Monday, October 29, 2007

Codependent Bullshit

Blogger's Note: One of the surest signs that you're slacking on blogging activity is when you get an IM from a loyal reader that says, "all right, SPILL". I started writing the following post a week ago, and it has been festering in draft mode ever since. I apologize for having been stuck in writer's block for so long. From the outer perspective, I really shouldn't be that distracted, given current events, because there probably have been more demanding moments over the lifecycle of this blog. I think what makes things different is that I am just plain tired... not of blogging itself, but rather the lack of progress I am making in my life. I can't promise that my posting frequency will improve in the near term, but what posts do make it up here will be well thought out. And now, on to the actual post.

Last but not least... The nagging co-dependent bullshit. Holy god. If you wanted a pussy, you should have been a lesbian. Castrating the man you married is wrong, even if it is just by brow beating him until he loses the will to live or stand up for himself. If you wanted a man you should let him be one...

Bleh. This is why I could never be a lesbian, women fucking annoy me.

-- excerpt from a June 4, 2007, blog posting titled "Love, Lust, co-dependency, nagging.... what is marriage made of?" on the website for MySpaceUser harley_krissy, ostensibly written by Krissy

I stumbled upon the blog posting, from which the above quotation is taken, in mid-July, just a few days before my wife decided to play the Separation card. I had found it by Googling the quoted phrase "sex life hostage". It was reminded of it the night of Sat., Oct. 21, during a painfully protracted discussion with my wife.

Before I go into that, let's go back several posts and pull out the following passage, written over two months ago:
I mentioned earlier this week how I learned that the stresses of my life are starting to take a physical toll.

I vented about this to a very faithful blog reader a few days ago, and the reader suggested, and then demanded (grinning as I type this), that I start doing some nice things for myself, like spending some time out of the house seeing live music or reading a good book.

Something as simple as this has been difficult for me to do. I've had a really hard time winding down mentally the past couple weeks. Between the stresses of the standards body work and preparing for upcoming job interviews, it was tough to avoid an entropic consciousness. Shifting gears into fun mode in times like this is like taking your car out of fourth gear and throwing it immediately into reverse.

Then there are the remnants of Nice Guy Syndrome, the part of me that guilts me out of asserting myself. It plays itself out in statements like, "You're going to be leaving your wife eventually, don't you think it's a bit selfish not to want to spend time with the kids or at least help out with the house?" Or, even better, "You don't have enough money in the bank to go out and spend money on a cover charge and some adult beverages!"

Then there's the check-mate, "You know your wife will get all bent out of shape if you say you're going out for a drink by yourself. She's either going to worry about you drunk driving because you have a sissy's tolerance for alcohol, or she'll think you're going out to meet someone else."

Don't worry, I'm getting ready to put the smackdown on Mr. Nice Guy. He doesn't take into account that my wife has been able to get out of the house quite a bit lately, both for errands and for fun. She's not really done much with respect to housework, and has cooked only on average a couple times a week for the past month. This is not an overworked woman.

The week before this past week, my wife traveled to east central Illinois, where her current employer is located, to get some training. She was gone from the evening of Wed., Oct. 17 - Sat., Oct. 20, for a total of three full days.

My dad and stepmom picked up the kids on the late afternoon of Oct. 17, so that they could spend some time together. I was to pick them up on the morning of Oct. 20 and take them to go see the other set of grandparents as well.

This past paycheck has a few hundred extra dollars in it, partially because of the lower health plan premium and the reimbursement of one month's worth of overpaid premiums. After the bills were paid, there was some money left over to have some fun.

I decided that Friday night that I would finally do something nice for myself and go see some live music. I took a look at the local entertainment newspaper, and found a spotlight article on a little tavern north of downtown. I looked at the featured acts, and it said that there was a blues band playing. I checked out the tavern's website, and found that it had a reasonably priced menu and a cheap cover charge. So I made plans to go.

I arrived just after 8 p.m. and grabbed a spot at the bar. I ordered something to eat, a killer patty melt on marbled rye, and a Killian's from the tap. The place didn't have too many people in it, but it was also true that the band hadn't started playing.

The show started shortly after 9 p.m. The lead vocalist wasn't the most powerful, but the lead guitarist and saxophonist were amazing. They served up a healthy mix of blues covers, with a few rock & roll oldies in for good measure. They made my night when they played "I Ain't Drunk; I'm Just Drinkin'", which is one of my favorites. It was a nice break from the inner loneliness, even if I wasn't really socializing. I was happy with myself. I sat through two sets, which took me up through 11:30 p.m.

During the show, my wife called my cell phone twice. We had spoken sometime in the early afternoon that day, but it was before I had made the decision to go out. With the music so loud, answering and conversing would have been a fool's errand, so I let the calls go to voice mail, keeping an eye to see whether a message was left. In both instances, she chose not to leave a message.

The second call came around 11:20 p.m., shortly before I left, so after I got into the car, I called her to find out what she had called about. She asked me whether I had talked to the girls that evening. I told her, "no", and added that when I called to talk to them around 10:30 that morning, I told my stepmom that I would call them when I got ready to leave to pick up the kids on Saturday morning, so it was clear that I hadn't planned to make a call. I asked her why she was asking, and she said it was because she had poor reception for her cell phone where she was staying.

I told her that I hadn't answered the phone because I had been at a bar seeing a blues band. I added that I was there alone, and that I had moderated my alcohol consumption so that I would be fit to drive.

She then asked me when I left work. I answered honestly, telling her that it was shortly after 5 p.m. She asked why I had left so early, given that I had left so late on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. I said that I had left the house at 7 a.m. that morning to do my interview with Susie Student Loan Co. at 8 a.m. Had I not left right at 5 p.m., our dog would have been cooped up in the house for over 11 hours. I noted that on Wednesday, she had left around 6 p.m., and on Thursday, I did my morning teleconferences from home and left for work in the early afternoon.

She didn't say much else, and we said our good-nights. I thought that was the end of it.

On Saturday night, everyone was back home. I had gone down earlier in the day to pick up the kids as scheduled. My wife had returned around 8 p.m. Kids were in bed at 9 sharp. About a half hour later, we're both sitting in the family room. She's working, and I'm surfing and blogging on the laptop I got from work a month or so ago.

Out of nowhere, my wife asks me whether we should tell our families about the decision to divorce before the holidays. I pause from my surfing, and answer the question, saying that I don't think it would be wise to tell anyone anything until we have a more concrete picture of where things will be going, and we can't answer that until we know where I will be working. I continue typing and listening to what she says

She goes on to say that she thinks we should go ahead and tell the families because otherwise things will be really awkward during the holiday get-togethers. She adds that I'm a lousy faker, and that I had seemed awkward at the last big family gathering at my dad's over Labor Day weekend. I acknowledged her points, but I said that I still thought it was best for us to disclose things we were sure of, not how things might unfold.

After a few more minutes of back and forth, she asks me whether I'm having IM conversations with other women. I tell her, "no." She then tells me that she cried herself to sleep on Friday night after we ended our phone conversation because she feared that I had gone there to meet someone.

I explained to her that it was based on some advice given to me by my therapist several weeks ago: go out and do some nice things for yourself on a regular basis to help promote taking care of your mental health. I said that being alone without major obligations on Friday night presented me with a good opportunity to do just that.

She expressed frustration, claiming that she had been telling me for years that I needed to go out and do things, but that I never heeded her advice. She said her suspicion about me meeting someone was because going out like that seemed such an unlikely thing for me to do.

She said that although we hadn't slept together in months and we weren't sexual, she said that she could not bear the thought of me seeing someone else while we were living under the same roof, thereby answering once and for all the question of whether a da/dt arrangement might have been possible with her.

I said that I would need to have a day out of the week where I could go do something for myself, and it might involve doing something else like taking a class. She said that because she was now working 32 hours a week, I'd have to schedule it at a time when the kids were in bed, which meant after 9 p.m.

She also expressed anger at me over a comment I had made during a phone conversation earlier in the week. At the time, she was trying to figure out the logistics of her taking classes to learn medical coding. She brought up the possibility of me watching the kids those nights.

Unclear over how many nights she would need to do this, I didn't make a wholesale commitment. I said that I couldn't make any promises on that because of the uncertainty of my job. Even if I did stay local, I might wind up moving to the other side of town so that my commute to work wouldn't be as bad. Right now it's 26 miles and anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. I said that if need be, I would help her pay for a sitter.

This didn't set well with her. She said that I was trying to back out of my obligations as a dad and just write a check. Then she said it would be hard for her to find a sitter she could trust and who would be available twice a week. Then she said it would be expensive to do that, something on the order of $500.

She then said that perhaps she should require that I have custody of the kids on a weekday so that I would have to worry about the logistics of getting them child care for the day. At one point, she invoked the "Fine, I just won't go back to school then." She was just sinking into spiteful mode.

She then railed at me for being delusional about the whole divorce process, saying that I underestimated how much this would cost. She asked me what kind of living arrangement I pictured once I moved out. I said that I would probably rent a room at first to keep costs down so that I could save up money for things that I would need. For the most part, I would be starting from scratch.

She said that was unacceptable, saying that I would need to have a place big enough to house the girls overnight or at least for her to stay while I spent the night with the girls at the current house.

She said she also wanted wherever I moved to be on this side of town because she thought that I would consider being close to the girls more important than a short commute. I told her that it was easy for her to say because it wasn't her time that was being wasted for almost two hours every day.

She then laid on the guilt, asking me whether I had planned just on seeing the girls every other weekend while I built a life of my own.

The conversation didn't resolve much, although it did suggest that she wants to dictate the constraints of my life so that I am not left enjoying myself too much. This is going to be a tough battle over boundaries because I will need to balance my obligations as a father against my wife's tendency to treat me more as a means to accomplish her agenda than as a separate person with desires and goals of his own.

After the conversation ended, I was left feeling angrier toward her. If I would have had enough money for the retainer, I think I would have called my attorney the next day to tell her that I wanted her to get me out of this marriage as quickly as possible.
blog comments powered by Disqus