Shit

I was talking to my friend about our marriages and I asked her how things were going with her and her husband. Like all marriages, they have their ups and downs. And like most marriages, their relationship has become about two people going through the motions, doing what they need to do to take care of the kids.

I asked her if they go out together and make the effort to go out on dates. She mentioned that they had gone out the other day to a bar and ordered some food and drinks. She described it as the two of them just eating, having a couple of beers, and then leaving. No connection, no conversation.

It sounded all too familiar to me. I thought about my other friend. She never talks to her husband about anything. And he doesn’t really talk to her about anything other than work. To be fair, she’s not that interested in things like history and politics, which is important to her husband, so I don’t think he makes an effort to talk to her about those things. My other friend says that she and her husband don’t even bother talking, because their kids always interrupt them.

How sad is this life. I mean, it’s other things too. It’s wonderful, it’s fulfulling, it’s magical, it’s funny…I feel so much love every day. But it’s because of the kids. So many times I think, if it weren’t for the kids, we wouldn’t even be together. What do we even have in common anymore? We don’t even like each other most of the times. Lately, the only thing that truly brings me joy are my kids.

It’s lonely living like this. As humans, we need that connection with other people. We need to feel loved and appreciated. We want to say something and have the other person listen… REALLY listen. Not just nod and say,”Uh huh.” Like, listen and understand where you’re coming from. And we should do the same for others. But how often do we let our own shit get in the way of truly understanding another person? We don’t want to hear it because we’re mad at them, or we’re not like them so we don’t understand their feelings, or we think,”Why should I be nice to him when he refused to apologize for hurting my feelings?” Or something stupid like, “He left the dirty plates on the table AGAIN even though he knows it aggravates me.”

This is shit. It’s all this shit that gets in between people and cause distance and dissolution. How do you get past it? How do you let go of resentment and anger? I used to think that it all fell on the other person. Like, if my husband would just apologize for hurting my feelings, I would be able to let it go. Or if he stopped doing certain things, our relationship would be better. But that’s bullshit. Because there’s always something that’s going to piss you off. And it’s not up to the other person to determine forgiveness. So I’m struggling right now to let go of the shit. But I can’t. And a part of me feels like our marriage is like a clogged up sewer system that is just piled full of shit so bad that nothing can drain it out.

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Ennui

[ahn-wee, ahn-wee; French ahn-nwee]
noun

a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom

People like to give you advice on lots of things when you reach adulthood – bills, marriage, loans, credit, the right mattresses, buying organic, raising non asshole kids, etc. But the one thing people forget to warn you about is the never ending, all consuming, soul killing ennui.

Oh sure, I’ve felt it in my teens, you say. But you’re wrong. It’s not the same restless boredom you feel when you’re sixteen and listening to that Garbage CD and wondering what else is out there besides feeling like you don’t belong to the Grunges, the Freaks, the Preppies, the Ultimate Players, or the Geeks. It’s not the same thing as looking out your high school class window during Biology and seeing Brett kiss Gretchen and wishing you were anywhere but here. That was just teenage angst. Ennui is entirely different.

Ennu is being so in love with your kids that you can’t imagine life without them, but at the same time imagining hopping on a plane and running away to a remote island to work as a bartender and just talk to adults all day long just do you wouldn’t have to answer another question about bugs or change another diaper.

Ennui is loving your husband but at the same time hating him. You love him for all right reasons – he’s a great dad, he provides for the family, he’s responsible, he’s smart, he’s dependable, he’s nice to your mom. But you also hate him for not trimming his nose hairs, complaining about your dinner, telling the same story over and over again, leaving his socks on the floor, making a jab about your love handles, that thing he said two years ago that you just can’t forget…

Ennui is wanting to go out and paint the town red (okay how lame is that saying? What am I, 75?) but ending up staying home because you know your kid is going to wake you up at 6:30 and you need a full 8 hours sleep.

Ennui is knowing that even if you wanted to go out, you’d have no one to go out with because all your friends are boring ass moms like you.

I mean, how can you be so happy with your life yet feel so dissatisfied? The French have this saying for it. I wonder what the American saying is? Dissolution? Dissatisfaction? Boredom? Somehow none of these words feel as fitting as ennui.

Favorites 

I think every parent secretly feels this – they love their kids equally but there’s one that they have a special bond or connection with. It may change from time to time or it may just stay fixed. For example, sometimes I feel more connected to my son and other times my daughter. I think it depends on who’s acting brattier and who’s more annoying at the time.

These days, I feel a special connection to my daughter. I think it’s because now that she’s two and a half years old, I see her personality coming out more and more and I see myself in her. She has a really quirky sense of humor and it’s pretty witty for a two year old. She’s also very stubborn and a bit bratty, which is really funny because she’s so young but I know will give me headaches when she’s a teenager. Sometimes she’ll throw a little tantrum and I have to hide my laughter because it’s just so dramatic but harmless. She’s a little weird which I love because I’m weird and I get it. I get where the weirdness comes from. She sees the world a bit differently and interprets things slightly off center. I hope that part of her never changes, because I know as a kid and even as an adult, you conform into what you think society expects of you. You conform into what you think people expect of you. And then your ideas about yourself change and you realize you don’t know who you are anymore. I think that’s what’s so special about young kids. They don’t care what anyone thinks of them. Especially when they’re throwing a tantrum in the middle of Target aisle 6, haha.

My mom on the other hand has a special connection with my son, and he has one with her too. She lives overseas and doesn’t get to visit often but she’s here now and I see the special love she has for him. She says it’s because he’s her first grandkid. My husband thinks it’s because she raised two girls and now gets to see a little boy grow up. Maybe it’s because she sees a bit of herself in him. Sometimes I joke that she loves him more than my daughter but I love the bond that they have together. He doesn’t even wake me up in the mornings like he always does. He goes to my mom’s room and they go downstairs together where he’ll play and talk her ear off and make breakfast together. She slips him candy and tells him it’s their secret. He draws pictures of her house with her face in the window. She teaches him games she played as a kid. These are the things he’ll remember when he’s older and my mom will think about when she’s back home.

 

 

Date Night 

It was supposed to be a good night.

I had made reservations for this new Japanese/French restaurant near us. The babysitter was free to watch the kids. I went to the wine store and bought a nice $30 bottle of unoaky, slightly citrusy Chardonnay that went well with seafood and meat (the place was BYOB).

It started out well. We ordered some apps, had some light conversation, finished our entreees and half the bottle.

Then it went south. It was about an hour and a half until I told the sitter we’d be home. So I suggested we go to a nearby bar to just sit and chat. The husband seemed reluctant. I asked what he wanted to do. He said he was full and all he wanted to do was go home and cuddle with our son.

????

What the fuck. I don’t remember the last time a guy went on a date with me and wanted to go home early.

He’s not a big drinker so I thought that he just didn’t want to go to a bar. So I suggested coffee. He seemed receptive to the idea.

Then he went on about how we’re trying to get our relationship back on track and that we shouldn’t force things.

Ok, by now I’m getting the message loud and clear.

This fucker doesn’t want to spend time with me.

I get that our relationship is in limbo. I get that on most days we don’t like each other. I get that we’re tenuously holding on, our kids the only lifeline to our otherwise precarious foothold.

But I’m trying. I’m trying to forge a new relationship. I’m trying to bridge the gap with one of the few things we mutually like, that being food.

Obviously it’s not enough. So I asked point blank, “Do you not want to spend time with me?”

And he said,”I don’t remember the last time we had fun together .”

So I did the only thing a person can do at that point – laugh.

I laughed because I see the fruitlessness of trying. Why??? Why am I trying so hard?

So I said to him, “Why am I spending time away from MY kids to be with you when you don’t even want to be with me? Why are we paying a babysitter to watch our kids when we don’t even want to hang out with each other?”

I told him that if I’m going to leave my kids at home, I’d rather hang out with my fucking friends and have a good time than be with a Debbie downer.

So we went home 2 hours after our sitter came. I told him to go in and pay the sitter because I didn’t want to face my kids all tear faced.

So I sat outside in my backyard with the half leftover bottle of Chardonnay, shivering in my parka, tears streaming down my face, feeling sorry for myself.

The light was on inside the house and from the darkness of the yard, I saw my husband picking up my daughter. She must have been glad to see him. Then I saw my son crying over something, throwing a tantrum. I hesitated. Should I go in and intervene? But I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay out here and be selfish. I wanted to have this time to myself, to not think about anyone else but myself. If I go in, I would have to erase my hurt and anger and pretend nothing was wrong. I would have to put my feelings aside while asking my children what was wrong with them. While on most days, this task was easy, today, I just could not do it. I needed to be by myself. I needed to wallow.

I waited until the lights went off downstairs and let myself in. I was sure my husband had taken my kids upstairs. But no, as soon as I came in I saw my son crying by the stairs. I picked him up and tried my best to soothe him. We laid together upstairs, my tears falling silently as I cradled him in my arms. What was to become of him? Was he to be a child of divorce? Another statistic? Was he crying because he felt the tension between me and my husband? Or was he just grumpy because he had a cold and was tired?

Therein lies the question. Should I stay because of the kids or should I leave because of the kids?

Sexless

I was browsing through my Facebook feed when I saw a sponsored article pop up about people in sexless marriages lamenting their situations on Whisper. For those of you who don’t know, Whisper.sh is a website where people anonymously confide their deepest darkest secrets. I see the allure in that. I mean, hello, I’m writing a blog about my personal angsts and struggles for all to see (all two of you haha). It’s pretty cathartic because I can divulge all my secrets, whichever I should choose to tell, and yet I never have to give up my identity. I can tell you all the things I’ve never told anyone, not even my best friends or my sister, or even my diary.

Anyway, I read the Whisper confessions and even though people worded them differently, across the board the message was the same – “I’m in a sexless marriage and I’m lonely.” As I read on, I felt somewhat less lonely. Here are thousands of people whom I’ve never met and might have nothing in common with, besides this one thing. And they feel exactly the way I do.

After reading through, I browsed through the comments section, which seemed to be divided into mostly three opinions:

1 – Why would you EVER be in a sexless marriage??? Once the sex and intimacy is gone in a relationship, it’s doomed. It’s best to move on and be happy. These comments range from single people to people in marriages for over 15 years.

2 – Sex isn’t the end all be all in a relationship. Some people are happy not having sex that often. They’re content being with their best friend who they do enjoy doing things with, even if that means they don’t have time to have sex every week.

3 – The Divorcees. They’ve been through it and are the harbingers of doom. They forewarn against sleeping in separate bedrooms, letting children take over your lives, working too many hours, etc.

Before reading the comments, I was #2. Sex was whatever. I was too busy and tired taking care of 2 little babies, now toddlers. I felt bloated and unattractive. My libido was low. Now, I’m hovering around #1. I honestly don’t remember the last time my husband and I had sex. And it’s not like my husband is always asking me for it and I turn him down. He doesn’t want it from me either. So now I’m wondering, is this a natural phase that every couple goes through after having kids? Or is it a symptom of something more? Lack of intimacy, not spending enough time together, resentment over perceived hurts, desire fading after 15 years…

I mean I know about the science of attraction. When two people first get together, there’s all these feel good hormones that mimic the “falling in love” feeling. Everything is heightened and sex feels soooo awesome. Even cuddling feels like you dropped some ecstacy. But then after a few months, the oxytocin and dopamine fades and you’re left with the crash of reality. After 15 years, it’s like someone took all the desire out of your soul and you’re left with a dry, vacant asexual cavity of a being.

The thing is, after being dead inside for about 3 years, I’m starting to feel like a person again. I’m beginning to feel like I want more. I know it’s not fair to my husband who’s had to be patient while dealing with my postpartum, hormonal self. But to be honest, our problems started way before we had kids. So herein lies the question: do we wait it out and hope it gets better or do we resign ourselves to be another statistic?

Reality Bites

Do you ever feel like you’re just living everyday life just going through the motions? Sure there are moments of happiness brought on by your kids, a fun dinner with friends, a false sense of contentment after two glasses of rose…

But nothing that really gives you utter fulfillment.

I mean how do you even get that? It’s not like you can go build a house for the homeless or a robotic leg for a paraplegic every day.

I’m a thirty-something year old stay at home mom living in suburbia, I’m comfortably middle class, I don’t have to worry about money, I’m married, I drive an okay car, I live in a nice house in a safe neighborhood, I have a couple of really good friends, I’m average weight (although with a post-c section pooch that won’t go away), I’m fairly good looking after some makeup, and I’m pretty intelligent, although I’m terrible at math. Like, sometimes I use my fingers to add.

My life looks good on paper. If you were to ask my friends, they would all say I have a nice life, everything’s normal, I seem happy, blah blah blah.

What they don’t know is that sometimes I feel so horribly, gut-wrenchingly lonely. I feel like I’m stuck. I’m in a marriage that is falling apart and I think that we’re mostly staying together for the kids. I love my husband but sometimes I don’t like him and sometimes I even hate him. Lately what scares me is that sometimes I just don’t feel anything for him. Thinking about leaving him doesn’t leave me with utter despair…I kind of feel relieved or even hopeful. What does that say about our marriage???

Yesterday I counted. We’ve been together for FIFTEEN years. That’s a lot of years. And only four of those years were with kids. And when I think back, a lot of it was bad. A lot of it was great…but also bad.

I’m seriously thinking about leaving my husband. But where would that leave me? I have no job, I don’t even know if I have enough credit to rent a place, and I have two young children to take care of.

So yeah, I’m thirty-something and I’m learning that reality bites. And if you’re thirty-something too, then you’ll get my 90’s movie reference (yay Winona).