It was several weeks ago at one of those family things I loathe. I don’t even want to write it but I have to get this shit out of my system. It’s been festering a while. We’ll discuss it, I’ll tell her how much she hurt my feelings, how much it hurts every time she pushes me away, how much learning this information hurt me, how it hurts every time she tells me how inadequate I am, and she’ll put it back on me by reminding me how fucking inadequate I am and how I need to get another job and work two jobs, the one I have and a part time one, while I’m finding the third, thus far invisible, elusive job that will miraculously triple my income. We have two teenage kids, and one is starting college this fall. She’s on a scholarship, and I pray her grades, and her investments, get her more, because I’ve got both jack-shit AND fuck-all to show for my faithful service to the present job. For my son, in a few short years from now, I pray the same.
Mrs. M has a way of skating into opportunities and making more money than me at every turn, which is great for her and for us, but the way she holds that over my head calling me a failure kills any shred of extra self-esteem that might come up in my spirit. Don’t get me wrong. She works hard, the stress is obvious. She’s assertive. She gets what she wants, or believe me, I hear about it.
I used to get by, and get what I needed when I needed it. I work hard too, but I hate change. Having a routine is the only thing that keeps me from daily vomit, stress asthma, ulcers, high blood pressure, and whatever other (potentially literal) shit the stress of never knowing what the fuck I was doing would offer. I used to trust people when they told me about how my career would be going places at [fill in the company name here]. I’d settle in to the comfort of a routine, and then I’d find out later they were using me, taking me for granted, and returning boatloads less than they promised. The jobs that promised career advancement potential, but the potential was bullshit, the advancement was to more responsibility for the same money. The people who all said they want to help me, but all they wanted was what they could get from me, and then when they’re done, so am I, and there was never any helping Mr. M. This even happened when I worked for a few churches., and thus far has always happened when I work as a volunteer.
I hate people who bluff, assert pretend dominance, and then bluff some more, skating their way though life. They lie and cheat and steal and get more than they deserve, and then they retire early, with benefits, while I stare at them in indignant, and I’m sorry to admit, jealous, amazement. How the fuck do people get away with that shit? I also hate people who are selfish, which is just about everyone in the known universe. Don’t believe me? Go driving, attentive to being safe and driving purposefully, intent to keep your fellow-drivers safe. They’ll cut you off in traffic and then hit their brakes, yakking on their cell phones, completely oblivious to why you’re pissed off at them and honking your horn. Try getting that parking space at the grocery store. That skinny bitch soccer mom trophy wife with the faded plastic surgery markings will drive her brand new SUV into the spot you’ve been waiting patiently for in your old car, laying on her horn, and acting upset because you were in her way. I hate people who act like other people only exist to serve them, and who only exist to take that service for granted. And I hate people who fuck with other people and either pretend they care, or worse, don’t bother to pretend, or worst, pretend they’re not doing anything wrong and it’s somehow the fault of the person getting fucked. With.
I don’t want to complain about Mrs. M. She’s a beautiful, amazing woman. She does everything right. She wants the best from everybody, and she wants her family to succeed. She truly cares about people, and helps other people when they need help. Years ago, a lady she knew was going through a rough time and she stayed attentive, looking for ways to intervene in the circumstances, and her friend landed on her feet and is still doing fine. That’s just one example; I’ve seen it several times, to varying degrees of help, with lots of people – sometimes she drags me along to help helping out. And she loves me. I love her too. And you’re all saying, “awww, how sweet.” And it is. It’s mostly worked, for more than 20 years.
And then there was a family dinner party. It was a fancy thing and her sister and her sister’s husband hosted. Oh, there was fancy food. Amazing lobster and fresh raw oysters, and Italian beef, and sausages and lots of other amazing, delicious things. I’m afraid to eat lobster or oysters, because I think I’m allergic to shellfish. But there were also drinks, desserts, cookies, coffee, alcohol… The whole thing was amazing and must have cost a mad fortune. They do this a couple of times every damn year, not that I’d be jealous or bitter. Yeah, I’m jealous, but only because of the money, not because they have dinner parties. I hate dinner parties.
I was talking with someone Mrs M had known basically her whole life, they attended the same schools, that kind of thing, and they’re still pretty close. And we talked about dinner conversation-type things, the family, friendship, the food, new events, blah blah, blah. I loathe dinner parties. Another opportunity for Mrs. M. and me to serve. We helped with setup, cooking, hospitality (translation, serving in ways I can, just to be nice), and cleanup, because we’re under obligation as part of the family. Methinks the lady had perhaps a little too much to drink, and out slipped an unmistakable sort-of-half-subtle disclosure about Mrs. M’s past, before she was Mrs. M.
Bless her late mother’s heart. Her mother was a prude who thought that conservative Mr. M. was enjoying his marriage relationship to her daughter a little too much, so she did whatever she did to put a damper on it. At least, she heartily discouraged any public display or discussion. Her mom was Catholic, and behaved as though if such a thing were possible, all of her kids, including Mrs. M., were immaculate conceptions. Thus, I had always blamed her mom, but nope. It’s not mom. It’s Mrs. M.
It seems that in Mrs. M’s past, there was another relationship, which I knew about and had dismissed as irrelevant. But finding out the little detail is what hurt. Suffice it to say that Mrs. M. has reinvented herself in our marriage, into someone much more prim and proper, perhaps even prudish like her mom. But in the former relationship, not so much. The habit of pushing me away, rejecting my advances, of being socially uncomfortable with public displays, of denying my requests to be treated like I’ve always treated her, all started in her mind sometime before our relationship, but certain things went on in this prior relationship, and I found it out from the little drunken conversation. Which makes her ongoing and regular rejections, since we’re fucking MARRIED, hurt a lot. She doesn’t always reject me, but makes it clear she’ll do what she’ll do, and nothing she decides not to do. At the same time, she expects me to do whatever she wants me to do, and unless I do whatever she wants me to do, she doesn’t do much of anything. We have discussed this a few times before, and she’s aware of how she’s hurt my feelings through the rejections, long before I found out what I learned at the dinner. Damned family social gatherings.
So, you’re probably insightful and know without me blurting it all out. If I were hardhearted, and if I didn’t have so damned much time invested in this relationship, and if there weren’t kids, and if I didn’t have this stubborn desire to keep MY promise that I made when we got married, and if she weren’t so damned amazing and beautiful, and if I didn’t fucking LOVE her, I might just say “fuck this, I’m out.” Instead, I’m going to express it.
I’m very glad I did not win the lottery right after learning about this, because in the shock of the moment, I might have done the rash and drastic thing, and abandoned ship, finally financially free to do what I want, and to have whatever I want. Instead, I didn’t win, I know what I really want, and what I really want, is reciprocation from Mrs. M., same as what I have always really wanted.
I don’t want to complain about Mrs. M. I decided before we were married that I didn’t want to hold any of her old relationship bullshit over her head. And I really didn’t, except this inadvertent knowledge tells me that in my marriage relationship, I am being treated as though she loves me less than she loved some other guy. If I didn’t think the lack of reciprocation was fair before, how much more unfair do I think this bullshit is now?
So, dear Mrs. M., if you love me less than you loved him, why the fuck did you marry me? Just say “no, ‘we are never, ever, ever, [going to get] together,’ fuck off and die, you’re a pathetic loser, stop persisting you dumb ass, go fuck yourself, and leave me alone.” Give a guy a clue before you lead him on and say “I do.” Or whatever the hell we said at the wedding. I do vividly recall you declined the “old-fashioned” vow “to love, honor and obey.” I think you said “cherish,” or whatever, “as long as we both shall live.” Too late now. More than 20 years too late, and I’m not leaving. One of us has to die first, and I have no plans of committing suicide. Nor murder. I’d prefer the same from you, so just keep on living and don’t kill me, if you please. So we have to sort this shit out.
Do you really love me, Mrs. M.? Do you love me more than the other guy, the guy you didn’t marry? What I want in the marriage is to feel free, unlike I feel in any other arena of life. Instead, I’m trapped by pain and frustration and rejection, from the unfair way you’ve treated me. Our wedding preacher and everyone else we talked to about getting married said it has to be more than 50-50. It has to be 100-100. And it’s not. I’m not putting what you want into the relationship. Why?
My feelings are hurt. I’m deeply hurt, and it’s because of something I found out about quite innocently, quite accidentally, probably unintentionally. The woman probably thought I thought she was talking about Mrs. M. and I, in our marriage, but I fucking know better. I have about 18 years or so of hurt to process. I say 18 because it wasn’t until we had been married a while I started to decide what I wanted. And the cuts from her habit of rejection that were small and repetitive, since the meal, have been re-sliced open all over again, only much deeper and all at once. If my heart, and by heart I mean emotions, had any blood left in it, and by blood I mean whatever metaphorical liquid pumps through ones emotions, what’s left is leaking out. If I thought I was dying inside before, I’m dying faster now.
Um… Mrs M.? We need to talk. Again. Same discussion as before. Remember? It was years ago. When I said, in one of those rare moments when I wasn’t as resolute in my decision, that if the trend continued we might as well get divorced? What we have is not good. Your habit of rejection has me already resorting to the couch more than the bed. Like the song goes, “I want you to want me.” But here’s what I found out: you apparently don’t. So…what the fuck, Mrs. M.? Seriously! What the fuck!? Everywhere else in my life, I’m supposed to just work my ass off and continually give, and then accept what other people offer me without bitching about how it’s inadequate and not what I really want or need, because other people are selfish and I’m supposed to be the nice guy who politely acts as a doormat for other people to wipe their shitty feet on, accepts whatever they want to offer and act like it’s o.k., and then just wash the shit off to be ready for the next person to take advantage of and use some more. Please don’t tell me our relationship is the same one-sided bullshit as the rest of my life. I don’t want to be overly demanding, but I don’t think I’d be out of line to say I think you should start making up for 30 years of lost time, and then some, to apologize for the habitual rejection.