September 13, 2009

A Man's Life (Part II)

Well here it is, a month and two, well three days later.

The second installment of A Man's Life.

In that post I talked about the sunny side of life with my wife and kids.

These days, life is not so wonderful.

I have come to the realization that my wife and I are simply not compatible with each other, at least not as husband and wife.

My constant smothering behavior, doting on her, showering her with love and compliments were signs of a larger issue.

I had self esteem issues. I treated her that way thinking I wasn't good enough for her, and that the person I was inside wouldn't appeal to her.

My craving for love and affection caused me to become someone I was not, and she bought it. She saw me as a person who would cater to her, give in to her, and never challenge her on anything. Because of my actions, she was under the mistaken impression that I would never exert my opinion, but give her whatever she wanted.

And then of course the inevitable happened.

One day I had finally had enough of doting on her, and decided to not let her have whatever she wanted, and decided I wasn't going to be a spineless pushover anymore. I didn't care anymore whether she liked it or not, I wanted my opinion to matter, and that's when the the arguing started.

Simple stuff at first, just me wanting to spend time with friends, rather than her. Well that wasn't about to happen without a long drawn out argument with her bringing up everything she could as to why I shouldn't. It then escalated into other parts of our lives, where to spend money, who gets to go to school to learn a new trade, even everyday life stuff like what to have for dinner. No can do. No amount of logical reasoning would get her to budge. She simply did not have the ability to compromise with me. It never occurred to me during the doting and smothering phase that I was effectively letting her "wear the pants" in the family. Now here I was trying to take that role, and she wasn't willing to give it up.

To make a very long story short, this arguing continued, to the point I have found that there is very little we can agree upon. Everything we want to do, where we live, what jobs we have, the music we like, the people we want to associate with, all different. Our hopes and dreams and aspirations for our children are different, even where we want them to go to school, what activities we feel they should be a part of, and ultimately, how they should be raised. It always has to be her way, her timetable, and my opinion is irrelevant. She even feels it's ok to dictate to me what I "should" be doing, and she thinks it's ok to get me to do things for her, little stuff she can do herself, bugging me incessantly every 5 minutes. And in her mind, I'm an asshole for wanting things my way. 

I can't say I blame her for this attitude, I mean I made this bed, so now I have to lay in it. Even though to some it may seem that I'm bashing her for having this frame of mind, I feel it necessary to mention that I don't feel that I am "right" all the time. She has a lot of great ideas, she's a great mom, but I do feel that since I am an adult, my opinions and ideas should at least be considered and discussed, and in most cases she is unwilling to do so.

There is one thing we have agreed upon.

We've agreed to get a divorce. We are completely amicable on this fact, realizing that we are going in different directions, even agreed already that we will have joint custody of the kids. The problem is money.

I am unemployed at the moment, and the job she has doesn't pay enough for basic bills even, so getting a divorce isn't going to happen yet.

Because of our money issues, we have been staying with her mother for the last 2 years, and that's been making things all the more difficult between us.

I have been actively searching for a job, but with the current economic conditions, the jobs are few and far between. I had a job working on computers last year, but got laid off when they closed the store. It frustrates me that I'm having such a problem finding a job, but I have come to the realization that I must leave. Get my own place, start building another life. 

I feel that being with her has held me back from being able to do things, make decisions that could ultimately help my family, my daughters, to have a better life. Her inability to compromise has caused me to miss out on opportunities I felt would benefit us as a family, and living on my own would allow me to chart my own course, and ultimately help provide a life for my daughters that they deserve, without having to filter things through her first.

I don't mean it to sound like everything I have done is perfect. I have had issues with keeping a job, because I used to have a drinking problem. I have not been a good provider for my family, so as far as the money issues go I place the blame squarely on MY shoulders. And no, I have not been an attentive husband to my wife in a long time, but how can I, when all she wants is for me to do what she wants, with no regard for anything I want? Is that fair? AM I an ahole because I don't cater to her every whim? She is not all bad, I don't think that, but it is hard to get along with someone who has no regard for the feelings of others. 

Do I still love her? Yes, but not like I did, or at least thought I did. That young, wet behind the ears boy that first laid eyes on her back in '92 no longer exists, and in his place is a much more knowledgeable and experienced man who is aware that love is not always what it seems. 

I was infatuated with her, I didn't love her. She gave me the love and attention I craved, so in order to make sure I didn't lose it, I felt the need to show her how much I "loved" her too. Once the need for constant validation went away, and I started to be myself, the relationship blew up in my face.

The thing is, I'm not sad or angry about it at all. I call it a lesson learned. I have addressed the reasons I felt like I was love and affection starved.

The first was to realize my own self worth, and to love myself for who and what I am, because without that, I can not truly love anyone else.

The second thing was to realize that me doting and catering to someone else is just me looking for validation, because inside I am not spineless, or a pushover, which is how I end up looking.

The third thing I've learned, and maybe this is the most important, is that I have found that I am a very selfish person, always making things about me. I have so much to learn about what it means to love someone, and how I SHOULD be treating others, I can scarcely put it into words.

What about how she feels? Maybe I am an ahole, I mean, the way I've treated her, how else should she react? What about all the other people in my life, what am I doing for them? Am I caring for them, or being too worried about how I want things?

I think I know the answer.


Celia (Head Witch of the Hollow) said...

Wow really have looked at everything in a new light...I don't know what to say to you that would even begin to help...
I just hope for everyone's sake you all work it out in the best way you can...I'm no "councellor" so I can't advise you on anything, but I hope after all this, you are all happier and healthier people...All of you.

Ben said...

Thoughts to you, my friend.

Do what you must and let what you can.

Morgaine Pendragon said...

I read the first half of your post, and I thought omg that's my life. I can relate very well to the doting on the spouse, doing everything they wanted, never voicing an opinion. Here I am 20 years later and I realize that my spouse and I aren't compatible. I too feel as though I was infatuated to the point of believing I was in love. Unfortunately for me, he doesn't want to divorce where as I do. We've been separated for 2 years but because I don't have a job and can't find one I live in the same house still. And also because he told me I couldn't have our daughters.

I hope things work out for you. Wishing you all the best and Bright Blessings.

Anastasia said...

Thank you for putting yourself out there. I think many of us can relate to your story. I know I can.


AmyK. said...

Wow....that's 180 degrees different than I thought it would be...

But, the honesty is refreshing. And you are 100% right. Once a relationship has been established in one vein, it is hard to go back. But you have to be honest with yourself and as you have pointed out, you can't rely on others for happiness. It comes from within. Took me awhile to figure that out too.

Coming back from problems(be they $, drinking etc...) can be hard. But you are moving on and you and your wife are thinking of the kids first...and that matters most.

Be well.

Jupiter Greenmoone said...

Thanks so much for the insight to your life Rayden! I love hearing about what goes on in the real lives of the people I respect in this great big blogging world. Keep us posted and keep your head up!

Rayden Darklighter said...

Thanks everyone for the well wishes and kind words. It has been a difficult time for me in recent months, in more ways than one.

And Celia, thanks for inspiring my next post (you'll see what I mean when you read it).

Hyla said...

Very interesting post. My husbandalso caters to me but I am always quick to say thank you and tell him that he is appreciated. He also doesnt get much time with his friends these days because we have 4 very young children, but every once and awhile he us able to get out.

I would never want to lose my husband. I am sorry you two can not work things out.