Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dear husband, will you divorce me?

I had the joint session with the spousal unit today, and I thought it went pretty well.

Neither of us cried, although he was close a couple of times when I noted how he'd hurt us.

We both left with a to-do list. Mine is done already, I've procrastinated enough.

You plan on going to inpatient rehab, and you know you'll be living somewhere else when you come back. Likely a friend who is moving to a 3 bedroom place, and he really only needs 2 (one for his office). That could work out; it'll be better than your situation for the last 6 months, sleeping on a friend's couch and drinking.

This is all good, right? So what's with the title of this post? Shouldn't I be delighted?

Not really. You showed no insight into your drinking, and denied that you'd done anything wrong. You blamed medication for your "symptoms" last week - it wasn't medication. You were fucking pissed. You blamed the kids for not interacting with you, when you refuse to take them anywhere, or arrange to do anything with them, or even sit and ask for a conversation when you're here. We had an OK chat a week and a half ago, before you showed up hammered for our first scheduled joint session. It was unusual, and positive, and hasn't been repeated. You have a habit of showing up when you know I won't be here, usually Sunday mornings. That's kind of shitty, you know.

I started talking to Zoe. She's a lovely, smart, perceptive young woman. And you have virtually no relationship with her. You can only find the negative. It's ridiculous. We are so lucky to have 3 amazing kids, and you can only see it in your sons. Sexism? I don't know. It doesn't really matter why, it's the what that hurts. She already knows you're selfish, and don't respect us, and treat our stuff as if it's yours, and don't listen unless you agree.

I feel disrespected, not because of the drinking, but because of how you've failed to pay any attention to my needs no matter how clearly or how often I expressed them. Mostly around the state of the house - the clutter. Stuff. But also around things like me asking you - begging you - to make dinner for the kids. You're a stay at home parent. That is something you used to do. Why did you stop?

For a long time I've felt like everything is up to me. Now that you're out of the house, it is. It's all up to me. And it's easier and better than when you're here. I don't have to fight to get what I need. I can clean things up without finding them later, hidden in some dark recess of the house. Life is much easier now. Less stressful. I'm in control of things that are important to me, and completely unwilling to give that up.

Can I see us back together? Not now. When I'm with you and I know you're sober and there is no alcohol around, I like you. I'm OK being with you. I remember why I married you back in 1995. I also know how much I've gained these past 7 months in terms of lower anxiety and more happy moments. I'm on a wait list for family therapy, and for the parent program to help the kids with their substance use problems. I'm moving forward with my life much more easily without you than I managed with you. I don't have to tiptoe around your anxieties around stuff and change, I can just do things.

You have money from your dad. Have I told you he keeps asking if he should give it to me instead? That money was meant for the family, and you have kept it. You spent it. On what, you don't know. That's your decision, and it's a selfish one. My money is ours, and yours is yours. This seems to be the pattern with everything - what belongs to your family members belongs to you, and what belongs to you is only yours. It's pretty ugly. I pay all the bills, you wander around buying shit we don't need, and get upset when I'm not delighted with your latest thrift store acquisition.

This is why I want a divorce. Even if you become sober and rebuild a healthy life - and I hope you do - I don't want to go back to tiptoeing around your need to acquire junk, and to keep everything, and to not change, and not try anything. You said in our session today that I do things you don't want to do. I have no idea what things you mean, but it has to be the changes to the house. These are normal things I did. Fixing things that are broken. Cleaning out stuff we don't need, like the extra 5 mandolins or extra 4 stand mixers. Most of this stuff we discussed. Why didn't you express your concerns then? Because you know you're wrong? Instead, you seem to complain to other people about it, but never to me. I can't be a better wife if you don't tell me what hurts you. And now it's too late.

Maybe, once you've been on your own for a bit, and rebuilt relationships with the kids, and your friends, and me, and you have hobbies that are your own, I'll be able to imagine enjoying time with you again. Right now, I can't. I want to move on with my life, sell the house, pay you off, buy my own place and help the kids grow and leave the nest.

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