Dreams Of The Past And The Future

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When we were young B and I could never have enough projects. They kept us busy and talking to one another about the different aspects that we needed to consider when we were working together. We tore out the kitchen of a cabin we bought, we built a house in the mountains, we started a winery and built the building to go with it. We were busy, tired, and often content with the manner in which our lives were progressing.

These days B is done with projects. He wants nothing to do with them. I suspect some of this stems from having to leave behind our hard work for others to enjoy when we did not yet have that pleasure. Moving for B’s career made us give up some of these comforts and dreams. Not being able to experience the joy of our labors made it more difficult for B to keep up the hard work, determination, and faith that building requires. And I think that stress at work has limited his enthusiasm for projects.

However, recently we decided to sell a property that we have owned for about seven years. This has entailed ripping our a kitchen and installing new cabinets, countertops and backsplash. We have had to repaint the entire place put up new lighting fixtures and vents in all the rooms. It has been a huge undertaking but it has paid off with some unexpected dividends…a closeness that has been missing and the chance to re-visit all of the amazing things we have accomplished together. This isn’t to say that everything is perfect. It isn’t. But it is nice to experience some of our “old selves” again and it is nice to be engaged with one another once more. I have missed this over the past several years. I have missed just being with B and watching him sweat as we struggle to hang a cabinet. I miss having dreams which are flavored with the smell of hard work and the sweetness of a job well done. I have forgotten how just spending time together made me feel connected and how my admiration for my husband would soar when all we worked for came to fruition. And it occurs to me that the respect I feel for this man, who, when exhausted, keeps giving his all, is immense and inspires me to do my best too.

I wish we could work together more. Find new projects to create together. I don’t know that it has to be building but something… anything that will plant new seeds to understanding, respect and appreciation.  I thirst for finding commonalities again with the man that I love. I understand why B wants to lay down his hammer but for me these undertakings  that we embark on together give me a sense of hope and purpose. And even though I can barely move after a day of hard work I would gladly down numerous Tylenol just to spend quality time with B once again. For when we work together I see deeper more personal glimpses of the man I fell in love with and I hope he sees the same in me and it also feels as if there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

 

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Returning Home

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Tomorrow I head back home after seven days away and sometimes I wonder what I am going home for and who I am going home to. You tell me that you are all fine. That things are going along comfortably without me. It makes me wonder what is the purpose of my being there when it is so obvious that my being there is not what you want?

This morning when you told me that you asked the kids whether they missed me it made me wonder whether you had an ulterior motive. I mean, who asks their kids that? Kids always miss their mothers. Or were you hoping that they would say no so you wouldn’t feel guilty about what it is you appear to want to do?

But more importantly, the fact that you could not and would not give me what I needed…love words…speaks volumes about where our relationship is at. It crushed my soul that you feel such distaste for me that you could not say you missed me and you loved me. Whether you wouldn’t or your couldn’t…neither one is acceptable for is shows a lack of respect, caring and obviously the type of love that is needed for a marriage to flourish. Shutting down only allows you to keep yourself shut off and to reflect back any love that is directed to you which then allows you to convince yourself that I don’t love you. And it is all because you don’t want that love…at least from me. Or so it would appear.

Even more importantly, I wonder what parts of myself I should bring back and what parts I should leave behind that would help you to love me again. Which parts do I leave at the door because they are no longer desired or is it a matter of just not stepping over the threshold at all because there is nothing there that appeals to your sense of what a marriage should be. And it makes me resentful that I feel that I have to leave the best parts of me at the door to get your approval. That I have to drop off that introspective part, my inquisitive nature, and the part that believes you when you say “I love you” at the prompt.

After we talked this afternoon you said that the letter I sent you made you feel that you always disappointed me but to me telling your lover what it is you need is giving them the opportunity to create a better relationship. And me too. Yet, if the truth be told I think you USE that fact that you feel like you disappoint me as an excuse to be bitter and to prove to yourself that you are right. That nothing you do will make me happy. But I should be able to state my thoughts without being made to feel like if I do that you will think that you disappoint me. Often I believe that if I just smiled and never told you how I felt about anything that would make you happy and comfortable because you would never have to look at things that you didn’t want to. You could live in la-la land being happy while I became more and more miserable being something I am not. I mean if I can’t say in the kindess way I know how what I need from a relationship then I think that a life size blow up doll is your next option. Probably a skinny brunette.

As it is I wish you would ask yourself why you could not and would not assure me of your love? Why would you not say you missed me? Are you withholding because you no longer love me? If so, I can tell you that it feels cruel and inhumane. It feels life taking not life giving.

Yes, I know that yesterday I discussed that fact that holding onto our hurts only increases our own suffering and it does. I know this to be true because yesterday, I did let them go and they left leaving behind the lessons to unpack and contemplate. Yet, here they are back again and this feels like a major disappointment to me because it feels like I have failed myself as I pull out this hurt once again. But I hope in writing all of this, that by seeing my words in front of me, I can let it go and start concentrating on the lessons that are presenting themselves so I can grow.

Maybe it is all baloney. Maybe I can never be that type of person. Maybe I am just kidding and deluding myself but I  would like to think not. I believe that I can and will be able to re-train my brain into seeing things in a new light. And that if I can start to apply what I have learn from these lessons that I find myself intertwined in at this moment;  that someday in the not so distant future that I will finally not allow myself to give you such power over my own emotions. That I will learn to let go of things I cannot control and accept those things that I cannot.

Acceptance isn’t instantaneous. Learning how to allow acceptance to float throughout your life takes practice. Learning that you will not get everything you want from your relationship and you might have to find other ways to fill the void is something I am beginning to seriously consider and am searching for ways in which I can have my needs meet through my own actions rather than yours. It will take a while more. I am still learning. How long it will take I cannot say. But I know that when I come to accept you and myself that things will improve dramatically.

Until then I know that I am doing the best I can working with what I have got at this moment in time. If it is not enough for you then I am truly sorry. If it is, then I hope you have the courage to give me the time that I need to complete this journey that I am on, on my own terms and at my own pace. If you cannot, then you will lose out on something wonderul in the future. I may not know much but this much I know to be true.

 

 

What I Need From You

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I talk to B everyday I am gone. Perhaps it is a mistake. Perhaps he needs to “feel” my absence instead of my presence for a while. Perhaps he needs to miss me…if he ever would.

I say, ” Love You.” He repeats it back when what I really want to hear is:

“Well, Dad and I had a good day today. Blah-blah-blah.”

“Honey, I just want you to know that we are really missing you here. Especially me. What I wouldn’t give to have you in my arms right now. I  love you and need you here with me, now and forever.”

What I wouldn’t give for those kinds of loving and reassuring words. Words that say that I am appreciated, treasured and loved. Words that tell me I am still his girl and he is damn glad that I am. Words that make me feel his love for me here in Michigan or Paris or anywhere I happen to be. Words that he would say during my eulogy to pronounce to all in attendance that I was who he loved and letting go will be hard.

Why is it so hard for B to say them? Is it because he doesn’t know how or that he can’t because he doesn’t feel that way and saying them would be a lie?

This 30+ year love affair shouldn’t be so difficult. It SHOULD be easier than ever to whisper sweet nothings. To let a person who feels they are teetering on the edge of your life to know how much they mean to you, how much you desire them, and that their absence makes their heart ache.  For we are getting to the age where death begins to watch you from the shadows and you never know when you might be taken. And of this I am sure: When you leave this earth you should know without a doubt who loved you to the end of the rainbow.

Perhaps this kind of talk is unrealistic. Perhaps it only happens in fairy tales. But if those things are true then I want to re-write my story because this is what I need. This is what my heart longs to hear and my soul craves. Words that are meaningful, loving and make a future with B obvious. A future that is mutually desirable, sought-after and protected.

Do you love me B? Then let me hear the words. Let me hear them said from that place in your heart that is occupied only by me and that is reserved for my love only. That place in you where I anchor you to our love both past, present and future. That place that says I am still the only woman for you. That place that says you want me to be the one holding your hand when you pass into another realm.

Let me know. Before I forget and slide into a place where I can no longer feel your heart connected to mine or feel our souls slide gently together throughout the day. Let me know so when I lay my head down on my pillow tonight I can rest so peacefully that angels would come and I would not fight them. Let me know so when the sun rises tomorrow that I know your love for me has risen with it just like it will the next day as well as the next.

I need your love but right now I need your words more than I ever have. For they are a gift that is not meant to be withheld but given freely and in love.

So be it!

Attaching With Nothing In Mind

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Okay, I will admit it. I have a slight attachment issue that stems from childhood that I am working on with my therapist. This issue makes trust more difficult for me than the average bear.  It puts doubt ahead of belief and fear ahead of calmness. Needless to say, with the odd things that have been happening of late regarding my marriage; my attachment issues have been magnified. Not to the point of  extreme anxiety but enough to make me feel uncomfortable that I can trust what I see in this relationship.

You would think I would have attachment down. After all, I adopted four children and worked extremely hard on creating an environment in which attachment could occur as easily as possible. I read every book ever written on it. And I followed all the advice on how to attach to a child who has been through trauma. Turns out, I should have been working on myself in regards to my adult relationships too.

This week I told my therapist, “Let’s get on with this. Let’s not dance around the edges of these attachment issues. Let’s tackle them head on.”

“You have been,” she replied. “You are learning to attach to yourself again.”

“I want more.”

So she gave me this assignment.

Just work on accepting the moments that are good. When B reaches for my hand, don’t question the act; just savior the moment. Notice what it feels like in that moment. Accept the emotions that you feel. Don’t analyze, just enjoy.

Well, of course, I had to push back.

“Why attach myself to someone who may not want me? Surely, if we divorce it will make it hurt all the more,” I moaned.

“You need to do this for yourself to feel closeness if only for a minute,” said THERAPIST. “You become more attached to yourself when you are able to let down your guard and discover yourself through your relationship. This process opens yourself up to you. You owe it to yourself to go work your way through it so you can become a stronger you.”

And so I am giving it a try with my whole heart. Just accepting his love, his touch, his words without over analyzing, questioning, or doubting. It is hard after being together for so long and both having a way that we interact with one another.

I’ll let you know how it goes as I try to trust myself and this process.

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Why Now?

There were several times in our marriage that we might have broken up.  When your family refused to meet me not because I was me but because no girl that your mother had not picked out for you would be the “right” one. And in our early marriage in my total immaturity I would say, “Okay, let’s get a divorce” when we had an argument.There was that time in 1989. And when we found out we could not have biological children together. And when the IVF failed. When over a period of several months I could not reach you in your hotel room at 2 am…four different times at four different hotels. I counted. I remember. When I found those not quite dirty but not quite innocent texts between you and Gweniffer. So many times we could have just walked away… so why now?

Why now when we have six children depending on us? Why now when I have hit middle age? Why now when I have been out of the job market for many years raising our children together? Why now when we have created something that so many would die to have/experience what we have? Why now when we still have amazing sex… or does doing it for the 5,687 time bore you? Why now when you have  seven years until retirement? Why now when I have done what you have asked? Why now… even though I am not perfect, I have been a good wife moving so many times for your career and always cheering you on?

Sometimes I wonder how you could be so selfish and so harsh. Is that how you see me?

Sometimes I wonder how you could be so blind. Is that how you see me?

Sometimes I wonder how you could be so disconnected. Is that how you see me?

Sometimes I wonder how you can have sex with me when you no longer love me the way you want to?

Sometimes I wonder how we could have unraveled so far?

So why now? After over 30 years of togetherness? Can you just not stand me that much that you will sacrifice our family and our life together? Do you think it will be easier with the kids by yourself? Do you think you will find someone younger, prettier and better than me? Maybe so but maybe not, yet this I know… I no longer know what to think. I no longer know what to feel. I no longer know what to do. I am at a complete and utter loss…and you have put me there.

Disjointed

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Not suppose to disagree. Somehow he thinks if he expresses himself that is the way it will be and no one should disagree with him. Express thoughts = big damn parade with balloons, dancing unicorns and me bringing up the rear with a banner reading “Anything You Want Honey. You Expressed Yourself. YEAH!”

All these years of being denied what he wanted because he refused to share now it must be his way. If he shares he is doing his part. No consequences. Period.

Excuse me. That’s not the way it works. You can’t say, “I am committed to you but the deep love is gone but I hope that maybe I find it again” and expect me to jump up and down like a cheerleader. “GOOD JOB, B!” waving my pom-poms around. I have the right to say FUCK YOU, which I haven’t because I am trying to maintain dignity and grace, but I just might.

It’s hard to lay in his arms at night. Both of us holding each other sweetly but tightly like we are each other’s life jackets trying to save ourselves from the waves washing up upon our relationship threatening to pull us apart. The safety of your arms no longer feeling as big and strong as I remember. And we both talk about the pain that is pulling us under and your words don’t seem to have the meaning that they did in the past.

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I try to remember that you are hurting too. I try to remember that this isn’t easy for either of us and that it is hard to find love again when two people are so scared, miserable from being scared, and unsure of the future. I try to remember that I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT that you would save my life, risking yours, if I was in peril. But I’m not sure about our marriage, which is in peril, for it seems you will save yourself and not us. And I will be left on that life raft floating all alone.

But still knowing all this, knowing that we still have something even though it is hanging by a thread, this morning I want to kick you in the balls hard enough to drop you to the ground the way you have dropped me. To kick you so hard it would be difficult for gain your breath so you felt like the air was sucked out of you just the way I feel you have stolen the oxygen directly out of my lungs. Would this showing grace and dignity I want to embody in my life? Perhaps it wouldn’t but this morning I am not sure I care.

End of story. Today.

Anniversary & Divorce

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Today is our anniversary. Yesterday was too. But I’m not exactly sure how to mark this momentous occasion. I mean, when someone says that might want a divorce and you are shooting for one year to see if you can still be together, how does one celebrate? I’m not sure even as I write this for a second time. After all, a celebration implies feeling good about something and being uplifted by it. At this point I’m not sure that the good outweighs the sad.

How does one laud the fact that B has returned to being cranky and argumentative just like he was before he dropped the D bomb signifying his general unhappiness? Do you mark that with a toast to all things surly? How does one observe the day when you are still wondering if you will ever feel good the majority of time about what you have together. It used to be that I believed you had a good marriage if you were happy 92% of the time. Now I would settle for 75%. Seems to me the only thing we can wrap up and put a bow on right now is the vague discontentment that we both feel nibbling at our souls.

So as I write this we have decided to go to breakfast. I am sure that signifies something…I am just not sure what that something is. No grand dinner. No grand plans. Just breakfast…a place to start your day together.  Warm coffee. And maybe even warm sentiments will be on the menu. Perhaps that is enough when you are together 30 years.

End Of Marriage Or Beginning of Acceptance?

Today was not one of my prouder days as a mother. Constant issues, constant disrespect, constant ways of intentionally pushing my buttons by Andre in a most difficult and autistic way. It’s a pattern and unfortunately I sometimes allow myself to get sucked up into it even though I know better. And it disappoints me as a mother and as a human being when I react while being poked with an intentional stick instead of laughing and walking away. I was downhearted due to my handling of the situation and I even (god forbid) yelled…something I have been successful at avoiding like the plague since the July.

I fell asleep while listening to a meditation and awoke to the call to dinner. Seems B had come home early and heard I had a rough time of things through Paul. He had made dinner to help out but I clearly saw the disappointment in his eyes.

Later I asked if he wanted to take a walk during which I poured out my soul about myself, how the day went and what I was feeling. As we walking and I was having this heartfelt conversation we were getting ready to turn at our “normal” spot when I said I would like to keep walking and B replied he wanted to get home so he could play his bagpipe.SCREECH! BING-BAM-BOOM. It felt as though he SUCKER PUNCHED me.  I told him I would keep walking by myself because it was obvious where his priorities lie. He said, “No I will come with you” but I sent him home. The possibilities for closeness and understanding felt broken. And for a while all I could think of was that that was the exact moment when my marriage ended because I realized the futility of it all. But in truth that is not what I really want because I still love this man even though I no longer understand him.

Yet, as I walked I began to think about all that was going on and wonder…  is this relationship as it stands now enough for me? Is half of a walk good enough or do I need more? Do I want someone who will listen to me until I decide that I am done whether that’s 2 minutes, 20 minutes or 2 hours… or… do I accept that this is all I will get? Can I just be grateful for a walk? Can I just accept a good gesture instead of a great one? Can I be happy with the wonderful things I get from this man and not concentrate on what I am not getting and being hurt in the moment due to his inability to respond like I would like him to? Why do I feel so vulnerable and raw all of the time? Can’t I just be happy in the way he wants me to be? Because that is all he wants…for us to be happy. As Nicole said “He wants happiness and unicorns on his terms because he doesn’t want to deal with any messes.”

Later when we were laying in bed we discussed the situation and of course he felt hurt (seems like we just keep feeling hurt by the other lately) I asked him when was it you realized that I wasn’t everything you wanted/needed but you decided to accept it and he replied  without a moments hesitation,”I don’t know ten, eight or maybe five years ago.” And truly, I felt shattered that he had been walking around for that long knowing and I didn’t have a clue. Because until tonight I had never thought about it that way. Maybe I should have.

 

 

Assigning Meaning To Things

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I am hurt and I am pissed and my therapist says I have no right to be. Sigh. I hate it when she is right.

Let me explain.

Right before B stated he “might want a divorce” I had ordered a chandelier from Pottery Barn. I rarely do such things. It was extravagant. It was sparkly. It shined from every angle.. And it would look oh-so-right in my dining room instead of the $25 builder installed light that has been hanging there for the past 10 years. So after much thought and angst I bought it. I am just not a big spender and this was wayyyy over my usual $50 budget for such items.

It arrived in a huge box that sat in my living room for many weeks. And then B dropped the bomb mentioning the chandelier while he listed all his dissatisfactions with me and our life together. About two weeks after his “I might want a divorce” pronouncement he said he was going to put up the chandelier and I told him not to…that I didn’t want to have to leave it in the house should we decide to divorce. I told him that if and when he felt our relationship was in a good place and we would stay together then he could put it up as a sign that things we going to be alright. And so the chandelier was moved out to the garage where it remains to this day, silently sparkling away in its huge box its beauty wasted on  all but the occasional insect who might pass by.

While I realize nine months is not a long time to deem a unhappy marriage “cured” I am beginning to resent the chandelier and all it stands for. Everyday when I back my car out of the garage I see that ugly box sitting there as a reminder that the light is the sole determinant of whether our marriage is healthy or still on the rocks and I have left it to B to make that determination. And I am mad. I am mad at the chandelier for all the meaning I have given to it. I am mad at myself. And I am mad that I have given B the power to determine the state of our marriage all based on whether or not the damn thing gets hung.

My therapist says that the chandelier is not indicative of our relationship and it is not fair to all involved that I have pinned so much meaning on it. That, “come on, you know B does not attach meaning to things like a chandelier whereas you do.” That he probably doesn’t even get its significance to you and your relationship. But I’m not so sure. That whether our marriage is viable has NOTHING to do with the chandelier. And that I should let go of this meaning I have assigned it and love myself enough to hang it up even if it means taking it down in the future because I LOVE IT. Because it sparkles in my dreams. Because it is just plain beautiful and deserves to be in the place that it was intended to be instead of hidden away in a dusty garage.

And while I know my therapist is right I also wonder if I can ever hang this chandelier or if it will always remind me of this unhappy time in my life. Can I ever trust that my relationship with B is healthy again or will I always wonder if the sparkle is blinding me to all the things that B is unable to say/do that has made him get to this point that he wanted to leave? Right now I have no clue. But someday I hope that the sparkle of that chandelier will be indicative of the sparkle in our relationship. That is my dream.

 

The Return

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When you walk into the house after a week away you expect to feel that your husband is delighted if not intoxicated upon your return. Instead, it felt guarded and a little cold with a hint of resignation thrown in for good measure. Not what I expected at all.

Yes, Paul attacked him that morning. Yes, the grand babies are crying. Yes, things are stressful at work. I get it. I feel weary too at times. Actually, often. Sometimes it is hard not to in this household.

Tonight after being reunited, as I lay in B’s arms, I asked “Do you ever think we will get back to where you really love me. Like it used to be?”

Might as well be putting a gun in my hand and pressing it up to his head.

Why do I even ask these types of things?

I guess I want reassurance that he can, that we can, get to a place of love that once felt as wide as the Grand Canyon but now feels somewhat like a sink hole.

But I don’t get the answer  or the reassurance I am looking for. I get a question turned around on me?

“Do you think we can?” he asks, which tells me he is feeling this disconnect too. Which saddens me and makes me feel even more insecure.

Why do I have to always ask the hard questions? But even as I ask the question I know the answer…I don’t want to have to continue to try to guess. To try and read the mind of a man who doesn’t even know how he feels much less knows how to try and share it. I ask these questions as a gauge as to how our relationship is in his mind. But the thing is…I am not even sure I want to know. Sometimes I think I would like to just keep floating down the RIVER deNILE. FOREVER.