Saturday, September 18, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 113; Laughter

Saturday has arrived.  The weekend brings such bittersweet emotions.  I know I should savor it and enjoy my down time, but I also feel this pressing sense of urgency to do something or go somewhere or accomplish tasks or...whatever.

It's pretty obvious that I am not good at just 'being'.

Thursday night, after I'd finished the self help book I mentioned previously, I wanted to talk to A a bit.  He opened the door by making a comment on our communication skills and styles.

"You know, I'm not a good communicator and haven't been, but before the incident, you weren't communicating your needs all that well either."

I let what he said sink in and on surface level, I had to agree.

"You're right.  When I knew there was an unrest or a dissatisfaction, I should have told you." 

And I absolutely should have.  

Except in my mind, it doesn't feel like it evolved that way.   I never recall being acutely aware of what I was feeling, it was more of a slow and gradual build up.   None of this excuses my actions, I realize.

But talking about how we communicate led me to bring up the book I'd just read.  I told him a bit about it and then the conversation turned to us and where we are and what we still wanted.

"You confuse me," he said,  "You phrase things and choose your words to make it sound like we are working on this marriage and yet you act like you don't want to be around me."

"I don't know what to say or how to say it," I replied, "I know it sounds like I send mixed signals but I'm not sure what exactly we are doing here."

"Well, I thought I've made it very clear that as long as there is no pressing issue or overwhelming need to do anything drastic, we can just live like friends and help each other with the kids and see what happens."

In the darkness of our room, my face contorted as if I'd just taken a bite of something putrid. 

"Okay," I answered, "But I fear that one month turns into one year and then before we know it, we've let 5 years slip by of just living like roommates."

"Oh, I could never do that," he shot back, "I won't want to do that with you for that long."

He went on to tell me, though, that he still hopes I will come around, that I will fall back in love with him the way I used to, the way I was before "whatever switch flipped in you was flipped".    

It's very hard for me to not feel resentment when he pins it on me in that way.   I don't think a switch flipped.  I didn't just decide one day to not want to love him and I'm absolutely certain that I didn't get to this point all alone.

Yes, I cheated.  I take the responsibility.  Yes, it seems I'm the one who has moved on.   For that I assume full credit as well.   But I didn't just decide to change my life like one changes their outfit right before they head out the door for dinner.  

And he played a role in this.  

I tried to address this a bit, but we are so fearful of conflict, so afraid of honesty.   As we talked that night, the pauses before he'd say what he was thinking would come close to a minute in duration.   That may not seem like much, but try having a conversation with someone and not replying back to them for a full minute.   When the topic is as heavy as ours, that weighs on you and feels like an eternity!

He told me that he dreams of me wanting to be with him and be involved, so I said, "Well, okay, but I'm going to need laughter everyday."   And this is what happened next.

With a bit of a grunt, laced with disdain, he shot back, "Well, you're gonna have to watch a movie or something or talk to R to get your laughs."

My eyes popped open and I couldn't believe he was saying that.   He continued with, "It's not my job to make you laugh."

And it's not.  To which I agreed.   "Yes, you're right, I can't expect you to fulfill all of my needs.  You are absolutely right."    I followed with, "But, what CAN I ask you to provide for me?"    Because in my mind, in a committed, loving marriage that works, there ARE some things that are fair to ask for.



Slowly, he responded, "Well, I can give you love and support."

Love and support.   Those are amazing things.   So why do they leave me feeling so empty?

I guess I figure I can get love and support from my best friends.   And from my sister.   And from my children.

And I told him that, as nicely as I could.

Is it wrong for me to want my spouse to give me something a bit more?

Is it wrong for me to want to laugh with the person I share my life with?  To find true pleasure in our days and silly moments when we least expect it?    I don't think I feel bad about the fact that I need that.

Our conversation ended shortly thereafter.   It was late, we were tired, there wasn't anything new to say.

And so here we are.

Yesterday when I came in from work, he was on the computer, engrossed and busy.  I tried to tell him a funny story, but quickly discovered he wouldn't be able to listen.   When I mentioned I needed to run to the grocery store, he said, "Well, I'll go with you if you wait."

So, I waited.  At least 30 minutes.

When I asked, "Do you have any idea when you might be done?",  he said, "One sec..."

One sec turned into no response at all, so I got up and did my own thing.

Later, he said, "I'm sorry if I made you mad.  I just didn't say anything because I didn't have an answer."

But do you see how this is confusing and dejecting for me?   I didn't ASK him to go with me to the store, he offered.   I just wanted a bit of a time frame so I could plan accordingly.    Then, when he tells me 'one sec', it leads me to believe that an answer is forthcoming.    Instead I get nothing, silence, which he even admits that he does.

The silence speaks more than any words could and he just can't see that.   This morning when I tried to explain how it makes me feel, he told me that "people don't like hearing 'I don't know' as an answer."

So his solution is to outright ignore them? 

I don't see how that turns out any better for anyone.   Yeah, if he'd said "I don't know" when I asked how much longer, I'd have most likely been frustrated.   But at least I'd have been acknowledged and heard.   The silence just makes me feel neglected  and shunned.    It says to me, I don't care enough to even give you the courtesy of a reply.

And it's this avoidance  and closing off that gets so hard to deal with.

But alas, my Saturday is slipping away and I don't want to spend it working myself into a tizzy.

I think I'll put on my music and go for a walk.


  1. I wonder what "love and support" means to him.

    Laughter is one of the great "bonders," and I couldn't live without it either. I remember, too, when we were in that financial whirlpool, being sucked down the drain, and Husband felt scared and guilty and sad. It was pretty hard for him to be real jolly in those days.

  2. Maybe he doesn't know what would (or how to) make you laugh? Doesn't mean that he shouldn't try or be open to trying - or at the very least, be open to *you* trying...

    Silence is the worst - you can work with whatever has been put out there, but how can you work with silence? You just can't...

    Hope you are able catch the rest of your Saturday! :o)