Forever?

”If love is easy, then you aren’t doing it right.” Truth.

Love isn’t easy, there is no right or wrong, there are no rules, and I’m not sure it lasts forever. I don’t believe in forever anymore. I don’t believe in marriage, and what it stands for…even though my parents’ marriage is still going strong. Nobody seems to take marriage seriously these days. It’s a “Let’s get married!!” on a whim, then figure out that it’s too hard to coincide with another person who is just as strong willed as you are, and then figure divorce is the only option. Just because you have a fairytale wedding it doesn’t mean that the fairy tale will last forever, that’s only the honeymoon phase. Once that phase is over, and you can take a stinky shit in front of your partner while they relax in the bath tub, getting on with the rest of your marriage is going to require work and commitment. I think this generation has just decided that if it’s broke and there is no warranty its not worth trying to fix. Not me, I google error messages, order the parts to make the fix, put new parts in and if it’s still not working, I hit up google again. It’s a vicious cycle.

I also didn’t believe that anxiety or depression was a real thing. “Seriously?? DUH…It’s absolutely controllable” insert *eye roll*…not! I believed that you could just set your mind to it and the anxiety would just go away. ”Get over your shit already!” kind of self-talk but…the tears kept falling, chest kept hurting, etc. It doesn’t work that way. When depression has its hold on you it doesn’t kindly just let go because you use your “mom voice” on it. I get angry with myself sometimes because I feel like I should be able to control these days when my brain is being a dick, trying to convince me that staying in bed is the best place for me to be, as it starts to replay the events from the last four years, then I hear a distant whisper ”Mom?” which pulls me out of the fog, I get up and start the day. If it wasn’t for that whisper though, I might stay right where my brain wants me to. Every day isn’t like this and I’m not sure why the anxiety elephant has been trying so hard to sit its ass down on my shoulders lately. Spring is on its way so I should be feeling happier, the weather is warming up, daylight hours extended, so why is my body betraying me? I wonder if I will ever be free of these feelings or if to be rid of them I need to be free of the situation that caused it in the first place. See??? My brain is totally in dick mode, bringing up the ”what ifs?” I don’t believe in forever so the anxiety can’t last for the rest of my life…Can it? I really want to believe that I have control over how everything will play out.

I read a book recently by Sophie Kinsella called Surprise Me. I wanted to find it funny  like I have all of her other books and distract my brain from dick mode, but it made me feel anxious and start to overthink about my marriage. It was about a couple who were happily moving along in their marriage when on their 10 year anniversary of being together it’s brought to their attention that they could live to be 100 and 102, which made them realize they had another 68 years of marriage to get through. So then they decide to come up with surprises for each other to try and keep the spark in their marriage alive, which ended in the surprises being catastrophic disasters. It made me think that my husband and I are approaching 20 years of marriage this year with quite possibly, easily, another 30 years together if not more. We are about 7-8 years away from being empty-nesters and then what?? Catastrophic surprises for the remaining 23 years? Ugh.

I feel like for a long time I was living in this alternate universe, where I believed that my marriage would withstand infidelity, that my kids would be spared heartache, that growing old with one person was how my life would turn out. I don’t believe it anymore. Life happens. There are so many things about living in that alternate universe I didn’t have to think about or want to think about because it was all going to end with happily ever after anyway. Now I think about places I want to travel, things I want to see or do and I don’t care if I do them on my own. Actually, I would like to do some of them on my own just to see what life on my own would be like. I want to feel strong/independent again like I used to, and travelling to Prague to go on a hiking/river cruise to Budapest might just do that for me. Maybe. Or I would just end up with really sore feet?

Our story used to end up with my husband and I being each other’s best friend till death do us part, with our kids and grandkids around us. That was all I needed or wanted. I still want that, but the need/want isn’t as great or as necessary as it used to be. There are just so many ways that a story could go, this is just my view and opinion. You get to write your own story it so make it a good one with a happy ending, just don’t plan on a fairy tale…

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Mind-field

I’ve talked about the triggers that set me off into analyzing and overthinking everything that happens between my husband and me. A trigger being something that takes me back to a time when I felt like he was lying to me but I couldn’t be sure. One of the triggers is his flight school classes. He told me that he wanted to learn to fly a plane. At that point in our lives, our children are still fairly young and I feel like this is just more time for himself instead of using that time to interact with his kids. It could be an evening for him to run someone to hockey, and watch the game or practice. It could be an evening where he baths our youngest, reads him a story and gets him ready for bed or it could be an evening where he shows up to the pool to watch our daughter swim, which he never did. Most of all it could be an evening for me to not have to juggle to do all three things myself. He doesn’t see it that way. He felt he did nothing but work all the time and this would have been time for him to do something just for him. He never let me have that luxury, and according to him, running kids here and there wasn’t part of HIS program. So let me get this straight…because I am the stay at home parent it is my sole responsibility to parent our children? He went to flight school and I went to the pool, a hockey game and did bedtime for the baby.

He didn’t complete his flying hours to obtain his license because his affairs got in the way. Well, that’s how I see it because it definitely wasn’t because of the kids or I getting in his way.

Over the last couple of weeks, work for him has been slow so he has decided to get back into flying, finish his lessons and get in his hours of training so he can get his licence. This sets me off. I know in the past that he wasn’t always flying when he was supposed to be. He constantly tells me there isn’t anyone else but I somehow cannot train my brain to think otherwise. I’ve heard that too many times only to be disappointed when I find out otherwise. So because alarms have been triggered I start looking. I look at his Facebook, I check pockets, I pay attention to the late night text messages and genuinely feel like a crazy person. In his Facebook, I see newly added women friends who I do not know, so I ask him who they are. His defences go up and he’s giving me grief over giving him grief over these women he has become friends with. One of the women had asked him at one point if he would be interested in having an affair with her because she heard that he was having trouble in his marriage. Boom!!She shouldn’t have even received a friend acceptance. Another one is a girl who his company does business with, and she flirts with him over a counter. Why do you feel the need to be friends with her? She is, like most people on Facebook, hardly an acquaintance. No need to request her friendship. The third woman I throw at him, he smirks a little and says he met her when he spent so much time in the Chicago airport on his way to breaking up with Marjorie. Hmmm…let’s just pick up another one on the way to breaking up with the other one. He says to me ”Why would I be friends with them on Facebook, where you can see everything and they can see I am married?” Hiding things in plain sight is the best place for them to be missed, I say and just because your status is set to ”married” doesn’t mean anything to some women. Especially the one who knows that you have ”marriage troubles” anyway. He says to me he has too much on his brain right now to deal with this, meaning my anxiety and begins to list off everything he has got going on. So what he has going on automatically voids whatever I have going on in my brain right now. That response is just as good as throwing fuel on a fire. I stop talking, take out my contacts, brush my teeth, get ready for bed, crawl in, curl up on my side and close my eyes. Shut down mode has commenced. He doesn’t realize or try to recognize that I need help to get over the ocean of lies that he created. I need answers, I need a schedule, and I need to know that this isn’t the beginning of another woman coming into our lives again. I can’t tell him enough about what I need because I don’t want to feel this way. I want it to stop. I want to feel safe and secure in my decision to keep going in this relationship. It’s hard because before when everything was still going on with Linda and Marjorie he would tell me it was all over, over for good and then I’d get slammed with the hard facts that no it wasn’t. So that is also, always circling in the overthinking compartment of my brain.

I hate that I overthink everything, I notice little things moved in a large space, I feel every vibe that comes from everyone. My kids don’t even try to lie to me because they know they can’t get away with it.

I had a very close sister-like friendship end because she couldn’t tell me the truth. I asked her if we were okay because she seemed to be avoiding me, although she says she wasn’t, she was. It was a lie, there was something bothering her but she wouldn’t admit it and sadly for me, the friendship pretty much ended. She was my person when everything started going south, she was who listened and offered advice.

I wish I could find a way to quit making my husband feel like a criminal and me the police. It would be nice if I could give him a manual to read so he would know the do’s and don’ts with me. Sometimes it feels like he’s stomping through a field of landmines around me and it’s all I can do to not curl into a tight ball with my head and ears covered, just so I don’t have to see or feel anything. It would be nice if I could explain to him how to be more careful and communicate better so we have fewer of these times when I start going off on him, in his mind, without reason.

Playing in the Sand

My last afternoon with Ann, I played in the sand. She asked if I would like to try something new. Sure. Right now, I feel pretty open to trying anything if it will make me feel better. 

She brought out the tray filled with sand and opened a chest full of figures, animals and other things. She asked me to describe the feeling of the sand, told me to take some time and chose characters or things out of the chest that represented people or things in my life. It felt like a test. What should I chose? I had no idea where to begin until I spotted the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz. From there I found Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, Glenda the Good Witch and the Bad Witch. 

The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland was an all time favourite movie when I was young. It still is. I always thought it would be such a great thing to be able to click your beautiful red ruby slippers and they would take you back to the place and people you loved the most. A place where you felt safe, and loved. 

Once I had chosen the characters, Ann asked me to place them wherever I thought they should be in the sand. So I placed the two witches on their own on one side of the tray, the Cowardly Lion on his own in the middle and then Dorothy, the Tin Man and Scarecrow on the other side. Then she asked me what each character represented. I was Dorothy, my teens were the Tin Man and Scarecrow, my husband was the Cowardly Lion and the witches were the Other Women he has brought into our relationship. 

The Wizard of Oz is very fitting because it deals with a young girl fighting  fantasy to get back to reality. I’m trying to live in the real world but my husband likes to escape to fantasy when reality gets to be too much. He gets to be the Cowardly Lion because I feel like he is a coward sometimes when he can’t tell people to mind their own business, leave us alone and not let anyone into our couple bubble. That’s what Ann calls it. It’s a bubble for only us but he’s let two other women into it. He’s cowardly not telling his girlfriend that he chose to come home and try to make our marriage work because he loves his wife. She believes I pressured him with our children and how his relationship with them would turn out. She’s fighting to keep him in the fantasy side of his life right now. She keeps telling him that a life with her is what he really wants. Time and time again he’s proved it. She tells him he wouldn’t have done the things he’s done if he wasn’t desperate to get out of our relationship. She thinks that four years of talking, texting, and screwing around with a married man wipes out 25 years of family, friends and hard work. She feels he didn’t really give them a chance. What she doesn’t know is, that she crossed the line from fantasy into reality. He had a wife, who took care of him and his family, he didn’t need another one. He just wanted her to be an escape for a week here and there. The same thing happened with his first affair. She wanted more and he wanted his family. I’ve read that married men do not leave their wives, their wives end the marriage when they’ve had enough with the lies and other bullshit their husbands keep bringing home. 

Back to the sand box…

Ann asked me why the witches were on one side and Dorothy was on the other? Well, I’m Dorothy and I don’t want either of those women near me or my family. Ann asked how I would feel if she moved them to the side with Dorothy? I told her that wasn’t an option, they don’t get to be in my life, and continue to hurt my family.  She asks what I would like to do with them? Ultimately, I would like to burry them in the sand and not ever have to think about or deal with them again. She says “So do it.” and I proceed to burry them in the sand so I cannot see them anymore. She asks “Where would you like this Cowardly Lion to go?” I would like him to be with us, he makes us a family and complete when he is really with us. When he is concerned with his girlfriend, I can feel the distance and it creates so much anxiety because I feel like I’m always waiting for him to abandon us again, while he bounces back into the fantasy where he can be someone else for a bit. I don’t like being in the fantasy side of things, I want to click my heals together, and return to where I feel safe. 

I don’t feel safe right now. I let him move back home because he’s convinced that wherever I am at the end of the day, that’s where he wants to be. Unfortunately he’s still talking to his girlfriend and she’s doing her best to plead her case, telling him that he wouldn’t have done the things he’s done if he didn’t want their relationship more. Maybe she’s right. I honestly don’t know how any woman or man, who claims to be a woman or man, knowingly continues to try to pull a marriage apart when the married man or woman says they want their marriage to work.  As far as I’m concerned his not ending the communication with her is still telling her she is right, that the relationship with her is what he really wants and it’s still telling me the same thing as it told me before, that it is not over. 

She thinks I begged him to come home, I did not. I tried very hard to create distance so that he could have a relationship with her if he wanted that, but he wouldn’t allow me to keep that distance. I tried not answering his calls or texts, but then he would just come to the house. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that our lives were moving on without him, that we weren’t going to wait around for him to get his life on track. 

I got a job, painted my bedroom, did a few other minor renos to the house, bought new furniture for my bedroom, the kids booked school trips and didn’t bother to consult him. He was upset that nobody was asking him for his input. The kids felt that he moved out without even so as much as a goodbye or explanation so they decided to treat him with the same respect. They feel if he wants to be part of their lives he will make the effort, they aren’t going to chase after him. He feels when this happens that it must be because of what I’m saying to them. They are smart kids, big enough to pay attention to his behaviour and the selfies that their dad’s girlfriend is posting on Facebook. 

Playing in the sand gave me a lot to think about. I know that before too long if he doesn’t get over the guilt he feels for allowing things to get as far as they have with his girlfriend, and cut off from her completely that I will have to ask him to leave for the very last time and move on from this craziness that he’s brought into our life. I keep having faith that he will find the courage to be the good guy I married.  I’m hoping we’ll be able to burry this all in the sand, click our heals together, wake up somewhere over the rainbow, back in Kansas, with the tornado behind us, and the witches forgotten far, far away in Oz.