Up And Down And All Around

I’m really hating the ups and downs of my life, especially when I’m trying to do my best to be careful and avoid the downs and get that thrown in my face.

Another conversation with my husband, in which he first expressed – again – his frustration that we weren’t doing something to fix things. I responded with frustration of my own and had to ask him how he thought we were supposed to fix the fact that I hadn’t been in love with him or sexually attracted to him when we married. If he and I could figure out how to make someone fall in love and be attracted to someone else, we could monetize that shit, after all. (It can’t be done, and if it could, it would be wrong to actually force someone to develop attraction for someone else.)*

We talked about how I look happy in the pictures taken the day we got married. That we had a sex life and that there had to have been something there in the past. I told him that I was happy the day I got married because I loved my life, and as soon as that life went away and only the relationship was left, I stopped being happy. My happiness wasn’t sourced in our relationship. I told him I was capable of being aroused and enjoying the physical act of sex, but wanting to have sex is something entirely different from being sexually attracted to a particular person for me.

I had to defend my emotions – explain that yes, I know what I’m feeling, I know how being romantically and sexually attracted to someone is entirely different from simply having a strong emotional bond and caring about them. He said some things that suggested he might be demisexual, and that in some weird way he may think he actually can control whether or not he’s attracted to someone. He wouldn’t really elaborate when I tried to get more information.

He then switched and started focusing on asking if I understood how I was hurting him and was going to hurt the kids. I said that sounded like he was wanting me to pull a Spock – the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one or the few – and that it sounded to me like he thought I should just continue sacrificing myself for everyone else’s happiness. I pointed out that people can’t live without happiness, and that this life had ground me down to the point where my brain literally couldn’t remember what being happy felt like. What did he think would be the result?

I had to be brutally honest about the fact that I had already been thinking the relationship would need to end, even before discovering that I wasn’t nearly asexual, I could feel sexual attraction, and just wasn’t feeling it for him. That it had always been too much work, without enough happiness, and that I didn’t have it in me to keep putting that kind of work in. That I’d rather be single.

He was sullen about that, and pointed out that ‘all relationships are work’ and ‘no relationship ticks off all the boxes.’ I talked about how in a good relationship, the times when they’re happy and content with each other outweigh the stress and the work, and that had never been the case in ours. That I couldn’t see how it was possible for us to both be happy and satisfied, and that I didn’t want to swap places – him constantly adjusting himself for my happiness, the way I used to constantly adjust myself for his happiness.

I had to tell him, repeating myself from earlier in the conversation, that it was better for the kids to go through a divorce than have to deal with a dead mom. That if I can tell something is destroying me I have the right to save myself.

He got snappy about that and claimed I was leaping to something he hadn’t said or meant and being defensive. All he wanted to know was if I understood how he was suffering and how the kids would suffer.

It was my turn to get snappy at that point. I told him I found it offensive that he thought he had to ask that, because he sure as fucking hell knew I was capable of understanding people’s pain and feeling bad about it. And if he wasn’t asking the question in a leading way, then why on earth would he ask it at all? Just to make me feel bad?

I then told him if I didn’t care how he and the kids felt that I’d have left a long time ago.

He went on to express frustration that he was the only one to bring these things up and talk about them, that I never brought anything up. I just looked at him for a little, then told him I didn’t bring things up because I didn’t have anything to talk about, so why would I? If he wants me to bring this kind of conversation up myself, he would have to tell me he wants that, and then would need to understand it would be for him, not for me, because maybe it helped him to have these conversations, but it didn’t help me.

Apparently he wants me to verbalize that I see and know he’s suffering and that I know the kids will suffer too, because otherwise he can’t assume I know or care. Which, frankly, feels like a really dick move on his part – something punitive. Confess my sins.

My lingering good mood from yesterday was destroyed, replaced by major anxiety. We’d intended to get a shower together and I told him I would get one by myself. While I was using the toilet, he knocked on the bathroom door. I didn’t tell him that the anxiety he’d triggered was whispering ‘what if you open the door and he’s got one of his guns and shoots you in the face?’ He’s been so offended in the past when I acknowledged anxiety leads me to fear for my safety even if it’s not rational.

What I did not say to him as well is that he stresses me out. Constantly. That I am tense and anxious when he’s around. That I go out of my way to try and make sure to spend time with him and to handle my stress and anxiety and not make him feel worse than he already does. He is what undermines my efforts at recovery and stability.

I can’t help but wonder if subconsciously he resented seeing me have a good day and be happy when he’s feeling miserable. Because he can’t put it in the context of me not having an in-person social life with good friends in the last 5 years and that it’s something I need.

*There are terrible people out there selling the idea that you can make someone fall in love with you or be sexually attracted to you. Don’t buy that crap. Even if you could do X-W-Z and get the result that the person you wanted would want you back, it would be a horrible thing to do and you sure as hell wouldn’t appreciate it if someone did it to you.

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