Ugh. Yesterday/today is our DDay. Yesterday we had MC which stirred BH up even more than he already is because of the 3rd antiversary. I've been on edge for the past 2 weeks doing everything I can think of to make this time better for him- asking him to lunch (vodka tonic lunch!) today- didn't go, planning a date night out at a big steak place (as a thank you for helping me through my surgery)- he's not sure he wants to now- and a bar he's really wanted to check out for quite a long time. Giving him something to distract him and build him up and give us a better memory to hopefully overwrite this shitty time of year.
Last night he was upset- saw a lot of the negative from the past years, exasperated that we're still stuck after 3 years of this (although we're vastly improved) and still so down and unhappy. He wants to be happy, he wants joyful companionship, he wants certain things (like a go-pro camera- more on that later). He's all over the place and raw and reactive (WONDER WHY! SO MAD AT MYSELF WTF). Wants my company, doesn't want my company, wants xyz, doesn't want xyz...
MC yesterday was blunt with us about allowing past hurts to hold us back. He asked us if we even knew what we enjoyed doing together. H interpreted that as "what do we pursue individually that we BOTH like" and I interpreted that as, "what activities do we find mutually pleasurable and like to do in each others' company." We couldn't list much beyond sporting clays, watching comedy shows, and restaurant outings. A lot of our 3hr argument centered around "Venn diagrams" of personal interests and what counted as "individual interests" and what didn't.
H's interpretation is that MC's advice applied only to activities that we're so interested we pursue by ourselves. Trouble is, there's several activities I stopped pursuing or VERY much curtailed over the years because of H's criticism and complete lack of money.
I used to love doing home improvement projects with him... until we were putting our only discretionary income into his basement remodels. Often times we were short on bills, but H still found money to buy guns and hunting gear and building materials.
I used to like doing clays and pheasant hunts with him... until it was associated with our financial instability.
I used to like shopping for nice clothes and purses and going out on dinner dates... until we had no money for it and H didn't like any of the clothes I thought I could afford.
The only thing I really kept for myself was running and exercising. Even then (in the years before the A), I made sure my purchase of the expensive ($150 and necessary) running shoes were tied to my birthday. That way, it was a double purpose- a way for H and kids to show appreciation/love to me and so I could pursue my interest. I wouldn't buy much for myself and tried to keep stuff for me just for gifts.
I used to enjoy working on house projects with H until... his criticism of my painting, of my color choices, my decor tastes... and on and on. I felt trapped. Like I could only do what HE wanted and that the result was more important than me as a person. And if I wanted to spend money on thrifted finds or fix up projects... he would say that they were better bought new because the fixer upper stuff looked worn and old anyway. And he didn't like my taste. That he wouldn't feel calm and relaxed in the house if I decorated it my way (valid concern). Again though, the result was more important than the person.
I used to enjoy going to concerts... until they were deemed a waste of money by H and he didn't like my choices in artists. When I would find something fun that H would like too, that was deemed too much a hassle or too expensive. So I gave it up.
I used to like playing board games with friends... until my H decided my friends (all kind and quirky people) were too nerdy and he felt embarrassed for them by some of their behaviors. They weren't cool enough, or "in our social group" because they were more blue collar and lived in less affluent neighborhoods. He felt out of place and awkward because he didn't share their interests. So I stopped going and visiting (co-dependent) as I was embarrassed to go without him (implying he didn't like them).
I used to like political discussion and debate and discussion of a variety of topics (philosophy, religion, history, culture)... until H said he wasn't interested and thought it a waste of time to discuss this stuff since people never ended up agreeing anyway, so what was the point?
I used to like talking about my interests at work with my H... until he kept telling me that he's not interested, because, "he doesn't make work his life and leaves his work at work and I should too." My work is done in an area of great interest and passion for me. Weird as it is, making sure cars are safe for people by designing them and building them to the best standard possible is important to me. Also the cool innovation stuff that comes out too. H sees work as a means to an end (and has baggage with his dad being gone so much due to corporate ladder climbing when he was a kid). I'm happy where I'm at and not really interested in climbing right now, and likely won't until kids are in college.
The kicker and deepest wound to me was the spiritual sharing. I used to like talking to H and sharing my faith journey with him... until H decided to go against our original plans and get a unilateral (and understandable and forgiven now) vasectomy. The final nail in the coffin was prayer group, where the fantastic Mrs. D became his idol of a perfect woman. He couldn't see that by comparing me negatively to her and elevating her above me was INDEED ABUSE. He was engaging in an EA attachment with a woman who in reality was a fantasy. That, combined with his hypocrisy on acting spiritual when he wasn't even caring for his first spiritual priority- his wife- and the way he shut me out... I stopped sharing or even caring and truly gave up the M (and the sacrament) as dead.
H was very negative toward my interests (he was bored/uninterested/too much bother to be enjoyable), just as I was negative towards his (couldn't afford them). We ended drifting apart- me into resentment, him into his hobbies.
I sacrificed those personal interests in favor of putting any extra energy and money I had for myself into family or couple things.
What's on me is that I didn't pursue my interests individually and push for them to be made a priority too. I thought that if I shrank myself down to the point where I didn't exist, take up too much room or intrude upon H's interests, that H would be happier in our M and others would be more fulfilled. That I could be happy because I had worked hard to MAKE them happy. CODEPENDENCY!
I lost my sense of self, resented (and had contempt for) H and was jealous of the confidence he had in going after his interests.
We don't share the same perspectives on these things. H believes that individual interests are those which you pursue by yourself, no matter what, on your own. Problem is, this is very much rooted in "I" thinking when MC pointed out we need to do more "WE" thinking. H believes this and has shown entitlement to pursue these things in times of financial hardship which have been breathtaking to me. Jeopardizing our safety and well being so he could have the next set of camo or a new gun or... or... or... H hasn't seen the level of sacrifices and deferment of enjoyment I've had over the years because I allowed his criticism, negativity and reckless use of our funds (which I enabled) to get in the way. He believes in what I see as an all-or-none way that in order for us to have a "we" we need individual interests that magically line up. That we have to be 110% into an individual interest and share that same interest or else it's not a "we" thing. He likes people that are 110% into something and refuse compromise in their interest of choice, as that is how he sees himself (perfectionism!). I am more of a 70-80% into things and don't need to attain perfection before I am satisfied in my pursuit.
For example: H is 110% into sporting clays. I'm 70% interested in it. Meaning, I wouldn't spend my budget on it by myself, but I would LOVE to go and have so much fun going with my H. I would spend my "fun money" on it if it meant I could enjoy his company during an enjoyable activity. He's not confident that it can be a we thing since I'm not as into it as he is. I asked him to take me during MC yesterday. I also asked last night if I could help him with his basement projects. He wasn't into the help in the basement because he was drained from MC and it being A season.
We argued back and forth for 2.5hrs last night over this .
I really don't get the big deal in us having interests that are shared unevenly, but the joy in them is increased by watching the other being in their happy place.
Not to get too gross... but... I'm not into giving head too much, but his enjoyment really increases mine . He doesn't seem to have too much a problem with that
Either way, I feel like a lot of this black and white thinking and all or nothingness is him putting up walls again. I understand the context of the A season. His exasperation at it being 3 years and we're stuck in turn had me getting impatient with his road blocks. Like he was finding excuses for us not to enjoy things together and prophesizing that we're not going to last because we don't have too many shared interests. I pointed out that we do, but I have a lot of healing from his negativity and criticism and overall close mindedness to my contributions to do before I'm going to be 110% enthusiastic sharing them with him again. Some of that is on me- and I am working to push myself past my comfort zone in entering into activities where I've been burned before with him. I am now willing to do this for H and for my own growth.
Now for the go-pro. H wanted the go-pro for Father's Day and I took him to a restaurant for dinner instead. Even though he likes the restaurant, he would rather have had that money for the go-pro. He wanted to bond with the kids during the trip via playing with the new camera and recording with it. I'm not into electronics (like 50% to the go-pro), the kids are kinda into it, but not 110% enthusiastic. The package he wanted was the newest latest greatest most expensive one. Only one he wanted. What with other outings and costs on our trip and the fact that we did something out of the house for him on Father's Day... we spent the money elsewhere on other family bonding experiences and I did not honor him with the go-pro for Father's Day. That is on me.
I'm not proud of it, at one point towards the end of the 3hr session, I used the go-pro as an example of a thing pleasing to him that is not a "WE" thing. It was an unnecessary zinger. I saw the hurt on his face and the anger coming from it and came back later and apologized after our discussion. I don't want to be that bitter angry hurtful person anymore. I don't want to be the one putting that look on his face with completely unhelpful, non-constructive and hurtful comments. I told him this. He accepted the apology, but is still understandably distant and hurt by it today.
Looking at what lead me to get to that point of exasperation and say to hell with a time out, there's a few things. First, I felt like H was looking for reasons to discount our progress and was focusing on the negative so as to avoid being hurt again. I felt like I was being blamed for his displeasure in our M without him taking accountability for his end of things. Things like, his own filters, his own self gaslighting. I felt gaslighted when he said he'd rather have money for the go-pro than go on our date night. But then, 2min later in the discussion mention that he loves going out with his friends to exciting places and doesn't have that with me. It's maddening. I snapped. I'm sick of it. It's the same tranference, gaslighting and projecting he used to do bundled up with all the past criticisms from things I used to enjoy doing with him which HE RUINED WITH HIS OWN NEGATIVITY.
Like, how dense can you be? "I want to enjoy these activities, I feel so lonely now we don't do them." During activity: "Stop doing that! YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG! I'd rather not have your help when it means more work for me!! *yelling*" During outings with friends: "You're so awkward in your conversations! Don't you notice when people want to change the subject? It's so uncomfortable going out with you since you're so socially awkward. I can make friends with anyone and I know how to talk to everybody. I'm very good changing my interests to fit in, why can't you?" Or when we've got home from a date out to somewhere nice: "Yeah, I had a good time, but I don't really feel like I connected with you. It's hard to go drinking with you since you need to eat and that drives the costs of going out up. I'm willing to do it for you, but it makes it harder to justify going out." And another, one of my other favorites: "I do so much for you and the family, no one ever does any thing for me. For ONCE I would just like someone else take care of things so I don't always have to."
The most recent set of gaslighting shortly after I worked very hard to book 2 popular high end restaurants/ bars for our date night this Saturday: "I feel like you're not as into this as I am. I'm always the one coming up with places to go." Particularly infuriating because I am into going out with him. I do suggest places to go, but they're put down as, "not nice enough, not what I'm into, or HOUR magazine didn't rate it, OR it's not the one I just saw on Instagram." I don't often suggest stuff anymore because if it's not what HE wants, or likes, he gets upset because "I should know what he likes by now." And when I do suggest things I remember from his "cool list," he says that he's not sure he wants to go there with me (because I'm not good company or $$ or combination). We went over this several times last night- I WANT TO GO OUT WITH HIM TO BEAUTIFUL PLACES AND DRESS IN BEAUTIFUL CLOTHES AND EAT DELICIOUS FOOD. It is a shared interest. He still said he doesn't feel it is because in the past we've had bad outings (lately 80-90%% of our outings are GOOD).
I feel like I am hitting a brick wall. H admits he's building his walls higher- not just because it's A season, but because in MC I said I forgave him for about 80% of the stuff from our M. I said that as a hedge because there was something in my gut that said I didn't forgive him for everything. I forgive him for a lot of the stuff he's done, the vasectomy, the comparisons, the spending, the overwork when kids were babies and I did the SAHM thing, the stonewalling...
I think I'm holding on a bit to the finances since I've only started trusting him with it since the end of 2020. I'm not seeing much change in the pattern of entitlement there. I have learned to bring my interests to the table and make them a priority. He has listened to and invested in my interests. I have encouraged him to go get materials for his basement project and go out with his friends more often. The underlying attitude I'm still seeing is one of complaint after he does something for me, "I am doing so much for you and I don't even care about your interests." What about, "Wow, it gives me so much pleasure watching you enjoy your garden. It's great knowing how much joy and peace you got out of that. I'm patting myself on the back for a job well done." To which I would say, "Thank you so much, I love it and it means so much to me that you care enough to build these beds for me." I say that any way... but there would be a heck of a lot more warmth behind it if I heard joy and pleasure instead of inconvenience and pain from him.
I don't trust my H not to fall off the wagon on the following things:
-Comparing me to other women
-Inappropriate idealization of other women
-Being generous in his love for me
Overspending: He still wants a $700 wallet from LV, still wants a $400 camera, still wants $26k watches. Still feels entitled to these things, dissatisfied he doesn't have them, wants us to sock away cash for them (fine) in a time we're tight and kids need clothes and WE NEED TO FUCKING GET OUT AND EXPERIENCE LIFE TOGETHER and INVEST $$$ INTO OUR RELATIONSHIP AND NOT STUFF FOR HIM. Oh, and he wants me to get a $4000 LV purse (I'd REALLY like one... but I'm not butt hurt that I'm not going to get it anytime soon...) so that I can look "put together" for HIM. I like looking good for him. I don't like having to spend $4000 on a purse to do so though... standards high much? He wants me to do hair and highlights. I NEED it. That's a good $250 there I've sacrificed for summer vacay outings. He's asked me to go without too for budget reasons. I agree- $250 is better spent on time out for us or summer camps for our kids. He wants everything, can't have everything and is dissatisfied with what he does have and can have now. I used to be the same way. Only I've changed and he hasn't.
Comparing me to other women: HE STILL DOES THIS!!!!!! Last night he brought his vodka tonic lunch friend, J up as an example of a put together woman who is 110% interested in designer goods and goes and gets them for herself. He's admitted in the past she's got a problem- she'll spend $1200 on sunglasses just for a single concert she's going to. (The more he talks about her, the more new info I find out about- still not getting to the bottom of the extent of their EA.) Single, early 30's, lives with a much older man rent free who pays 1/2 her car and buys her shit too. She can pursue her shopping interest 110% because she doesn't have a mortgage, kids' school and a household to run. Overgrown teenager. H said that if I was really interested in luxury goods, that I would pursue it on my own. Only thing is, when there's no way to get what I want (and it's not a NEED), I stop looking so I can be more at peace with my life as it is.
H does not do this. H keeps looking and keeps ensuring his dissatisfaction by pursuing things 110% that are only obtainable in about 5 years of saving. I don't have his patience. Hence the 80% interested- I can look and ooh and ah at the LV purse, then walk into Coach and be perfectly content with the bag I found on clearance (that's similar in style to the LV) for $300. H doesn't have that level of satisfaction in a compromise that I do.
Inappropriate idealization: He STILL DOES THIS. J is on a pedestal still, so is Mrs. D. He stopped talking to J on his own, but she's still very much on his mind. He occasionally asks me if I don't mind if he asks her something. He also keeps getting texts from other people in their old friends group asking if he's heard about get-togethers she's arranging for all of them. That she hadn't heard back and was wondering if he got the invite (FLYING MONKEYS). She's still searching him out, he's still thinking about her. And comparing me to her- I'm not as put together or interested in high fashion as she is. I'm also a grown ass woman with a family to care for and others to put ahead of myself. Maybe if he talked less about her fashion sense and more about how much I do for the family, I wouldn't be so hung up on this.
I'm still not first in his affections (and wasn't before the A and certainly not after it!).
Being generous in his love for me: All the times over the years he's done something for me, only when I screw up (go-pro) to have it flung back in my face about he doesn't like all he's done for me and how he's not cared for as he deserves because I'm not doing the xyz that he wants now for him. A generous man in my mind doesn't tell the wife who took home all the cottage towels and linens to clean them (the softener was out, so washing them at the cottage was NOT in the cards), "I'm not returning the towels for you on my errand right now. It's your thing, you do it. You're the one who took them home in the first place when no one asked you to, you take them to my mom's. [insert reminder that it's 3mi away and he's going that way for an errand ANYHOW] You're causing everyone an inconvenience since I have to return the towels to my mom right now. Next time don't bring them home. You just cause more inconvenience for everyone else and my mom was confused about where everything is."
How about a generous man says, "Hey, thanks for putting the thought and effort in to show appreciation to my mom for staying at the cottage. You didn't have to wash the linens at home, my mom was planning on doing them up north once the softener was fixed. Since you did do them and put your time and energy into it though, I'm going to drive them over to mom's right now since I'm going that way anyhow."
How fucking much does it cost to be fucking appreciative of your spouse?
OH! BUT IT"S NOT JUST WHAT HE WANTED!
Ok, I'm going to get out of my own damn head now and talk to my therapist. Thanks for letting me vent. It's so hard granting H space and grace during A season. It's so hard knowing that his "negativity" is exacerbated by the stress and pain I've added to his life with MY A.
I'm so mad at myself. I really should have just kept my thoughts to myself, let H vent, hold space for him and be present for him. For some reason, I got it in my head that he needed to be corrected and that I deserve to share my thoughts too (per MC's advise on this exact dynamic). Going forward, I'm going to start the convos like this with the question, "are you looking for guidance or do you need me to listen and reflect?"
[This message edited by MIgander at 8:01 PM, Wednesday, July 13th]