Things are Becoming Clearer

I think I’ve gotten a clearer image of what’s going on in my marriage.

Here is a man who is wedded to him computer for interaction (being blind) and for his primary contact with the outside world on a daily basis.  He trolls the internet for contact with those he finds interesting and amusing. While married to someone else, he comes across this blog and reads of a housewife, turned student, turned writer who lives a full life. I have a job, three children, a home, cats, and a husband. I get up and go to work every day and I write interesting things during my time off.

Cue eight years later where I give up all that, come live with said man. After things were progressing long distance using Skype and email, we find that being in each other’s presence isn’t quite the same thing as communicating over the internet. Gone are the interesting things for him; my job, my life, my interesting thoughts. Gone are my fantasies that we have anything physical in common due to fetishes I don’t share. We also failed to notice that he is an extrovert entertainer absolutely ADDICTED to being liked and appreciated and to being out in the social scene. I, on the other hand, shun social interaction as much as possible.  I do not like parties. I’m done boozing and bar hopping. Oooo. Bad move on my part.

This man therefore turns to the internet yet again for someone of interest. He finds another woman, university educated AND employed. Her topic? Music of course. Bingo. She also shares some of his fetishes because that’s how they met, on a site catering to that.  Bingo again. They now share morning and evening Skype conversations just as we did. This woman is now filling the role I did all those years ago; interesting life, shared fetish (which I was willing to entertain, but not obsess over), shared interest in music, social butterflies that crave attention.  He fails to see the parallel whereas it’s so obvious to me. I have failed to keep his interest and my one sin; being in the same room with him. Automatically I’m diminished by proximity.

My husband cannot say no to another human being even if it’s to the detriment of his own well-being or his family’s.  I can have no respect for a man who has so little respect for anyone outside his current, immediate circle of interest. I have come to the point of doing my duty without expecting any emotional rewards. That’s what marriage is isn’t it; an exchange of rewards? We exchange emotional rewards and intimacy for doing and sharing the same things? As one author put it, we make deposits in each other’s love bank and hope that enough deposits will overflow into and become the strong marriage we invested in.  What accrues is interest, closeness, shared loyalty, affection, passion, all of which add up to that weird mysterious term we call ‘love’.

By the same metaphor I think that my account is open, but there is very little left in it to draw upon. The smaller and smaller amounts I invest is offering no return (in fact, it’s being diverted) and I’m considering closing it one day. Why keep an account open that works against you? It’s at these times that I need to find a solid figure spiritually to focus on; one I know will always be there for me. I think God provided this in my darkest times before and, whether made up or not, God will once again provide an anchor I need when all human anchors fail.  My Daily Stoic talks about having a ‘mantra’ one can turn to at times like this; to bring one back to the center and stabilize.

Let it be so.

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Is That All I Do?

desk_job_1201245Some people must think all I do is complain about my marriage. No, I do other things, but the state of my marriage is what occupies my thoughts most of the time. I have a lot of time to think. I come to this blog, as I have always done, to get things off my chest, to write reviews about books and movies I’ve seen, and to comment on news items of interest.

I started this blog ages ago to give myself a writing outlet when I finished, or was about to finish, studies at university. You see I am one of those odd ducks that loved to write the research paper, bringing all sorts of disparate bits of information together into a cohesive whole. Unless you keep at it though, you tend to get rusty. I’ve fallen into lazy thinking habits and I rarely write anything except in my journal.

My day now is pretty easy-going. Rather than a 9 to 5 job, I can get up when I wish and come to my desk and do whatever my husband needs done to prepare for his gigs, his radio show, or errands about town. Since he can’t drive, I am the designated driver for most everything unless he goes by train or taxi somewhere without me. I am not wedded to my desk and being so was the absolute worst part of a desk job. That 3 p.m. lag after lunch and before getting off work was sheer torture. It was all I could do to stay awake if our office happened to have nothing going on that day. And let’s not mention getting up early to drive 35 minutes one way to get there. I definitely do NOT miss a job like that.

When I first came to this country I tried to find work outside the support work role that I found myself in, but even with a degree, I did not get any second interviews. I barely got an acknowledgement of application. I must have filled out 30 or 40 applications in the first few months, but heard back from none of them. I wanted a job; any job. I was willing to work for peanuts, but employers just did not care. There were meticulous rules about even filling out the correct application forms. Everything was regimented down to how you could answer an application question. After being here some years I have come to realize that there are so many employment shysters out there and so many rules and regulations regarding EVERYTHING job-related that I wasn’t so sure I wanted a job outside the house.  No wonder there is benefit fraud. It’s MUCH easier to stay at home than to jump through those regulatory hoops for a minimum wage.

In the States, getting a job is pretty straightforward. You either work full or part-time.  The applications are easy to fill out. You either get benefits or not. You will get a letter of denial or be called in for an interview usually within a week or so of applying. Everything is stated up front. Once you’ve gotten the job you pretty much have it unless you royally screw up and get fired. Not here. Here, you could get stuck in a 0 hours contract with no assurance you would have a job in 6 months, even if you did an absolutely fantastic job and didn’t screw up once. They use your talents and discard you.  Not only that, paying train fare can leave you penniless unless you find a job that is close by. Commuting into London could cost you upwards of £6,000 a year, not to mention parking 5 days a week for 8 hours or more a day! You’d better have a damn good job then!

No, in many ways, despite my unhappiness with my relationship, I have a pretty good job right here. When I’m not being his eyes or organizer, I can go read or watch television or play the many video games that I’m hooked on at the moment. I can be interrupted at any time when he needs something, but it’s a small price to pay for the freedom it provides. I can set my own hours and take time off whenever I wish. We can go see friends for a couple of days between gigs and not have to arrange it with anyone.

The downside of all this is that we are together 24 hours a day. All of these factors come into play when it comes to relationship matters, so I know it’s complicated. So, if I complain, I’m letting off steam. It’s not like I don’t have a legitimate gripe after all. I just wish I knew what the answer was. Perhaps there is no answer.