Leap Year Day : On the Inside

I have to post today because it is leap year day. In my culture Leap Years are believed to be fraught with difficulties and tragedies. I am having a lot of difficulties at this time, but I am grateful there are no tragedies.

My silent partner is still very much the same. He neither communicates with me nor with his son. I told him yesterday that he treats the baby as if he was his stepson, and I know many fathers who will be more involved with a stepson or even an adopted son. It is rather sad.

Yes, I know he loves his son as much as he is capable of loving anyone, but he is resentful. Somehow the baby will be preventing him from realising this nebulous dream, a dream that has not materialized over half a century of life. I thought that a child would give him purpose, hope and a reason to wake up every morning. Obviously he needs more.

I am silent as well, but I am suffering. My days pass caring for the little one, and I spend my nights staring through the tube of my computer screen. It provides my only window to the world. I read articles on the internet and I type my random thoughts. Maybe the silent treatment will turn me into a writer yet.

Last nights, I turned in as usual in the small hours of the morning, and I was plagued with disturbed dreams: The horror of my teeth falling, every one of them. In my culture this is an ominous dream, it means the loss of a close person. People who interpret it thus usually mitigate the impact of their prophecy, by asking whether there was any pain in the dream. If there was no pain in the dream then it is just a distant relative, they would say. In my experience dreams are largely painless, perhaps I do not have an imagination vivid enough to conjure pain; horror, yes, but not pain. In my dream last night there was only the dread and horror of realising that I am about to spit out one of my molars. I think I even had the faint taste of blood.

The rest of my dreams were about my husband. There, I had the distinct impression that he was seeing another woman, perhaps even having an affair. My pride was the only part of me that hurt in the dream. I don’t know whether I fought with him or not. Two days ago I caught the whiff of another woman in our car. It stuck to the seatbelt on the passenger side. He was out with friends on Sunday, and now I know that at least one of them was a woman. Honestly, I do not think he has the emotional clout to get out and have an affair. He doesn’t need emotional dependency, and he wouldn’t want to deal with the consequences. Still, I can’t help but wonder.

I hope my tooth dream is just my mind’s speculation on losing my husband. I can deal with that.

Powerless

The problem with marriage is that you take the power of shaping your destiny from your own hands and give it –at least partially- to someone else. I now realize with certain bitterness that this is where I am at. It is depressing to see my efforts of trying to forge ahead thwarted by the apathy of my husband. He doesn’t know what he wants, he doesn’t know where he wants to go, and I am forced to sit and tread water here with him.

I think that deep down he knows that the situation he finds himself in is his own doing. I did not hold a gun to his head and force him to come back, and I definitely did not have his baby without his consent. It was a mutual decision. Still, he does not know what to do next; he doesn’t have a plan and refuses to make a move in ANY direction. He moans and complains that he is relegated to housework, yet refuses any suggestion of hiring a domestic worker or a maid. So, you can neither walk in front of him or behind him, which is very annoying.

If it wasn’t for him, I would be starting a life somewhere; in a little village in the Western Cape, in Germany or even Canada. Living in a flat is not his kind of life, and not for him is the life in Europe, nor the rat race of Canada. The solution? none, just sit there and feel sorry for yourself. Yet, he has the nerve to accuse me of limiting his lifestyle and pushing him behind.

Face it man. It is always you who drops the ball. You had a wife and children, yet you dropped them and wanted to carry on with your life. You had a job for life in Saudi Aramco but you dropped it and left to go somewhere else. You had a girlfriend who adored you and cooked and cleaned after you and worshipped you like a good servant, yet you dropped her (because the poor thing had baggage and you couldn’t be bothered). Then you chose to marry some unknown quantity, somebody you met over the internet, much younger than you (yours truly) and you almost dropped me right away – I didn’t allow you though. I stuck with my choice, and put up with many miserable years, to see this whole thing through. You worked at IBM, they almost transferred you to Cape Town, again you dropped them and moved to some other company. Then you dropped these people too, although you had a great job and earned a truck-load of money. Then when we bought the gas station, I was with you every step of the way, but you made my life so miserable and pushed me out of working with you, then out of your life. I just had to drop you for the first time! Because you refused to give me an inch of breathing space, you controlled my every move. even my salary you paid into YOUR bank account, remember that? At least you had the grace to pay my tax bill. When you finally dropped the gas station you wanted to pass the buck on me. I was in Cape Town and you wanted to get back with me so desperately, you made me choke. And I choked, and I dropped you for the second time. It was only normal. I was powerless for seven years, and I was about to give you the power again, I was not comfortable with that, it was too early for my wounds to heal. In the end I relented, it was my choice though, I tried to get through divorcing you but found it against my nature and ethics, and I begged you to come back, and you did. I wanted you back because I realized I still loved you, but you came back to me because you didn’t have any better plans. We had a baby because you were so unhappy you thought MAYBE this is what was missing from your life. I had a baby because I knew this is what I wanted more than anything in the world.

The end result for me: I am still happy. I was always capable of being happy, and now my baby is someone I can love for the rest of my life. I will never be alone. My baby gives me so much happiness, yet he is also my ultimate trap. I can’t leave his father anymore, and with that you have the ultimate power over us. You can shape our destiny and our future, and I am not sure I like that.

The end result for you: Still unhappy, you never were, and you never will be. You keep rehashing the past, I dropped you twice, you say, the second time was on your birthday. True, but let’s suppose that I never did that; would things have been any different? I know the answer and you should too. Nothing would have been any different, we would still be here at the same juncture. The problem is not me man, it is YOU. FACE IT !

 

 

 

 

Let’s (not) Turn Him into a Pumpkin

Thirty five minutes left to midnight, and I am tempted to wait up and see whether my husband will come back as a pumpkin. Good for him, this is the second Friday in a row where he has been out. It makes me feel less guilty about the small tubs of ice cream, the Chocolate Brownie Avalanche, and the threesome mint chocolate bars I feast on while pretending to take the baby for a walk in the pram.

What a life, eh? I normally feel guilty whenever I go out without him; I doubt that he ever feels this way about me. Today, is the day after Valentine’s Day. I was never really big on pink hearts and chocolates, and I don’t remember getting any. Last year at this time I got a small teddy with a heart; it was a mass present from work. It still made me feel happy, because by then I knew that I had a tiny baby growing inside me, and the small teddy was going to be its first toy. For months it sat on top of my monitor, and whenever I looked at it I smiled and thought of my little baby. Now the bear is attached to my son’s mobile and he is the one who looks at it and talks to it every morning.

This year was supposed to be great, and it is really going nowhere so far. I am treading water, reading trash, knitting from stash and blogging nonsense. Today I tried to take a positive step and do some freelance work. I bid for a job and ended up doing its proofreading. It was hardly worth the effort, but I thought of it as a marketing strategy, to get to know new clients and break new grounds. I am bidding for other jobs and applying to agencies that are looking for a word-crafter. Hmm, that is actually a good name for a serious blog that combines knitting with writing, maybe one day once I get this nastiness out of my system. Will I ever get that far? I wonder.

Fifteen minutes left to midnight, and still no sign of my pumpkin. Tell you what, I am going to brush my teeth and turn in. I have had this glaring monitor and the humming of my processor fan keeping me company for almost five hours now; I have had enough of this miserable evening. I am going to meet some interesting people, in a trashy novel.

At five minutes to midnight my husband arrived. He said he prefers hiking to doing the rounds of the bars. Somehow I am optimistic that he will find more substance with me than with these false friends. Hopeful.

His Mother

I don’t know what my husband wrote his mom about the problems we are having. He could have written to her anything and her response would have been the same. I feel sorry for the man, turning to his mother when deep down he knows that she might the reason behind at least some of his woes. If he had a different mother, he wouldn’t have become this selfish, for instance.

I begged the man to talk to people. So his solution is to talk to his mother. He also told me that he is talking to some “friends”, but his meeting with them never took place. He doesn’t want to talk to me because: “You are the problem”. Please explain to me, how can be the problem, when he is the one who is unhappy? Apparently life has cheated him out of some great prize, or better still I have withheld this great prize from him. Pray tell, how?

Yes, I do talk to people as well, and it is good to be reminded sometimes that he was the one who wanted me back. In fact, he came on so strongly that I bolted and decided that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea. Admittedly, the timing was in very bad taste, but it was my due for years of emotional abuse. I think it stuck in his craw that I was the one who left him, and it was oh so good of him to want me back despite that, but now he decided that he shouldn’t have let me get away with it a second time.

Well, for me this second time was for keeps, and I promised that I will never leave him again, and I am still good on that promise. When I had this baby with him, it was enough for me. I was no longer interested in anything or anyone else. I discovered that having a family and a baby of my own is all I ever wanted in my life. Now, it is his turn to discover that, this will never be enough for him. To me this clearly translates into: “The man has a problem” not to his crazy accusation that I am the problem. Let’s leave it at that.

 

In his wallet today I discovered a piece of a newspaper. He had written little notes on it: Wadi Halfa, Knowledge Systems, the button, FARIS, Cockroach for dinner and some other stuff. To anyone else it will sound like rubbish, but I knew all these headings. They are stories from his life that he considers important. I enjoyed listening to them, not because of the brilliant experiences, but mostly because it was obvious how much joy recounting them brought him. His trip to Africa, the company he formed when he came out of college and then sold, some invention he patented, software he wrote and other strange experiences from his travels. This disjointed set of haphazard sketches are the sum total of this man’s life. Fortunately for him, or unfortunately, I could not laugh at the list, I felt deeply and truly sorry. If the notes were near the computer I would have thought that he is putting some email together to his daughter, but I think they are there for a time when he talks to some real people. Some fleeting acquaintances he wants to show off as his non-existent friends. He wants to impress them with these random trophies of an empty life; a life where these sad phrases are desperately trying to hide fundamental flaws. I now know all the flaws, and the stories have lost their sparkle.

 

He did not need to read off his mother’s response to me. Her concerns were as expected: 1) Money 2) Herself.

She interpreted the problem as financial and her brilliant solution was for me to work fulltime, while he looks after the baby; until such time when he can get a better job. Then she went on about the possibility of him getting pension when he goes back home. Huh? I thought he told her that he was unhappy because he has no life, what does that have to do with money? The problem as he summed it up to me today was: We are living in a rented apartment – and these are things he is totally and completely against (both renting and flat dwelling)- and he does not have space for his hobbies: gardening, and woodwork. And this is actually reason enough for him to break up with me? Aren’t there really any other solutions? Go figure.

His mother ended her mail by saying: “I don’t like this type of messages, now I have another thing to worry about and spend sleepless nights over, like this last night”. Well, now you can stop wondering why he turned out as selfish as he is.

Back to Square One

Guess what? I am back where I started. I have been sugar-coating reality for a while now. I made myself believe that my husband and I have truly made amends. We got back together, had a healthy love life, and even had a beautiful baby boy. Go figure, it turns out that I was living an illusion. The husband that I fell in love with again for the last two years is not happy. He has been biting his tongue and putting up with my weirdness. Really? He either did very good pretending or I was incredibly naive. He claims it is the latter.

Well, I have enough on my plate fixing the errors of my life, so unfortunately I cannot take on fixing half a century of mistakes for him. This doesn’t change things for me in the least, I have got the word divorce out of my system for good, and whatever happens next I am content with being a mom to my precious baby.
I am still hoping for a miracle, that he will find some interest to keep him busy. A vocation, a calling, a job, a hobby, anything, I am really desperate. I was naive enough to think that his interest in his son will be the thing to bring him back from the brink of depression. I was wrong, we will see what he comes up with.
Meanwhile, the errors of the past are rehashed for me. My mean spirited breakup with him on his birthday, and the way I made him sell the business. I roll my eyes heavenwards and ask God, if I was guilty as charged of the first, I was never party to the second, but of course, he is convinced otherwise.

So here we go again, and the saddest thing, my little boy will be taking the consequences.

Money Matters

My finances haven’t improved since I agreed to resume my marriage. It really frustrates me. When I was in the single/separated phase, it seemed that I could do no wrong; I bought what I liked in cash and got to enjoy the windfall and the fruits of my labour. Now it seems that I buy things that I do not think are strictly necessary, and do not get to enjoy any treats. In addition to all that, it looks like I have hit a real dry phase in my freelance work, so the money coming in is barely covering my expenditures.I have always been bad at this concept of “our money” in a married relationship. My husband always claims that our joint property and our bank accounts whether joint or separate are OURS. I put this to the test once at the point when I wanted to get divorced and things suddenly got sour. What was ours got suddenly reduced to our relative incomes and what each of us brought into the marriage, and of course I ended up with the short end of the stick. Yes, I could have fought him out in court and chances are that I could have ended up with far more than the meagre settlement he offered, but I chickened out. I found that I do not have the stomach for a long battle in court which will probably make me hate him in the end – although he does deserve it sometimes.

Well, I still have feelings for the man, and I do not want to walk the same road again, but I am angry at the fact that my contributions into the marriage – in terms of money spent far outweigh his at the moment.

Yes, I am the only one with a full-time job at the moment but he has at least 100K Dollars sitting in the bank and earning interest in several investments to my meagre 7k waiting to be spent on rent and telephone bills and electricity. I can’t catch up even to a point where I can have a small amount put aside into a Money Market account.I do not have a good feeling about this. People do not change, and my marriage still has a good chance of turning sour again and ending up in divorce, what then?

It is important for me to have this cushion of security – mine – for all eventualities, and in order to achieve it I am back again, to skimping on my pleasures to have some more security, because I can’t trust him to look after me when things go sour. I will be left out again in the cold, and I am still the same person who does not have the stomach to fight for what is rightfully hers. On the other hand he still might be the same stingy person. Why, he only indulges now in some pleasures because I happen to pay for them.

 

 

Summer of Discontent

I keep thinking of a small place, where I can live alone with my cat. I do not know why this is so when I am married and supposedly working on the rehabilitation of my ailing relationship.
But it is still not working for me. I keep feeling that I am living outside my normal pace, outside my comfort zone, I really do not know why.

My cat seems to have settled in fine, he is starting to explore his territory and expand it, slowly and with mixed results. Occasionally he gets frightened off by another cat or an unfamiliar sound, but he seems to be adapting. On the surface I am doing the same thing.
Yes, I suppose I am as guilty as my husband, because I do not give voice to my nagging worries, when ignoring them will not make them better, they will just fester and grow into something really malignant.
I see that the physical side of our marriage is waning again, and I fear that it will digress again into total celibacy. I keep wondering, why? In the past my husband used to initiate sex, now it is always me that has to, and my libido is very temperamental and relies so much on my emotional well-being and state of mind. I never had a truly fulfilling emotional life, and it has probably scarred me somewhat. I am sure that my husband has the same problem somewhere, on an emotional level too, because there is no disputing his performance power, he can f*** a woman brainless if he wanted to.

I might be the least demanding woman on a material level, but I could be extremely demanding emotionally, especially for a man who is bound to put practicality before sensuality, and I see this becoming a chronic problem.

Another aspect of my problem with the man, is that I am still a novice in many areas of my life experience, whereas he went through the gamut of experience throughout his youth, relationships and first marriage.
At times I find myself bitterly cheated of camping trips, dirty weekends, motorcar sex, hangovers, and even morning sickness. It is not my fault that I grew up in a sheltered and isolated environment, but since I am no longer there, isn’t it just nice if I could experience some of those “first times” that every other young person goes through.
How can I grow up when I did not have the chance to be young and reckless ? I am in a middle aged relationship, and there are not honeymoon photos to look back and smile at. It has always been like this, cool-headed and boring.
The funny thing is that I might project this image to the outside world, cool-headed and boring, nobody knows that underneath these calm waters are some turbulent currents of rebellion.

Marriage : A Balancing Act

My friend Kirsten is a social worker and has spent her whole life dealing with broken and fractured souls, she claims that people can mend, if they want to that is. Once you recongise that you need healing, you can work your way up to reclaiming you life and starting it over.

Life however is subjective, and right or wrong depends solely on the way or direction you look at things. Viewed through the lense of a camera, the same object will look different depending on how you shed light on it, and so differs one’s interpretation of events and people depending on previous experiences and knowledge.

A sceptic by nature, I do question all the time. It took me seven years to realise that the initial failure of my marriage was not my fault. I was trapped into believing that I was not good enough or not working hard enough. It did not occur to me at the time, that outside my limping relationship I am a fully functional human being, who is capable of having friends, taking responsibility and working for a goal.
In the space of seven years I carved myself an existence that is separate from my spouse, I became a person in my own right, I started to see that I was getting lost, being swallowed in the demands of a relationship and one man’s ego.
Having been through all that, I am very reluctant to go through this over again.
I have struggled with the choice between restarting the old relationship on new grounds, or severing it to look for happiness somewhere else. I have swung between the two extremes a few times.
In the end I realised that severing my marriage might be the more practical choice, is a finality that I could not live with. It would simply mean that I have given up, and chose to turn my back on the element of goodness present in my husband.
So I chose to continue on in the balancing act called marriage, it is much more difficult since the success depends equally on both people. Sometimes it is much easier to dance solo.
Still, there are moments when the effort is worth it. It is nice to have someone you care for to come home to, and to be the recipient of simple yet subtle expressions of love and caring.
All around me I see couples working on this balancing act, and whoever is solo are constantly looking for someone to complete them, so maybe there is general consensus that living as a couple is better than facing the world solo.

For starters

The initial panic is over for me and for my black cat. We are sitting in the big new flat, surrounded by things, most of which have stories we know nothing about.
For my part, I will try to make peace with the past, where it came from does not concern me, as long as it does not suck me in its undertow, it is fine.

I am who I am, and being without baggage and without possessions is my choice, I adopted my partner’s possessions and I will enjoy them for what they are. Possessions will never claim me, but I can still appreciate them.
The cat is quite a different story, the cat has to learn its territory, and accept its limitations.

My husband also has to accept me and the cat. Contrary to what he believes, he is not the only one making compromises. I know that I would personally prefer a much simpler, barer existence.
If this is our new start, I would rather start on a fresh canvas, put in my own shades and colours.
The apartment I lived in before we came back together, might have looked to him like a dump. To me however it was a work in progress, an unfinished canvas. My time, and the emotional roller coaster I was riding on prevented me from completing it to my liking, but I was going to get there one way or another.
The canvas that I would have drawn would have included soft fabrics, knitted throws and crocheted cushions – things like that speak to me more than a leather sofa, rosewood furniture and fine china lamps; I have no use for those. I prefer scented candles and incense sticks.

I spoke to two of my friends today, they saw that my husband and I have two sets of conflicting values. The question is whether we can compromise between them or not.

Petey the cat has walked outside to the kitchen balcony today, sniffed around and stretched tippy toeing on his hind legs to peek over the balcony wall. He was quite funny, stretched tall there and supporting himself against the wall with one paw. I wish I had my phone camera handy.
Eventually, I will take him down to the garden and he will be happy. Ron still protests tells me it would make life more difficult – compromise ? where is his compromise?

Remains to be seen.

Second chances?

So Husband has come and gone, and I have decided to give him a second chance.
He did surprise me with the way he changed his looks and his behaviour, yet the part of him that drove me away still lurks there under the surface. It came out once or twice.

Funny that my relationship with him seems to be always hanging on a thread. I always end up giving in at the very last moment. Sometimes I don’t think I love him enough.

This time we had fun together, the woman that he almost killed in me managed to resurface again and enjoyed herself. The child though didn’t, it will always remain hampered by age – his age.

Now that he managed to charm all my friends I find myself obliged to give him another try, for old time’s sake. Yet I am very conscious of the need to keep in control, to stay in the driver’s seat lest things go under again.

I wonder whether this is the correct premise to build a relationship on.
Have to wait and see.