Posted by Anonymous.
As it is with many other bloggers, I’m depressed. Not suicidal, but I’m in a funk. I blog as part of my therapy, which also consists of antidepressants and behavior modification. I don’t deal well with ambivalence and gray areas. Right now I’m in that murky zone, and would appreciate any well thought out insight/advice/ food for thought, especially from you readers who have had experience.
Oh and by the way, I searched all through the Basement and couldn’t find a query exactly like mine. That’s why I’m here.
OK, here’s the gist: I don’t love my husband. I haven’t for awhile. There is no one else in the picture for either of us, that is not the problem. I have a five month old, my first child. I am an older new mom, closer to 40. I work full time outside of the home. My child is teething and not sleeping, so I realize my current mood is affected by sleep deprivation. I know better than to make big decisions on no sleep. But this “problem,” my query, exists even when I’ve got a good night’s sleep.
Here’s why I don’t love my husband: He’s basically a lazy coward. The cowardice is partly due to his innate introversion and shyness. The laziness I chalk up to the fact that his mother did everything for him as a child and expected nothing. Simultaneously, he was just kind of ignored. His dad was in the throes of his career when he was a kid and he was the third, so his dad never really noticed him. It’s like he just sort of floated through childhood almost as an accessory, like part of a backdrop. He was incredibly bright and into books and reading, so he spent the most of his childhood, teen years and adult years living in the top two inches of his head (his brain). His mom, being painfully shy too, never forced him to learn social skills or get a hobby that used his body or forced him to get out of his own head. He did not have to have a part-time job in high school; his parents gave him a used car. You get the idea.
When I met my husband, I was in graduate school, completing my thesis and working part time. He was a college drop out, who had failed several classes and quit his junior year in an accounting track degree. His dad was an accountant. My husband doesn’t love numbers or accounting, he’s into literature and history, but he chose that major for lack of imagination. Or laziness. Also his parents paid for all of his college, so I don’t think he ever had to seriously consider his choice of degrees. Or quitting school.
When we first started dating, his lack of ambition was tolerable. He worked full time at blue collar jobs (a mail courier, clerk, etc.) and never complained about his work. I thought to myself, he’ll get it together. Plus, accounting is lame, I thought, and here is this brilliant guy who is a history and literature whiz, why would he need it? Meanwhile, I completed my degree (which I paid for completely), interviewed in several cities, and took a job in the country’s largest city about 700 miles away. He moved there with me. He worked blue collar jobs while I did the career track and worked my ass off.
At some point along the way, I started wanting children. I was already in my mid 30s by then and we had moved back to the southeast where we are from (I wanted to be near my Mom who I am very close to). We were still unmarried. So I pressured him to get married. He said OK and we got married. That was four years ago. I went off birth control and we didn’t get pregnant. I forced him to return to school and finish his undergraduate accounting degree. It was ugly. As I mentioned numbers aren’t his thing, and he barely passed and got his degree by the skin of his teeth. Since his parents never showed him how to write a resume, or interview, or doing anything remotely related to getting a job, I had to show him all of this. I created his resume, I wrote his cover letters, I checked out the How to Interview for Dummies books at the library.
Two years ago, he got his first office job in the real world as an entry-level accountant. It pays $12 per hour. He’s still there. Yep, sad but true. We are in the southeast where wages are notoriously low, and he didn’t really advocate for himself when he interviewed. It’s a national company that is in a tight industry and barely ever makes a profit margin of more than 10 percent, so raises are far and few between. And there’s no room for moving up, it’s very hierarchical. You get the idea.
He’s always been ambivalent about having children. This didn’t change as my desire to be a parent increased. I guess he didn’t want all the work and hassle involved. Last year I got successfully pregnant after a miscarriage. He had nine months to find something that paid more. I didn’t expect a huge leap in salary, especially in this economy, but still, anything more than what he makes. He never applied or looked during that time, but I would occasionally check his job search engine web sites and apply for him when I wasn’t puking my brains out. The baby was born this February. He had eight weeks of paternity leave. He didn’t interview for anything during that time. Because I am the primary breadwinner (we could live off of my salary alone, it would be tight but doable), I had to return to work when my son was three months old. And here I am now. I’d prefer to stay at home with him.
So every day I go on the job search engines and apply for jobs for him while I’m at my job. He can’t do that at his job, they don’t allow Internet access. He does go to the interviews. But he’s shy and doesn’t take them too seriously, I surmise. When I ask how they go, he says, “We had a good conversation. Or,” it’s an interesting building.” Never does he say, “I really sold myself,” or “they seem interested,” or “the job is interesting.” I honestly think the interviews are his time for adult interaction (as a side note, I have tried to force him to get adult male friends of his own, and he doesn’t).
He is such a nice guy; you’d never suspect that he’s what I’d now call a loser. When his coworkers (all female) threw him a baby shower at his job, they all said to me that he is such a sweetie, so easy to get along with. And I agree. Yes he is. He is very, very sweet and nice and affable and well-mannered and can be very funny. He’s not physically or verbally abusive. He is loving and affectionate with our son. He changes poopy diapers. He reads to him. He plays with him. He loves him and appreciates him more than he thought he ever would. He is no longer ambivalent about his child, he is very attached. But that being said, he hasn’t demonstrated this great love by going out there and being a good provider. He pays lip service to the fact that he doesn’t like it that our kid is in daycare either, but he hasn’t done anything to change the situation.
So. I’m angry. And as an outgoing, expressive person, I express it. I’ve been verbally abusive, which I know doesn’t help, but I’m losing my mind. I’m angry at him. I’m angry at myself for thinking he would change for me, and when he didn’t, then later for our child. I feel like a fool. I feel like I’m one of those asshole idiots who “settled.” I have no physical attraction to him whatsoever. My heart is getting colder to him with each passing day. I fantasize about leaving, and it just being me and my son. I think it would be so much easier to just be responsible for the two of us. I’ve told my husband everything, every detail. He says that no way would he ever grant a divorce (his parents fought terribly but stuck it out, so that’s his model). He also says he still cares about me. He says he’s trying and I should just be patient. But people, I’ve been the primary breadwinner for almost 10 years now.
And I’m torn, in this gray area. I don’t want our son to see a loveless marriage (even if it’s one sided). I don’t want that modeled for him. I want him to see two parents that are relatively happy (content and confident), whether they are married or dating or single or what ever. I realize I could support my son and me by myself. I could leave. But would it be the right thing to do? I want to add that I am not seeking a new relationship for myself, it’s not about cheating or desire at all. In fact, the idea of dating again exhausts me, makes me recoil.
I need insight people because I can’t see the forest for the trees.
Has anyone out there ever stayed AND learned to appreciate, like, and perhaps love the father of their children? If so, how did you achieve it? Part of me wants to like him again, part of me doesn’t have the energy or momentum to try anymore. I don’t think ambivalence is good for children. It’s certainly not good for me.