Monday, December 01, 2008

Difficult Weekend

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?"

"About what?"

"Walking the dog."

"Oh. Sure."

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.


  1. Anonymous11:28 AM

    actually it was good for me to read this post, yondalla. i myself am going through some strained relationships, including my housemates whom i loved living with the first two months but who now are really, really irritating me.

    your post reassures me that it's normal even in healthy relationships to at times be really, really exhausted and irritated.

    i guess another reasons why it's comforting (for me) to read these kinds of posts, is because i seem to identify with Roland. i, too, tend to be disorganized, and am either easily hurt or not-quite-responsive.

    good luck to the both of you for some resolution and tensions eased.
    -- Silph

  2. Ugh. The "hurt feelings" really gets my goad because honestly, what control do you have over that? If you aren't intentionally trying to hurt someone's feelings can you be blamed that their feelings got hurt?

    I think I can relate to what you said about marriage. I spend 99% of the time feeling like Gary and I are perfect for one another and will withstand the test of time, and then every so often I feel like "what the F am I doing here? I can't do it another second". Thankfully that feeling has always been stress related and has never lasted. My bet is that it's the same for you.

  3. I have an incredibly good marriage....I do, but if anything were to do us in it would be communication issues and the accompanying exhaustion that goes w/ trying to make yourself understood or understand the other person...that and some old issues that still flare up every now and then!LOL But yes...marriage/long term relationships are fragile and even really good ones are in danger every now and then.

  4. if this way of communicating gets a pattern you two are going to get help right? Because you have at least 23 years to go!

  5. My wife and I have been married 14 years, and we've had a solid and supportive marriage throughout that time, but it is as you said: Marriage is a fragile thing. She and I have had moments where the stress of all that we do would cause us to have situations like what you and Roland experienced. I, particularly, go into "emergency mode" and pay attention to only those things that are at the top of my list. If, for example, dog training isn't among the top three, I would tune it out entirely. I won't say it's good that I do that; it's just what my tendency is.

    When Wifeness and I get caught up in our own drama, it sometimes takes a few days for things to calm down enough for us to talk our way through our feelings to get to solutions. We try to bring it back to what we need to do so the situation doesn't create stress any longer. We come to agreements, (re)establish routines, (re)distribute the workload and generally try to set things up so life is easier, clearer and focused on goals. It often takes time to do all that, but it inevitably takes a lot of the pressure off.

    Thank you for being so candid.

  6. Thank you all for your supportive comments. It is nice to know that we all have these moments or weeks, whatever.

    Yes, Mijk, if we keep on like this we will get help. I think we'll work through it.

    He sent me text messages today. He just learned to do that.

  7. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that just gets tired of it all.

  8. Anonymous8:17 PM

    I just got (2nd time for me) after dating the same guy for 6 years- it took us that long to get to a point where we thought it could stand the tests that any relationship has.

    It was good to read your post. Sometimes I think I am the only one that feels the way you describe.

  9. Anonymous8:22 PM

    oops. Should say I just got married. Must be a mental block. It took me years to be able to say that word without my chest constricting.

  10. I second the thanks for being so candid. I think it's so easy to think MY family and MY relationship is the only one with problems.

    I know it's really hard to struggle with these issues. Hang in there.

  11. While I am not sure all marriages have these moments, all the marriages I know do. Including mine. Sometimes marriage isn't fun, sometimes it is hard work, sometimes only the vows you made keep you from just walking out the door, sometimes it really is just a day at a time. You are not alone in your struggles and questions.

  12. I think last weekend was the weekend for marriage/communication problems! I know several other people who had troubles, and our household was DEFINITELY not immune. Thank you for sharing, it's nice to know we're not the only ones. {Hugs}


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