at least marriage-wise.
**Oh you should be warned. This is a long pissy post about arguing with my husband.**
Roland and I had a series of mis-communications or something. For instance...I have been training our dogs to sit and wait while we open the door (a la "It's Me or the Dog") instead of going insane and barking themselves into a frenzy. Roland has seen this because 1) his work station is near the front door and 2) I have made him watch and be impressed. Up until Saturday I had only done it with no one at the door, or with Andrew patiently waiting. They were getting pretty good at it too. Then Saturday evening (late, it was dark outside) Brain was dropped off. He banged on the door, good and hard, and the dogs went nuts. I walked over in front of them and said, "Thank you! Sit!" while Roland walked behind me and started to open the door. The dogs completely ignored me, instead jumping around Roland and barking. I asked him to please stop, more than once, and in a tone designed not to work up the dogs more but clearly extremely annoyed. The second or third time it was clear I meant it. Roland stormed off, stamping his feet and stood in the kitchen with his arms crossed radiating anger.
This of course made it more difficult for the animals to calm down. They did though, and more quickly than I expected. The first time I opened the door the Shih Tzu started running up and Brian, knowing what was going on, stepped back out and shut the door. The second time the dogs were perfect. Yay for us.
So I went to talk to Roland. I forget exactly what we said but it ended when he said, "It just made me feel like the dogs were more important than I was and that hurt my feelings."
I just turned around and walked out.
It wasn't the first time that weekend that I had "hurt his feelings" over something which from my perspective had nothing to do with him. I just couldn't deal with it.
Later he told me that it wouldn't have hurt his feelings if we had agreed on what we were going to do when someone came to the door. ('Cause seeing me working hard at training them to do one thing for a week wasn't a sufficient clue.) So I suggested that we come to an agreement about how to deal with the Cattle Dog on walks (EVERYthing makes her anxious. She whines and or barks at: other dogs, including ones she can only hear; cars, usually; trucks, always; bicycles; cats and squirrels.)
"I think we need to agree on how we are going to handle Cattle Dog's walks. We both have to train her in the same way."
"I mean, she really needs to be walked and I think we should agree on a way to deal with her behavior."
"So do you want to?"
"Walking the dog."
I stood there while he did whatever he was doing. He said nothing.
"So...what would you like to do?"
"I don't know. I'll drive her to the park today."
No resolution. It frustrates me because I have tried to train the dogs and it really doesn't work if I am training them and he is reinforcing the behavior I am trying to extinguish. He doesn't understand that, or doesn't care.
Anyway, that was just the dog examples.
There were other examples, money examples, Christmas-present-buying examples, and guardian-related discussion examples. Every freaking conversation was loaded, even when it really shouldn't be. Or if it wasn't loaded it didn't go anywhere. Things that I thought had been resolved turned out not to be resolved. Things that I thought were not decided, were decided. THAT was a big one. Handing me the forms to give power of attorney over my IRA's to his dad's financial advisor because his dad thought it would be a good idea really caught me off-guard. Personally I think that Roland should be enough of an adult not need his feelings comforted when all I say is, "I'm not giving power of attorney over my retirement to ANYONE, even if your dad thinks she is the second-coming." I shredded the documents. Then he feels judged and condemned because he signed his and any expression of anger that I might have that he told the advisor to send the forms without asking me about it will just make him feel worse, and the most important thing here is, apparently, his feelings.
And of course it is all related to our history of financial troubles. I know that, but somehow it doesn't make it easier. I get that he feels judged. Our relationship however cannot be defined by his need to be made to feel better about having screwed up.
Anyway, at some point I just gave up. I mean really gave up. I stopped talking to him, not because I was "not talking to him" but just because I did not have the energy for the drama any more. Even when I thought about telling him something I didn't because it seemed likely he would either be non-responsive or over-reactive. I don't need that from him. That is what I have teenagers for. I was emotionally exhausted (holidays are anyway) and I just didn't have the energy to talk to him.
Anyway, eventually we did talk. He noticed that I wasn't saying anything and I did manage to tell him that I didn't feel like talking about it because if we did he would get hurt and angry and one of the reasons that I wasn't talking was that I didn't have the energy to deal with that. He said he understood that and we did finally talk about it. We didn't resolve everything, but we dealt with a good part of it.
It made me think a lot about how fragile marriage is. We have been married for 23 years. One year ago I would have told you that we were about as divorce-proof as any marriage could be. It wasn't perfect, but it was good. We knew each other's worst. We knew how to work through problems.
On Sunday though I could suddenly the possibility of it all ending, not because of something big and dramatic, but just because I was so totally and completely exhausted.
I feel the need to post this, along with the sense that I shouldn't. I may delete it later.
Monday, December 01, 2008
at least marriage-wise.