I no longer see the face of the man I married…no longer see the eyes that captured me from the start or the soft features that showed me love. Alcohol has turned my husband’s face into another one all together. It was not age that changed my husband, not years of life effecting his good looks but rather the face of alcohol. This is one that, I believe, many others have seen take over their loved ones. Eyes darken becoming more direct and accusing…mouth becomes stern, free flowing of insults and negativity…cheeks tightened with tension. This is the face of alcohol that I see…when my husband has left, checked out with the bottle in hand.
When my marriage is on the verge of divorce every day…I asked my husband, is it us? Or is it the depression? Us, we can fix…work harder…talk sweeter…be kinder. With depression, it doesn’t seem to matter how kind I am, how positive I can be, how hard I try…the depression rears its ugly head at every turn. Good days turn to bad in the blink of an eye over a simple word, the wrong gesture or the absence of thought. How do you save a marriage when depression is your biggest opponent? Can I? Will he? Does it? Can I fix it? Will he get help? Does it matter? Too many unknown variables to decide. But I am here, day in and day out, still fighting my battle with depression…my battle with my marriage to depression…my battle having a husband with depression.
How many times do I need to be called a f**king selfish b*tch before it doesn’t matter? To be honest the first several times hurt like hell…then the next many times, you become numb to the cruel words. Name calling is done when an individual doesn’t have the tools to provide a better argument. Does that make it hurt less? No. Does that make it mean so little? No. Abuse is abuse in any form. How many times does it take before it hurts again. Hurt, numbness, hurt…that’s the pattern. I can let it go and numb myself to the words, knowing it is his own insecurity that allows him to be mean, but once an awhile it cuts to my core. When things have been good, it hurts more…it matters more. So how many times do I have to hear it before I don’t care anymore? I wish I knew…time will tell!
Leave it at the door…
This is something my dance teacher always told us…then later my boss…leave it at the door. Pretty straight forward to me. Whatever it was that happened in our day, we were to leave it at the door when we entered the dance studio. If we had a tough day emotionally, it was to be eliminated from our thoughts, our mood, our behavior, and our performance for the few hours we had to dance. It was to be left at the door…not to affect our well being while we danced. Then if we decided to pick it back up on our way out then that was our choice. We could take it back with us or leave the emotional baggage of the day at the door at the studio. Most chose to leave it behind. Smartly so…
This is the current state of my marriage.
I fell in love, did not know at the time, that he was a hater of all women. This man loves me, this man does not trust me. This man thinks my mind is terrific but believes I am manipulating at every turn. This man can appreciate my female body but thinks I am out to get him. I have married a women hater. He has spent his life being used, lied to, manipulated and abused by all women in his life. Walked all over, unappreciated and under recognized in all aspects, by the women who mean most to him…his sister, his mother, his grandmother. Now as the wife of this man, I am paying for the debt of many others. I could not be more trustworthy, more honest, more truthful in my intentions, my thoughts or my actions but it all falls short in comparison to what he believes, what he needs, what he has created with his hate for women. He loves me but overall he is a women hater…
Some people think the generational difference in my marriage may be a challenge. While other’s might think that race may be a factor in my marriage. Or some may believe our economic family backgrounds could be an obstacle in my marriage. But none of these issues are hard for me, or even a thought for me or my husband. I have fun when he tells me I have stuff in common with his mother, since I am older than him, I laugh, I don’t take offense. I don’t even think of being in an interracial marriage, I truly don’t see the color, never have and never will. Having my husband come from a background where poverty, abuse and life struggles are commonplace versus my middle class upbringing, offers us a different point of view of each and of live in general. But when I am married to a man who is broken, who is deep down insecure, who doesn’t know how to overcome life obstacles because of his insufficient emotional development.
I have stayed through cheating, lying, drinking, and verbal abuse, not because I am weak but because I am strong. I am stronger than he is, I have a healthy emotional foundation that does not shake easily. My biggest fault may be that I am unconditionally loyal. My strength within is something I have had to pull on in order to be there for a man that is not strong, he is broken.
For those who love a broken person, you will understand. From the outside, we look weak, we look like we are being walked over or taken advantage of but on the inside, I know this man holds onto me for salvation. He has messed up, he has hurt me, he has lost my trust. I still continue to be his light, his strength, his saving grace. This is loving a broken man.
I am open, I am loving, I am a lover of children…all children, they don’t have to be mine in order for me to love them. I have worked with kids my entire life and they are just drawn to me, not sure why, but they are as I am to them. But when now faced with being a step mom, it’s the first time that love is harder to attain. Most would think my love comes hard because my stepson is a result of an affair, but I know differently. My love was present when he was an infant, when the relationship was pure and undisturbed. I love this child, affair or not, I love him.
As time went on, even through the struggles of watching my husband be a new dad to an infant that was not ours together by birth, my struggles came from a different place. I was raising kind children, sweet kids, empathic young people, but then there was my stepson. His upbringing was a complete opposite of what I had in my household. I was exposing my children to habits, characteristics and lifestyle features that I simply did not display in my household. This was hard for me. Most blended families deal with a degree of this, regarding disciplinary actions, etc. But this was on a core level, the core of who I was raising my children to be, definitely did not line up with my stepson’s upbringing. This was my own personal challenge. One that I will struggle with for many years to come, unfortunately.
I once read that you shouldn’t judge someone on their actions or choices if you are unaware of their resources. That’s how I feel about my husband’s verbal abuse. He has no resources, he has no options, he has no way out. When being involved in an upbringing that provides limited resources, it offers no options for individual’s choices. Is he just out of resources, out of better options? Does he abuse verbally because he knows no better, because he feels trapped, unsure, limited, etc? Maybe…
It doesn’t excuse it, doesn’t justify it, does’t make it better but maybe to a small degree it explains it. I am not broken but I am married to a man that is broken. He is limited on his ability to do better, to know better, to feel better. Is it my responsibility to understand this and support or is it my job to stand up and defend myself?
So I already have a six year old step son in my eight year long relationship with my husband, not that hard to do the math. I wear this on my sleeve for everyone to see. We made it through, with rough waves and murky waters, but made it through none the less. When the first fidelity happened, because there was a child produced as a result, everyone had been in the know. Not just me to handle and grieve alone but now my children knew, my friends knew, my first husband and his wife knew, my parents knew and my older brothers knew. Not an easy sell to the family when you explain that you will now become a stepmom after two years into a relationship. But we made it through. Although I felt in my heart that my husband viewed our relationship different now that we were married, I would still asked….would you ever do that to me again now that we are married. His answer was always the same…”I would never do that to you, it’s different now that we’re married”. And so I thought. I trusted, I believed, I thought it was true. Strike two…I suffered in silence. Now with no baby as a result from the affair this time, no one needed to know, not my kids, not my friends, not my parents, definitely not my brothers…only me. Not sure if it was harder or easier to suffer in silence.
I love love love kids! I started my family with four…then I had a stepson. This was not something I sign on for right off the bat. When I met my husband, he did not have kids, only I did. Then after a year of infidelity, I suddenly had a stepson. With bumps and bruises along the way, my new marriage had some hurdles, but they all seemed manageable. Staying through the infidelity, the new stepson and now court battle, tested my strength as a woman, as a mother, as a wife. I made it through, what I considered, the hard part, the birth. Watching my husband have a son, born to the woman he cheated on me with was hard. No other word but hard. Now came the work. Loving my husband every time he loved, cuddled, nurtured his newborn son. This was difficult, to say the least. I had envisioned this time with him, watching him with his first born (thinking it would be with me), letting it fill my heart. Now there are so many mixed emotions. I decided to stay, this was now my challenge to get through emotionally. This was hard.