G & I met in August of 2001. At a beach party I went to with a guy friend, back when hanging out all day, eating, and drinking in a bikini seemed lack a typical Saturday activity. It was a veritable Cinderella story, in that I lost one of my flip-flops in the dark and left without, and G drove around slowly with the headlights on until he found it, and then called me up and asked me out under the ruse of returning my $5 Target footwear. I wouldn't call it love at first sight...he wasn't exactly my type...a bit on the nerdy side, and some of his jokes & one-liners literally made me cringe...but they also made me laugh, and slowly but surely his big heart, admirable loyalty, and our ability to talk for hours about everything and nothing won me over.
I know this is a typical pattern of relationships growing and changing with the demands of kids, jobs, and life...but as I've mentioned before, we don't find much time to talk---really TALK---to each other anymore. From the few times I've brought it up, I've gotten the impression that this was only a problem for me...that G was perfectly happy with our status quo.
And then I was blindsided by an impromptu conversation standing in the kitchen last night. As always, I asked G what he wanted to do this evening (though it was close to 9PM by the time we got the kids to bed and cleaned up the kitchen). As always, he said he was going to "try to work" since he hadn't gotten much done this week with his days divided by contractor meetings, vet appointments, pediatrician appointments. Then he sighed, and admitted that he thought something was wrong with him, impeding his ability to concentrate at work. He thinks he may be depressed---he didn't come out and say those words, but in his typical vague & geeky manner mentioned needing more seratonin or dopamine . In my astonishment at this revelation, I went into doctor/fixer mode...urging him to make an appointment with our primary provider right away to see if he needed treatment. He said he wasn't sure medication was necessary or would be helpful, so I then urged him to see a therapist, someone to talk to. Then he said "I'd like to talk to you, but you're just not around".
Hurt & defensive, I jumped into examples of the times I was around (like, always!) and he was busy. And he countered that yes, I was physically around, but I was tired, or just on my way to bed (this is true, I've been exhausted lately & do go to bed early in general) and didn't seem open to talking. I had no arguments left because he's right. I want to be there for G...but I have precious little physical or emotional energy left for dealing with what I'm now realizing are pretty serious issues. Just knowing that he is suffering right now has me anxious, upset, and flustered...and reaching for my typical coping skills of ignore, evade, and deny.
He went into a little bit of what's on his mind...he is bored & unmotivated at work, isolated, lonely and has no friends to talk to about this, he is worried about the future (jobs & living situation), worried and stressed about the house issues (roof leaking, etc...) that have been plaguing us since we moved in, and doesn't have time to pursue the hobbies/interests that could keep him sane. All the predictable stressors that seem manageable on their own, but can pile up and weather down even the strongest rock. And he is a rock. He's my rock. And I am realizing, maybe too late, that I also need to be his.
Eight years ago this week, we went on a trip to NYC. On the last day of the trip, literally hours before we had to catch the shuttle to the airport, G insisted we go back to Central Park because he "loved it so much and wanted to see it one more time". Once there, he spends an inordinate amount of time hunting for the "perfect spot" to hang out in. Finally we find it, no one around, and grassy with flat rocks we sit down on. And he proposed.
We've gone back to NYC multiple times since then and tried to return to that spot. We just can't seem to locate it. I think we've gotten a bit lost...hoping we can find our way back.
Um.... are you sure you and G are not Luca and I in a parallel universe?ReplyDelete
If you figure out a way to make things better for your husband, can you please let me know? Because I feel just how you describe. I know my husband needs more from me than I've been able to provide these past few months, I just don't know how to give it to him when I'm struggling so much myself. I miss all the things we used to do together (run, swim, even grocery shop) that we can't do now that we have the kiddo. And there's so much work for both of us that even if we could find something to replace those things I don't know that we'd have time to do it.
I wish I had an answer. But knowing I'm not alone in this helps immensely. Hopefully we'll both (all 4?) figure it out soon.Delete
I'm pretty sure that when I've posted about similar things, you've been among the many people telling me how normal it is... It's extra rough when your partner admits to suffering--I know I always feel like I've failed when my husband is hurting. But hey, I seem to recall you making a real effort to make time for the two of you, and feeling like your efforts were in vain. You are both dealing with lots of pressure, and doing your best. It's wretched that the thing you both need is MORE TIME. There's no real fix for that one. But I hope him opening up is a good sign. When Mr. Bunny and I are having rough patches, it's always better if we at least talk.ReplyDelete
Right now, we're just roommates. I hate that, and wish I had the energy to change it, but I don't.
Yes, exactly. Hate it and wish I had the energy to change it. This is the one area of life that I gave myself an "F" in, and I haven't really improved in the past 6 weeks...Unfortunately the "opening up" was very brief, and when I try to bring it up again, I am rebuffed. But he did ask unequivocally for some "me time" for himself, and I am more than happy to help make that happen.Delete
DH and I had a thingy a couple of weeks ago where both of us were dissatisfied, him feeling overwhelmed by work and me wanting to spend a little time with him (which takes away from his work time). In the end we decided that we would walk together to do school pickups. Previously I'd been doing them most of the time (he usually does dropoff) to give him another 20 minutes to work before they descend on the house, but those particular 20 minutes are more useful to us as a couple than to him as a worker.ReplyDelete
Watching TV or doing housework "together" wasn't leading to the opportunity for real connection that I'd been wanting. So far, having 20 minutes (10 without kids, and 10 with kids who mostly just sit in the stroller and do their own thing) to really talk has been great. It's rarely anything earth-shattering, but so far it's always been stuff that we wouldn't talk about without that walk.
Good luck finding a time/way to have more conversations.