Yes, I’m Still Here

Well, it’s been a weird and interesting few months! Following the news of my husband’s cancer, I went in for a rapid diagnostic breast exam and came out with a sore breast after a biopsy. Turns out the Doc suspects cancer and I’ll find out on June 7th. If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all! As the saying goes.

I’m still working on disengaging emotionally from what may have been my codependent tendency to latch onto people and make them conform to my idea of said relationship. For example, my marriage.  I probably invested WAY too much baggage into this marriage thing and now I’ve reversed myself enough, taken a step back to re-evaluate, and come at it from a different direction so that I can see more clearly the person I married and what I do and do not have control over. Articles like this help me:

Dysfunction can occur if you misjudge the type of relationship that is required. Many people, especially those new in relationships, jump too quickly to the communal style. When they are wrapped up in the fantasy of new love they assume that they will be spending the rest of their lives together. They then give way too much of themselves, again, this can quickly lead to codependency.

That about sums it up for me. Assuming all along that I was the one with the level head, it turns out I can have issues of my own to sort out, perhaps laying an unfair burden on the other person! The stress of it all isn’t going to help me either, especially now.

Unlike my mother and sister who had and have made a fetish out of dieting and the foods they eat, I am not going to go down that route; thinking cancer is a result of diet choices. Cancer is such a complicated mix of environmental factors, our DNA, our ancestral history, and other things we can’t possibly understand, that believing you can control such a thing has to be classed with other mental disorders such as dysphoria. We humans do love to be in control don’t we?  Sure is devastating when we realize we aren’t.

My mother put herself in an early grave because she believed God was going to cure her without medical intervention. Uh, hello! How about IF there is a god, said god would use the things at hand such as doctors and medicine!! Why is it that God has to bear burden of ‘curing’ without anything else whatsoever. Does everything have to be a miracle? Is there something wrong with using the tools at had to fix things? Why? Anyway, I’m done with magical thinking.

I’ll let you know what the diagnosis is, but I suspect it ain’t good.

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Some Dreams Die Hard

It’s very difficult to give up my dream of being another person’s true love. Yes, I know you can love more than one person in a lifetime. I know that it may be unrealistic to imagine one person can meet another’s needs. However, I still can’t help wanting to be special to someone who believes me to be special.  Perhaps not being special to anyone in my life growing up contributed to this dream. Who knows?

My husband is really ill. We got the unfortunate news that the tumor taken out during surgery may have spread and an organ must be removed because of it. That’s major surgery and a major change of lifestyle. I believe I’m ready to help him tackle it. I care about his life and his comfort, so abandoning him was never going to be an issue, even if I did contemplate it a few months ago when all of the marriage issues showed up again.  I’m bracing myself for the worst though. What would I do if something happened to him.. if the worst happened?

Life is going to change yet again. In times past I would have obsessed over a Plan B, but now I think I can meet whatever happens head on without over-thinking it. Needless worry just adds needless stress and I don’t think that would be good for me. I’ve just now cut down on the stress I was experiencing over the marriage by reintroducing antidepressants to my daily routine. They are working well and I can feel the stress reducing. Now being my husband’s carer will no doubt add some more. I need to be calm. Marriage issues should no longer be allowed to be my primary concern. It’s time for carer mode now.

Yet, like tonight, I can’t help feeling sad as I go up to my bedroom. Sad that someone isn’t looking forward to being with me at the end of the day. Sad that I may never meet someone who makes me feel needed and wanted above all others. I’m getting over it, but it still hits me at certain times. I spend my day in one room, he in the other. We occasionally chat over dinner, dishes, the household chores, bills, and his musical needs. But we live separate lives in the same house. The other night we visited friends and it was good to see them, but we came home to separate beds. Occasionally I will sleep in our bed together because I need to feel close to another human being. He never asks me to or expresses his need to sleep with me. And I do mean sleep. Nothing else has happened in our bed, other than sleep, for months. He never expresses an interest or asks me. And that makes me sad.

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.

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.

The Importance of a Father’s Love

I think that my lack of a father’s love started this whole mess.

My real father abandoned my mother and my sisters, and I when I was just 3 years old. My step-father did not have a loving bone in his body and ate cruelty for breakfast.  I was ripe for someone to come along and make me feel as if I were the most important person in their world; something daddy’s do for their little girls. Normal daddy’s anyway.

My lack of a father’s love probably contributed to my conversion to Christ when I was 23 years old. Feeling out of my depth as a new wife and mother, one day I felt an overwhelming sense of love and well-being from a father/brother figure.  That sustained me for quite some years. My marriage was not a passionate love affair, but merely a remedy for small town boredom and we parted ways when our children grew up and moved out of the house. Notice I don’t say our home because I’ve never really felt ‘at home’ anywhere. We never jointly created a home like some couples do; putting their particular stamp on a place to reflect their budding love. Perhaps a father’s advice about any of this would have been invaluable.

It was almost inevitable that I dream of the perfect romance. My romance fantasies led me to a couple of affairs and later to the online ‘romance’ that landed me where I am today. All I’ve ever wanted was be someone special to someone else. I wanted to hear the words, ‘I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy’ or those coveted words, ‘you are so special to me’.  I’ve never heard that, or felt it either while growing up or in all the years I’ve been married. My sister, mother, and I have always dealt with our pain alone, probably because no one ever sought us out to comfort us.  But still one hopes.

Maybe I’m feeling a tad maudlin but when I read of other people’s marriages, of the love and care and the grief that happens when such lovers are apart, I mourn for what I never had or have never known. I worked so hard to be a good wife and failed both times. Now I just wish someone would care for me. Just a little bit. Some people say that God can fulfil that need in me, but how can you have a fulfilling relationship with an invisible person?  I’ve yet to master that, even after all of these years.

I am broken by this latest betrayal and although I KNOW that acting with love toward someone whether they deserve or not is the Christian thing to do, just once, I wish that someone would be more concerned about me than I was for them. Just once. Is that too much to ask?

Available to everyone but Me

My husband cannot say no to anyone, unless it’s me that’s asking.  Despite knowing my pain, despite knowing that I feel like I’m waiting for the axe to fall, despite feeling unwanted and not properly loved, he refuses to give up being what OTHERS want him to be. And what is that? They want him to be a show for their fetishes. He is an entertainer first and last. He gets high on being on show for any and all comers. He’s never refused a gig; musical or sexual.

It does not matter that I believe it demeans him or that I lose respect for him. He doesn’t care. It’s like he WANTS to be debased. Is there some deep-seated need to be humiliated? Some people are into that. Having been humiliated without my consent I cannot imagine anyone desiring to be willingly.  He makes a game of all the things I had no control over growing up. He’s a fetish tourist; a dilettante. He takes nothing and no one seriously.

I, on the other hand, refuse to treat him lightly, especially now that he may be seriously ill. My conscience won’t let me.