What I Did on My Summer BreakPosted: August 15, 2015
Papa Bear and I took a break. Things were rough, mostly caused by the tension between myself and his wife, and both of us feeling like we could never measure up to the other. It was, in retrospect, all kinds of ridiculous. The truth is, I cannot measure up to her. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. In a lot of ways, she can’t measure up to me. Does she care? At the moment, yes–very much indeed.
The Wifey’s boyfriend was going to be out of town for awhile, so I told Papa Bear to take that time to focus on her, and that I would take that time to focus on myself. He spent time with her. They had long, hard talks. They took their kids on a day trip to the mountains. They talked candidly about their needs, and exchanged lists on paper. He and I talked a bit during that time. Every day we exchanged a few messages–mostly just how are you’s, or funny pictures or videos, but once or twice we did have a long talk about where things stood or what we were learning. All three of us read relationship books–Papa Bear read one on communication and started re-reading More Than Two, and I read Co-Dependent No More. The Wifey read something as well, but I’m not sure what.
I also read for pleasure. I took hot bubble baths. I spent time with my family, and put together a care package for my mom. I bought new decorations for my bedroom. I woke up in the morning feeling too sad to go to work, and came home at the end of the day feeling happy and fulfilled. I cried a lot, even breaking down at work once. But I came out of it better, because I learned that I am capable of handling my feelings all on my own.
After our break, Papa Bear and I felt like we were re-set. The first time we talked, it was hard. We were both obviously frustrated and felt somewhat hopeless. Then an hour into our talk (for which we’d both blocked off the entire day), The Wifey called to say she’d been in a car accident. So he left, helped her, had dinner with her, and then came back around 8 PM. We ended up talking until after midnight, and it was a good talk. We felt we understood each other after that.
At the end, I asked how the sex was going with The Wifey. He’d said they had barely had sex over the past few months, so I was hoping that a few weeks of exclusive alone time had helped. He’d said they’d been having sex a handful of times a week, so that things in that department were okay. I remember being floored by that. They were having sex a few times a week now, and that, for them, was considered just okay? I would do backflips if I had that with my husband.
We were drinking and cuddling and I nodded off for a bit. And when I woke up I was in tears. I sobbed all the way home. Papa Bear asked me what was wrong, and I told him I was just jealous. He said “Jealous? Or envious?” And he was right. I was envious. I wasn’t worried that The Wifey was going to take what I had. I was sad because I wanted the same thing.
It wasn’t that I wanted sex with Papa Bear a few times a week–though we usually have that–I wanted that for my marriage. With my husband. I cried and cried, but I didn’t explain to Papa Bear what I was envious of. I’m still not even sure he knows.
Instead, I had a long talk with The Husband the next day. Not just about sex, but about the fact that I feel like we are lacking intimacy and passion. We share the same emotional intimacy best friends would have, but not romantic intimacy. I do not want a perfect marriage, but I do want a romantically intimate one. That doesn’t mean I want flowers and chocolate and sonnets, though he used to do all of those things for me. It does mean that I want a husband who not only likes me and loves me and supports me and partners with me–I want a husband who wants me. I want my husband to actually be attracted to me. I want my husband to smile when he thinks about me, and want to be close to me.
When I think about spending the rest of my life in a passionless marriage to someone who likes me and is good to me and wants the best for me, I want to cry. I feel robbed. I want him to be my lover, not just my friend.
I don’t know what to do about it. He assures me that he does love me, that he is in love with me, that he is attracted to me–but that he is just dead inside because he feels like a total failure. He assures me that his heart will open and he will be able to be spontaneous and romantic and sexual, as soon as he is no longer working in a dead-end, low-paying job.
I don’t know if that’s true, but the irony is that until he does catch a break, there’s nothing I can do about it anyway. We can’t separate–we don’t have the money. Sure, I could send him off to some crappy one-bedroom apartment, but we’d both be broke and our children would be hurt. He is good to me, and I love him, and genuinely enjoy his company, so I see no reason to do that to him. I guess we’ll wait and see. I am willing to give him more time, if that’s what he needs, and he is willing to try harder to be close to me, if that’s what I need. Honestly, I’m not holding out hope for much to change right now. But I am going to try to not complain too much about things I can’t change for the time being.
As far as Papa Bear and The Wifey go…he said things are still hard. She said, when we were on our break, that she wanted him to talk to her about our relationship. That when he didn’t, her mind went to all kinds of crazy places. She’d assume he wasn’t talking to her about our relationship because he didn’t trust her. Or she’d assume it was because he was planning to leave her and set up house with me. So once he and I were back on good ground, and I’d learned how to deal with my insecurities and emotions, he started talking to her about me. The very first time he did, she broke down and cried. She thinks I am all he ever thinks about. She thinks he wishes I were his spouse, instead of her.
He feels like he can’t win. And I have to say, there’s a chance he might be right. He says he doesn’t know what he’d do if he was put in a position where he was forced to choose, but I am fairly confident he would choose her. And after taking some time away from him…I’m okay with that. He needs to do what he needs to do.
Of course I would be sad. I would be devastated. But honestly? “The only thing that’s the end of the world, is the end of the world.” (Co-Dependent No More.)
Life would go on.