Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Marriage, Part IV

My original plan was to get a job and ask Hot Stuff to leave.  Things became so awful between us, with all the fighting and silence and absence, that I told him even before I had found a job that I wanted him to leave.  He refused.  He wasn't giving up the house, and neither was I. I felt like I should keep the house because I was keeping the children; he felt like he should get the house because he paid for it. (Someone should tell this guy that I pay half the mortgage every month with Sweat Equity.)  Neither one of us budged for weeks.  It's impossible to maintain that level of emotion over the long term, so eventually we talked and decided that we needed to figure this shit out.  I told him I was sick of his constant disappearing act and complete lack of respect towards me; he told me he was sick of me controlling him.  We both agreed to change.

It lasted less than a week before he was going out till all hours.  I tried a new tactic; let him do his own thing and I'd do mine.  Perhaps when he saw that I was no longer waiting around for him, he'd realize that I was serious about not living with a part-time husband.  The only condition was that if he was going to be out drinking or wasn't home by the time I locked the door when I went to bed, he could find somewhere else to sleep. 

This is sort of what we've been doing up until now.  I say sort-of because in the last two or so months he's been out of town for work quite a bit, and when he's home, the rule still applies: be home without the smell of liquor on you before I lock the door or you're SOL.  There's been less of that, though.  Hot Stuff has been going out less, and I do recognize that it has a lot to do with him feeling less stress and gaining some of his self respect back by bringing home more money.  Still, it feels like we are in a holding pattern; there is a lot of unresolved stuff between us.

Sometimes when Hot Stuff is out of town, I start thinking things like, "Would this be my life if we split up?" I mean, when he's gone for a week or two or four, I am single parenting.  There's never any easy relief.  Yes, I can get a sitter. My only evening sitter charges $5 per kid per hour. Dinner and a movie GNO costs $60 in sitter fees alone.  I don't consider that "easy." 

If we did split up

Would I still get that hopeful feeling that he might be home and I might see his truck in the drive when I crest the small rise before our driveway? Would my eyes be drawn to pick up trucks that look like his? Would I always be hoping to run into him?

How much is too much? Where is the line between

this is a really rough patch, keep at it


what the fuck am I still doing here?

Where is the line between

my marriage is worth this battle


this battle is a losing one?

Where is the line between

don't give up easily, fight for your family


the only thing worse than being in a bad marriage for two years is being in a bad marriage for three years?

Do I stay or do I go? Do I want to be single? No.  Do I want to be married to a part-time husband? No. Do I want to be married to the man I married 7 years ago? Yes. Do I want to be married to the man I am currently married to? Not really. Sometimes. Sometimes, when the man I am currently married to is the same man I married 7 years go. Do I think my marriage is worth saving? Yes, if I am not fighting the battle to save it by myself.

Sometimes, I am very lonely.  Very married and very lonely.  When my husband is home, sometimes I am lonely.

If I were to leave,

I know I would be alone.  Alone, I can do. Alone, I kind of enjoy. I like me. But I would still be lonely.  I would not miss having a companion, I would miss Hot Stuff.

I have suggested marriage counseling.  I got some resistance to it.  Funny, something Hot Stuff said made me really happy.  "I don't know if counseling is worth it, because I don't know if I want to be with you." Finally, finally I felt like I was hearing the truth, and not whatever he felt would pacify me.  He has agreed to see a counselor with me.  He is out of town right now, so I think I may book an appointment for late next week, when hopefully he'll be back home.

I do know that now I am strong enough to walk away.  I mean, I have always been able to do it, I just didn't think I could with two babies and a toddler. I don't want to walk away without trying everything.  I do think there is something worth saving here.  I love my husband, and I'm not ready to call it quits yet.

So here we are.


  1. Wow. Again, I am so sorry. I hope he follows through with the counseling.

  2. Oh dude. I wish I could reach through the computer and give you a big bear hug. I'm not much of a hugger, so that's a big deal for me. I just don't know what to say besides you have to follow your gut. Wherever that leads you.

  3. I haven't commented, but I have been following, and you both (well ok all of you, kids too)are in my prayers. It's a very very hard place you're in. Counseling is a good idea. even if it doesn't save your marriage, it will help you both see things more clearly. I hope, tho, you all can work things out and get through this.

  4. Hmmm. I think in a lot of ways it's wisest for me to keep my mouth shut in terms of advice, because of my own history. You've seen a lot of my own journey on my blog. Though I will say: you've been far more open and clear about what has been going on in this series of posts than I have been able to be on my blog. My story is a bit messier, too. Which perhaps means the possibility of a better ending for yours. I don't know.

    What I will say is that ANY TIME you need to talk, vent, whatever, I'm here. Email me. If you want to talk on the phone, we can exchange numbers, too. I won't tell you what to do, but I will listen and I can tell you more about my own experience if it will help.

    And I'm sending virtual hugs. Big ones.

  5. Counseling is a good place to start really figuring out what each of you wants. Good luck.

  6. Re-reading this I was reminded of my life when I was in a similar place as yours, 3 young kids, husband worked lots of hours...it was tough and hard on our relationship. There is something "special" about having 3 kids so close together. It's grueling. It lasts forever (do people come up to you and say "oh how sweet, enjoy it while they're little because it goes by so fast!" I wanted to punch them in the face when they did that. It did not go by fast. it was the longest 50 years of my LIFE). How it works out depends on both of you, and your mutual commitment to making it work. I hope you can. If we can do it (and in the middle of it all I had a psychotic break and became a long term psychiatric patient...so if i can, you can.)You all can do it.

  7. I haven't been keeping up on the blogs, so I'm way behind on this, but I really hope you're doing okay.

  8. Several of my friends are going through shit in their marriages. All three of them are hitting the ten year mark or have just passed it. Maybe this is a bad year. Maybe ten is how many years you get before you start wondering all those things you just wrote about.
    My husband is away a lot for work. It's a new thing, but I am already dying for it to be over. And we just began year three of our marriage. I wonder if I'll be blogging it out near year ten...
    Or maybe blogs will be lame then. And we'll be zapping our thoughts out into space for people to read. Yeah. With lasers. Either way, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for my friends in limbo, for you. And for me.
    Marriage is hard.


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