I’m Not Happy

Man holding up a burnt slice of toast with an unhappy smiley conept for bad start to the day

Sometimes blog posts are about getting something out, like vitriol, that you are carrying around.  The weight of the shit gets heavier over time, because I guess, you find things to pile on top of it, to cover up the unhappiness.  But the state of being unhappy still remains, it’s just more difficult to carry, now that you’ve stacked on so much camouflage.

If you love your spouse and step-children, you’re supposed to be grateful right?  You are supposed to focus on the blessings and the good things in life, and bury the stuff that is making you unhappy.  Really, people don’t want to hear that you are unhappy.  They want a Disney-esque version of a story that assures them that happy endings exist for everyone.  We know that’s not true.  I think it’s stupid to pretend otherwise.

Something really bad happened in our marriage, in January.  I’m not going to lie, at one point my clothes were stacked on the couch, as I was organizing what I was going to take with me, back to Canada.  I had innocently picked up my husbands cell phone, and saw a text he sent his cousin the night before.  I was looking for a text from my brother-in-law, who was attending an interview (I had been praying he would get the job).

The text was man-speak and vulgar, but ultimately the gist was “yeah, I’ve got another older woman on the side that is so hot… she let’s me do anything to her”.   Nine months later, I still feel like I wake up reading that text every morning and wonder what the fuck I am still doing here, in Texas?

If he did it, it’s a betrayal.

If he didn’t do it, it’s still a betrayal.  Would you be okay with telling a close family member (or boasting about it) that you had a girl on the side?  Would you ever be okay with family members thinking your wife wasn’t enough, and that you were a “big man” because you had a chick on the side?

If he didn’t do it, it still makes me hate the lack of integrity in a heart that could lie that way.   Something that has shifted the way I see my husband, and every day since then, it’s repainted how I feel about being here in Texas.

I talk to my best friend about it.  Sometimes my sister.  Is it just that one thing?  No.  The first time I married, I chose a man in financial disarray.  After almost 11 years with Paul, I guess I feel like I left him in a much better position than I found him.  Virtually debt free, and he still owns the house I renovated with him.  I understand the house is worth about $450k now.  Clearly I am great at real estate speculating, even if I am completely shit at romantic relationships.   No matter how much I invest in them.

“If it wasn’t for the boys, you’d probably be broken up by now, wouldn’t you?”  It was a honest question from Diane.

I didn’t have to respond.  She already knew.  But its more complicated than that, isn’t it?  The love is there for both him and the twins.  Big love.  But this year, that love has been challenged by things I didn’t create (damage).  It’s made me more critical of my marriage, and self-evaluating.

I feel like this world expects you to act happy, even when you aren’t.  People don’t want to see people fighting, or arguing.  I used to be so public about my dissatisfaction about anything really, but now… it’s on a lock down, for professional and personal reasons.  People have their own lives to manage and navigate.  I don’t need to entertain them with the sideshow that my personal life tends to become.  Whether married or single, it leans toward shit-show, more often than not.

I don’t like this State.  I don’t like this town, and I’m not even sure I like the country anymore.  I don’t like the healthcare, and I don’t like the conservative, provincial views.  I don’t like that there is no curry North of Dallas.   I don’t like that my husband is cool with me working 70-90 hour workweeks, while he is comfortable earning very little, and ending his day at 5pm so he can watch football in his boxers on the couch.  (And then complain because he feels like I work too much).

I don’t like feeling like a little burro, with every bag and responsibility of our lives, piled on my shoulders.  Sink or swim, this household runs on me.  My energy.  My sweat.  My cash flow (not his) and I feel like there is such a disproportionate level of maturity, and responsibility in these small four walls.   I never wanted to be married to someone that I had to direct, or boss through life.  I was aiming for equality.   Someone equally willing to work hard, be strategic, advance in life and make shit happen.

I feel like I have a congenial cheer leader that is willing to make dinner, as long as I make bank.    These sentiments existed for more than two years now, but are of course exacerbated, by a text message and big fight that I can’t seem to transition past.  Because something fractured… and all year, I’ve been throwing fun, and money and adventures, and a positive attitude, and indulging the kids, my husband, our friends… trying to pour enough sugar on it, so that I could sweeten what had quickly soured in my heart.

Fake it until you make it, right?

On top of the inequities, is a nasty habit my husband has, of making me feel like a workaholic.  I’ve quietly said little about this, prior to January.  Post January, I’ve let him have it with my full frontal honesty.  I’m sure it’s painful to hear, but it goes like this:

“I don’t have another choice.  You won’t move where I can get a good job; you are insistent that you want to live in this economically repressed town of zero opportunities.  You are committed to your low paying job because you like working for yourself, and having a distant boss makes you happy.   Your debt, and financial obligations make it impossible for you to contribute in an equal way economically to our household.  It’s on me, whenever we need money, or want to do something, or having a large bill to pay… my shoulders, not yours.  And then you tell me that you feel I am less available, less affectionate, irritable and unhappy but you don’t know why? ”

Because I get to be the only adult in the house.   I expected you to pull as hard as I do.  Try as hard as I do and work as hard as I do, to make shit happen.  Not sit with a cider in your hand on the cart, while your little immigrant burro, does all the heavy lifting, uphill.  Meanwhile, struggling in small town Texas, while recruiters contact me weekly about killer jobs in Toronto, or New York, or Utah that would make my career, and possibly get me a column on Forbes.

But I’m here instead.   And I was concerned before January, but optimistic.  Since January, I’ve had a mental image of pouring water frantically in a bucket with fifty holes in it.  Am I kidding myself?  Will this ever hold water?

I’m not a sexist woman.  I never expected a man to take care of me, financially or otherwise.  I just… expect someone to pull 50%.  I’ve seen in my own family, what it looks like when a husband ‘coasts’ while the wife works in a factory, doing overtime every weekend, simply to make ends meet.  There is no gratitude in it.  It becomes an expectation (I know so many women with two jobs… and so few men with more than one).

We’ve been together for 5.5 years now.  Coming up on our 4th anniversary.   And I know none of this sounds flattering at all, but this is where my life is at.   And I promised to always be honest with myself in my blog, if in no other place.

I’m not happy.   In fact, I’m so incredibly sad and homesick, I’m numb.