Seven days ago today it was Sunday, April 18th 2021. I had just cleaned the bird cage and the floor and as the hours passed, it got closer to the time when I thought I could finish my conversation with my husband. We rarely did finish conversations like that one. As much as I tried with him he preferred to avoid finishing any difficult conversations that were started. They’d go unfinished either because it was inconvenient timing or because emotions became too heated.
Two days prior to that, on Friday, April 16th 2021, something about his behavior prompted me to request something of him. I requested that he do me the courtesy of letting me know PRIOR to hooking up with someone else so that I could remove myself from the picture first. I said I could not do it again. I said that I had very little self-respect left as it was and that it would kill me if he did it again while we were still married. I would have to leave him if I was to be any use to the kids. As it was, my self confidence and self-worth were thru the floor. I think that fact could be seen reflected in everything around me: from the mess in the house to the mess on me. He had answered “OK” at that time but I quickly decided that was just not good enough for me. I was hoping for more than an “Ok”, but I wasn’t surprised that was all I got.
In order to explain why, Rewind a few more weeks.. maybe a month or two.. he had mentioned “giving up” on us. I got visibly upset with that statement but then he reassured me that he was not giving up on our marriage. He was giving up on trying to initiate any physical contact with me.
Due to issues with my self-image, I had developed issues with being intimate. Whenever he’d initiate, I would stop him. That didn’t mean that we *never* got jiggy with it… but it did mean the times were becoming more rare. I felt embarrassed and guilty for it. What was wrong with me?! Menopause? Hormones? Is my self-image really all to blame? I had gone to see my doctor about it last year and she gave me some advice which I tried to follow, but he seemed uninterested with it. I talked to him about how his disinterest wasn’t helping, but all I got was the sort of response that says “yes, I hear you. I understand what you’re saying. I get it. OK.”, but then nothing would happen on that front. He’d just continue doing things his way. It was an embarrassing topic to broach EVEN with my own husband so I didn’t push it. I never stopped wanting to try, but I did stop trying.
So fast forward again to seven days ago. None of this do-nothing, status quo situation was good enough anymore. His “Ok” response at the start of this just wasn’t good enough anymore. I had to know that he was not giving up, because if he was it would only be a matter of time before he met someone else and I was not willing to be a placeholder for something better. So I confronted him and asked if he really had given up or not. He said he couldn’t talk then and we’d have to finish the conversation when the kids were in bed. We didn’t talk that night after the kids went to bed or the next morning either. Normally I would have dropped the unfinished conversation by then because pushing the subject often lead to emotional outbursts and him storming out of the house. But this time, I was determined to get my answer.
I wish I could say that was the first time we had had talks like that. We’ve had similar ones over the years. I’m not sure that the phrase “giving up” was uttered before but something close, for sure.
So, what did I expect would happen?