Category Archives: marital fights

Divorce Cake

These days I can really relate to people who kill their spouses. Why go through all the hassle, pain and drama of getting divorced when you can just take care of the problem with one swift axe blow to the head? Admittedly, you would have to dispose of the body (inconvenient!), and appear suitably tearful and bereft at the memorial service (stressful!), but I can see how murder, dismemberment and deceit might actually be better than spending one more second in a crappy relationship.

Oh, don’t worry – I’m not going to end up on “America’s Most Wanted” any time soon. I’m not really the type for premeditated murder. I spend most of the time wishing that my husband, MM, would just evaporate into thin air, never to be seen again.

I am fond of this person. I certainly don’t want anything bad to happen to him, but I don’t love him. I recently read Ahdaf Soueif’s “The Map of Love”, and the following passage pained me because it highlighted just how much is missing in my relationship:

“And in the daytime, when I watch him climb out of the sea under the blazing sun, with Nur on his shoulders and Ahmad and Mahrous on either side, the love I feel for each inch of his body is an exquisite ache in my heart” (pp 461-462).

Far from feeling an “exquisite ache”, my heart is more likely to sink whenever I see my husband! But I want to feel that “exquisite ache”, and yet, like so many other people, I tell myself that such feelings are only the stuff of novels and movies, or that if there is such a thing, then it will soon be snuffed out by the humdrum nature of daily life together.

In his defence, my husband does not have it easy. I am a very difficult person to be around. It’s easy for me to be emotionally and verbally abusive because that’s what I grew up with, so it doesn’t take much for me to resort to that when I’m stressed or defensive. I have taken too much from him, and I haven’t given much back. He complains about that, and it’s true.

However, I honestly don’t care anymore about trying to be a better, kinder and less hurtful person. I’ve been worn down by my husband telling me over and over again how bad I am, and how selfish. It doesn’t matter how tired, drunk or hungry I am, he will just rant over and over again about it. Sometimes he’s kept me up until 3:00 a.m. just yelling about how bad I am. I don’t know about you, but I find that quite abusive, which is ironic because I’m supposed to be the abusive one. I also find it has hurt my self-esteem, and makes me question myself constantly. Whenever I have a disagreement with somebody at work, or wherever, I’m very quick to fall into  a black pit of self-recrimination about what a bad person I am even if it’s their fault.

I’m also resentful that there is so much focus on my “craziness” in this relationship. All too often I’ve seen how my bad behaviour allows other people to justify their terrible actions. According to MM, I consciously “choose” to be mean and abusive whereas anything he does was because he was an innocent victim who was “provoked”.I just don’t buy it.

At this point in my life, the only incentive I can see for not losing control of my temper and tongue is not because I want to become a better, more spiritual person. No,it’s because emotional, out-of-control women will always be blamed for everything no matter what anybody else does wrong.

Nobody sees the things MM does wrong because he just can sweep them all under the carpet while everybody focuses on me being “crazy”.

I used to be the kind of person who looked down on people who stayed in unhappy, boring marriages. How terribly weak, I thought, to stay when you’re miserable. Now I have become exactly that kind of person. I don’t want to be in this relationship but I don’t particularly want to be out of it either. I don’t try to make things work because my heart’s just not in it. I don’t enjoy having sex with him at all, and I practically flinch when he touches me. This is something I do feel bad about because I know that he needs a lot of physical affection. But what can I do? I can’t fake something that’s not there.

If I’m honest, I think he’s a weak, passive loser. I hate the fact that he’s thirty-four years old, and that he says he’s an “artist”. He spends a lot of time “perfecting” a graphic novel which he will apparently never finish. Now he wants to be a concept artist, and he’s borrowed $1000 from his mother to take some class that will supposedly help him fulfil this goal. I’m very sceptical.

I question why I have such a visceral reaction to his failed artistic endeavours. Did I marry him because he was unthreatening because I, too, am a frustrated type? If I’d married somebody successful maybe it would have been too painful for me to be with him while I struggled with perfectionism?

I once had an acquaintance who was a rich doctor who made some disparaging comment about my dating impoverished artists (he was probably annoyed I had no interest in dating him). He smirked and said that I’d soon get tired of that when I realized how awful it was to be broke all the time. I was insulted, but I also remember feeling smug that I didn’t consider dating or marriage as some kind of mediaeval financial transaction like some American women do. I know I’m betraying feminism for saying this, but sometimes I do now wish that I was married to someone with money, and who was successful. It would make life easier.

Despite my brilliant undergraduate degree, my Master’s degree and my fluency in three languages, I am far worse off than my grandparents ever were, and my life is much more stressful. A combination of bad decisions, and poor self-esteem mean that I live from pay cheque to pay cheque.

I am thirty-three years old, and even though I’m not ready to have kids any time soon, there would be no chance of my doing so if I were. MM would never be able to help support a family. In some weird, primeval way, this makes me fucking mad inside.

Money is really the root of all the troubles in this relationship. Over the years, MM has bailed me out when I didn’t have a green card and couldn’t legally work. I would feel grateful for this, but I have to hear again about what a bad, selfish person I am for spending this money. Apparently I’m a spendthrift! Althought I spent it on surviving…on rent, food, bills…whatever I needed to stay afloat.

MM just called me, and I know that I won’t leave this relationship. I’m too gutless. I’ll just stick my head in the sand and pretend that everything’s OK. When I imagine being single again, I realize just how socially isolated I am. I don’t really have any good friends here. Being married acts as a buffer against the world, and makes a crazy cat lady like me socially acceptable.

What a huge disappointment life has been. I am everything I once used to despise.


Lost Voice

I spent most of yesterday’s post bitching about how I was getting more and more sick of my husband’s rants about my behaviour. There was nothing I wanted more than for him just to shut the fuck up, because he was wearing me down.

Today I got my wish! He has completely lost his voice! He can only talk in the tiniest of whispers, and even then it’s a struggle.

Obviously I’m not really happy about it, as I would never intentionally wish any harm on him. Nonetheless, it is pretty funny, and ironic, that he cannot speak. In a way, his lost voice has come at a good time because it means that we can’t argue no matter how much we may want to. We’ve basically been forced to be nicer to each other.

I spent a good part of this morning looking up couples therapy options online. I think it would be really good for us to learn how to communicate better with each other, as it’s pretty obvious we can’t do that.

An infuriating person.

Well, I missed posting last night for the first time in about six weeks. Technically speaking, I also skipped two other days this month but, seeing as those posts were published at exactly midnight, I don’t really count that as having skipped a day. Ach, so I failed the NaBloPoMo challenge this month. So what? At least I have a good excuse…for the first time in months, Midwestern Man and I actually went out on a date. It was to see one of my favourite singers…somebody I’ve been listening to for about thirteen or fourteen years. I wish I could mention who it was, but if I did, then you’d be able to google her, and find out where she played last night, and then you’d know where I live.

My husband and I are not getting on very well again. To be honest, I’m quite sick of him, and I find him infuriating. He constantly lectures me about all the things I do wrong which affect the relationship, and I’m fed up with it. I don’t mind him expressing his feelings but, ooh, it’s the way he goes about it. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, or how drunk, or if it’s 4:00 a.m. or if I’m in the middle of something, he will just start ranting about my bad behaviour. The ironic thing is that I generally agree with most of the things he says (generally, that I’m too much of a control freak and too critical) but when he just starts ranting like that, the last thing I want to do is listen to him and think about my behaviour. The main reaction I have is that I want to get away from him because his rants literally give me a headache.

I’ve told him again and again and again that it would be much better for us to schedule a specific time to talk about our issues when we won’t be tired and overly emotional, but he wants to talk about it on his terms.

I don’t know what to do because he wants me to make all these changes when I feel that he has just as many to make. He says I don’t listen to him, and that’s true because I find his ranting abusive and pointless. It achieves nothing and it puts me on the defensive. I also think he’s a huge hypocrite because somehow it’s OK for him to rant at me non-stop even though I’ve told him how much that upsets me. I’m supposed to listen to him when it’s apparently OK for him to ignore my wishes.

I know I have many flaws, but being too proud to admit them or to work on getting rid of them isn’t one of them. I don’t mind arguing if I feel it would lead to growth on both sides. However, I feel that we’ve reached a stalemate, and I honestly don’t think it’s my fault. I think it was emotionally healthy and mature of me to suggest choosing a mutually convenient time to discuss our flaws. However, the fact that he’s not willing to do that, and would prefer to call me up and expect me to drop everything I’m doing to listen to him rant shows that he has no interest in looking at his own behaviour.

How can I be the only one to change? Surely it takes two people for a relationship to progress?

My husband is such a know-it-all twat.

I just had a huge fight with Midwestern Man. He really is such a know-it-all twat, and there is nothing (I repeat…nothing!) I hate more than know-it-alls wankers who aren’t informed about a subject but who decide to open their mouth, anyway.

Somehow Midwestern Man seems to be an expert on teaching, and the American public school system, and its hiring practices; and, oh yeah, he’s apparently also an expert about immigration to the US, and the US’s immigration policies. It’s fascinating how one man can know so much. I truly am fucking blessed to be married to such a polymath! He’s a fucking 21st century Renaissance Man. That’s what he fucking is!


Tonight’s fight was caused by my innocently pointing out that there was an article about Baltimore in last Sunday’s “New York Times” travel section. I’ve never been to Baltimore but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’d like it a lot, as I generally enjoy more blue-collar, racially diverse cities on the East Coast. I’ve also heard that it’s got a thriving arts and culture scene. To be honest, I think it might be a lot like Glasgow.

Baltimore came up a couple of months ago in conversation when it was apparent that I’d have to drop out of my teacher certification program due to lack of a work permit. I could re-apply to that God-awful program for admission next year, but that would mean staying in a city both of us are bored of until summer 2011! We were considering places where I could apply to go to grad school, and Baltimore seemed like a good place because Johns Hopkins University is there – and it’s a good school – and the city itself appeals to me. I have since shelved the idea of applying to grad school to get certified as a teacher (well, at least this year) because, quite simply, I am broke. Also, it’s unlikely that my immigration status would be fixed out in time for me to become a conditional permanent resident, and be able to apply for financial aid.

I then thought about applying for “Teach for America” and “New York City Teaching Fellows” which, if you’re American, you may know about already. If you’re not American, well, these are just programs that basically take the “brightest and best” potential teachers and then throw them into some of America’s toughest and most under-achieving schools. You get practically no training (something both these programs have been criticised for a lot) but you start earning a salary straight away and, in many cases, you even get a subsidized Master’s of Education. “New York City Teaching Fellows” does not guarantee job placement, which could be a major disaster for me if I got accepted to the program, moved to NYC, and then didn’t find a job. “Teach for America”, on the other hand, does.

What, you may be asking, does this have to do with Baltimore? Or, more to the point, what the hell has it got to do with the fight you had with your husband?

Well, seeing as “Teach for America” guarantees job placement, this made me more keen to apply to them than “New York City Teaching Fellows”. “Teach for America” also allows you to choose certain specific cities or regions you’d like to teach in. I thought it might be a good idea to pick Baltimore seeing as it wouldn’t be as popular as somewhere like New York, and therefore might make it more likely for my application to be accepted.

Despite this, there are some glaring problems with “Teach for America”. Quite simply, I’m not really sure that I agree with their modus operandi. First of all, it’s incredibly prestigious to get accepted to this program, and it appears that most people who do are, for the most part, rich and privileged recent college graduates who have very little, if any, experience of working with troubled youth in the inner-city. Worse still, most people don’t apply to “Teach for America” because they’re desperate for a career in teaching. Rather, they seem to see it as a nice way to while away two years (getting a cheap Master’s in the process and a nice boost to their résumé – employers and grad schools look very favourably on “Teach for America” participants) before applying to law school or getting a job on Wall Street. Take a look at the “Teach for America” website and see what things their alumi are getting up to. Very few have stayed in teaching.

Now, I know I’m smart, and I also know I’d be a great teacher but, from the limited information you have about me from my writing on this blog, does it really seem like I’m the kind of person “Teach for America” would be looking for?! I am, after all, not a 23-year-old recent college graduate who wants to be a doctor or a lawyer. I may have an absolutely fantastic undergraduate degree, and a Master’s but, at the end of the day, I’m a 31-year-old, broke, hungry erotic masseuse with gaps on my résumé because I’ve been working in the sex industry, and have been unable to find a legal job due to immigration restrictions.

Add to this the “small” problem that if I were to apply and get interviewed, I would be unable to produce any documentation proving that I’m not an illegal immigrant to the US, as it clearly says on their website that I would be required to do. This is because, technically speaking, I am an illegal immigrant. I’ve yet to save up the $1,355 I need to change my immigration status. I’ve been trying for months to set money aside, but it’s been pretty hard to do given that I sometimes can’t even find the money for food.

I merely suggested to Midwestern Man that I was no longer so enthusiastic about applying to “Teach for America” only to be told that I “should just do it”. I probably will “just do it” but I certainly need to wait until my immigration status is fixed out. Apparently, though, Midwestern Man has insider knowledge about “Teach for America’s” hiring procedures because he seemed to know better than me that it would be OK for me to apply there despite my being an illegal alien. He also seemed to know that it wouldn’t matter about my age despite the fact that I’ve been told personally by two “Teach for America” graduates that they wouldn’t take somebody my age.

I don’t mind somebody encouraging me to do something, but it’s galling when they ignore what you say even though they’re quite ignorant about a topic.

Earlier this year, he told me that I “didn’t try hard enough” to find a job despite the fact that, um, I didn’t have a work permit and that many teachers with years of experience couldn’t find one either. This was, without a doubt, one of the worst years ever to be looking for a teaching job but, according to Midwestern Man, they were just growing on trees.

I wouldn’t mind taking career advice from somebody who actually had a career but Midwestern Man doesn’t. He’s been working in the same fucking coffee shop for four bloody years while he “works” on a graphic novel that never seems to be nearing completion. Tonight he told me that he was angry about my wavering about “Teach for America” because I’m “incapable of finishing” anything. He has a point in that, yes, I do have a problem with deadlines and finishing stuff. I’m not particuarly proud of that but, in my defence, I want to say that nearly all the stuff I didn’t finish was stuff I didn’t really care about in the first place. Somehow he includes my aborted teacher certification program among the things I didn’t finish despite the fact that I had to drop out because I didn’t have a work permit.

When I filled out my immigration application, I often checked online to get help for filling in some of the questions. There are lots of online immigration forums, and I’d always be reading about “Brad” bringing over “Tatjana” from Russia to get married. Clearly, “Tatjana” wasn’t paying for the immigration process herself. I don’t expect Midwestern Man to help pay for me to become a conditional permanent resident but sometimes I can’t but think that if he wasn’t such a big loser he could have lent me the money, and then I wouldn’t have had to drop out of my teacher certification program. But he can’t because he has no money.

I really do feel that he’s a fucking loser and, yet, I have to hear all about what a failure I am.

He’s also been getting chubby again lately. When I first met him, he had a huge belly but he lost it once he started running with me. He soon got out of that habit, though, and now barely does any exercise. I find this deeply unattractive. And he wonders why I don’t want to have sex with him!

Honestly, sometimes I think I should have an affair….Maybe with the gorgeous teller at the bank I met earlier this week. You don’t really expect bank tellers to be cute but, ooh, this one was…and he was very witty and smart. I found him extremely charming, and, unless I’m sorely mistaken, I think he was flirting with me, too.

The fact that I’m even thinking about having an affair with another man, no matter how whimsically, makes me wonder if I even love my husband. I don’t feel particularly passionate about him, and sometimes I feel that I only want to hang out with him because I’ve got nothing better to do. I know I don’t have the feelings about him that I should, but I always just put that down to my being emotionally fucked up and afraid of commitment, or being wiped out by financial worries. But what if it’s not that?

What if it’s not that complicated?

What if I just don’t love him?

Am I married to a loser?

Today has been a hard day, mainly because I nearly got arrested for attempted burglary (I can assure you, readers, that I was not guilty!). I was planning on blogging about my brush with the law tonight, but, alas, I have just had a fight with Midwestern Man and so I feel the need to blog about this instead to make myself feel better.

My dear husband was in one of his annoying, passive-aggressive little moods tonight. When he’s in such a mood, he doesn’t say anything, so I always need to probe to get him to admit to what’s bothering him. I hate this! Just say what’s on your fucking mind, for fuck’s sake! The result of my probing is that we always end up having a huge argument about a major problem in our relationship at an inconvenient time. I’ve told him repeatedly that if there’s an issue we need to address, we should set aside a specific time to talk about it when we’re both mentally, emotionally and physically ready and willing to do so. But, no…Midwestern Man will always start the discussion late at night when I’m already tired and irritable. Midwestern Man keeps all his resentment and anger pent up until he unleashes it…and then there’s no stopping him. It doesn’t matter how tired, emotionally worn-out or drunk I may be, or how late the hour; if he’s started an argument, he wants to resolve it there and then.

Tonight’s discussion centred around the very topic which causes the demise of many marriages – money! Or, more exactly, my precarious financial situation. There’s no denying it. I’m in a financial mess. I’m tired of working as an erotic masseuse and, even if I weren’t, handjobs aren’t exactly a priority for men in this economy. This week I’ve made only $360 and, well, OK, the week’s not over yet, but I’m not exactly raking the money in. Most of what I make goes towards rent, bills and my credit card debt, and the rest is for food and my animals.

I used to be a very fiscally responsible person but sex work has been my undoing. When I had a proper job, I was extremely anal about budgeting, and I was never in debt, but in this line of work you never really know how much you’ll earn per month, so it’s extremely hard to budget. From what I can gather, the women who are the most successful in the sex industry are those who merely moonlight as sex workers and keep their full-time or part-time jobs. I think it’s very hard to earn your living purely from the sex industry because of the high rate of burn-out. I’m not tired of the job exactly but I am tired of spending so much time at home on my own online, trying to hustle up some business. I’m also tired of living in “the shadows” and not really being a “proper” member of society.

To cut a long story short, there are just not all that many clients anymore, and I’m too burnt out to attempt to see any more than I do (two a day, if I’m lucky).

I don’t mind Midwestern Man pointing out my dire financial state, and expressing concern about my (probably quite impractical) plans to apply to go to grad school to get certified as a teacher. However, what really, really, really pisses me off is that he expects me to listen to him complain about how financially irresponsible I am without my being able to mention my own concerns.

I take responsibility for my money problems, but I also feel that there have been many mitigating factors: (1) I moved to a different continent to begin grad school…not cheap! (2) with an F1 student visa, I was for many years not allowed to work anywhere but on campus, thus severely limiting my employment option (3) I don’t talk to my parents anymore, so I can’t expect any help from them (4) US Immigration bureaucracy is so incompetent that I spent many months last year without a work visa while they got their shit together. I now have an invalid work permit, and I’m still waiting to save up the money to send off my “change of status” application. In other words, I couldn’t find a teaching job because I didn’t have a work permit.

I’ve been trying to leave sex work behind, and find a normal job, and a regular salary, but this is easier said than done.

What’s Midwestern Man’s excuse for being broke, though?! I’d love to fucking know. I mean, he’s never left the fucking country (a huge sore point for me actually…He’s thirty-two, and he’s never once been tempted to leave the US?! Jesus…), so he’s never had to deal with the expense of uprooting yourself. He did move to LA for several years after college, and then he moved here, but I don’t think that moving across the US has anywhere near the financial and emotional cost that moving to different countries does.

Midwestern Man’s plan is to be a graphic novelist/professional illustrator. I find it hard to be 100% enthusiastic about his career goals, mainly because he has had this dream for a while, and yet never finishes anything. I wouldn’t mind at all about his being broke if he was working diligently every day on his novel, but he’s always so distracted and unfocused. Instead of working on his book, he’ll take an art class because that will apparently give him “better skills” but it’s obvious he’s just taking the class to avoid doing any real work.

I don’t think it’s spoiled to want to be an artist, but I do find Midwestern Man’s lifestyle incredibly spoiled. He has a nice, easy job in a café (the kind of job you have when you’re twenty) because he doesn’t want to be burdened with any responsibility or stress. That would “take him away from his art”. As much as I do genuinely want to be a teacher, what makes him think that I want to do that five days a week?! Hell, I’d kill to work only three days a week, and then spend the rest of the time writing, but, guess what, that’s something that I can perhaps achieve later down the line when I’ve actually been successful in the teaching and/or writing field. The idea of having a job with responsiblity terrifies me, too, but I’m a thirty-one-year-old woman, so it’s time for me to be an adult, I think!

Midwestern Man also passes judgement on my supposedly “extravagant lifestyle”. My only extravagances are my iPhone, my two bedroom house (it’s kind of justified, though, as I need a spare bedroom for the massage room) and my terrible inability to avoid rescuing yet another stray cat. Besides that, I barely ever go out to bars or spend money on “entertainment”; I don’t own a car; I don’t really drink very much or take drugs; I don’t really buy new clothes (God, how I wish I could!) or go on vacation.

He thinks it’s spoiled that I want to have nice things in the future, and be able to travel as much as possible, but I’m a big girl now, and I’m tired of living like a student. He apparently is not.

A couple of years ago, a doctor acquaintance of mine scoffed when I said that I only dated artistic types. He said I’d rapidly re-think that when I had kids and found myself living on the breadline. I thought his comment was incredibly mercenary and cynical, but sometimes I do catch myself wishing I’d married a successful, wealthy man. I wouldn’t be happy being a kept woman, but if Midwestern Man doesn’t shape up, I can’t help but see my life with him being one of crushing poverty.