Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What is marriage without communication?

The first thing I found when I googled divorce after 50 was that all of the blogs seemed to be from women whose husbands had left them for a younger woman, or had an affair, or the woman had an affair.  There was nothing so dramatic in my marriage.  My husband was, as far as I know, faithful to me and I know I was faithful to him.  I never would've hurt him like that.  Really my marriage just ...died.  

There were so many different reasons I can give for why I fell out of love with my husband.  I'm sure many of them will be explored eventually in this blog.   The biggest thing that I noticed was that we stopped communicating.  It didn’t happen all at once, and I didn’t even notice it at first.  A couple of years ago I took my son to counseling for anxiety and at the first session she asked him “How is your relationship with your father?”  He answered “Fine, we don’t talk about much, mainly food.”   


I started to pay attention to my conversations with my husband, I slowly realized…he’s right!  All we talked about with him was food; what was for dinner, what would we pack for lunch, what to get at the grocery store, what great deals he found at Grocery Outlet.  Food.

I can track the demise of conversation in our marriage to several issues.   First there was his extreme avoidance of anything resembling an argument.  He’d occasionally argue with me, but for the most part if he realized I was mad about something he’d leave.  As in…get in the car and drive away.  I’d be left home with the kids and my rage. 

Secondly there was his passive aggression…for example; right after we were married I decided I wanted a new car.  He didn’t want a new car.  I didn’t know for several years that he thought no one should ever buy a new car, used cars are a better value.  Did he tell me this?  Nope, not a word.  Not when we got in my used car to drive to the car dealership, not during the 45 minute drive, not even as I sat and negotiated with the salesman.  He said “Maybe we should go to another dealership.” That was his sole contribution.  But for 5 years afterwards whenever I complained about not having enough money he’d say “I never wanted to buy that car.”  Like that was useful…why didn’t he say something at the time? 

One of my pet peeves is being interrupted.  Not so much when someone interrupts my story to ask a clarifying question that shows they are listening, but when they interject something that shows their mind is obviously wandering and they aren’t paying attention to a word I’m saying.  There must be some masochism in my psyche because my soon to be ex-husband, my sister and my best friend are HORRIBLE interrupters and it annoys me to no end.  Why do I surround myself with people with this trait?  No idea, but if while reading this blog you have any insight, please share it with me!

The death knell was rung when we bought a house in Oregon and he continued to live in California.  At the time his work supplied him with a cell phone that honestly had the worst reception on the planet.  I could usually hear him okay, but he could barely hear a word I said.  The phone also disconnected us every two minutes.  I soon learned that he would pretend he heard what I was saying even when he couldn’t.  All of the stories I was sharing about the kids and my daily life were swimming in the ether…he heard none of them.  I suggested getting him a phone on my plan so he could hear me, but he refused.  Actually his usual answer was “I don’t want a cell phone at all.”   

I heard ‘I don’t really care what you have to say.’

Soon he decided he was afraid of the radiation so he would talk to me all the time on speaker phone.  I hated that, after all when you are talking to someone on the phone you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  He’d walk into his mother’s house while talking to me and before I knew it she’d be part of our conversation.  Soon I stopped talking much at all.

He never seemed to notice.

Before long our ‘conversations’ were him telling me his day and me giving one word responses.  I kept waiting for him to notice that I wasn’t sharing my days or the kids’ days with him anymore.  I don’t think he ever did.

By the time he got a job in Oregon and moved in with us I was in the habit of sharing my day with my friends and the family I emailed.  I no longer remembered what it was like to share the little stories of our day with him.  So we talked about food, what to buy for dinner, how to cook it, what to save for lunch the next day.  It was a neutral subject that we both felt safe with.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Almost 50 and I'm starting over

Last month I left my husband of 28 years and our home of 10 years and moved with our three kids to a nearby city.  I'll be 50 in March.  I have a 21 year old son and 17 and 15 year old daughters.  I haven't dated anyone besides my soon to be ex-husband since I was 16.  He is the only man I've had sex with.  Now THAT is scary.  I've only had brand new, fumbling with clothes, discovering what each other looks like nude, sex with one person.  I've no idea what it is like to date as an adult.  I've no idea how to deal with all the issues of new sex (how long do I wait, who initiates, where to have it, etc.) as an adult.  I don't even know how to meet someone I might be interested in dating.

I just negotiated finding a rental home for the first time since I was 19.  I've lived in rentals, but they were mainly places where I knew the owner or fell into it and didn't need to bother with an application.  Man, do they ask a lot more questions than they did in the 80's.  My son had to fill out an application.  He'd never lived any place but with me and some rentals refused us because he didn't have a rental history.  He is a full time student with no money...what difference would it make if he had a rental history?

I had to set up utilities and negotiate setting up the wi-fi so my kids wouldn't dissolve into a puddle of unconnected goo.  I had to drive a U-Haul truck and back it up for the first time ever by myself.  I'm learning how to hang curtain rods, move furniture, put together a sectional sofa, and figure out how to get the full sized mattress and box-springs that I just purchased home.

I'm creating this blog for all of the other women who wait until later in life and find themselves starting over.  I plan to share most of the details of what lead to the divorce as well as how I'm starting over.  I don't know if anyone will read it, but maybe some other woman will find herself in a similar situation and will find solace in knowing she is not alone.