I’m beginning to understand where clarity gets lost when it comes to blogging. In trying to keep posts short (Haha!), details can get lost between sentences, especially when it involves relationships. I’ve a few emails recently asking “WTF is going on?” So here’s a post that will explain the basics..maybe. Some of it may be a tad repetitive (“Yes, yes, Jane, we’ve already heard this blithering..”) There is a point, so try not to fall into a coma just yet. After this point I likely won’t revisit.
Think of this relationship as though it were a western desert scene; You can walk for a long time along a seemingly straight-forward path, but if you don’t pay attention you may walk right off a canyon cliff; never see it coming until you take that last step and BOOM! The earth falls away from under you to the tune of something akin to the Grand Canyon.
Fast forward: Even in the desert it rains, vast amounts over huge spaces. Individually these raindrops aren’t a problem, but as they run and merge with all the millions of other drops across that great expanse, they become a river, and then all those rivers find the lowest point to converge, which is usually how a tiny slot canyon becomes something like the Grand Canyon. But we’re not the Grand Canyon just yet, we’re still a tiny slot canyon.
When it’s dry, these canyons are hauntingly beautiful sculptures created by erosion and time, but if rain falls anywhere and that canyon is the lowest point, it becomes a death trap to anyone who doesn’t pay attention to the direction the wind is blowing.
A flood rushes down into them with the force of a hurricane, stirring up the mud and taking down anything in its path. This can go on for miles, whirling vortexes slamming into the canyon walls and eroding a millenniums worth of construction in seconds. At some point the canyon will open up to the world and over the course of time and space this tight passage of water flows outward, eventually becoming shallow and rocky enough for anything that may have miraculously survived to reach dry shores. But you don’t get to that shore without obvious cuts and bruises, bleeding out, life’s toll extracted.
Right now this household is still in that canyon, the rain from the last several years slamming us into the walls and sucking us under; tumbled, eroded, muddy. The only possible action is keeping our heads above water.. once we reach some measure of shoreline, then we can worry about the smaller details, such as what to do next.
I woke up in the canyon, river raging.
In every relationship there will be bad times, and typically a couple will stand back to back and face the problems that threaten them.
Well, those bad times hit, like a ton of diseased shit-house bricks upon new-born baby chickies. A flood of crap.
The kids melt downs, loss of life savings and retirement, bankruptcy, suicide of my brother, son whom had to be homeschooled while mom herself was trying to get through school, years of unemployment for him while she worked numerous jobs days and nights full-time, horrible nightmare of a town where daughter accumulated stalkers like some girls collect shoes, mother scrubbing toilets for one of the stalker’s mothers just to keep food on the table and having to beg for her paycheck each week, daughter’s cutting and suicide attempts, daughter’s car accident that reaped a whole cornucopia of grief down on the family, which eventually led to their move to Utah and into the basement of the her parents..which has opened a whole host of canned worms in regards to everyone’s mental health. Blah, blah, blah.. you’ve all heard this bit.
Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
Imagine if you will a superhero couple living peacefully in bliss until one day every villain on Earth decides to invade. They jump into action, back to back to fend off the villains. BAP! POW! WHAM! and on it goes nonstop for years. Eventually the bad guys are defeated and calm descends. As the smoke, sweat, and tears clear the woman turns to her partner at her back..and finds she’s completely alone. Just then her partner walks in the door whistling a happy little tune. Something whispers in her head, “Holy bat guano..something is wrong with this picture!” Then she is graced with a moment of clarity; He had left her at the first BAP! Had stepped away to avoid the fuss with a whispered, “I have to go to work … NOW!”
But now he’s back, and hey … she’s looking mighty sexy covered in sweat…
She then comes to the realization that she’s in a relationship with the Invisible Man, and she didn’t get through the last few years because he was there standing her back.. she got through because she had to. Was the only one fighting… Was capable.
While he was busy being busy, I was too busy battling to stop and ask, “Where the hell is husband?” I should have paid more attention. I shouldn’t have accepted the behavior and enabled it.
I do not for one second believe he did it maliciously. I believe he doesn’t know how to process familial problems other than to bury himself with work. I know it’s frustrating to put so much effort into work only to have your personal life continue to crumble.
But in all this we have both made choices. I chose to ignore the obvious, he chose to ignore what he didn’t know how to process; we both suddenly found ourselves in that slot canyon just trying to keep our heads above water.
However, I had made efforts to involve him, begged for help many times. But, I didn’t drag him into the fray, because it was easier emotionally to just do it myself.
Yet every “next time” he promised he would stand my back. And every time I believed him.
I didn’t want to see it, this life lived virtually on my own, yet in a relationship. And it wasn’t all bad, there were good moments and he’s always tried to provide. I don’t hate him, but I do resent the behavior, and I cannot respect living like I’m not worth fighting for. He had the choice; help me fight for our kids, and he chose work. When I was crushed and shredded by my brother’s suicide he busied himself. Distancing himself was how he handled his own grief.
What it comes down to is at every turn, even when he could see me failing, he left. Made busy. When his daughter was intent on destruction, he chose to leave. Chose to. When you have three weeks paid vacation coming to you because you never take personal time you can take a day or two to help your suicidal child when your partner is at her wit’s end, literally..mentally vegetative.
It hasn’t been that he has been abusive or financially neglectful, and overall he’s a very likable guy. I understand the limits of humanity; we each have that which we can handle, and that which we muddle through, none of us are perfect, and I certainly don’t expect perfection.
You can only leave someone hanging so many times; promise to protect and help, only to walk away. Again. At some point a heart no longer believes, and when that happens we have to be honest with ourselves. With the other person.
I do not hate him, I do care about his wellbeing, want nothing but a happy life for him, but I can’t give him my heart anymore. Won’t take being left in the dust while he walks away again. A relationship isn’t a relationship when there is only one person involved.
There are far more details than what I can provide in a reasonable space, and like all relationships it has things that work, and don’t work.
He still believes I’m going through a phase and eventually I’ll settle down; life will resume as usual..because I always have in the past. That’s on me. He’s putting in an effort to be nice, to not cut me down when he’s frustrated at things.
This behavior is difficult for me to accept, because that internal switch has been flipped. At this point in life I feel taken advantage of, so I’m not overly motivated to repeat the past. These promises of change aren’t new; it would be insane to expect the outcome to be. At the moment I’m the only one who has accepted this.
Forgiveness has become like a scratched record stuck on repeat; at some point you have to remove it or you’ll drive yourself insane.
I’m not dicing my words, I have told him; you broke my heart, took my love and trust for granted, and I don’t have it in me to ever let you do that again. I am done, and I have to put my life back together.
We still exist under the same roof at the moment..ok occasionally we’re all under the same roof for a few hours on the odd Saturday night. With our lives in limbo in damn near every aspect (I won’t even begin to address the mental health at the moment), especially financially, it’s not worth carving up just now for any of us. We haven’t reached dry land yet. So we live in this surreal place that I’m finding is becoming rather common in America these days thanks to the economy; I have my space bubble, he has his, and our daughter can move between the two without feeling too weirded out.
Eventually he’ll have the issues with his job sorted, I’ll (hopefully) have something under me, and then we’ll both be in a better place to address the reality of all our cumulative decisions in life. I’m thankful it hasn’t gotten too ugly. It still can..feelings are like that.
This isn’t easy, this is heartbreaking on a level I don’t even know how to describe or define. It isn’t hate, infidelity, or even boredom that destroyed the relationship, it was human error. Shortcomings. Broken trust in another’s word, and being honest with myself. With him. I can’t put my love into someone who doesn’t truly value it, and though that concept feels incredibly lonely and depressing, it is simple fact. It would be so much easier to let life go “back to normal”, and some days it’s tempting, but I can’t do it anymore. I have to own that, and eventually people will come to the same conclusion..maybe. That’s theirs to own, and I can’t make it any less painful.
For the time being I am done talking about it. Overall it appears, and feels utterly insane and out of control, but in those quiet moments when I’m able to look at it piece by piece, in all the detail that only those involved can truly appreciate, I know I have to rebuild myself on my own. I can’t put that on him, and I deserve the knowledge that I am somebody in my own right. I have value. An identity outside of “wife” or “mother”. I need to love myself, know that I am enough..and I’ve said it before; until I do, how could I possibly expect anybody else to?