Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mommy says, "No!"

"How is your marriage today, Cameron?"

Thanks for asking. And how prescient of you to ask about today's status, as it does seem to change on a daily basis.

The most 'interesting' thing that has happened in recent days is that Gabbie told her mother, Cindy, that she was going to move out.

Cindy has huge leverage over Gabbie, and in fact, a lot of Gabbie's rebellious behavior stems from her desire to be free of her mother's controlling ways. Their relationship has a weird dynamic. Her mother is bossy and controlling, Gabbie resents her for it, and they fight constantly. Yet, Gabbie never stands her ground for long and Cindy never backs off. They're the best of friends who never stop fighting.

When Gabbie told Cindy she wanted to move out, among the many choice words her mother said to her were, "Drunken whore." There were plenty of other insults but those are the words that Gabbie said hurt the most.

Slander and fighting aside, the conversation can be summarized very simply: Gabbie's mother told her she couldn't move out and Gabbie gave in.

After Gabbie explained the conversation to me, all I could say was, "You're 44 years old and you're going to let your mother tell you where you can live?"

To which Gabbie replied, "I guess so."

So there you are. Gabbie is not going any where and, presumably, we'll be married until one of us drops dead.

You might think I'd be happy with that result, especially after my whining in the last post. But no. Apparently, nothing makes me happy right now.

Gabbie's decision to stay because Mommy commanded it doesn't exactly make me feel that our relationship is secure. If she doesn't want to be married, why would forcing her to stay make either of us happy? It won't.

On the other hand, maybe Gabbie gave in so easily because she needed an excuse not to move. Maybe she's entertained the fantasy of living alone for so long that she never imagined the reality of making that happen, until now. Maybe a taste of reality killed the fantasy.

Although I am not happy with my mother-in-law's meddling, the idea of taking care of three kids alone is not appealing. So...if Gabbie wants to stay, I'm thrilled. But I want her to stay because that's what SHE wants. OR, I want her to stay if we agree that our romantic partnership is over. That would permit her to have Charlie and me to start dating men - both without the knowledge of the kids. (I we need to ask mommy for permission to do that??)

As usual, when Gabbie tells me which way the wind is blowing that day, I respond only to what she says and make no comments that reveal my own feelings. I've found this to be a wise tactic, because, why make a big deal about something if she's going to change her mind the next day anyway?

The flip-side of keeping my opinions to myself is that I have no idea whether Gabbie would agree that we are finished romantically or not. I'd think so...but I'm not sure.

A lot of the reason I'm confused is that Gabbie's behavior has been very different ever since we had The Conversation. Prior to The Conversation she spent as much time out of the house as possible. In a typical week she was home for maybe two dinners out of seven and was out until 10pm or later four nights a week. Also, she'd see or talk to Charlie multiple times every day. Now, she's ALWAYS home and I've seen Charlie only once in two weeks. Does she have a new love of life at home? Is she in a mourning stage where she's savoring family time while she has it? Or, is she simply trying to please me because I complained so bitterly about Charlie?

I don't know the answer. But I do know that I hate all the ambiguity in our situation and I'd like to have a stable, mutual agreement as soon as possible.

I feel unusually motivated to get some answers. Therefore, I have decided that if there are no new revelations by next Sunday, I will speak up and get our status clarified.

The resolution that would make me happiest is to have an open marriage. If that is the outcome then I hope to soon begin dating. Should I dare to imagine what drama that might bring?


  1. She's a real drama queen, isn't she? They both are, really.

    I like your idea of having another conversation to clear things up about the nature of your relationship. You are probably wise to wait another week to see what happens.

  2. Cameron- This is such a critical time for you to not ASK her what she thinks she wants to do with your marriage, but TELL her exactly what you want to do - you were so bold to tell her you were gay even if you were also stunned when she immediately said she would leave. She clearly works on such immediate impulses and does not deeply examine either her own behavior or the needs of her family. This also does make her vulnerable to strong other people influencing her as Charlie and her mother have done.

    It is time for you to be the strong one - you have nothing to lose. Tell her you want an open marriage as you seem to fantasize - not as a threat, but as an offer of a way you can continue to get what good things you have in he marriage and be there for the kids, but to also get needs each of you clearly are not finding in terms of physical intimacy...and it is one sided now, for her to get those needs met but not you.

    Stay calm and determined. If she does not give you the "open marriage" willingly, you can say to her you are sorry she is being so selfish considering how tolerant you have been with Charlie, and inform her of your intentions to date anyway. Consider offering her a trial separation if she cannot live with that, and if anyone is to move out of the house it ought to be her as you are the primary parent and keeper of the home. Remember, she started this if it ever gets to the point of talking divorce - and in California you split all assets and future income 50-50. This is your big chance to say and get what you want. You are so close to it now, and as you have come out to her that huge hurdle is over.

    Good luck on this all, and be sure to write or talk to friends all you can before the big talk with her so you can go into it feeling this is your right and bet for the kids also

  3. You wrote: "we'll be married until one of us drops dead." There is another option: until her mother drops dead.

    Still a long long time.

    Gabbie seems to have assumed she was in an open marriage; I don't see why you should make the same assumption for yourself, as both Java and jasonstreet have suggested

  4. You wrote, The resolution that would make me happiest is to have an open marriage.

    It would seem to me that would be the best for both of you. I can't imagine how a wife would have a problem with it under these circumstances?