“If you think your life is hard, imagine mine.”  These are the words I spoke to my teenaged daughter because my husband, her father, was upset with her and wanted her to skip a fun choir activity after their annual Christmas concert.  She stared at me, wide-eyed “Are you actually going to tell him that?”  No look of shock or surprise on her face, no flicker of “I never thought of that”, only a fascinating mix of awe and horror that I might actually say those words aloud to him.

I’m waiting until after our Christmas travels to have a very unpleasant conversation with my husband.  It may result in our separation, maybe even in divorce, who knows.  But at this point I almost don’t care.  What I do care about is spending 7 days and 1200 miles in the same car as a man who oozes hostility when he’s upset and/or frustrated.  Also, I want to have this particular conversation safely away from our teenaged children, who don’t need to see or be a part of the drama.

Things that I should not have waited 18 ½ years to say (in random order):

1.  You’re controlling.  I feel like I have to maintain constant communication with you or you get “grumpy” with me.  I call you on my way to work, at lunch and on my way home because I’d rather hold a shallow, meaningless conversation with you than have you upset with me.  I rarely have lunch with my co-workers because I feel like I have to call you every day.  I use the excuse that the bus is too loud to talk on the phone with you because it’s about the only “me” time I get anymore, 30 minutes at a time, twice a day.  When you and I talk on the phone it seems like we only talk as long as you want to talk.  The minute you want to call someone else or do another activity that you can’t talk on the phone at the same time you tell me you’re ”very  busy” and you have to go.  When I try to end our phone conversations you give me a guilt trip about not wanting to talk to you.

2.  You’re self-centered.  It feels like when you want to spend money on something not in the budget you “ask” me if it’s OK and more often than not you cajole me into go along with get what you want, or you just tell me “I need this”, regardless of whether the purchase requires a payday loan or not.  When I want to buy something that’s not in the budget it seems like you tell me “I don’t want to buy anything we have to get a loan for” and try to talk me out of it.

3.  You don’t know what love is.  It feels like the only time you tell me you love me is when you want to buy something (or when you have bought something) but rarely at any other time.  Except when I ask you directly for a compliment you never say I’m pretty even though I’ve lost 35 pounds this last year and am looking better than I have in forever.  Last month I wore a dress to work for the first time in 6 years and I thought I looked fabulous – and said so.  You never once said I looked good (or bad) and when we talked on the phone later that day you questioned my motives for wearing the dress.  I feel like you only hold my hand or put your arm around me to possess me, to show other people I belong to you.  I can’t remember you ever touching my face or my hair affectionately and you so rarely tell me that I mean anything to you that it’s easy to believe I don’t mean anything to you at all.

We have had most of this little chat before and he tried very hard to say that I looked nice and that he loved me without being prompted to and it was nice to see him make the effort.  Unfortunately, the output of words I needed to hear only lasted for about six weeks and then it dried up like a seasonal creek.

I started this blog before we left on our Christmas trip and am finishing it at halfway through our trip…  Things are actually going better than I expected and I am actually enjoying being around him 24/7, which seriously surprises me.  What changed?  I’m not sure but I certainly don’t want to rock the boat at this point.  Maybe the true Christmas Spirit has finally touched our hearts and softened us towards each other again?  Hard to say.  I just know that as far as the emotional temperature of our little family goes, it’s been pretty good!  <whew!>

But I know we’re going to have to talk and work these things out…and that it will probably get ugly…and that I’m not looking forward to it.  Wish me luck.

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