Or: it’s a fucking rollercoaster
I have been doing great. We have been doing great. We went on a long vacation with the kids, and both of us managed to have some time for ourselves. Actual time. Like I’m-staying-in-a-hotel-by-myself-for-four-days time. Our conversations evolved around what has been going wrong between us in the past, but also, hypothetically, what we would do differently if we were to start over again as a couple.
One thing that IS different is the way my husband looks at me. He has – irrelevant of the outcome – vowed to treat me as a ‘goddess’ (curtesy of a book he’s been reading). And although I find the author’s writing crude and a little bloke-ish at times, I can’t complain. Suspiciously, I might have asked why. Why now? The answer was pretty clear. He felt he needed to make up and apologise for not ‘seeing’ me for more than two years.
There were moments when I looked at him and found myself fancying him – very much to my own surprise. At some point we had mind blowing sex. Twice within two days. To give you an idea of the enormity of this fact – I went without for almost a year.
Two orgasms and a long flight back to reality later, life caught up with us. Instead of pitching for new clients I am dealing with potential work permit issues. Issues that have been brought on by a change in my husband’s visa situation, which have been brought on in a change of the scale his new business is going to take on. THIS ISN’T THE AGREED PLAN! At a time that was meant to be mine to concentrate on getting my own business onto its feet, I am, again, left to my own devices regarding everything that evolves around the house (ie construction site), the children and the household.
My own autonomy is critical for my wellbeing and thus for the wellbeing of any relationship I am part of, be it kids, husbands (oops, plural. Hello, Dr Freud!) or friendships. Part of our misery that has led to me almost walking out in January is the fact that I slid into the role of a housewife for whom all kind of work is pure luxury and only possible if the space to work is solely arranged by herself. School holidays? My problem. Sick children? Ditto. Sick nanny? Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.
We, as a couple, never had that conversation. When we met, I earned significantly more money than my husband. It was important to us that one of us would spend time at home when the children were small (they are small-ish now). So I did. It felt natural at the time. We never made a conscious decision for me to be the main responsible for all things home life in the long run, and early attempts to get back into the game have been talked down by my significant other or made impossible by our impossibly uprooting habit of moving countries every couple of years. I did work during the past ten years – but building something bigger had to take a backseat again and again for the benefit of those around me. Sometimes, sacrifices were necessary. Other times, not so much, but I was still the one to make them.
This is not a blame game. I didn’t make my ask and it was all too comfortable for my husband to go with the status quo.
But now that all is out in the open, I am getting increasingly frustrated with the feeling of being alone in this. I find myself wondering why I should bother with having a husband, when taking on work means juggling all of the above in addition to washing his dirty socks. Over the summer, we committed ourselves to actively working on creating more of a balance, but right now, I don’t really see that.
I am aware that going back to dark places is easier once you visited them in the past, even though the current situation might be slightly different (there’s been no such commitment previously, so that’s a start). The thing with those dark places like wanting out and not wanting to wait for someone else to give you the space you need, is that they can be dangerously appealing.
They might be shit places, but they are at least familiar.
Photo by Hugh McCann