The Joys of Drugs

And by drugs, I mean antidepressants. It’s been a while since I last wrote; time enough for my antidepressants to kick in. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for things to start working after a long time without taking them. But, I can say that they’ve made a difference.

527920_499926106703100_362275096_nI am less despondent and less critical. I do not have those horrible cyclical mood swings associated with menopausal women. I can now speak to my husband without crying, which for the last year I could not do. I also think that it has allowed me to feel normal in my newfound take on the marriage. The jealousy that had plagued me is gone. Now that I know that nothing I say or do changes anything in this marriage, I have given up trying to change things. This also means that I have given up investing in it as well.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement, but I can say that the advantages for me outweigh the negatives. I’ve always run my course of action in life through a list of pros and cons. If they seem balanced, I listen to my gut; my intuition. It has never steered me wrong. I’ve gone against my gut feelings and have lived with the consequences; one of them being this marriage. So I know them to be true. How I wish I listened to myself more. However, if I did that, life would be boring and I wouldn’t learn new things about myself and other people.

I’ve learned SO much in the last five years.  I’ve learned that perhaps I should not have been married. I bought into romance and not into real life. I was ill prepared for life as a wife and partner. Who is prepared really? We either set incredibly unrealistic expectations for married couples or we dispense with all the rules. No wonder people are confused. I also learned that perhaps I’m not suited to having a male partner. I’m not saying I’m suited for any sex or gender at all. All I’m saying is that I plunged headlong into a life that was expected of me and never once thought any of it through seriously.  I gave men what I thought they wanted to get along. I had no real desire for them. I’ve lived my life on automatic pilot; feeling nothing and now, when I actually took a chance on the feelings that I was swept up in, it turned out not to be for the best.

Tough lessons. But they are lessons earned and learned. They are mine and I am no longer going to do what anyone else wants me to do. Anything I do now is because it’s good for me and because I want to. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about others, but caring for others will be because I really care and not because I’m supposed to care.

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Surgery and Updates

cropped-nick-and-nora.jpgMy husband went in for bladder cancer surgery on Thursday and is now home recovering nicely. It all went as well as it could have and they said they got all of it without it having spread elsewhere. During it all, I think he gets reminded of his mortality and perhaps, just a tiny bit, he’s reminded about who’s important? I, too, have had a complete rethink.

We have actually achieved a truce, of sorts. I’ve had to scale back emotionally and he’s living with the idea that he does not have my full attention any longer. Perhaps that’s for the best.  This article is one I came across accidentally, but it does help me understand the ideas behind things and why we are all bent on romanticism and the idea of one person for each of us until death. I have always fallen for the full romantic picture that we are taught as young women; there is one special person, your soul mate, whom you will meet, fall in love, and marry and live happily ever after in perfect bliss. Yeah, not so much.

I think now that people live to a very advanced age and it’s virtually impossible to ask someone to love one single human being throughout your life. It is entirely possible to love more than one person romantically. I’m doing it now. I love my ex-husband and I love my current husband. I see no contradiction. The contradiction only occurs in people’s minds when it comes to sex. Jealousy only really occurs when we think of people having sex with other than us.

I certainly don’t believe anymore that people are monogamous. The majority of evidence that I see around me in the people I know and in the news confirms to me that men especially are incapable of fidelity.  Yes, women too, but it is not as accepted in women as it is in men. I am certain that if two people work at it, non-monogamy can work, however BOTH people have to start at the same place and not try to fit it in afterwards. My problem is that I didn’t sign up for it from the beginning. If I had, I could have dealt with it all better.  If I’d been honest with myself as well, I could have been self-aware enough to know that I am NOT one for fidelity myself. My current relationship proves it! And, just because I have no interest in outside relationships right now, it does not mean I won’t in the future.  I’ve made it clear that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and the hubby accepts that.

The lesson learned here is to BE HONEST FROM THE BEGINNING. We all spend so much time hiding and lying to ourselves and to others about what we really want and then we try to force ourselves to live by a moral code that we did not create. Someone else said that this was our moral code and we accepted it. I told my husband, it’s not that he’s ACTUALLY seeing anybody else that’s the problem for me, it’s the lying about it that angers me more. The betrayal is making it seem that I’m not worth telling the truth to. True, I’ve made it difficult for him to be truthful by my outbursts, but I’ve learned, through scaling back emotionally, that my outbursts do not encourage honest dialogue. So there are learning curves all around.

Perhaps something can be salvaged after all. I feel better about it now that I give myself time to really think about it and the ramifications of certain choices. It’s not for everyone, but it might be for us.

If You Know What’s Good for You

bedsSometimes we don’t know what’s good for us. We think we do, but we don’t. My husband thinks he knows what he wants. No, I take that back. He doesn’t know what he wants. He just founders around saying yes to everything until something clicks. He’s stuck in perpetual childhood. If I am missing a father, he is definitely missing a mother.

Passed off to a boarding school at an early age, my husband learned that pining to go home or be with his parents did no good. Reinforced no doubt by the teachers at the school, I imagine that the homesickness at age 5 was horrendous. They say that we cry to get attention and if attention doesn’t come, we make up our own things to comfort ourselves.  I think, without being a psychoanalyst, that he’s been trying to find a mother’s love, by feel, ever since.  In many ways this has made him unable to feel properly and in other ways it makes him want to make up for what he can’t be. You see, unlike other men I’ve met who were as self-absorbed, he doesn’t have it in him to NOT care and do things for me. He still will.  He’ll make me tea, or bring me water at bedtime.  He’s determined to feel useful and seem caring. However, I think he does mean it in his small way.

When we act as if all is normal and nothing is amiss, we are like any other married couple. We laugh over stupid jokes, talk about current events, see people who call or come over, fix dinner, watch television, work on things on the computer. I love him at those times. It’s when I come across clues of his ‘other’ life that I get upset and sleep elsewhere. But my doing this doesn’t seem to faze him at all.  All he has to do is ask me to sleep in the same bed, but he never does. It’s always me that gives in.

It’ll be four days until his cancer op. When I don’t sleep with him, and I do mean just sleep, he keeps irregular hours and is more tired than usual. I can tell recently that this is true. We haven’t slept together for about a month. Whether he admits it or not, sleeping together comforts him. I want him to be rested when he goes in on Thursday. It’s likely to be a long couple of days and we may find out things we don’t like. I need the comfort too and I’ll admit that.  But even after all this, I care enough about him to want him to be comfortable too.

So, I’ve changed the sheets on his bed, brought in my book and my evening pills and my glass of water and type this post. He is out playing at a gig, which was booked last year, and he won’t be home until late. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard him say that he wished it was over with and wasn’t looking forward to doing it.  Perhaps he’ll finally get some sleep.

Forming Ethics in a Dysfunctional Family

1950kinkI grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family. If you’ve read my previous entries I’ve detailed the problems I’ve had dealing with a father who abandoned me and a step-father who abused me, my sister, and my mother. We carry the psychic scars to this day and my mother carried them to her grave. Long after the death of my step-father, his abuse left the three of us unable to relate to each other in a reasonable and loving way. Is it any wonder that I have issues with my husband?

Needless to say, there was a nod to church and religion, but no examples of Christian behavior whatsoever. So, I did not form my ethical view from Christianity. Growing up, I formed my ethical view from my own experiences with people. I learned that trust is not automatically given but earned. I learned that forcing forgiveness is more damaging than healing. I learned that most people will use you for their own ends rather than treat you with respect and dignity.  I don’t recall thinking anything at all about marriage. Despite my mother’s horrible experiences with marriage, I did not believe that the institution itself was bad. Surprisingly, I always thought I’d get married.

Perhaps, because in a small Midwestern town, there is nothing offered but marriage and children, I automatically thought that it was my lot in life. Guidance counselors at school wrote off those who did not perform well and did not even offer to tell them of opportunities they MIGHT have if they concentrated on school work rather than partying every night of the week like I did. My acting out was a given. I drank alcohol like there was no tomorrow and I had one-night stands and no clue how to achieve a normal relationship with someone. My experience taught me that men demanded sex to cement a relationship regardless of what I wanted.  When I see women today who are so present in themselves and assured, I mourn for the clueless teenager that I was.

Ethically, I have never felt that non-monogamous relationships could work. Perhaps because in my world, there were NO examples of any. Theoretically I agree that people are not monogamous by nature. There is enough evidence in the world to show that marriage cannot contain the wandering eyes of men or women. I can count on one hand the couples I know who have not been divorced at least once. Marriage is a civil legal arrangement only. Now I can see this. Back then however, I had all of the romantic notions of any teenager.  I expected way too much.

So, as an adult I’ve tried to think in non-monogamous terms, but I also think I’ve narrowed my world too much. Forget monogamy and non-monogamy. I’m thinking in non-marital terms right now. Why be married at all? Perhaps marriage was never for me because my expectations would never be met or because I’m better off with my own company. I also feel that I’ve never allowed myself to grow as a person in my own right. I’ve always been in some kind of relationship. I do not know myself as a single person. I would love to find out.

What Used to Be

Budapest Opera HouseI used to be a woman of faith. After a spiritual experience in 1983, I began going to church and the rest  I’ve written about extensively on this blog. Since then I’ve given up my religiosity and my beliefs in certain dogma.  I no longer go to church per se, although I’ve been going to the Quaker meeting house with my husband for a few years now.

I still cling to some notions about Christianity, but the one thing I don’t believe in any longer is prayer.  By prayer I mean an action the believer takes to attempt to move the Maker into changing the Laws of Nature or the minds of other people to affect an outcome.  Now, I believe in meditation and silence and prayer in the sense that it helps the person praying, but I don’t believe that some Divine Being is listening to our prayers and deciding to rearrange the universe to answer them.

What made me realize this is that in times past, my first inclination when faced with bad news is to pray for the a positive outcome that happened to suit me at all times. Now, faced with my husband’s cancer diagnosis, I realize that no amount of praying will change the news of how large or small this tumor is. It just is. It’s been there unknowingly and will continue to be there no matter what I believe in my mind about it. No amount of prayer will affect that. No one will hear this prayer but me.  I don’t mean to say that prayer is not good, but I believe it’s only good for the one doing the praying. It acts as a meditative tool to calm one’s nerve, bolster one’s resolve, and to give someone the much-needed cool-down time before doing or saying something rash.

The reasons I came to this conclusion is by observing the world around me.  Despite a prayer force of billions of people in the world, we still have death, famine, abuse, rape, murder, cancer, wars, and all the evils that man can devise. Despite faith in a Divine Being we still have those idiots who believe that God wants the deaths of everyone who doesn’t believe the way they do. Despite billions of the faithful praying daily we see no discernible difference in the outcomes of cancer deaths or salvation from it by miraculous means. No, I have faith in medicine and science to find the cures for most ills before I have faith in prayer.

Now I know all the arguments for and against such things, but this has come from years of experience and it hasn’t come lightly. I’ve struggled mightily to keep an innocent faith in God, Jesus, and prayer, but at some point I had to face the cruel facts of reality. So, as I face the cruel facts of an uncertain future with a cancer diagnosis, I will face it with prayer like I always do, but I have no expectation that the cancer will disappear. I don’t believe it’s some kind of test or sent by God to make me more faithful. How awful to believe such things! I am of the idea that we will do everything available to us to stop it or at least slow it down. I have every expectation that prayer will make me calmer and able to face it. I suppose that makes me the double-minded man in the book of James, doesn’t it? Ah well, better that than be in denial about the cruelties of nature.

Same Shit, Different Day

The Housewives TarotAs if all of this were not enough, we’ve now found out that my husband probably has cancer. Well, now what? He is of the belief that no amount of stewing over it makes it change, which is true. However, that also means that he’s adopted the same devil-may-care attitude about this that he did about marriage and exclusivity. Eh, he shrugs, no big deal.  It is what it is.

Now it leaves me in a new position of becoming even more of a carer. This I always expected since he is 13 years older than me, but it tests one when you realize that no matter what you do, it doesn’t make any difference. About my failed dreams about our marriage, I have railed and screamed and cried, been angry and belligerent all in the face of unconcern from my husband. So, I’ve pretty much reached the end of my care meter in any direction. He’s got cancer? Sigh, well let’s just get on with it and plan as we go along. He’s unconcerned so why should I be? It’s the tone of our whole ‘marriage’.  At least now I will be forced to have a plan for the future rather than exist in limbo.

I just feel like such an idiot. It’s so disheartening to see he’s skyping his new ‘friend’ when I go to bed at night and he’s skyping her when I get up in the morning. This is all so reminiscent of how we were when we met online that it’s really difficult NOT to make parallel assumptions. He thinks I’m being silly of course. So, I’ve gone back to my separate bedroom.  I did enjoy sleeping with him until I realized I was kind of a consolation prize after one of his gabfests. We haven’t had any sort of sexual contact in months, so it’s just as well.  Besides, I enjoy sleeping alone and his sleep habits are usually disruptive. I sometimes relent from loneliness and go back to sleep with him a couple of nights, but it is always short-lived.  I don’t miss it that much.

Sometimes I think the only reason he brought me here was to be carer to him in his old age. Any claims that I supposedly had as a wife are long gone, if they were ever there. If he doesn’t care, why should I? That’s the problem with women, perhaps we CARE too much.

Non-Monogamous, but Committed, or something like it

Right now I am sitting upstairs in our bedroom as my husband skype’s with his new girlfriend. I know this because he makes a show of listening to the radio on television, which is under our bedroom, but I can hear his tea-cup hit the desk next to his computer chair. Sure enough, I go downstairs and see that he’s skyping his girlfriend. I turn off the TV in the other room and come back upstairs without a word. He makes guilty noises like he does when caught but says nothing.

Here’s the thing. I’ve told him over and over that all he had to do was just stop lying and hiding and do it whenever he wants.  At least that would be honest. In fact, I’ve half convinced myself that it’s the lying and secretiveness that angers me most. At first it was feeling like the discarded wife and the dying of a nice romantic dream, but after my initial anger and hurt feelings (and love?) died down, I realized that the betrayal is not who or with what, but with hiding it.  This was the chief reason he and I told our respective spouses about our chatting after we’d met online and took up chatting. I even offered then to just chat and have a bit of online romance, because we didn’t want to break up marriages did we? OH he was soooo determined that we should tell our spouses about our ‘relationship’. We should be honest, he said. He was not willing to just chat and be married to others.

Now here we are 8 years later and he has accepted this woman telling him that she is in a “non-monogamous committed relationship”. An oxymoron you say? I would tend to agree.  He thinks it’s a great idea though. Look, he says, she doesn’t want commitment! I said only if the two parties involved agreed from the BEGINNING! I remind him of his words to me all those years ago. But, in fact, he doesn’t even remember telling me that this sort of relationship would not do for us back then. See? Out of sight, out of mind.  he is literally blind, but he is also psychically blind. And now that I’m here, where his ex-wife was and she is where I used to be, he’s accepting it all. This means that he was in a bad marriage when he met me and wanted out. It means that I’ve been the one to rescue him from a that bad marriage. I realize that it was probably his goal all along.

Except I’m not sure he’s that devious, knowingly anyway. He’s just that unaware and clueless about how other people feel or react to his actions. He honestly does not care to remember or reflect on anything that’s been past. If it served him then, great, but now he must have a new purpose; getting sexual jollies online. It’s all about now. Not even the future. He’s a man with no principles or integrity but lives in the moment and for the moment.  How can I respect a man like that, who feels so little respect for me?