A funny thing happened day before yesterday. With the single uttered phrase from my husband of, “You should have married Leigh’s husband, Bill,” I suddenly stopped caring about making this house pretty. For the entire time we’ve lived here, I’ve strived to make this place look like a home (and Leigh succeeded in my living room). Now that I don’t see it as my home, but as my husband’s home where I’m temporarily living, I find I’m no longer looking up at the bedroom ceiling with a burning desire to cover it in beadboard.
I’m still going to work on my office/den/bedroom/studio space, since my efforts are now concentrated on paring everything down. There is absolutely no reason why all of my craft supplies can’t fit in my large walk-in closet (with the exception of my yarn, but I have a plan for that). That means I can toss the bookshelves, the coffee table, the armoire, and the buffet. The room will have two Hylis shelves from IKEA, my Lillberg hack daybed, my large wood dresser from my bedroom (to hold my yarn!), two club chairs, the sewing machine desk, and a drop leaf table. The TV can sit on top of the dresser in the center of the room so we can move it to watch from the bed or from the chairs. So simple!
I had Aubrey take all of the storage books back to the library. Instead of focusing on finding more room for all my stuff, instead I’m focusing on getting rid of enough stuff for it to fit in the space I have. When it comes time to haul it across the country, it will drastically cut the cost, and since my next place will likely be very tiny, having less stuff is a necessity.
The reason this whole change in thought process is funny is because for years, Ron has hated my desire to improve our living space. He really doesn’t care how crappy the place looks as long as it’s not cluttered. Now he’s finally managed to kill that desire dead in its tracks. I’m somewhat curious to see if he’s happier when there is no art on the walls, the bookcases are empty, and all the accent pieces like my antique desk are gone.
When I first met Ron, he was rooming in a three bedroom house with two other guys. Ron paid extra for the largest bedroom because it had its own bathroom. His room was absolutely barren. He had a bed (no headboard, just a frame with a boxspring and mattress), a desk, a filing cabinet, an office chair, and a bookcase. That was it. I think he’s forgotten that he asked me to decorate it for him (and this was LOOOONG before we started dating), because he hated it.
When he moved from Tucson to South Texas, we went to IKEA and he let me pick out furniture for his apartment. I remember that year was the 2002 Winter Olympics, so he bought a TV just so I could watch it. He had an entertainment center, a sofa and two chairs, a dining table and four chairs, a bed, a desk, and a bookshelf. He had one set of dishes with a set of glasses, and a few pots and pans that he brought from Arizona. It was still spartan, but at least the red sofa and blue chairs gave it a little color.
I retained very little from my divorce. I owned a loveseat that I’d had when I married my second husband, the kids had their beds, and I got our breakfast table and four chairs. Aubrey had her antique drop front secretary desk and Matt had a cheap particle board desk that I bought at a garage sale for ten bucks. We had a toaster oven, one set of dishes, and a few pots and pans.
I don’t know if that’s where we were happiest because we lived in two separate apartments, or if it was because we had just started dating (we’d known each other for three years by that point), or if it was because Ron was actually TRYING to be a part of our family. We had a nightly ritual of Ron making hot tea for everyone, then we’d all sit in the living room and chat before the kids went to bed. Half the time we’d eat at his place and half at mine, but we cooked almost all the time.
I miss that time period; Ron has since realized that he hated doing all that stuff and was forcing himself to “want to” cuddle on the couch and watch HGTV or TLC. He knows that he did both of us a disservice by trying to pretend to be someone he’s not. He’s not the person that I fell in love with, but in all honesty, I’m not the person he expected me to be, either. When we first got together, I wasn’t sick and exhausted all the time. I had all the symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, but they hadn’t reached their worst point yet, and I certainly didn’t have a diagnosis. I was a software designer and made shit tons of money. So yeah, I was a different person, too. However, unlike Ron, I wasn’t faking it, and I didn’t change of my own desire…change was forced on me.
I can’t blame him for not loving me. If today’s Ron met today’s Carolyn, I don’t think we would be attracted to each other at all. Ron hates cooking, and only wants to be left alone to play on his computer. In spite of what he claimed in marriage counseling, he really doesn’t want to do anything with me. Although he complains that he doesn’t want to do anything because we’re still in debt, there are a million free or super cheap things to do around here, and he has no interest in any of them.
I know that the kindest, most loving thing that I can do for my husband is to let him go. Sometimes, that’s all a person can do.
“Someday I’m gonna run across your mind
Don’t worry, I’ll be fine
I’m gonna be alright
While you’re sleeping with your pride
Wishing I could hold you tight
I’ll be over you
And on with my life”