Thursday, September 18, 2008

is this how it should be?

How many nights a week do you spend with your partners? How much conversation do you have in a day? Are both of you equally happy with that?

As you know, Axel has been gigging a lot recently, sometimes Thursday through Sunday. He practices on a Wednesday night. Practice includes tea, smoking, chatting, computer time, planning, as well as actually writing and running through music.

There's a buzz on for them at the moment, because they're going to England for a week and a half to record another album, and they're getting it right. And they're excited about the trip.

So Axel went to practice last night, and popped over from four to eight today to run through more stuff. Then he came home with the boys and they've gone back out to the pub to discuss plans. He'll be playing gigs Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

On nights when he's not gigging or practicing (three out of five) he's home at 6.30. He'll often put Olivia to bed now. And sometimes I'm late enough with dinner that we'll all eat together. Then he crashes out on the sofa and gazes at motor sport programmes, or American Chopper, a programme about a father son business who make custom built motorbikes and bitch at each other. It has its moments, but as you may understand from the episode guide, a girl can only take delight in so much of Teutul Senior and Junior saying 'ass' to each other.
If I talk to him about much other than the band, he tends to stare at the tv in silence. He's so wiped from the four days of gigs followed by work that he's got nothing left for here.

I do understand that. Except. Except he's all animation for his bandmates, all fun and jokes and up til the small hours and getting things done. He'll be off in the pub now having a laugh and a chat, making plans, but if he was here, he'd be staring at the tv, feeling irritated by my attempts to talk to him.

Someone recently said 'FFS, enough with the 'my husband has a gig'. But I have a sinking feeling. How many nights a week would you spend with your husband, anonymous person? How separate are your married lives? If you're happy to be apart most of the time, how often do you come together, to eat, talk, have sex, go out? To do the things that adults in a relationship do.

Perhaps there is an answer in more counselling. We went to a bit. I'd go back, except I don't really have the energy to sit there discussing how I need more of a personal life, and having Axel nod dispiritedly and agree that we could perhaps manage a night out together once a month, even though we don't have any money and I say that would be nice, and we all smile and it's great and then we go home and that was last winter and the date has yet to materialise. So I either live without it or I nag him about it - because that's proved effective in getting some one to love you more, eh?

It's one thing to say I should make more friends, and get out more. Get out on the two nights he's in for? Monday and Tuesday. The thing is, I don't think it's a bad thing to want to be able to have some quality time with the man you married. To talk in a way that isn't just information exchange. Or arguing over the kids. I would like some time that is our time. I would like some time to feel... I don't know. Like part of a couple in. Usually if I go out it's either to one of his gigs, so I don't see him, or by myself, where I'm always half of a couple. Jo on her own. Who needs to be home at 12 o clock so her Mother in Law babysitter can get home.

I usually buy Axel eco type shaving cream, but he ran out a while back and started buying Gillette again. I used it on my legs, and this long forgotten aroma filled the shower. The smell of youth. Of getting ready to go out, of anticipation and possibility, cleanness, and sex, and the night is young. The smell of happiness.

Perhaps if we didn't have children and no money, things would be different. Freer, less stress, more fun, more space for me to be able to have a separate life that didn't just involve the kids.
Or perhaps we would have broken up by now. Certainly, the smoking alone makes me want to leave.

Because we have children, and a relatively stable family life, I don't think a break up would change anything for the better, or be good in any way for the kids. Nor do I want to leave (except over the smoking). But the stuff I've been talking about doesn't sound hopeful, does it? It's hard to keep my self esteem at reasonable levels when my husband so clearly prefers his mates' company to his wife's. On paper, it just sounds like he's miserable, depressed, and wants to escape. Yet in counselling we talk about me. And my loneliness. And my dissatisfaction, and my issues. As if the problem is all with me, and it's only my hormonal hysteria that's causing me unhappiness. If I had a hobby, or a social life, maybe, then it wouldn't matter if I only see my husband a few hours a week.

I don't know why (I really don't!) but I always thought with total confidence, that I would be good at having a relationship. That I wouldn't do the things my parents did, that the communication in any relationship I had would be completely open and effective. How would I ever not be able to talk things out? I don't know why that made sense to me. My parents had a terrible relationship they were both very unhappy in and any relationship skills I might have learned from my father were completely negative ones. And Axel's parents had a bad marriage too, though in a quieter, more traditional Catholic way. There was no communication there, just resentment, hurt, misunderstanding, and separate beds.

And here I am, in truth, humiliated, with a Bad Marriage. The phrase whispers itself to me through the day, it taunts, and pokes, and forces me to look at it, a flash card held up in front of my eyes. Is it just the stress of having young children, of having no money, of me trying to work and look after the kids, of Axel being demoralised by the last three jobs he's been in? Or is it simply a Bad Marriage, Bad Marriage, Bad Marriage that is not going to improve?

If anyone reading this is worried, please don't be. Nothing has changed of late. I just wondered what it would be like to say Bad Marriage out loud.

Oh dear, I have no meaningful ending. No closure. But I'm falling narcoleptically asleep trying, so I think I'll just go to bed. I should have made icing. Tomorrow is a cupcake day, I should be baking about sixty of 'em. I wonder how that's going to go :) I think I'll start it all in the morning, it should be fine.


Anonymous said...

You sound like you are in the pissers. I don’t think it’s about comparing your relationship to what you perceive to be a good relationship. What floats one woman’s boat could sink another’s. It’s all relative darling, if you are not happy well then there is an issue that needs addressing. People could say lots of things to you, that that is his profession or even that he seems to have it handy or small children are stressful etc (I’m not insinuating that that is the case they are just examples) the main thing is it can’t be all about him, you are entitled to be happy as well.

Everybody goes through rough patches, some last a short time some take a little longer. Maybe you are just having a bad day. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bad marriage, what denotes a good marriage anyway?

Turn the Telly off and sit down and talk to him, try and agree to set aside some time for the two of you, even if its just for an hour or two and agree not to give out to each other during that time (Not even a little smidget of giving out). Also, make sure you do a thing or two during the week that you really enjoy, not about your husband or the kids, something that you find really enjoyable, like yogo or visiting one of your mates or a course or tag rugby or getting drunk and gathering pebbles from your neighbours garden and trying to break the street lamp that keeps you awake at night. Whatever just do something you enjoy. It will all be grand. Perfect marriages are boring anyway you need some drama to break the monotony.

I hope it all works out well for you and your family.


KEYNOTER said...

Great post, very well expressed hun. I'm feeling for you. This too will pass though. Hang in there

Elf in Amsterdam said...

Wow big thoughts.
I agree with Anonymous, what's a good or bad marriage?
I can understand you want time with your husband and you deserve this.
I don't think that getting other interests will "help" I think it distracts your mind, which momentarily makes you feel better, and so does drink, but that's not a good idea either.
You don't sound like someone that has no interests or life or lacks self esteem so, some distraction is not going to solve anything.

I also agree with anonymous in saying that time aside would help, even if not a date or something involving spending money. Just get the mother in law to mind the kids in hers for an hour or two. Then take some time just to lie on the bed and cuddle, take a bath, have a shower together something intimate, the talking and sharing will come from there and you'll feel closer to him and him to you and thats what you want, time (his time) set aside for you.
No Kids, No Band, No Bills, No Work
Just you and him.

Thats just my idea, might not work for you, and it might.

Your writing is always so fluid and more-ish. Sending good thoughts your way.

Nick McGivney said...

Hey doll. This sounds like it comes straight from ye almanacke of 'Surely 'tis juste us', but it truth it is all too familiar sounding. Balance and communication, balance and communication. So easy to say, so hard to effing achieve. Having everyone focus on the same thing for a start is a good start, and for everyone to realise what it is they're looking at is a second good start. You have your shit together, and I think at some level you know this. It's only one leg of the tripod though, innit? Him-Me-Us and what have you. This is a great post, and I hope some cathartic value comes to you from it, because it's hard to be in the relationship when comms are so negligible, but it's sure as shit harder to be in the part of it that isn't pegging off with its mates to cut an album. Hang tough, sis, and keep talking. I know that lots of folks are listening and caring.

Selina Kyle said...

hey jo
people can come here and throw advice at you, and we all mean well - we come here for a reason and it's because we like to read you, and therefore we like you and wish you well.
but it sounds like you already know in your heart that you have to do something about this. that your husbands passion for his music and his band has pushed you and the kids to second place. and that's not what a marriage should be about.
we all have problems, we all have arguments, and as it was said here already, what is a good/bad marriage? but people chose to be together for a reason, and if that reason is gone, then what's left?


jothemama said...

Oh, God, I dithered over the publish button last night, and I woke up this morning and was half about to delete this.

Thanks for your thought out and kind responses. It means a lot. I'm always embarrassed to try and explain how things really are. I feel ashamed that things are the way they are, I suppose. I was always so sure I was above it. I suppose the rejection of the way things are is why. So I really appreciate your affirmations. You don't live with me though... ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo, don't really know what to say except I think in every family people think their communication could be better.

I come home from work, everyone's starting at a different telly, I say 'how are you' and everyone says 'fine'.

And I bet Mrs Tin is thinking 'I wish he'd give me more news from the outside world'.

It's hard when your kids are so young and he's got the band and the crappy job. You will get more time as they get older, so that's when you'll see how things really are.

In the meantime, though, no-one says it's only your MIL who can baby-sit. Look at the possibility else. And if Monday and Tuesday are the only free nights, so what?

Hope it all goes well.

And PS, well said Nonny! I miss you on Twenty's site.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Thank god I didn't come across this last night, I've my morning head on now at least.

No, it's not how it should be.

Ye need to talk the bejesus out of this one, and not mention the words band or gig once, ye'll both only use it as an excuse for yer own arguments.

Talk it to death, what you wish for, how you miss certain things etc.

Every relationship needs to be taken out and beaten like a rug every once in a while.

Good luck to you.

maggot said...

Chin up Jo.
And I'd love a cupcake.

Lottie said...

I've read this a few times before working up a nerve to comment. I don't think anyone can look into another relationship as every couple is different.

I know that you are going through a bit of a hard time and maybe feeling a bit taken for granted. As you say this is a busy time for the band. they see, to be on a bit of a roll and that can be distracting and consuming.

Maybe what you two need is a night out together, just the two of you. Even a trip to the cinema where the topics of kids/house/band are off the table.

jothemama said...

Thanks guys.

So Tinman, are you offering to babysit?

Xbox, I love the rug analogy. Maybe I should get a carpet beater.

maggot, thanks. Heh, wait til you see my latestt photo.

Lottie, I don't think one night at the movies will do it. Once a month or so might though.

Sniffle&Cry said...

Like Xbox said Jo.

What's a relationship anyway? No, really. The essence. The centre.

Did I mention we're 20 years this October, and 25 years as a couple.

Miricle, quantum leaps of compromise are in the cheapest seats.

But, you've a tough gig on right now. Won't always be this way.

Whatever works.

jothemama said...

Thanks Sniffle. We're 16 years together this year, in our seventh married year.

I really hope when we make it through the other side of the era of small children and band birth, that there's aenough left of us on the other side!

péitseoga said...

hey, no it's not meant to be that way, i'm nearly sure! i hope it'll get better! will things quieten down a little when the album's recorded? any chance of a no TV (and no web night) for the two of you? just you and him? maybe even just going to bed real early? like straight after dinner, time for showers and cuddles and sex and talking and catching up on sleep?

jothemama said...

Mmm, that sounds nice!