Our latest argument was about money. We argue about money quite a bit. Mainly, this is due to the lack of money we generally have to do things that we have to do – such as grocery shop or pay for our newly established gym membership. Last week we were too tight to pay the gym membership so I told my husband we needed to put it on the credit card until payday, when we could pay it right back. His response? “That’s not our money. I don’t know what you’re going to do b/c we aren’t going to be able to pay it for another two weeks.” Obviously, this meant I couldn’t go to the gym for those two weeks and he knows I am currently trying to lose weight (and doing very well!) This absolutely infuriated me. In my mind, it is just another way for him to try and control me.
Fast forward to Valentine’s Day. He spent the day with a mutual friend of ours who I decided to clue into the recent (ha, recent) drama in our relationship. Essentially I chose to let him in on the fact that I really believe that my husband is clinically depressed and needs a mentor or at least a friend to force him out of the house. I knew this friend would be asking him what he was planning on doing for me for the big day in February that I’ve just grown to hate. Excuse me for not sounding like a very appreciative wife here in the next paragraph.
I got a phone call towards the end of my work day. He asked me to pick up the little guy even though he could’ve done so easily. I figured that he could probably use some more time alone and as usual, held out a bit of hope that what he really needed the time for was so he could go home and prepare a romantic candlelight dinner, ya know, as part of his “I’ll do anything” campaign tour. In my drive home, I tried to talk myself out of these expectations. After all, I’d gotten him a card (because that was seriously all I could afford) and figured he’d probably done the same for me and that would be that. I actually found a very appropriate card this year. It essentially gently reminded him that I do love him without indicating that he’s this gigantic support system for me/the perfect man/my soul mate like most of them do. I felt he needed that assurance because he seems to be convinced that I don’t want to be with him (although, I realize as well that this is a tactic part of his denial that our problems are real and therefore fixable if we just try to fix them). I’ve somewhat shifted from anger to compassion as I’ve realized that his depression is real and true. It’s the fact that he’s in denial and has always exhibited emotionally abusive behaviors that tips the scale to anger on some (okay most) days. I can’t exactly use his recent depression as an excuse for that behavior, can I? No, unfortunately. Because, that would probably be easier. Sigh. I feel like I will never get to the end of this paragraph. I think I have to start a new one now.
I got home. No candles were lit, but I’d convinced myself not to expect that, right? No, it couldn’t be that simple. The house wasn’t picked up, but there were a dozen roses, two cards, and gift box on the table. It was sweet, unexpected, but still fell short. He knew what time I got home – I walked in the door to a mess and he was sitting on the couch talking on the phone. It was almost like…. “See, I did it. Here’s your freakin’ Valentine.” See what I mean? I sound a bit like a spoiled brat. But that’s the thing – I’m NOT. So what if I expected that he’d maybe have dinner ready? The table set for us all to sit and eat together? Maybe a frickin’ candle? Instead, a box, that I knew would have jewelry in it, because he still thinks that I need things like this. He is so convinced that if he buys me expensive things like jewelry, I’d feel better. You can probably understand per the first paragraph why I felt like strangling him with whatever piece of jewelry was in that box before I’d ever seen it. Seriously? You got me JEWELRY? You can buy me jewelry, but you can’t borrow money from the credit card to pay the gym dues so I can keep working out? Oh, I see – what YOU think is important and not completely wasteful and unnecessary is acceptable, what I think is important is just little woman talk. So, we opened each others cards and decided to save the jewelry for later. When I opened it, I started crying. As is the story of my life – I wasn’t crying tears of frickin’ joy – I was crying because the man is just so utterly clueless it literally hurts me. It was a fancy, and beautiful choker (HA, the irony kills me). It was great! It will sit in the box it came in on top of my jewelry box and I’ll wear it maybe once a year; I don’t have clothes nice enough to match the damn thing for god’s sake! I don’t care about expensive jewelry!!
I just let it go, though. I said thank you, we watched a show, we went upstairs and finished every married couple’s Valentine’s Day ritual. It was the first time I’ve ever gotten through it with the constant thought… “Is it over yet?”