I wrote the blog below over Memorial Day weekend, and find it fittingly ironic that I stumble across it now; Labor Day weekend.Labor Day was my self-imposed deadline to fish or cut bait. Shit or get off the pot. To make a decision. I took a step back (or ten) and a deep breath. I tried to quiet my analytical, logical mind and let my heart speak.I made my decision that same weekend and put everything into motion.Here are my thoughts:(originally written 5/26/18)
I don’t know what to title this piece or even how to start it. I guess the most appropriate title is “Saying Goodbye.”
I’ve been cooped up sick in the house the last two days. That never helps my mood, because I feel trapped whenever I can’t leave the house-whether I’m snowed in, car’s broken down, or I’m sick-doesn’t matter, I still feel trapped and find myself pacing instead of doing something constructive. I stopped pacing to write today.
I’ve lived in the same place for almost 13 years. I fell in love with this yard and house when I first looked at it. I thought my partner did too. I mean, he said he did; and I tend to trust what someone says to my face. Every spring I watch my trees and shrubs bloom while the leaves turn green. I can watch the sun setting from my back deck over the ‘lake’ behind my house. I can sit on the couch and watch the sun rising in the morning if I’m up early enough. I vividly remember buying the house, moving in, and making plans with my partner for all of the things we were going to do to make this place ours. I do love this house, and I’m going to be sorry to leave it. My partner will not move out and allow me to buy him out and attempt to keep the house on my own. As soon as I move out, he will sell the place because he refuses to stay here alone. Granted, I will get a portion of the selling price, but that’s not the point. I wanted to live here. This is the house and the yard I always wanted, and I feel as though I’ve allowed him to steal it from me. I guess I should not attach such sentimental value to a ‘thing,’ which is what this house is, a thing. I suppose I should be looking forward to starting over-and I am! I really am. But…now that spring is finally here, and everything is green and blooming…I’m reminded of all the time I spent working on my gardens and in the yard. I’ll miss it. My cat is buried here…not like I can take him with me when I go.
It’s going to be harder to leave this place than it will be to leave the man who continues to live here. Over the last several months, I’ve taken to heart a phrase that is often repeated in my yoga classes: take a step back and breathe. I’ve done exactly that in all aspects of my life-taken a step back, and breathed. And waited to see what would unfold. In yoga, a step back and a deep breath will often allow you to settle deeper into an asana. In my life-the step back and deep breath has shown me exactly the kind of life I’ve been living. I took ownership of the phrase “trophy wife” in an effort to poke fun at myself for leaving a full-time job for a better-paying part-time job. There were a few other reasons I began referring to myself as a trophy wife, but that’s the main one. I did this as a last-ditch effort to save my marriage. There were other reasons for me to leave my old job. Combined with the issues at home, when my current job fell into my lap, it seemed like a blessing.
One of my partner’s biggest complaints about me is that he says I refuse to depend on him. My working part-time and going back on his insurance would be a way for me to rely on him and allow him to be the provider. My partner said this is what he wanted-numerous times, numerous conversations. He liked the idea of me working part-time. It did not take long for him to change his tune. Now, he insists he never said he liked the idea of me working part-time. He complains constantly about the cost of health insurance through his employer. This is something we discussed more than once before I began looking for a new job, and again when my current job was offered to me. We knew the cost of benefits would increase, and he said it was ok. I feel like I’m losing my damn mind-and this is why they call it gaslighting, I suppose. I need to stand firm in what I know I remember. And I know I remember because I journaled ALL of this. All of it…because I had a feeling this might happen. It’s not the first time.
The fact is, I’ve been living a lie. My marriage has grown toxic. Or maybe it always was and I was too damaged to see it. I’ve mentioned before that my partner has his own demons, and I would not discuss them. I think it’s time to share what I do know. My partner is a recovering addict, so he told me. He dabbled in any number of substances in college and afterward. I don’t know exactly what, or exactly how often or how much. I do know that some of those substances were prescription drugs, and I’ve learned he’s gotten back into that over the last few years. I’m not certain when or from whom, or how he acquires them, but I know he indulges. He doesn’t know that I know. He admitted one suicide attempt to me (happened before we met), but I suspect there was more than one. And I suspect there are other issues that he has chosen not to share with me. I wonder how much these demons contribute to his sometimes-erratic and unpredictable behavior? Let me be clear-the man has never laid a hand on me. Never. Nor would he. But as I’ve taken the step back in my own life to observe, I noticed that I walk on eggshells when he is home. I know if I disagree with him, or god forbid do anything that might come across as argumentative or combative, it could set him off. I can’t speak up if something bothers me or if my feelings are hurt because that will set him off…even if the hurt or bothered feelings have nothing to do with him. I can’t ask too many questions about his day or his work, and sometimes I can’t even ask about his schedule, because I “need to know where he is every second of every day.” I’ve learned to give vague answers if I’ve had a great day at work because my career success and happiness makes him feel “less than.” I’ve also learned to be vague about any plans I have for myself; especially if they involve the gym or my yoga practice, because he will set out to passively-aggressively undermine those plans. He will never outright “forbid” me from going anywhere…but he will play passive aggressive mind games to keep me at home with him.
I have finally had enough.
This is not what I signed up for, and this partnership has gone too far down a road I no longer wish to travel.