Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Is it me?
Is it me???
In all the time my ex husband and I were fighting, in all the time we were separated, in all the time we were getting divorced, the question I would ask myself over and over was: Is it me? Am I the one who destroyed our marriage? DId I fail at being a good wife? Why doesn't he love me? What did I do wrong? What happened to our love? Did I push him away? How did we get here?
Is it me?
It's a well documented fact that I am a perfectionist. I don't care what it is that I'm doing, I want to be good, better, the best at it. I took my role as his wife very seriously. My entire purpose became pleasing my husband. Not necessarily in a medieval times / slave sort of way. Just to make sure that he never needed or wanted for anything.
That was my mistake. He never needed or wanted for anything. I took care of it all. He didn't have to worry about having good food because I cooked all his meals. He didn't have to worry about clean clothes because I did all his laundry. He didn't have to worry about a tidy house because when I wasn't working one of my three jobs, I was fixing up our place, trying to make it home. I always tried to look pretty, even freshening my make up before he got home. I made every effort in bed to keep our relationship fresh and new and exciting. He never noticed any of these things. Not once.
I know that this reads like a 1950's handbook but I have to tell you I was happy doing it. My whole life's goal was to have a wonderful marriage and raise happy children with maybe a career thrown in there and I would feel like a success. If you are a smart, successful, driven career woman with a feminist streak, I truly hope that you can forgive my naivety but life is about choices. I chose to dedicate myself to being a damn fine wife.
Except apparently I wasn't. My husband didn't notice when I made him dinner with leftovers for lunch packed in the fridge. He didn't notice when I came home exhausted from working overtime so we'd have a little money to go away together. He didn't notice that the one thing a woman going that far to please him needs is just the smallest gesture of appreciation. The smallest indication that you see me here and I'm not just part of the ship, part of the crew. Coming out of my marriage, I often said that he thought I was a sofa - something you take for granted because it's there every day. The only time you'd really *notice* the sofa is when it's gone and there's a big, gaping hole in your living room and instead of a comfy cushion, your ass hits hard ground when you go to sit on it.
That was me for him. I was just a sofa.
He didn't even notice when we stopped sleeping together. I'd been trying to make sex and intimacy and romance a priority for so long that it was starting to get embarrassing. I felt like I was always initiating, I was always the one to ask for it. Hello??? Aren't guys supposed to me the sex driven species? I'm waiting in bed for you wearing a red lace bra / soaking in a bubble bath telling you I missed you all day / walking around the kitchen in nothing but an apron - WHY DON'T YOU WANT ME?!?!
And so the questioning began. As our marriage slipped away, all I could think was that it had to be me. It was me he didn't want. It was me who'd failed as a wife. It was me to blame for eventually giving up and walking away because I couldn't take the emotional abuse / neglect / a lifetime of loneliness / the thought of never being a mother. None of my friends had gone through this and my parents have been happily married for almost forty years. I had no one to talk to.
Finally, one night in the Hamptons after 1.5 liters of moscato wine, I opened up to my sister and begged her to tell me honestly - it is me? She said absolutely not. It was him. Any man who would walk away from someone so attentive, so considerate, so loving as I was to him was A) an idiot and B) clearly just didn't want to be married. We were 20 when we tied the knot, what did we know? He admitted that he'd just "changed his mind" after six years. She promised, it was him.
After that, I asked everyone I know - friends, family, casual acquaintances. Y'all are lucky facebook didn't exist yet or you would've heard about it too!!! I had never felt like more of a failure in my entire life and just needed the reassurance that it wasn't me who failed. That it wasn't me who was undesirable. That it wasn't me he didn't want children with. Everybody replied the same way: "Kim, it's him. He changed his mind. That was his choice. It hurts but it's not your fault. It's nothing you did. He just doesn't want to be a husband or a father. That's his loss."
I believed it all for a pretty long time. I wanted it to be true so very badly. He chose not to be a husband and a father. He chose the single life over our marriage. He chose not having children.
Except that he started dating someone within six months of moving out.
And last week, they got engaged.
If she gets pregnant, I just might scream.
And I'm right back to square one. Is it me?