thought I could act this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it.
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feeling’s gone and I just can’t get it back.”