The new normal until it’s just normal

I feel the need to write, but don’t really know what to write about.  I’m feeling a bit down and out, but really, life is just at its “new” normal level of stress and chaos.  In so many ways, my life is easier.  F is hardly ever around, so the kids are calmer, I’m happier, and although less stuff gets done around the house, because I just can’t do it all with how busy I’ve been at work, in many ways, life is simpler for me.  Of course, at the same time, A’s life has got crazy busy and he’s being stretched in five million directions and trying to juggle a bunch of balls and roller skate while singing a ballad in falsetto at the same time. OK, that was my lame attempt at humour, but the reality is that he’s giving 120% and ending each day exhausted with more things on the “to-do” list than he started with in the morning. He and his wife are both hard working and they are especially busy right now, and they have their sons to consider too.  Add to this the extra emotional stuff that’s going on in the background and it means he doesn’t have a lot left to give at the end of the day.  More than anything, he needs to make himself a priority.  This is something that I want him to do, and thankfully, he is very self-aware and good at taking time for himself if he actually has the time.  

What this means for me is less time with him.  We smuggle dates here and there, sandwiched in between meetings, family responsibilities, and other obligations.  When we are together, it’s amazing. It’s fun and easy and we laugh and joke and smile and occasionally talk about serious things.  He said to me once that I am “an island of calm” and he always comes away relaxed and refreshed.  He is very much this to me too.  He grounds me.  When we are together, it is just us.  We have so many people in common and there’s easy context in our conversations and we can be serious or sarcastic or rude or goofy or sexual or flirty and it all just works.  We both say things to get a rise out of each other and we both look at each other in that way.  It’s good.  Really good. I miss him though.  I miss having the time and the freedom to be with him more often too.  It’s not his fault, it’s not my fault, it’s just life.  Our lives have changed since January when we accidentally-on-purpose ended up naked in bed together and I’m sure they will change again.  I’m glad for the relative ease we had before and I’m glad we are both so happy and committed to what we have now that we will work to weather this time where our time to connect is limited.

D is super busy at work too.  He’s going full speed all day at work, as the project he is working on ramps up.  It’s going to continue like this for some time, which means there are no sweet messages in the middle of the day anymore and he’s so exhausted at the end of the day that the text conversations that we used to have don’t happen anymore either.  It’s not like there’s no communication, it’s just not plentiful and loving.  It’s factual.  We catch up when we are together. Every moment when we are together is used well.  I think I hugged him for a solid two minutes when he arrived last night, getting lost in the connection that I feel when we touch.  Two of my girls joined in and I have a special love for him because my kids care for him so much too.  In fact, F took one of our girls to an event in the evening and when he brought her home, she ran in the house excited to see D and jumped on his lap.  I have no doubt this was hard for F to see, not to mention that the girls just said “bye daddy” as he left, when they normally run to the door and don’t let me go when I leave.  Now, this is absolutely typical behaviour for the age of our children. Children this age are normally more attached to their mother than father.  However, F has a way of getting emotional about shit that’s not really about him, so I don’t doubt that there were some feelings coming out on his drive back to W’s house. (The kids get just as excited seeing W and other than the fact that I think she’s a crazy fucking cow, I don’t get upset – well, unless she’s passive aggressively criticizing my parenting, but not that my kids like her).

D is a “safe place” for me. Somewhere where I can let go completely and be myself. Be raw and real and never concerned about how he will react.  He is so calm and accepting.  Just after his surgery a few weeks ago, when things had to remain PG, we spent an evening on the couch just cuddling and intermittently chatting.  We are both big on touch, so we were pretty much in constant contact, me rubbing his gorgeous bald head, him running his hands through my hair, rubbing his chest, him rubbing my arm or holding my hand.  There were long periods of time where we just held each other and said nothing.  It was beyond wonderful.  I think that when you’ve reached the point in your relationship where you can sit in beautiful companionship filled silence, you’ve reached an amazing place. What that evening did for us both was recharge us. We both needed that place where we were alone and the world didn’t exist to reset.  

The fact that A and D and I are all so busy right now means that the reset button isn’t pushed as often.  We just don’t have the time to give each other.  I’m home nearly every night with my kids, because F thinks it’s his right to stay away and only parent when I’m working my Monday to Friday job. I spend the majority of my evenings at home with my children and then alone for hours.  When I first asked F for a trial separation, I basked in the awesomeness of my new-found alone time. I’ve always loved being alone. It’s rarely been a problem for me.  Before I met F, I lived alone for a couple years and I look back on that as the best time in my life.  But tonight I realized that I’m having a harder time adjusting to this new normal than I anticipated.  Turns out that being “alone” with kids isn’t the same as being alone with myself. I suspect it has something to do with responsibility.  When I spent so much time alone when I was childless and single, I *could* leave if I wanted to.  Now I can’t.  I don’t think I feel trapped, I think I just feel a little less in control.  It’s probably a combination of the changes in my life, the changes in A’s life, and the changes in D’s availability.  So many things are changing so quickly that my brain is having a hard time catching up.  The brain that suddenly has far more alone time to spend processing (read: obsessing) and has a heightened awareness of the realities of the major life changes occurring because of my decisions. This perfect combination combined tonight to make me cognizant of the fact that I’m not adapting quite as well as I thought to these changes.

I’ve been joking with A that I should just find a third boyfriend to fill the gaps in my calendar.  I have a secret thrill (probably not secret, probably intentional on his part) when he reacts negatively to this.  He likes to cover up his feelings with an excuse about how scheduling will work, but I know there’s more to it than that.  Truth be told, I have a man waiting in the wings for the time when my life is settled enough that I could actually date someone else, but that time isn’t going to be for several months. I haven’t been stringing him along at all, he knows I can’t date right now.  In fact, my exact words were: “I need another boyfriend like I need a hole in my head”, but I am truly very interested in him, so working towards a place where I can date again is kind of important to me.  I have decided that I need to have a signed separation agreement before I even consider if I’m ready to date, so it’ll be a while.  Of course, I am human and may change my mind and am reserving my right to do so, because if F continues the way he has been, it may be 2019 before we have one signed!

The solution to this is, of course, more sex and more alcohol!

 Kidding, of course.  The solution is to do nothing.  Ride it out.  My new normal will eventually become just normal.  Nothing needs to be done.  Why? Because I’m still happy underneath it all. I love the life I’m living.  I love the relationships I have.  I love the connection I have with my men and my family and my friends.  My life is really very full of love. Expressed daily or weekly or monthly or only in actions, love is pervasive in my life. Being alone and surrounded by love is so much more preferable than being surrounded by people without love.

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Sex, cultural norms, explanations, and how we talk about it all

Life is crazy.  Hubby decided to empty our joint chequing account and cancel our joint credit card without telling me. I found out when I tried to withdraw money to pay our babysitter on my break on Sunday.  Not the good type of surprise.  Fortunately, I was smart enough to save our children’s savings accounts and had stashed a bit of a cash back up fund, so I’ll be fine. Today was a day of opening my own accounts, making sure that all my earnings go into my own account, taking my name off some accounts, closing others, and getting my phone in my name apart from him.  The cherry on the top of the cake was my parking fees being NSF’d because hubby cancelled my credit card. So I managed to get direct debit set up.  Now I think I’m good.  As good as one can be when one’s husband goes crazy and makes major decisions without telling her.  Also, I told him about every change I made so he isn’t caught unaware next week.  I will be the bigger person if it kills me.

During this weekend I was talking to A a bit about my blog and how much he enjoys reading it.  He caught up on my most recent posts and asked me about calling him a “cocky asshole” (I stand by it!) and we laughed a bit.  He said he likes reading about our relationship and how I present it to others. I explained that it’s really a processing tool for me or really an explanation of my processing.  That it’s therapeutic in a way.  And then I said:  Except now that you read it, I can’t be completely honest about all the things until I’ve been completely honest with you about them.”

As is so typical of A, his response was perfect and interesting and full of insights into how he works.  I’m not sure he always realizes how much of who he *really* is is present in some of his messages, but maybe he does and he’s that good with words and messages and guiding my responses.  It doesn’t really matter to me either way. I kind of like him a little bit so it all makes me happy. 🙂

 Here was his response:

“Actually you can totally be honest in the blog.  As I know it is how you process,  and it is a great way to get a conversation started,  and if it is written,  then I can read and be prepared for the convo.  You know I’m very easy to manage and communicate with.  I don’t see it as passive.”

First off, he’s so not easy to manage! But he’s easy to communicate with. In fact, he’s one of the best communicators I know.  It’s part of why I tolerate the cocky asshole part. (Totally kidding, but I have to ride that one as long as I can – see what I did there?)

While there are things I could write about, I like keeping my relationship with A uncomplicatedly complicated.  The fact that my two metamours are best friends could be so complicated and it isn’t.  The fact that his wife is monogamous and our relationship is more committed than his others since he’s had his “free pass”, as he calls it, has the potential to be complicated, but so far it isn’t.  The fact that I’m separating from my husband and he’s gone batshit crazy has the potential to get complicated and it has.  It hasn’t caused stress in my relationships, but it could.  These things I have minimal control over.  What I do have control over is how complicated I make our relationship. So some things won’t make it here until I talk with him in person, even when I have his permission.  Plus, he says a lot with his body language that doesn’t come across in his written responses, so sometimes I don’t want the guy to have prep time!

Now that I’ve explained all that, I’m going to talk about something that happened last night with A.  Not because of him, but because something he said had me thinking all day today in between putting out the fires of my life.  

He came over for a glass of wine after a charity event he was at and the stressed out version of me had other ideas for him than just drinking wine and though he put up a token fight, I managed to get him into bed and use him for the stress relief I needed.  (I would never have got him naked if he hadn’t wanted to be, so no stress about me having an unwilling participant.) Somewhere in the midst of pillow talk, he said something about me being a nympho.  I joked that for a guy that says he always wants sex, he sure turns me down a lot and we continued from there.

So here’s the thing. I like sex a lot. There was a time in my married life where we went without having sex (as in penis in vagina intercourse) for many many many months.  We did other things, but it was mediocre at best.  So was the sex when we had it. For the year before we embraced polyamory, we had very regular sex and it was improving dramatically.  There was a time in my life where I thought I might be asexual, but then it occurred to me that I very much enjoyed masturbation every day, so it was probably a problem with the sex, not the machinery.  When I started dating, and started having sex with new men, I realized something.  These 40 year old men?  Best kept secret.  They know what they are doing.  They have sex for the entire experience. They know how to please a woman and they know their way around the lady parts.  They know how to ask for what they want and they know how to take feedback.  Sex with 40-year-old men is amazing.  Every. Fucking. Time.  (Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.  I want them all for myself!)

That’s why I like sex so much.  I have the best sex of my life pretty much every time I have sex.  Yes, it’s that good.  I have two amazing partners.  Everything about my relationships with them is extremely different, but they are both amazing.  They fulfill parts of my life in ways I never thought possible until X introduced me to polyamory.  So, I pretty much always want to have sex. I joke that I’m channeling a 16-year-old boy. A said I’m just channeling any man, but then he turns me down for sex. So I’m going to go with me being right!

See what I just did in the above paragraphs?  What I did was explain.  I explained why I like sex.  I explained the circumstances of why I wanted to have a really good naked time with A last night.  I found an excuse for every one of my actions that wasn’t “I just wanted to have sex”.

Think about this for a second.  If a man said that he had a tough day, needed some stress relief and wanted sex, would you question it?  If a man just said he wanted sex, would you be surprised?  Would you call him a nympho for expressing his desire?

See what happened?  A man pointed out my ‘atypical’ sex drive and I responded by defending it. A didn’t do anything wrong.  He was joking with me. He’s a product of the society we live in as much as I am.  Sure we have alternative lifestyles, but internalization of gender norms runs deep, and we all are guilty of our indoctrination. This fact can’t be more apparent than in my need to justify why I want sex.  Or my response to him being teasing back that “for a guy who says he always wants sex, you sure were difficult to get in the bedroom.” I immediately went for the gender stereotype that he should always be ready and willing.   

Why do we do this?  Why is this our cultural norm?  I don’t take any offense to it.  I have no shame associated with the fact that I like sex, because I’m confident in who I am and what I want.  But why isn’t it OK for a woman to say “Holy shit, could I ever use a pounding now” or a man to say “I just need to cuddle tonight”?  Why is it the default of sex positive people like A and me to poke fun and joke with gender stereotypes and societal norms?  

And in the end, is it important?  Does it matter if he jokingly calls me a nympho after I very actively convinced him into the bedroom?  Does it matter that my response is to tease him that for a man who says he has a high sex drive, I sure did have to work to convince him?  Is it wrong to just let the joke go? Or as a proper feminist, do I have to do better, fight the joke, fight the stereotype, fight the gender norm?  

In the end, the sex is fucking fantastic. And it always has me wanting more.  Which means I’ll have more than one future opportunity to explain why I just want to get fucked.

 

Closing a door

The last week has been crazy in so many ways.  But I’m going to focus on a major decision I’ve made with regards to my marriage.  Let me see if I can piece together all the processing I’ve done during the last week into something coherent.

Last Thursday, I woke up with one of those rare (for me) feelings of unease. Like something was wrong, but I didn’t know what it was.  I hate things like this.  It makes it really hard for me to focus on anything else, and I obsessively process and try to work my way through things.  I don’t do well with not understanding my emotions.  As soon as I realize I don’t, I have to figure it out.  At first I thought I was just nervous knowing that I was going to kiss G.  Then I kissed her and it was still there, no change really.

Then I did some more processing and thinking and came up with a few twisty bits about A.  I tackled one of them.  I talked to G about the other and I still have to talk to A about it, and call me crazy, but I think it’s better if I talk to him in person about my Twisty Bit than publish it here to read. I do have a post almost entirely prepared about those Twisty Bits though. (Sorry A, you’ll actually have to have the serious conversation with me!)

So, that meant processing more.  I spent the entire weekend, except for Sunday night, alone with the kids.  This meant a lot of time to think and work and think and work.  One of the things I did was tell my four best friends from when I lived abroad that I am polyamorous. I did it in the best way possible.  Bandaid style.  I posted a picture of me with A and D and said “This is a picture of me with my boyfriends…”  and explained the whole thing.  In true friend fashion, they were all really supportive.  But my best friend there had the best thing to say:

Ahhh. I’m actually not surprised. And I’m not surprised that as soon as you were happy and confident in your professional and emotional life your hubby couldn’t cope. I’m glad you are finding yourself!!

Then I had a long chat with her on messenger and she pointed out a few things.  Patterns of behaviour that suggest that those bizarre boundary pushing behaviours, passive aggressive control manipulations, and general douchiness were actually present all along, not a product of the last six months.  She pointed out some situations where it was quite obvious that he was trying to control me. Where he said things that were so critical or manipulative or just a little too far past the truth to really stick.  As I thought of it, I realized a few things.  

When we were just the two of us, for the first 7 years of our relationship, I was strong and independent, but I made so much less money than he did that I was dependent on him and his support.  He could still be a real jerk, but it was seldom, because let’s face it, when you don’t have kids, things are a little easier to manage in life.  But there were times he accused me of trying to control him, or spending his money frivolously, or using him for this or that.  He guilted me about sex and he was a very selfish lover.  But it wasn’t that bad.  All of it could be excused by his challenging job, the fact that he was going to university full time and working full time, and the fact that he worked shift work and was often very tired.

Then, we had four kids in five years and four months.  I had two miscarriages in that time too.  I was depressed in the months leading up to getting pregnant with #2.  I’m a strong, independent, career minded woman and I was at home on maternity leave for 4 years. I sacrificed a lot to be home with my kids.  It’s OK, it was a choice I made, but it was still hard.  In between, I worked a job that I like, but didn’t give me the fulfillment that my job, in my chosen profession, that I have now, gives me.  I was unhappy.  Then, after #4 was born, I finally realized that I was depressed and went on medication.  It changed my life.  I was more engaged in life, I worked at making things work with hubby more, it was great.  In the end, after a year and a half on meds, I thought he and I were in a really good spot.  We weren’t really, but I thought we were.  

What I realized is that there was a lot of passive aggressive and outright aggressive criticisms of me taking place during those years.  Comments about how I shouldn’t be having a hard time and needing him at home on his days off because I was “just” at home with the kids doing nothing all day.  Comments about how all I did was “spend his money”.  Comments criticizing my diet, exercise, and appearance.  Recently, a lot of these things have really exploded. Yesterday he blamed me for all our financial issues and the told me that his mental health issues were because of the finances.

 Hmmmmmm…..sounds like I’m being blamed for his mental health issues.

These comments served to destabilize me more.  It was a way to control me. To keep me unhappy and “stuck”. For him to feel needed by me.  He knew I was unhappy being at home full time with kids, so he played up my dislike of it.  He knew I wasn’t fulfilled in my other job in emergency services and criticised me for taking a job in my chosen career instead.  He still criticises me about my job, complaining I work too much, complaining that I don’t make enough, complaining that I work and “let someone else parent my kids” (never mind that he is also working and letting someone else parent his kids….).  Then this crazy ass thing happened. I was professionally fulfilled for the first time since I graduated from grad school.  I found a job I love, doing what I want, with amazing coworkers, and great work/life balance.  

Then I reconnected with X.  He introduced me to polyamory.  I went through the growth of the heartbreak with him.  I met A, B, C, and D.  All of them have given me so much in my life, even if B is now a friend and C has disappeared because he’s W’s other partner.  I became happy.  Really, truly, deep down in the darkest corners of me, happy.  I found a part of me that I didn’t know was missing.  I felt (and still feel) complete.  

What I didn’t realize is how destabilizing my happiness and fulfillment in my professional and emotional life was to hubby’s mental health.  He no longer could control me.  With my happiness came the ability to calmly and patiently deal with life’s issues.  I had perspective and meaning and balance.  But hubby didn’t.  My happiness rocked his world view.  I stopped responding and getting angry at the little pokes. So the pokes got bigger.  He started stomping right through my boundaries.  He had to work harder and harder to get a reaction out of me.  Then, at a certain point, I couldn’t help but react.  I’m human. I got pushed to the point where I couldn’t be calm any more.  And I lost control.  And that was horrible.  

Inside all that conflict there was one thing that still was obvious.  I was happy. Complete.  In love with D and living my life exactly how I wanted. Then I crossed the couch and ended up with A.  My happiness and the ease with which I slotted A into my life was hard on hubby. He didn’t realize that I still loved him and wanted to be him, and that upped his boundary pushing to a point where it couldn’t be sustained any more. Because of all that pushing, I reacted and our relationship exploded.  

The last weeks have been interesting.  Hubby is not doing well. He’s quite obviously stressed – not sleeping, looks exhausted, unkempt and stressed.  He’s having a very hard time with me not reacting.  Except this week, I haven’t been my best and have reacted a little too often.  Mostly, he’s challenged by my calling him on his bullshit.  He’s complained that I’m not a stay at home mom, that I’m responsible for all the financial issues we have, says I’m abusive, he’s told me that I lost the right to be upset about the fact that he forced a situation where I had to tell a friend and my mom about being polyamory because I hit him. He’s told me he doesn’t feel like he’s ever had any control in his life.  He’s got a cloak of victim wrapped so tightly around himself that he can’t see how he is manipulating and being passive aggressive.  It’s sad.

What I had to ask myself after all of these realizations was:

  1. Do I think that hubby can do all the things I need him to do if we are to fix our marriage?
  2. What are all the things I need hubby to do if he decides he wants to fix our marriage?
  3. If he does decide that he wants to fix our marriage, do I really want that?  

It’s sad that this is what I’m thinking about.  But what it did was help me figure it all out.  The thing is, when I thought it was just hubby going a little crazy over a short period of time, I thought we could solve things.  Now that I realize it’s a pattern of behaviour that just amplified, I don’t think we can.

So, I’ve decided to formally separate from my husband.  I’m stressed about the details.  I couldn’t be more certain of my decision at this point.  

When your life hands you a shit sandwich, shut your mouth.

Today was a shit storm of epic proportions.  There’s a bit of poly in the story, but mostly it’s just life. In my case, life has been a little less than easy lately.  First, know that I am raw, in shock, and still very much processing all that has gone on lately. So here goes, here’s my bitch about having a little too much thrust onto my metaphorical plate.

My grandma died on January 20.  Today, my grandpa, her partner, my dad’s step-dad, and only grandfather I’ve ever known, died.  My step-dad’s dad is ill and about to die.  This is less concerning to me, because I didn’t know him well, but I’m worried about my step-dad.  So, by this time next month, I’ll be out of grandparents, blood and step.

I was travelling with D a few weeks ago, in the most amazing weekend ever, and my mom asked hubby where I was and he told her I was travelling with D.  Then the other day, my mom and step-dad were visiting and were just leaving as D arrived. One of my kids was super excited to see him, and it was quite obvious that there was a connection with him.  Between this and the accident that A and I got into a couple months ago, my mom was already suspicious.  So, I invited my mom out for supper so I could tell her all about everything that was going on in our life. From polyamory to my troubles with hubby.  On my way to my dinner with mom, my dad messaged me to tell me that he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  The prognosis is good, but there’s a whole host of emotional baggage associated with this situation that makes it challenging to navigate.  So I showed up rather numb and in shock to my dinner.

I started the conversation with mom by introducing the idea of polyamory.  I told her that I didn’t know what to say, so I was just going to start talking and she could interrupt me at any point and ask questions if she wanted.  I told her about A and D.  I told her about W and hubby and how awful everything has been.  I told her about the kids having a hard time and everything I’ve done wrong.  She was kind and supportive and understanding and amazing in all the ways my mom always is. I will forever aspire to being just half the mother and woman that she is.

On top of that, hubby has been complaining about me to a handful of my friends that became his friends because he is often home with the kids during the week while I am at work and they are stay at home parents. So last week I get a message from one of them saying that I need to tell our mutual friend the truth because she thinks I’m having an affair. So, I message her, tell her what’s up, and she comes over for wine and I explain everything.  I ask her not to say anything, knowing that she is shit at keeping secrets. So, of course, yesterday, sad and numb from the loss of my grandfather, I’m fielding questions from well-meaning but uninformed friends who think that I have destroyed my relationship, that because hubby may not want to be polyamorous, I’m cheating on him, how they don’t understand how it works, etc, etc.  Of course, these are just the friends that are talking to me.  I’m sure there are many more who are talking about me.

I don’t really care who knows now that my mom knows.  My mom is the only person in the world whose opinion actually means something to me.  And she was loving and supportive.  The rest of the people in my life aren’t entitled to an opinion.  I really don’t care what they think.

All these things made me rather raw, and I wasn’t ready to face hubby and the kids, so I headed out for a drink on my own.  I asked A to join and he couldn’t, D was busy, but I texted my soul sister, and told her I was drinking alone, and she just texted back that she and her husband were on their way.  They drank and chatted and cuddled with me.  When she texted to say she was on her way, I said “Be warned, I may cry, and then I’ll compensate for my crying by making lame jokes that aren’t really funny.”  She says: “Don’t worry, my boobs and my husband’s beard are sufficient to soak them up.”  I truly love that woman.  One day, she and I and one or possibly more than one of our men if we like it, will be having a threesome.

——————————————————————

It’s now been 24 hours since I started this post and stopped due to exhaustion.  Today, I had a lovely drink with A, got my excess hair removed by a sadistic woman with hot wax, and came home to talk to hubby about shared parenting and separating finances.  We did OK.  Got a little derailed at the end, but he came with an amazing set of goals to aspire to while co-parenting, he started by thanking me for all the work I did, and he gave me a hug and told me he loves me.  He is still accusing me of trying to control him, which I’m not.  He is focused on how hard everything is on him instead of what’s best for the kids, but in the end, we’ll work it all out.  At one point, he was talking about how if I was controlling his time, that would be controlling his time with W, and that would cause problems for him and problems for her.  I reiterated that I don’t want to control his time, my goal is doing what is best for the kids, and said, “In all honesty, I’m interested in working out a solution that works for you and I and the kids.  How W feels is not the least bit important to me.”  I know better. But it’s also true.  He said “You know, you can’t do what you did to me and think her opinion of you isn’t going to change”.  I said “I don’t care about W’s opinion about me, I care about all the different things she’s done to me.  That’s it.”  So, he was triggered and got upset, but before that it was good. We laughed, we compromised, we reassured, and we worked together.  It was good.  I think this has the potential to be really good.  One small step at a time.

A and I have a super sexy date organized for saturday night.  I can’t wait.  D and I for Sunday.  I miss those wonderful men when I’m not with them, but boy am I ever enjoying my alone recharge time.  I am enjoying the wonderful beings that my kids are.  I’m enjoying myself and my strength and my purpose.  I’m enjoying owning my feelings, prioritizing myself, and knowing I have the most amazing support system.

2017 can go fuck itself.  But I will persist and I will be happy despite the shitstorm of awful in my life.  It will get better.  I’ll just keep telling myself that until it happens.

 

Separation

So, a week has passed since my last rather raw and emotional post.  It was amazing how cathartic that blog post ended up being for me.  It made me realize a few patterns that exist in my relationship with hubby and had me thinking about how to proceed with things.  These conclusions had me making decisions on a few things that have really impacted my happiness the last week and all for the better.  So let me see if I can sum up a week of emotions and planning into a coherent post.

What I realized when I wrote out the events of the past 6 months, was that although there is love in our marriage, the respect and trust are gone.  My part in all this is obvious and I put the nail in the coffin when I hit hubby.  But he had been eroding our trust for a long time before that with his repetitive destruction of my things, him blaming me for things that weren’t my fault, his general insults and not being there for me.  But really, the lack of respect, especially for my boundaries, was the realization that hit me like a brick to the head.

Here’s how he showed his lack of respect:

When I told hubby I was going to bed because I didn’t have anything else to give and he came in and woke me up and insisted on talking to me about his issues with V.

When I told hubby that I didn’t want him to go to W’s when we were on a date and it would hurt my feelings that he even asked.  (He crossed a boundary when asking and crossed it again by going).

When his girlfriend spread horrible lies about me, instead of supporting me, he blamed me for it happening.

When he repeatedly damaged my things.

When I tried to leave conversations, or get off the phone, or stop an email thread and he wouldn’t let me and forced me to continue talking when I needed time to cool down.

And most recently, when he outed me to both my mom and a friend, the only two people who I asked him specifically not to tell.

This is what happened in 6 months.  This is not OK.

So, trust is gone and respect are gone.  Love doesn’t matter much when those are gone.  What this means is that our foundation, the foundation of our marriage, is gone.  We can’t build and work on our communication, much less intimacy, if we don’t have a foundation.

Love doesn’t matter when trust and respect are gone.

I want to fix our marriage.  Despite it all, I love my husband.  I want to make our life work. I want the man I married to return to the life we made together.  But he doesn’t recognize the changes in himself.  He isn’t taking responsibility for his actions.  He doesn’t know if he even wants this marriage anymore. Without him committing to working on our relationship, it is impossible for me to get what I want and need out of our marriage.

So, I decided, within hours of publishing my last post, that I needed to ask hubby for a trial separation.  During the week, I got my ducks in a row about what I should do. I knew I didn’t want to talk to hubby about any of this until our counselor’s appointment on Friday, so during the week I saw my individual counselor and consulted a lawyer about the things that I should think about.  I solidified in my mind exactly what I want to see happen.  Really, it’s a bit of controlled uncertainty.

Basically, coming from a position of love, where I assured hubby that I don’t want to end our marriage, but I want to give him the time he says he needs, I asked him if we could have a more structured trial separation where we still live together but don’t work on our relationship.

For me, this means a few things.

  1. Separating our finances.  We’ve discussed paying our bills proportional to our incomes, as he makes substantially more than I do, but the exact form this will take is left to be decided.
  2. Committing to family time at least once a week, so the kids can see that we can work together as a team.
  3. Continuing counseling to be sure we can maintain communication, especially with respect to co-parenting.
  4. Figuring out a 50/50 parenting situation that can accommodate hubby’s shift work schedule and my monday-friday schedule and casual job.
  5. Checking in on July 1 to decide if we want to work things out, end our marriage, or if we need more time.

Where we got caught up with the 50/50 parenting.  I’m very surprised by this, because hubby is a great father, and I thought he’d be willing to work on this immediately, but alas, I was wrong.  He seems to think that me wanting a parenting agreement is a way for me to control him. He feels that he parents the kids more than I do.  Seeing as how he’s put one kid to bed one night in the last 2 weeks, I’m not sure how he arrived at this conclusion. I’m disappointed by this. But it is what it is.

So, moving forward, we are going to have to continue negotiating our parenting times until the nanny gets here. Then, I’m hoping to work towards a more 1 week on, 1 week off arrangement that works with his schedule.  We’ll see how that goes. It will never really be a week on and a week off, because he works 12 hour shifts, two of which are night shifts, and the nanny can’t take care of the kids for 24 hours.

Now, we need to work out the details. This morning, I spent about 4 hours working out a spreadsheet proposal of how shared parenting could work and a spreadsheet proposal of how separating finances can work.  I’m hoping he’ll come to the table with suggestions that will work better for him and negotiation, and not anger and resentment.  It’ll probably be a combination of all of those things.