It’s still raining here. In fact, it’s been pouring for days. On the one hand, it’s starting to get annoying, as the public transport system here is pretty abysmal, and it’s too wet for me to cycle around. On the other hand, though, I love the feeling of melancholy that the rain causes me to have. I don’t really understand people from my country of origin who say that they could never move back there because of the weather. I think that the most beautiful thing I have ever seen is the dark orange glow of a streetlamp glistening on the surface on a puddle on one of our wet streets…
Tonight is supposed to be “date night” for Midwestern Man and I. I should have already planned something interesting for us to do, but I haven’t. I will, as I promised him I would, but I just can’t be bothered. I would much rather be by myself. Even though we got married five months ago, we still actually live separately. The main reason for this is that I see clients in my home, and it would be pretty awkward for him to live with me if he had to leave every time a client came round, or couldn’t come home until I was finished. The other reason is that he owns a large dog (we found him in a graveyard in November) to which I am very allergic. This dog also killed one of my cats a few weeks after we found him (my fault really – I didn’t realize that he had such a strong prey drive…I will write a post about this most traumatic of experiences at some point) so he can never come in my house again. Midwestern Man will have to find him a new home if we are to live together – either that, or we need to win the lottery, and buy a house with lots of land where his dog can have a huge run outside, safely penned off from my cats.
It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that we have separate places. In fact, I am rather dreading the day we have to move in together (probably when we move to a new city). In May, a friend of mine arrived home from several months abroad, and she moved into Midwestern Man’s place for a couple of weeks while he moved to my place. These two weeks also unfortunately coincided with my two weeks’ student teaching, which was an incredibly exhausting time, as I had to put in a full day’s work at school, come home and try to see at least one client (the student teaching was, of course, unpaid) and then write lesson plans. I probably only got about three hours sleep each night. Midwestern Man was helpful during this period in that he cooked dinner for me but he also made it even more stressful because he would insist on having an argument about something, and he just not could not let it go. No matter how much I begged him, and pleaded to let me go to sleep, he would just keep on at me.
At one point, when we were walking our dogs around 1:30 a.m., he held onto my dogs’ leashes to stop me from walking away from yet another argument. Things escalated to the point that I actually kicked and bit him to try to get my dogs back from him. OK, so I know that resorting to physical violence is hardly healthy but I had tried to reason with him calmly to no avail. He often uses his physical strength to stop me from walking away from an argument. He doesn’t hit me or anything, but he’ll stop me from leaving by getting in my way, blocking an exit or by putting his foot in the door of a room I’m trying to escape to. I hate it, and eventually I’ll become violent because I don’t think a man has the right to do that.
I want to live alone because at least I can escape him more easily in such circumstances.
The terrible irony of all this is that I used to be the one chasing men in relationships, forcing them to listen, forcing them to love. At the time I thought I was so justified in behaving that way because they were causing me pain, and not meeting my needs. I would never have considered my behaviour abusive but now I realize the pain I inflicted because Midwestern Man has inflicted so much on me.
After one particularly messed-up relationship in my early to mid twenties (the defining relationship of my life actually), I read the book “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood, and the veil of victimhood was suddenly torn from my eyes. I had always considered myself such a victim and, well, in many ways I was because I had had an abusive mother, and was bullied for much of my life. That book, however, forced me to see that I had also bullied and victimized people. I can still remember the psychic struggle I had trying to process that information. I knew it was true, allowed that knowledge to enter my mind, but then I pushed it back out again because it was just too awful. I fiinally managed to accept it, but it was hard.
I think I have been very abusive towards Midwestern Man. I know that his greatest fear is not being a graphic novelist , and I have had no qualms about going in for the kill when we fight. I’ve told him that he’s a loser, and that he’ll never get anywhere, and that he has no right to call himself an artist. Yes, it’s awful to say these things, and I have been trying to control myself better in recent months.
I accept the fact that I am most definitely the most abusive one in our relationship. My fucked-upness is undeniable. I feel, however, that this allows Midwestern Man to sweep his own (less severe, but perhaps just as damaging) problems under the carpet – his passive aggression; his inability to say no to me and others, and then to resent us for something he agreed to; his tendency to blame me for things that are actually his fault. Midwestern Man’s problem is that, compared to the vast majority of men out there, he is a nice, sensitive person. In his younger years, he didn’t get laid a lot because he was probably “too nice” and not very self-confident. His “niceness” has become a very important part of his personality, then, which he lets obscure the fact that he can sometimes be a moody, abusive cunt.
He says that I never listen to him when he bring up a problem he has, and that I don’t apologize for my behaviour and he’s 100% right. He prides himself “on seeing the error of his ways” and “trying his hardest to change” but his apologies mean very little to me because they don’t really seem sincere. He just keeps on doing the same shit again and again. On some occasions, he’ll apologize for something and then will do the exact same thing two minutes later. I don’t see a lot of true self-reflection occurring, and that makes me reluctant to try harder, too. I’m so sick of always being the bad one!
Sometimes I wonder if I love him. I realize it probably doesn’t sound like I do in these posts. I miss the passion and excitement I’ve had with some other men, and the way I would have done anything for them. I imagine what it would feel like if some invisible force plucked me from here, and deposited me (and the animals, too, of course!) back home…without him. Would I even care that he wasn’t there? I don’t know.
All of this is disturbing, and would suggest I don’t love him, but I can’t be trusted with my emotions. Yes, I have experienced more passion for other men, but did I love them? No. I was just completely obsessed with them. Yes, the heady feeling of having them consume my thoughts day-in, day-out was intoxicating, but it was like a drug. It’s no coincidence that some of my best friends are former addicts. Even though I’ve never been addicted to a substance, I know what it’s like to be destroyed inside by obsession.
It’s possible – very possible even – that my ambivalence towards Midwestern Man is because he is the first man who has ever truly wanted me, and loved me. When I first met him, I was literally blown away by how nurturing he was, and how non-judgemental. I had never experiened anything like it.
Wow…writing this post has actually made me feel tender towards him. I was filled with disgust when I started writing, but now I’m actually looking foward to seeing him.
God, how I’ve missed blogging!