Saturday, December 05, 2009

What Comes After Happily Ever After?

It was never mentioned in school or health class. My parents never mentioned it. The stories end with it, but....that's it. Happily Ever After. What comes next? That's not the end.

I thought I'd found the one man I wanted to spend my life with, raise my children with, grow old with...but honestly, I can't stand him most of the time. When things are good, they are good. He smells nice, he's clean, he cooks dinner, he helps around the house. The sex is good.

When things are bad though....they are bad. He has a temper-control problem and cannot handle his emotions when angry. He's never smacked me around, but that doesn't mean he's not abusive, because he can be. Emotionally abusive, verbally abusive...and yeah, on two occasions it has been physical. Each time afterwards he is sorry (of course) and we talk, and he resolves to "do better" and "be in control". When he's out of nicotine? Oh, better run, because the emotions coming from him are can almost feel the anger from him.

There's always a next time. I never thought I'd be "one of those women". I took a class and was certified as a Domestic Violence outreach educator fercryinoutloud! I was not supposed to be one of those women.

But I guess I am.

Every Saturday morning he wakes up grumpy. Every Saturday morning he wakes up yelling and screaming "fuck" into his pillow. Imagine a three-year-old with a severe potty-mouth throwing a tantrum. That is my husband. Why is he so grumpy, you ask? Because it is 8am (sometimes 7:30am) and he "doesn't get any sleep". I see your confusion, let me explain. Because we live in a teeny tiny space, when the Toddler-Monster wakes up, so does everyone. And my husband apparently thinks that toddlers sleep until....9am? 10am? I'm not sure, because when I ask him what time he thinks is a good time to awaken, I get yelled at.

This morning was the same. It was 8:30am. I am elated, because I never get to sleep past 7am. Never. 8:30am was blissful heaven angels singing time. Not for long. The yelling started. Then the bad words started. He mentions he would like to get some sleep. (Ten hours isn't enough apparently). I told him that I would like to have this discussion "later, when the children aren't around". He flips a lid and he starts asking me what we need to talk about. I repeat that we can talk about it later. I am calm. I am not snotty, I am not a bitch. I have my son in my lap, we are constructing a Lego castle. My husband freaks and takes our son into his arms, yelling at me that we don't need to talk later, we can talk now and godammit what do we have to talk about that we can't talk about right this very second in front of the kids. I ask him to walk away, because he is not in control. He is getting up in my face, asking why can't we talk now. I try to explain that this is what I wanted to avoid, arguing in front of the kids, but now we are arguing about front of the kids.

I can see my life without him. It is calm, no emotional upheavals and no nicotine addiction leading my emotions. There is blessed quiet. My daughter doesn't cry anymore over the arguing. My son doesn't hear his dad start yelling and squish over inch by inch until he is in my lap looking at me with wide eyes. The mornings are relaxing, coffee and some tv and some cleaning.

I can see my lonely nights of sleeping alone. I can see getting someone else to take the time to fix a broken something. Meals are one me, and I see nights of Ramen and burned rice-a-roni and tacos (the only thing I can make that's edible). I can see 50/50 custody and split holidays and missing my son like crazy when it's not my turn to be with him. I see daycare and less money and more to do.

Is marriage this difficult? I was never told that it takes work, that it's difficult, that sometimes you have to grit your teeth and smile when you don't feel like it. How do I know what is "normal" and what isn't?

If this is my happily ever after, I want a refund.