Sunday, July 17, 2011

I apologized to my husband

I know, right?
The whole thing about what I had said upsetting him really gave me some food for thought. Like, a lot of thought. A. Lot.

And I realized that while yes, I should be able to express myself, that in all my own hurt & dealing with everything I hadn't really given much consideration to how my words and actions might be affecting him.

And that's not right.

It might be understandable. It might be a very human thing to do. But it doesn't make it okay.

So I apologized.

That's all.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ugh. Another Argument. I guess.

Ends up, when I say something about wishing he were around more, or wanting / needing more help around the house, wanting to be a SAHM, wanting more kids, blah, blah, blah... it seems these statements hurt FireMan's feelings.

I had no idea.

You know, because he doesn't tell me these things until he's built up so much negative feeling that he's now angry with me.

But, what I struggle with, is that I don't say those things to try to hurt him. I say those things because I'm trying to express to him what I need and/or want. And all of those things that are mentioned, are things for him to provide. Or try to provide.

I don't know.

I wish he would agree to go to counselling.

Not only because I think everyone could benefit from counselling, but sometimes I think we need intervention from some sort of communication specialist. But those don't seem to exist, so I think a marriage counselor's probably our best bet.

Because conversations like this happen way too often in our house.

He'll say something, and it just hurts me to the core, or angers me, or whatever, and when I try to talk to him about it he says I'm twisting everything, although I swear I'm just repeating what he said. Sometimes word-for-word.

Or I'll say something, and he takes it as an attack on him personally, when I'm just trying to communicate with him.

And so many other things.

And honestly, I wonder how many of our marital issues over the past couple of years could really be boiled down to miscommunications. Or lack of clear communication. I really do wonder that sometimes.

And as much improvement as there has been in other areas, these communications problems are persisting, aren't getting any better.

And I'm sure we're both at fault, in some way(s). And I'm sure how we communicate, and how we listen, and how we react - I'm sure it all has to do with our baggage. Most likely baggage we haven't dealt with yet, and possibly don't even realize we're still carrying.

Ugh. It's so... exhausting.

Literally. I am ridiculously tired today. Found myself forcing my eyes to stay open while playing with FireGirl. Like actively playing with her. So tired.

And once again I feel stuck between a rock & a hard place.

I hate the idea that what I've said has hurt him, and that was never my intention. But yes, I can see where in moments of great frustration, expressing my frustration doesn't always come out nicely. But I still was never intending to say anything to hurt him.

So I feel stuck. Either I express to him what my needs / wants are from him as my husband, and he gets hurt. Or I keep my mouth shut, put on a happy face, and never even tell him.

Neither one seems like a good choice too me.

Rock | KyFireWife | Hard Place


Friday, July 8, 2011

Different Battlefields

FireMan & I had a mini-argument last night. I don't know if it really classifies as an argument when one person just rolls over & goes to sleep. Which is what I was upset about anyway, so you can guess how happy that made me.

And it's one of those repeat arguments. You know, the ones you have over & over, about the exact same thing, because both of you believe you are right.

And because I don't understand why everyone doesn't agree with me, and because this is my blog so I get to be right on my blog, I will tell you about the moment last night when I think I realized why he doesn't agree with me.


See, the repeat situation is that he wants to go to sleep, I want to stay up & talk.

Now, it's important that you remember that he's gone. A lot. So we don't get that many occasions for conversation.

Back to yesterday. He was off, but got called on a water rescue detail. Followed by a scheduled diver training session for the new divers. So I kissed him goodbye in the morning when I left for work, and then he came home at 9:15pm. FireGirl didn't get to bed till 10pm. He starts flipping thru the channels, and we watch 10 minutes of television, before he feeds the dogs, then announces that he's going to bed.

I really wasn't ready to go to bed, but believing that couples should go to bed together whenever possible, I follow him to bed.

*this is a point of irritation also, because he always decides when to go to bed. If I want to go to bed before him, he just stays up. If I want to stay up, he'll go to bed alone. Could care less, but if I say something about wanting to go to bed together, insists that it's my own fault because I didn't conform to when he wanted to go to bed. Grrr.*

So we go to bed and start talking. He's actually improved vastly in this area, and doesn't complain until much later in the conversation than he used to.

But he also still watches the clock. Grr.

So about 45 min into the conversation I get the first complaint. The first roll over, "I'm tired, I'm going to sleep". I manage to tickle him out of it.

I know, 45 minutes seems like a lot. But keep in mind that I've seen him for a grand total of about 5 waking hours in the past 3 days, and beginning the next morning am not expecting to see him again for another 5 days, although we might get "lucky" and get an hour here or there over the weekend. So in 8 days, I'm gonna see him probably less than 8 waking hours.
And he is my best friend. And my husband. So 45 minutes of face-to-face talking in 8 days... not so much.

But that action, him doing that, him deciding... initiates the situation.

Why does he get to decide? (are you getting the feeling this is more than just about talking, or sleeping?)

So he gives in and talks for a bit, then repeats his complaints, rinse, repeat.

The thing is... I was tired. Really tired. Had I been allowed to talk myself out, I probably would have stopped after maybe another... say... 20-30 minutes after his first complaint.

But I wouldn't let myself. I wanted to decide.

So badly that several times I actually caught myself nodding off, and then forced myself to start talking again to keep it going. For a loooong time.

As if it mattered. Because he's decided to go to sleep, and has rolled over and gone to sleep. I can hear is breathing getting deeper and regulate into the slow steady pattern of someone sleeping comfortably.

Which upsets me even more.

Because I am so upset, that my mind is spinning, and there is no way I can sleep now. But he's sleeping soundly.

This, to me, translates to someone that isn't that concerned, doesn't care. He got what he wanted, and that's all that matters to him.


So... you're still waiting for my revelation, aren't you?

Well, first you need some background info.

You need to know what always gets brought up during these repeat situations: water rescue.

Why is it, I ask, that he can & will happily stay up for 36 hours on a detail for water rescue, but won't stay up until midnight to spend time with his wife?

This angers him, and he accuses me of laying a guilt trip on him.

I don't say anything this time, because I've explained a thousand times in the past that I'm not trying to make him feel guilty, I'm trying to explain to him how his actions affect me, how they make me feel, how his actions translate to me. I've asked him a thousand times that if it doesn't mean what it seems to mean to me, then tell me what it does mean. And then he accuses me of twisting everything, and I ask him to set me straight because I'm just trying to understand, and he says "I don't know", and I say "If you don't know, then who does?", and we end up fighting.

So I don't even bring it up this time.

Because, even though I know he wouldn't believe it, I really am not trying to fight. I just want attention.

But now I have a new frustration. Because I am not the kind of person that plays games, that intentionally tries to lay guilt trips on people. And if he hasn't figured that out in the 5+ years we've been together, then me telling him one more time isn't gonna set him straight.

Me trying to explain to him how his actions affect me, and/or affect FireGirl, does not mean I'm trying to play a head game. It means I want him to understand that his actions affect us. That's it. And the fact that he refuses to learn that lesson tells me either he doesn't believe it, or doesn't care. And since I know he's a smart man... I'm left with one reasonable explanation: he doesn't care. And that is hurtful.


So anyway... back to my story of last night (man this is getting long!). Sometime after he had gone to sleep, and I had gotten up because I couldn't sleep, it dawned on me.

It's not about the talking at all. Or the sleeping. Not. At. All.

Are you ready for this? Because this is big.

I want him to show me, and FireGirl, that he will do for us what he does for everyone & anyone else. And more.

I want proof that we are his top priority.
I want his actions to prove that he loves us more than anyone else.

Told ya it was big.

Of course, when I had that revelation, it snowballed into a hundred other examples, other repeat arguments we've had, etc.

I guess with everything that has happened the last few years... I'm left wanting proof. And when his actions seem to prove the contrary, it strikes a hard blow to me, and becomes something that I just can't let go.

So when he voluntarily goes on a water rescue detail from 3pm until 4:30am, and goes on boat patrol until midnight, or until whenever they need him to stay, and does so gladly, because water rescue is something he loves - but won't talk to me until I'm ready to let him go... it sends me the message that he loves water rescue more than he loves me.

When he gladly volunteers to work on the water rescue building, instead of working on the much-needed renovations at our house... it sends a  message.

When he makes plans to spend the evening with FireGirl, for a much-needed daddy/daughter night, and then plans get changed, rearranged, and finally cancelled, all to accomodate an unexpected water rescue request... it sends a message.

When he's known for helping everyone else, but I've learned I'm better off not asking, because asking him to do something is a guarantee for it to not get done... it sends a message.


Things have gotten better between us the past few months. Much better really. But there is still some healing to be done. Some wounds that are still open. And words aren't gonna cut it. It's gonna take actions. Repeated, consistent actions. Proof. Repeated, consistent proof.

And as with all major injuries, it doesn't take much to damage the site of the trauma again. Especially if the healing process isn't yet complete.


So that was my revelation. That, is why we have these repeat arguments.

He thinks he's right, because he thinks he's arguing about sleeping & talking. Or hanging out with his friends. Or doing a load of laundry. Or spending time with FireGirl. Or finishing the darn kitchen already.

I think I'm right, because I'm contending about the deeper meaning behind his actions. Or lack thereof.

We're having the same argument, but we're bickering on completely different battlefields.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mini-Vent: Housework Related

You know... I have accepted the fact that FireMan does not help with housework. I get it. It took me forever, and I think it's not fair, but he expects me to maintain the household as if I were a stay-at-home-mom, while still working full time outside the home.

Well, I've explained to him repeatedly that it's physically impossible, and if he wants the house kept to those expectations, then he needs a better idea.

So... basically we both live in a state of disappointment. But I think we've both come to terms with that.

I should say he has helped out more in the past few months than he has in... three years. Cooked dinner on several occasions when he was off & I was working. Even scrubbed the bathtub twice. And mopped the floors once. And he does keep the lawn mowed (it really does look awesome, vastly improved from when we moved in to this house last Autumn).

But on a day-to-day basis, he does zero.

Fine. Just don't complain, right?

Except... it's not just that he doesn't help. In a lot of ways... he makes my job more difficult.

I don't think he means to. It's just that... he doesn't think. It's almost like having another child in the house.

Oh, you want an example, do you?

Okay. The other day. I had an early appointment before work, and was meeting a friend after work. I was gone from 7:30am till 11pm. So he was home all day. His job was to take FireGirl to preschool & pick her up at the end of the day. So... home alone all day, right?

*important note for later* before I left I told him I was running a bit late and he would need to pack FireGirl's diaper bag himself. And make sure you grab a clean shirt to put in there for her spare outfit, as I had to use the one that was in there the day before. Love you, bye.

I come home last night to find FireGirl's breakfast, what was left of it, on the dining room table. Like, actually on the table. He didn't even put it on dishes. And, you know, he left food out. All day. And night.

And then FireMan complained that there were no diapers or training pants in her diaper bag.

Ummm... see note above.
I asked him if he gave FireGirl a bath. Nope. He said it didn't even cross his mind. So... she played at the playground at preschool, including the sandbox, he took her to the playground after picking her up, they played with the dogs at home... and giving her a bath never crossed his mind. Oh, and (this is where it makes my life more difficult) by what I found in her hair when I tried to brush it this morning, at some point she got food in her hair. And it never crossed his mind.

It would have also made my life more difficult in that I would have liked to have given her a bath before we left, but being in the time crunch that we are every weekday morning... that wasn't gonna happen.

So then I go to pick out her clothes for the day. From her dresser. Where tops are kept neatly folded in stacks in the top drawer, and bottoms neatly folded in stacks in the drawer underneath that one.

I opened the top drawer... and just sighed. I really think he stuck his hand in till it reached the bottom of the drawer and then moved it to and fro from one end of the drawer to the other, until every shirt was unfolded and the drawer was just a pile of clean laundry, in no particular order.
Ditto with the bottoms drawer, except it also now has two shirts in it (??).

So now tonight, instead of just folding the clean laundry that I get out of the dryer, I also am blessed with the opportunity to re-fold and re-stack two drawers of clothing that had already been neatly folded and put away.

So finally I go looking for her diaper bag. I can't find it. Anywhere. I check all the usual places. Then I search the living room, kitchen, and dining room. Hallway. Even the fireplace room and FireGirl's bedroom. Nothing.

I finally call FireMan. He says he doesn't know where it is, it should be there.


Then he says that maybe he left it in the car.

So I go out to the car, and sure enough there's her diaper bag, her bedding (sent home from preschool so I can wash it), and yesterday's mail. Just never brought in.

When I check the diaper bag, sure enough, there are no diapers or training pants. And no clean shirt (see note above). I re-stock it. Which is a little thing, sure, but should have been done the day before.

I guess that's my point. They're all little things. None of them are huge. But let's face it, I'm not the best housekeeper in the world to begin with. Plus I now have a toddler making messes throughout the house. And I work full-time outside the home.

But does the other adult living in the house really have to make it harder on me? Create more messes, mess up what I've already fixed, make my life even harder?

If you're not gonna help that much, fine. But don't make it harder for me. I'm struggling enough, you know?

Okay. Mini-vent over. After one last...

{{ sigh }}