Monday, June 6, 2011

My Wife

"So, you're forcing her to make a choice between having a committed, monogamous, sexual relationship with a man who will do anything she wants and who would rather be with her than anyone else in the world and a sexless relationship with an unemployed, alcoholic rapist who also happens to be an illegal alien?"

What an awesome comment! Thank you Mr (or Ms) Anonymous for summarizing my situation so succinctly. I'm certainly not going to argue with what you've said. But my wife would.

In her opinion, the above comment is all wrong. For her it's not a question of me vs. the unemployed, alcoholic rapist Charlie. The problem is me. With all my flaws and all my short-comings, she's just not that into me. And she's not sure she could ever be into me again.

Maybe this will explain why she has big doubts...

With only two days left in our vacation, I was pretty pleased with myself. Earlier in the week I had stood my ground and turned a big fight into an apology from my wife. Then, I got her to admit that she wished we weren't separated. Then, and best of all, I convinced her that we should see a marriage counselor. With all that accomplished in the space of a few days, I was giving myself endless pats on the back. Good job Cameron!

But then good fortune turned on me, quite literally.

Gabbie was slow to get ready that day so for the first time all week I spent a few dollars in the casino. Well, ok, I actually lost $300. Gabbie was not at all pleased.

When I told her, her reaction was very subdued. All she did was ask in a very exasperated voice, "How could you?!!!"

Nothing else especially noteworthy happened that day, but believe me, that $300 hung over her like a very dark cloud.

The next day was traveling day; twelve hours from the ship back to home. It ended up being quite a long day, filled with mistakes.

Mistake #1: We did one activity in Miami that ended at noon. Our plane was scheduled to depart from Ft Lauderdale at 6pm. My wife was annoyed that the "whole day" was wasted. Why couldn't we catch an earlier flight?

Mistake #2: Because we had six hours to wait, I didn't see any reason to rush to the airport. Instead of paying $75 for a 35 minute cab ride, I thought it would be more interesting (and yes, cheaper too) to take public transit.

Ok, so what if took us three hours to get there? We got to see a lot of locals on our four different train and bus rides.

Gabbie didn't find the locals nearly as interesting as I did. And although she didn't look very happy throughout our journey, she didn't complain either.

Mistake #3: The plane ride was six hours. An hour before landing Gabbie decided she was very hungry and wanted to spend $7 for cheese and crackers. I told her, "Don't do that! Just wait an hour and we can stop on the way home and you can get something you really want."

Gabbie didn't especially want to wait but she didn't fight me about it either.

Mistake #4: The easiest way for us to travel from home to the airport is to take a bus. It's $20 per person each way, $80 total for the two of us, round trip. For $21 I can drive us there, park in a residential neighborhood, and take public transit a short distance to the airport. The only downside of my "cheat" is that it takes about 40 minutes to travel from the parked car to the airport and vice versa. I do that part alone because Gabbie would rather sit with the luggage in the terminal.

We arrived on-time, at 9pm. I got to where the car was parked at about 9:50. But something was very wrong.

No car.

When you know where you've parked your car and you go back to that exact location and the car is not there, there are only two possible explanations: either the car was stolen or it was towed.

I tried calling the non-emergency number for the local police but all I got was a message. What to do?

I decided that even if the car had been towed it was too late to deal with it. Gabbie was too tired and hungry; she just wanted to get home.

I called her to let her know that I'd be back at the terminal in 40 minutes and that we'd have to take the bus home. She was shocked and distressed; mostly she was worried about the car.

We got home at 11:45. Gabbie was too tired to eat so she went to bed hungry.

The next morning I called the police, and yes, the car had been towed. It had been left sitting for too long.

Gabbie was not pleased.

But I had even worse news for her: as the only registered owner of the car, she was the only person who could get the car released.

That was the last straw.

Gabbie had been annoyed with me for two days and had barely complained that whole time. But as soon as she found out that she was going to have to spend four hours claiming my car, on a day when she already had plans with friends and with Charlie, she went ballistic.

"You ruin everything. You ruin every vacation. You're so cheap. You're such an ass. How dare you tell me when I can eat? How dare you tell me that you'll do anything for me when you treat me like dirt? Do you know anyone who travels like we do? Do you know anyone who's had their car towed because they were too cheap to take the bus to the airport? Do you know anyone that drags their luggage on four different trains and buses to get to an airport because they won't pay for a cab ride? How can you tell me that you value me when you so obviously don't care how I feel!"

I got what I deserved, I guess.

It took three hours of driving and waiting to get the car released and throughout that time Gabbie raged. After nearly 25 years together I thought I had seen everything. But no, I had never seen her that angry. She literally shook with rage the entire time. You know, hands tightly clenched, teeth grinding, face flushed and with a look her in eyes that said, "I want to smash your smug face and keep beating you until I've hurt you as badly as you've hurt me."

$116 for the parking ticket. $240 for the tow. $120 for the weekend pick-up. $75 for one day's storage (after sitting for seven full days the car was towed only 6 hours before I arrived to drive it away.) All told, I had cost us $851 in two days with nothing to show for it. Well, nothing other than a wife seething with fury.

The grand finale of the day was the ten minutes we spent together waiting for the car to be delivered. We had just learned about the $435 in tow company fees. Gabbie said to me, "Do you have any idea how mad I am at you? I have never been this mad at anyone in my entire life. Do you see the steam coming out of my ears? Well, I'll tell you this: I hope you do this kind of shit to whoever ends up with you next. Or maybe you'll find someone just like you - someone who thinks he knows it all but is really just a fucking, cheap asshole!!"

That ended all conversation between us for more than a day. The car was released and we each drove a car home. Only Gabbie didn't come home. She already had big plans for the day. Plans with her friends, plans with Charlie. Even if she didn't have plans, the very last thing she wanted to do was to spend another minute with me.

I spent the day catching up on things, like blog posts, and I hung out with the kids. The whole time I was wondering what to make of our week together. She said she didn't want to be separated and she agreed to go to counseling. But her last words expressed a whole new attitude, whoever ends up with you next. Did I cross the line with her and now she's done with me?

I don't have any answers. I don't know what she's thinking right now. All I can say is that I will bring up counseling again, but I have to tread lightly for a while.

***

Late in the afternoon of my first day back at work, as I was thinking about what had happened and what I should do, I realized something important. Yes, my wife was pissed off about all the stupid and inconsiderate things I had done, and she was right to be angry and disappointed, but her anger was so much worse than anything I had ever seen before. Was $850 worth that much anger? Or was she really venting about something else?

Ding, ding, ding. It all clicked.

I realized that as pissed as she was, her extreme anger was coming from somewhere deep within.

What is she so pissed about?

That I'm gay. And actually, she's not merely pissed, she's enraged.

Straight wives become bitter because they feel betrayed and used. This is how my wife feels. She's no saint and she'll readily admit that, but my admission is a monumental betrayal her in mind. I understand why she feels betrayed but I don't understand the intensity of her fury. Even with all my flaws, I've been completely dedicated to her and every effort I've made has been sincere. I just don't get it.

But it is what it is.

***

This is a long entry already but I'm going to add a little sunshine here at the end.

My wife has been best friends with Linda since high school. Linda is a good-looking, fun, outgoing "girl." But OMFG is she a mess. She's 44, single with a three year old, works for daddy for maybe 25 hours a week, and basically, can't cope with any responsibility or stress. Her mommy has bailed her out of every problem she's ever had.

Well, her mommy has been pushing Linda to marry the father of her child. The two of them have had this on-again-off-again thing for about 5 years now. Finally last September Linda proposed to him, he accepted, and Linda has been planning a ridiculously huge wedding ever since. But the problem is that Linda and her would-be-husband Stan really don't get along. If they hadn't had their "oops-baby" they would have broken up long ago. In recent weeks, Linda has been having seconds thoughts about marrying and last week she actually canceled the wedding.

My wife was giving me the latest Linda-story yesterday and at the end of it she said, "I think Stan really needs to grow some balls. After all these years and all this back and forth he should say to Linda, 'Either be with me, or don't.' I mean it's ridiculous, what's been going on."

I could not stifle my huge smile.

Grinning like the Cheshire Cat I said, "Oh really? Is that what Stan should do? Get some balls and say, 'Either be with me or don't?'"

My wife looked at me funny for a second, then she got it. "You're not funny Cameron. And don't try to start any shit with me today. Just leave me alone for awhile."

"Ok, I will. But I am definitely going to remember your advice for Stan. I like it. 'Either be with me or don't.'"

She gave me a dirty look.

You can be certain that I will be reminding Gabbie about her advice for Stan very soon.

16 comments:

  1. Grow some balls and make up YOUR mind Cameron. Now you tell can me the same thing...since I'm in similar shoes as you (except my wife doesn't have a boy friend, but I wish she did). I'm trying to grow a pair, but it's not working to well.

    Anyway...Gabbie wants the old Cameron, the Cameron she married. Not the gay Cameron that screwed everything up. My wife wants the old Will that she married, not the cheating bi Will.

    Gabbie is mad at you for shattering the illusion that was her perfect life and making her feel as messed up as Linda. That is your fault (if anyone really is to blame).

    And a bus to the airport? Seriously? Dude - I thought I was cheap, but you win that one. If I was going on vacation with you and this happened, I'd either be laughing may ass off at the whole thing, or I'd be pissed too (but not as PO'd as Gabbie).

    Good luck with all this.

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  2. So, I have a few thoughts on this:
    1. That's a really shitty comment, the person you started off with said. I hate when anonymous posters say stuff like that. It's completely unhelpful, and just a jackass thing to do.

    2. In my case, it's my wife who's the cheapskate and will do anything to pinch a penny. We do public transportation all the time when we travel, and never park at an airport. Having said that, there are times when I just say enough is enough and we foot the bill to take a cab.
    Gabbie can, at any time, speak up, but she won't. Yes, you have your quirks, but she can't go around acting like a victim if she doesn't say anything.
    3. The last point seems to be a larger issue in your marriage. Yes, you being gay is an enormous issue, but I don't hear anything about your wife communicating her needs to you, or being proactive to work on the marriage, when her needs aren't being met. No one can fault you for your sexual orientation. We might be able to fault you for your quirks, but you are trying to work things out, and I don't see where she is doing that. Instead, she's doing the typical female thing and pouting about it, until it gets out of control. That seems to be a larger problem.

    Cameron, yes, you might have things to work on, but you ARE trying. Stop blaming yourself! This is a two-way street, and there are so many options for the two of you. If she's not willing to bend, then all that is what's limiting those options.

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  3. This isn't going to be popular but I think it's time someone at least attempted to understand Gabbie. No she's not perfect and yes she has a lot of issues but it took two people to arrive at this place.

    When Gabbie married Cameron she was a virgin. From all we know she had very little sexual experience. Their martial relations were not conventional..in fact Gabbie remained technically a virgin several years into her marriage. Not Cameron's fault but not Gabbie's either.

    From what we know, Cameron went elsewhere in the early part (perhaps half) of their marriage for sex. Gabbie remained faithful and perhaps made peace with the physical aspects of their relationship that is until she decided to take a lover.

    Can anyone blame Gabbie for taking a lover? Most of you guys have done it. Cameron himself did it many times during his marriage. Gabbie. of course, made a horrible choice but can she be blamed for that entirely? How do you think a woman would feel about herself after knowing that her husband did not "desire" her in the way she might want? How do you think a woman like Gabbie even understood her own sexuality? Do you think a man like Charlie might have been a "safe" choice for a woman who felt undesirable?

    Yes, I agree with all of you that Gabbie's been very selfish. I also agree that Cameron is a great guy. That doesn't change the fact that these two people have 3 kids and 24 years of history between them. He loves her and it sounds like she loves him, too. Can't she be forgiven for being terrified of having the rules changed on her yet again? She went into marriage thinking it would be conventional. She was wrong. She accepted Cameron anyway and made a life with him. Now the relationship is shifting yet again. Back, perhaps, to the "conventional" marriage she expected 24 years ago. Is it any wonder she is afraid? How does she communicate needs she's never learned to articulate?

    Oh and BTW, Cameron, I would have been pissed, too, had you dragged me around with my luggage :)

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  4. Having recently done this & still leaving my marriage - Do the right thing Cameron & grow the balls to say that you need to leave this relationship somehow/way this is good for all involved...Quit waiting for her to "let you go" so you can feel better....& how you expect her to take you back when she clearly now seems to understand your gay...!! Think about what you are trying to get her to process....My wife has told everyone that it would of been easier if I was having an affair with a woman...there she could of had a fighting chance of competing....you being gay - Gabbie can never be "all" you need ......ALthough nobody ever wants to admit it - you are asking her to stay chained up to a no-win situation....I'm sorry to be so blunt - but I've watch you go back & forth for a long time.....I now - been there & done it....its ultimately not fair

    Nick, Fort Wayne, IN

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  5. Cameron
    This post reveals so much about the dynamics you two are stuck in, like the endlessly bickering couple that has some deep psychic need to have that be the way they relate and they are stuck in the molasses of it. So many marriages have been ended under similar circumstances as you have - neither of you is getting sexual intimacy and emotional support from one another and you know where this ultimately is going - and you are back to playing this out as the waiting game but at least adding counseling to the menu...which is a big step. You still need your own shrink or time to get clear about what you really want and it seems that despite the march toward open gay sexuality you began a few months ago, you are back to a kind of stasis where you piss one another off and yet stay connected. The history is huge, and that is certainly one of the factors that gives me pause in thinking how and why I might come out to my wife. But now you are out and living in a purgatory of your own making. The fact that you accommodated yourselves to one another for 20 years is not a good reason to keep torturing one another.

    Remember the Stan line and use it as a mantra to do your own deep introspection about this situation that has to change or you will be in the quagmire forever. And maybe the issue is that you each like mud wrestling a whole lot more than you want to admit.

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  6. Thank you all for your superb comments.

    One of the primary attributes of blogging is that you get to tell your stories. The thing is, the stories include a natural bias in favor of the author. It almost never happens that other parties get to turn the tables on us and have their say.

    I can't escape my natural biases but I think I've done a decent job of showing that my wife has plenty of reasons to be sick of me. Many of you would be very irritated with me too if you were in her shoes. Clearly, I am not an innocent victim who takes nothing but abuse from his evil wife.

    My intentions are always good but we all know that good intentions ultimately don't mean much.

    I am now trying to retrain myself when it comes to being cheap. At this point, I think it would be easier to be straight than to spend money without guilt. Not being cheap is an uphill battle!

    IF my wife and I ever travel alone together again, I will try to indulge her. I'd really like to redeem myself after the disaster I have described above.

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  7. Cameron, I think it's fine for you to take your time. In my case, I finally grew a pair and left my wife but it was not pretty and she has never gotten over it. Gabbie sounds like her in that way so I hope you do try counseling and see where it leads. No need to rush through this important process for both of you and your kids.

    And don't stop being thrifty since that is a trait that many other guys besides you have, and want in a partner, as well. My wife has it, but my partner not so much- but he's great about humoring me. So yeah splurge a bit with Gabbie, but there is nothing wrong with being frugal. I would totally have done the trip to/from the airport the way you did!

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  8. WillBeBi - You're right. Many wives have a hard time moving on after disclosure. This is because they see their husband as the person he was, or, the person they thought he was. In addition to making sure the kids are ok and having to explain to friends and family what's happened, I think the wife's need to reconcile the 'old' husband with the new one is one of the hardest obstacles in situations like ours. Often, wives say it's like their husband has been taken over by aliens. Ultimately it is the husband's changed behavior that helps many straight wives let go of their romantic feelings for their spouse.

    Mack - You've hit the nail on the head. No troubled marriage can work unless both parties have a sincere desire to make things better. In my inept (but always well-intentioned ways) I have been trying. I guess I can give myself credit for that. But I can't blame my wife for being frustrated with me either. From her point of view, the effort I'm making now is years too late. Can I still convince her to try? Am I fool for even wanting to? Unfortunately those questions can only be answered by slogging through the muck. The truth is, we are both reaping what we have sown. That's a lesson for others...be careful what you sow.

    Anonymous - I agree with every word you've written. I am not the victim, my wife is not the villain. In fact, is extremely bright and probably has the highest emotional intelligence of anyone I've ever met. She has good reasons for feeling the way she does. Thanks for speaking up for her in ways that I can't adequately articulate.

    Nick said, "Although nobody ever wants to admit it - you are asking her to stay chained up to a no-win situation." I think about this all the time. What I've concluded, at least for now, is that I can't make that decision for her. You may be EXACTLY right, but if I can't be certain you are then I feel like that decision is hers. Until then I have every other reason in the world to try to make things work. Also, for or better or for worse, I am driven by the idea that good effort = good results and that good intentions cannot be faulted. Personal experience is teaching me that these ideas are often wrong. But it's really hard to unlearn the innate belief that good always makes for good.

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  9. Jayson said, "now you are out and living in a purgatory of your own making. The fact that you accommodated yourselves to one another for 20 years is not a good reason to keep torturing one another." Well that is certainly true! Our long history, the blame game for mistakes of the past, and our mutual desire NOT to be at fault should we split are all factors that play a role in our dynamic. And probably for many other couples too.

    Men are entirely secondary to me when it comes to the question of whether my marriage can be saved. Right or wrong, for me it feels like the right thing to do to go the distance and try anything and everything. Knowing that I was gay and getting married anyway was a potential recipe for a lifetime of regret. I got over those regrets early in the marriage but I haven't forgotten how powerful regret can be. I never want to look back at these days and regret that I was too impetuous or too selfish to have tried to make things work. There will be men to date tomorrow and next week and next year. But I'll only ever have one marriage and this is it.

    Thanks for reading, commenting and thinking of me, buddy.

    Paul - High fives for frugality! Oops, sorry. I have to take that back. I'm working on retraining myself. I can't celebrate being cheap any more. Sigh.

    I'm pushing very hard for marriage counseling but she has to want to sincerely make the effort but she has big doubts. As you said, important decisions can and should take time. This is one of them. With that said, it's amazing that ya'll haven't tired of my drivel because this mess has been going on for so long.

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  10. Cameron, you are incorrigible! I've told you in the past to move on and get a life. You, indeed, have NO BALLS! If this, let's try that, Charlie is the problem, if we got marriage counseling, if she could be a good mother to our children, etc. etc. etc. There will always be yet another excuse and you, Cameron, and INCAPABLE of making a decision. You deserve Gabbie and the mess your life is in, because you do not have the balls to be a man. This situation has nothing to do with you being gay; that is only a minor side issue. Divorce her, give your children a good life, and IF you meet a man that you can be happy with, then fine.

    I am so tired reading of your inepititude in dealing with your life in this blog, that I think I am just going to have to sign off and quit watching you beat yourself up. I wish the best for you, but somehow don't think it will ever happen, because you won't and can't make it happen.

    Sorry,
    UncutPlus

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  11. There is the conscious, rational drama that is unfolding with motives etc described by you and the commentators above. I'd urge you to consider possible unconscious (humor me on this psychodynamic approach) responses to your major efforts to Do The Right Thing and be good; namely, anger, which can express itself passive-aggressively in such things as, oh, I don't know, making a mess out of the car situation and trips to the airport. If there is an imp in you wanting to get back at your wife, he did a good job, no?

    If your wife won't go to counseling, I deeply hope that you will find a good therapist for yourself where you can look at some of this. Finding a good couples or individual therapist isn't easy, but it's possible.

    It's not going to be anyone's fault alone if this process ends in separation. It takes two, etc. etc., and if you're in a contest to see who "gives" by admitting it's over, it's going to be a long battle, since both of you seem pretty determined that "It ain't gonna be me."

    Anyway, I've written more than I intended. You have the affect on me, Cameron! And I mean that in a good way.

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  12. Why are so many of you angry at this man? He hurts no one but himself (if that is what he's even doing). So many of you are willing to stay in marriages, lie and cheat, have no thought of honesty yet you fault this man for "trying to do the right thing"?

    Who am I to question one man's sincere attempt to make his marriage work. You may prefer he live his life as an out and proud gay man but he might really prefer to remain in his marriage with a woman he loves. Why does that bother you so much?

    Do these posts act as a mirror exposing feelings some would rather not explore?

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  13. Wow. I thought I was frugal. All relative I guess.

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  14. My partner was 45 when he decided he wanted to be happy at last and come out. We meet later that year and have been together from that point on. He was scared... lost his job, lost his home, had to start a new life. But nineteen years later we have more together material wise, emotion wise, sharing and caring about what each of us need. Sure, the first of the transition going from married to single gay is unknown. But you make your path, discover new joys, maybe even discover someone that will share true intimacy. It's time for you to have some real happiness and joy in your life, not settling because its is what it is. Stop the BS to yourself and the BS with you wife.....all you have together is a roomate situation. Your both supporting your habits - the kids - your house - your day to day activities that provide no joy to either party. GET A LIFE OF YOUR OWN You can be assured that the kids will as soon as they can.

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  15. Uncutplus - I hope you keep reading. As my most vocal critic, I think of you often as I write. You might be frustrated that I haven't followed your advice but your thoughts certainly weigh on me. I would very much miss your influence.

    With that said, I must defend myself. I AM capable of making a decision. I made a decision 18 years ago to be married to my wife and, believe me, I have questioned that decision very often since then. But I don't want to change it. THAT is my decision.

    As for being inept and deserving what I get, I won't argue about the latter. My unwillingness to end our marriage requires that I accept the alternative and all the good and bad that comes with it; I deserve what I get. As for being inept...you see it that way because I have not being trying to achieve the goal you think I should. Our difference of opinion is about what the goal should be, not so much about how I've gone about pursuing my goal.

    Jason - Sabotage! You could be right. I can't speak for my subconscious. My conscious mind disagrees. I see my problems as good intentions gone wrong. It's hard to fix good intentions. What do you do? Go with bad intentions??

    About counseling...I don't ever think about it. I certainly don't yearn for it. I don't know what it would do for me. I'm committed to trying everything so the burden is one me to follow through on that, no matter what the consequences.

    Anonymous - Thanks for defending me. Honestly, I don't mind being attacked or criticized. Nothing anyone has said is a lie or wrong or intended to be hurtful. Honest opinions and advice are worth a fortune, especially when they can make you understand things you otherwise wouldn't.

    RB - Let's travel somewhere together. Then we can have a proper who-is-the-biggest-cheapskate contest. Be warned, I am trying to adjust my ways.

    Kent - Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your partner's story. I'm a sucker for happy endings. For better or worse, I am committed to seeing the BS through to the end. I have to know that I tried everything with all sincerity. It's a character flaw, I'm sure, to be so stubborn. But that's who I am and I am willing to pay the price for it.

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  16. At the risk of boring everyone to tears and/or making them LOL, acknowledging and allowing unpleasant/unacceptable feelings such as rage, desire for revenge (Freudian Id expressions), can make it less likely that we act out of them without knowing it. I mean, I often find myself doing something, then saying, "Oh, shit, I'm refusing to return a phone call, not b/c I procrastinate, but b/c i'm scared/angry, etc." Awareness, that's the ticket. You're welcome.

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