The past few months have been a bit of a roller coaster – though, like usual, an internal one. Not much of consequence has actually happened. I mean, I did get pregnant. I suppose that’s a big thing. I did go off of my anti-depressants. Still internal, but also possibly a big thing. Mostly, however, I’ve just gone back and forth between feeling strong and elated at my newfound commitment to the success of my self, my house, my child (ren), and my husband and a total overwhelming sense of dread that I actually am the horrible person I imagine myself to be, that my house is disgusting and seldom, if ever, clean, that I am absolutely failing my child and yet somehow, arrogantly and stupidly, have decided to have another (whom I will also fail), and, perhaps worst of all (or perhaps most true?), that my marriage is falling apart. Unfortunately, the former lasts for at most an hour, while the latter seems to be getting more and more constant…
Perhaps “falling apart” is a bit of an overstatement, or at the very least, awfully dramatic of me. This would surprise no one that knows me – least of all my husband. In fact, his response to pretty much anything I say about my feelings is that I’m being dramatic, that I’m overreacting, that I’m being ridiculous and blowing everything out of proportion. I don’t know what he thinks is going on because he doesn’t think, and he certainly doesn’t speak. He gets angry at things in the moment, and I know he feels resentment and anger over some things, I just don’t know if he knows that. He seems so completely out of touch with his emotions that I don’t even know how to talk to him. Obviously the ways in which I try at present are completely unsuccessful. Maybe that isn’t what it is, though. Maybe he just doesn’t want to talk to me about things.
Why does he resent me? Well, I haven’t been very involved in our family lately. When he gets home, I retreat behind a book or a TV show (Masterchef, usually) and ignore both him and our son. He bathes him and puts him to bed almost every night and lately, has also then come out and tidied the living room and cleaned the kitchen. Then, at the weekend, it’s even worse. I sleep in – usually until about 8:30, but sometimes until 10:00 (though that I blame on the pregnancy) and even when I do get up, I don’t give him a break or anything. Often, he takes the boy to the park or the zoo, while I sit on the sofa and continue to lose myself in either a book or TV show. He comes home, puts him to sleep for his nap, takes a nap himself, and then after a couple of hours (in which time I continue to do whatever it is I was doing), I wake up the boy and basically deposit him in our room, where they play games on the iPad for twenty minutes or so and then get up and play together.
I know he wants to do things together as a family and I know that I do as well, but actions speak louder than words. And my actions don’t tell him (or me) that I want to spend time together. In fact, quite the opposite. I don’t know why. I constantly feel guilty and acknowledge that I am a horrible wife and mother. He doesn’t really speak of it generally, though he has mentioned it a couple of times. Nothing has changed though, and I don’t know why. Other than my acknowledgement of being generally horrible.
On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure that he wants to spend time with me. When I am around, he seems not to notice me. If I’m talking, he generally either doesn’t respond at all (It’s very much like I’m talking to a brick wall) or interrupts me and doesn’t notice. I, of course, am unable to keep anything inside, so I bring it up instantly. He sometimes doesn’t even know what I am talking about and says he didn’t hear me or something, but refuses to acknowledge the greater issue of his not noticing me enough to hear me when I’m directly in front of him speaking to him. Often, he gets angry and says that I’m overreacting as it was a small thing and I shouldn’t care.
For example, tonight. I was watching Masterchef while making dinner and came into the living room, put dinner on the table and started to explain to him why I looked as if I had been crying (thinking he had obviously noticed as I was still sniffing and my eyes were red – he hadn’t). Now, granted, I wasn’t crying for any real, personal reason. It was because it had been a particularly emotional episode of Masterchef. I’m perfectly aware that it’s ridiculous to cry while watching Masterchef (Again, this is something I blame on the baby) and I also know that it’s not important that he listen to the details of a cooking show he cares nothing about. However, literally mid-sentence, he got up and walked into the kitchen to get some water and came back to the living room, asking me a question about something else, obviously having completely forgotten (or not caring at all) that I was in the middle of a sentence. I told him that I had been talking and that, once again, I didn’t appreciate feeling like absolutely nothing I say or do matters to him. He got angry and told me he “just wanted some fucking water”. When pressed to respond to him not caring, he replied that of course he didn’t care about Masterchef.
Honestly, I can see how he thinks it’s an overreaction. Of course he doesn’t care about the show. And really, I don’t need to tell him about it. It didn’t change my life, nor does it really, in the end, matter to me at all. What he never responds to or understands is that it’s constant. If we are with his family (or anyone) and somehow, a member of his family and I start talking simultaneously, he will always respond to this other person and completely ignore me. Always. Every time I bring up a previous conversation, he has no idea what I am talking about. Even if it’s something we’ve spoken about five or six times. Nothing. He just doesn’t remember. His reaction? They are little things and I’m being dramatic. And while I understand that he didn’t want to hear me go on and on about the stupid TV show, it is not an isolated incident. It happens more times than I could ever count. At least a couple times a day.
None of these are isolated incidents. I feel like he ignores me or doesn’t care about me in any aspect of his life. We have absolutely no sex life. Maybe once every two months, we’ll touch each other, but that rarely turns to actual intercourse, unless I instigate, and when I do, I usually feel like he has no interest in actually having sex with me. He likes “doing stuff”, but not often. When we do do anything, it feels completely forced and rote. It is not exactly scripted, but basically the same exact thing happens each time. Like I said, this is once every two months or so. I know a lot of this has to do with having a small child (a child I was breastfeeding until a few months ago, as well) and being tired, etc. That’s not the issue – the real issue is that no matter how many times I talk to him about it, absolutely nothing has changed. He doesn’t kiss me goodnight, or even say goodnight. He doesn’t spontaneously come up to me and kiss me or tell me he loves me. He doesn’t even really touch me much, or treat me in a romantic way. To be fair, that isn’t a recent thing.
We talk a lot. We text all day – about random things, about the boy, about his day or mine. We tell each other everything and can still be quite honest (though I don’t feel it does any good). In fact, we’re the best of friends. I don’t think he sees this as a problem. I mentioned therapy and he was truly confused. He has no idea why we would need it and once again, thinks I’m overreacting. I feel so completely overlooked and passed over by him that I don’t even know what to do anymore.
On top of all that, my going off anti-depressants hasn’t made any of this easier for any of us to deal with. The past month has been horrible. I’ve been extremely moody – as in, borderline manic depressive, horribly sensitive and have had absolutely no energy. Considering I’m all of those things at the best of times, well, it hasn’t been good. I imagine it’s been quite difficult for my husband as well. Usually, he’s quite supportive when I’m depressed, or emotional or in any way “compromised”, for lack of a better word. Unless, that is, it affects him. If I’m crying because of a fight we’re having, then he shuts down, is cold and admits to getting more angry as I cry. If I’m depressed and he has to care for me – hug me, listen to me, tell me he loves me, that’s fine. But if he has to clean, watch a two year old and do that, it’s too much. So he doesn’t hug me or listen to me or tell me he loves me. In fact, he doesn’t really do much for me. He hasn’t for some time. And he makes me feel like I’m the bad guy (which I probably am, and I would feel like I am without his saying it, anyway) because not only is he working, but he’s cleaning, waking up with the boy if need be, letting me sleep longer and doing all that I said previously (bathing, putting to bed, etc). That’s all wonderful and helpful, but I’ve told him over and over that I need emotional support right now and he can’t, or won’t, give it to me. Or he doesn’t understand. Or he hasn’t heard me as he simply isn’t listening to what I’m saying.
I honestly feel that we’ve both sort of bowed out of the relationship in any romantic sense. I think it’s never been very important to him, so possibly he hasn’t even noticed, I don’t know. I do know that he rolls his eyes and tells me I’m wrong when I bring it up. But I know that I’m not really as committed anymore. I don’t really see the point. Especially when no matter how many times I tell him all of this, he doesn’t remember, doesn’t care and doesn’t do a single thing about it – including even responding to what I say.
When I was unhappy towards the end of living in Barcelona, I spoke with my acupuncturist friend who told me that the problem with my situation and feeling like I had no one but him was that I put too many expectations on my husband, then my boyfriend. I needed him to be lover, family, friends, confidante, in short, everything. Even in a very healthy relationship, that’s impossible. Not to say that by being someone’s lover, you can’t also be their friend or family, because of course you can and of course I want that in our relationship, but he can’t be the only one. And he is. And has been for far too long. Maybe I do expect far too much from him. I know I expect far too much from myself, and maybe that’s why I’m unable to do anything anymore.
I don’t know. I know that I don’t want to just sit on the sofa and read and watch TV and ignore my husband and my child, but I can’t seem to help it. I know I’m absolutely crushed inside every second of every day and the pain of just living like this is so overwhelming, I can’t see a way out or any possible way to change anything about myself. I don’t think he’s wrong to feel the way he feels, I just wish he’d express it so I knew what it was. So we could talk about it in ways that maybe could be helpful to both of us. So I didn’t feel we were stuck in a downward spiral that was only going to end badly.