Marriage


I don’t understand my husband any more. He confuses me. Makes goofy choices. And goofy faces. I used to understand his sense of humor, now it annoys me. Maybe because we’ve been married 33 years? I ask him a question, he gives me a stupid response having nothing to do with my question and expects me to accept that. When I ask you a question, it’s customary to answer it, I say. He says he did. It didn’t make any sense, but it was an answer to my question. (Example: Me: What do you want for dinner? Him: Seven.) I may try again and he’ll give me the equally unhelpful response of “I don’t know.” So I decide what to fix for dinner without asking, and feel just a little resentful.

Why does he do this? I don’t remember him being so irritating to talk to. It seems as if it’s just happened in the last few years. Is it leftover stuff from the affair? A secret desire to be obnoxious and distancing? Perhaps he’s still not sure I want him and wants to annoy me into asking for a divorce? I know I have changed, probably more than he has. Is he afraid I’ll outgrow him? Then why begin obnoxious habits that only serve to add distance?

He’s been dieting and working out for about three years now. He claims he’s lost no weight, but I can see he has. Still for as hard as he has been working, it doesn’t seem to have been a significant amount, nothing to make a big difference in his appearance. He’s still at it, and I’m proud of him. He’s thought about giving up. He’d let himself go for a very long time (as did I). Now he’s in the best shape since his bike riding days of his 40s.

He’s always thinking about what he eats, and his diet is far more varied than mine. Unfortunately, though, I can’t trust him to do grocery shopping anymore. He likes to purchase the healthier choices for us. I applaud him for the effort, but the truth is, I don’t like to eat the healthier choices, they’re tasteless or far too grainy to eat. I don’t need Activia, I’m perfectly regular. But it’s good for you. Don’t care. I don’t like the taste and won’t eat it, so don’t buy it.

He’s not picky when it comes to things like bagels. He’ll buy the Sara Lee brand and declare them delicious. To me they’re just thick round bread. Nothing bagel-ly about them at all. Then this Sunday he bought fresh bagels from the bakery. At about 11 AM, I’d already eaten breakfast, but at least he got the good bagels. What kinds did you get, I ask him. I don’t know, he answers. How do you not know what kind of bagels you picked up? Didn’t you stick your hand in the bin and pull out each one yourself? Um, I think I got wheat bagels. I opt not to wait painfully for further clarification, but instead open the bag. OK, we got two wheat bagels, two cheese, and two everything. I wrapped them back in their brown paper bags and put them in the bread box.

This morning I really wanted one of those bagels. Any one would do, but was thwarted; I couldn’t force a knife more than a quarter inch into them. Not just one, but all of them. Note to self: don’t store bagels overnight in paper bags in the bread box. They get like hockey pucks.

Bottom line, I do most of the shopping any more. A loathsome chore, but definitely worth it. It makes me wonder about the next twenty years of my life. Is he going to get worse? Is it too late to try to intervene? How do you get your husband to stop trying to enhance his most annoying traits?

On my bad days I wonder if I should have divorced after the affair. It’s now been over five years. I am past the anger and the hurt. I’m not threatened by her. I’m not suspicious of him. It’s the increase in his bad habits that is such a turn-off. Do I just focus on the negative so much I fail to see the positive?

OK, positive traits: H is hard working. He is mostly honest, mostly democratic, relatively tolerant, smart, and still oh so good looking. He adores me, and cares so much about me sometimes I don’t think I love him that much back. I know I love him, otherwise why was I so heartbroken during the affair, right? If I didn’t feel anything for him I would’ve let him go to her. He wanted me to fight for him though. I think he needed to know that I loved him enough to stick with him through it. There were flaws in our marriage that he somehow recognized while I was blind. We had grown apart and he didn’t think I cared for him anymore.

I hope I’ve proved to him that I love him and want to keep him around, but I really dislike the way he deflects my questions with his dopey responses. I’m sure we don’t talk as much as we used to. I think it’s because of H’s deflecting answers. Now I merely state what I am going to do and then do it, but I feel like we are growing farther apart. I wonder what we have in common. I like to see live comedy. He likes re-runs of MASH. I like to read and H likes to read, but I don’t like the books he chooses and vice versa. He likes to go to the gym. I like to work out at home.

We still agree most of the time politically, though I’m far too vocal for his taste. It seems like he wants me to be quieter than I am, especially when it comes to what I feel is truly important. It makes me feel like I should just shut up and look pretty, and I resent it deeply. At least we both will vote the same. At least that’s what he thinks, because he doesn’t want to know all my political leanings, I don’t share that with him anymore. I guess a husband and wife don’t need to know everything about each other.

17 thoughts on “Marriage

  1. its really sad that you have to go through this after 33 long years.. And the affair you mention, i do not know the details, i will just quickly go through the rest of your posts, one like struck me though : he wanted me to fight for him …i hope so that was true…

    what is your guilt by the way?

    And you love him more deeply than you think you do, else you would not have written this post.

    People grow distant, but then the they do come back together. Its just a phase it will pass. Trust me

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I haven’t discussed the affair in detail on the blog yet. Maybe I will.

      My guilt is that I don’t love him as much as I should.

      Thanks for letting me know that I must love H or would not question it in a post. And especially, thanks for the thought that this is a phase and will pass. That does help. I don’t know too many people who’ve been married as long as I have, so advice is tough to come by.

      1. just the time speaks for itself!

        your guilt is baseless, i would feel like that too.

        But time makes everything okay and you do start seeing things in a long time.

        Take a vacation, go somewhere new.

  2. People change over time and have their ups and downs. The fact that you have stayed together for 33 years is a big deal. Enjoy your night out together.

      1. Someone else suggested I concentrate on a friendship. I know I don’t want divorce, so I’m willing to try just about anything. I know, why doesn’t he try ? Because he is satisfied. I can’t expect him to make my life perfect at the cost of his own happiness and wouldn’t ask him to. It’s just a phase in the marriage or in myself and it will pass, eventually, I hope. Being on my own certainly isn’t the change I want.

      2. I’ve tried the friendship avenue, but the fact still remains that you are looking for primary fulfillment OUTSIDE of your marriage. Have you read, “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard F Harley? It would be a great book for the two of you to use as a communication tool so he can see how serious you are about your needs. He doesn’t have to work on it. But the book will basically tell him what will happen if he doesn’t. Then you don’t have to tell him…?

  3. Not sure why he would act that way.Maybe you need to ‘rekindle’ by getting away from the home atmosphere…although I know that by other posts that would be difficult for you right now……..My husband and I had problems with communicating at times in our marriage…I like to know the whys and wherefores of everything so a simple answer doesn’t cut it with me…I guess he knows that now and if he doesn’t ‘expound’ enough he’s not surprised when I ‘grill’ him. …Diane

  4. Better to have a really good friendship than to languish in a bad marriage. Rekindling the flames of passion you once felt for each other may not be possible in the short term, so throw all your energies into becoming his best friend. Good friendships have turned into more for others. Maybe your miracle is just around the proverbial “bend.” Best wishes always. Randa Lane

    1. He considers me his best friend. I should try to act more like it? I’m willing to do what I have to. I don’t want my marriage to grow stale. Thanks for the suggestion. I can feel your hugs from here.

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