July 18, 2021 – The sounds of silence.

There’s a famous quote, “Be careful what you wish for,” that comes to mind after today’s events. I woke up feeling hesitant about leaving my bed and starting the day. I knew that once I got dressed and headed down the hallway, that eventually I would bump into my husband. I can usually count on him being 1) seated in front of the computer (checking stocks), 2) standing over the stove and whipping up some breakfast, 3) working out in the gym, or 4) seated on the couch and watching a slew of YouTube videos addressing any number of topics. The latest videos he’s been interested in all center around ‘how to seal your asphalt driveway’. I’ve watched a couple of them with him and I have to tell you, it doesn’t look that difficult. I probably could manage it myself…just not on a hot day. The thing is, more often than not, once I’ve greeted him, he has a tendency to ‘unload’ on me. And by ‘unload’, I mean that he’s been thinking obsessively and excessively about a number of things and wants to share his thoughts with me (for a minimum of an hour). You see, my husband’s a ‘speculator’. He thinks very differently than I do.

When I think about why things are the way they are or how they can go, I usually come up with two or three scenarios (at most). With my husband, it’s more like five or six or ten. He constantly speculates about situations. When we walk or drive through the neighborhood, he constantly asks me about what might be going on with our assorted neighbors. “Hmmm,” he’ll ponder, “I wonder what happened to Ben’s trailer? Do you think he’s camping? Or maybe he sold it. There’s a boat parked out there now. Maybe he traded the trailer for the boat? If he sold it, I wonder how much he got for it. It was probably worth at least ten grand.” As he thinks out loud, I shake my head in disbelief. Honestly, I don’t care about what’s going on with Ben or his trailer or his boat. Needless to say, that is just a small sample of how my husband’s mind works. I don’t understand it. “What does it matter?” I’ll ask him. “I’m just curious,” he’ll respond. He’s got something to say about nearly everyone that lives near us, his head continually swiveling to the left and the right and back again as we walk or drive past.

“You keep it up and you’re going to end up like Mrs. Kravitz,” I’ll warn him. If you ever watched ‘Bewitched’, you’ll know the character I’m referring to. The long and short of it is, sometimes I grow weary of all of this ‘speculating’. Being the primary person he communicates with daily, I am subjected to hearing about every single thing that he’s ‘processing’ at the moment, down to the finest, minute detail. Of course, it’s never just one scenario, there are always multiple. With regard to the pond, I’ve heard about at least ten different ways we can either resurrect it or modify it or improve it. Yesterday, he described to me at length about yet another way we could ‘save’ the pond. Imagine what’s going on in his brain with regard to our home and moving! The thoughts that pervade his mind are relentless. One set of thoughts relates to whether our house sells and the other to whether it doesn’t. No stone goes unturned in either case. It’s literally mind-numbing listening to it day after day. I kid you not, after a point, my brain just shuts down. When my husband gets done talking, he’ll ask me my thoughts. “I have no thoughts,” I usually answer, “I did but I don’t any longer. My brain is mush.”

Yes, there’s been a lot of talking in our household lately, but the source is mostly my husband. I haven’t felt much like talking. We’ve been spending so much time together that I feel as if I’m suffocating. I haven’t worked since March of last year and he hasn’t worked since May of this year and despite how much I love him, I could use some breathing room. We’re around each other constantly and it’s all becoming a bit too much. I was handling my frustration pretty well until my girlfriend came over the other day. I wanted to spend some one-on-one time with her but my husband stayed at my side the entire duration she was at our home. Honestly, I needed/wanted to vent about my marriage and my husband and how I was feeling (girlfriend to girlfriend) but I couldn’t because he was never more than a few feet away. After she left, I became really depressed. My husband cooked dinner for me in an effort to make me happy (not knowing he was the source of my frustration), but it didn’t help. I finally told him I was going to go to the mall to do some shopping and that I’d be back after a bit.

My friends, if you need to ‘get away’, I would encourage you not to go to Ross. My God, the place is like a playground at recess. Kids are running around willy-nilly, playing tag or opening up packages and strewing the contents from one end of the store to the other (while their oblivious parents comb through racks of clothing). That’s not the worst part though. The worst part is the screaming. I don’t know how many different kids were screaming but it was like a hellish chorus, and it went on for the entire 2 1/2 hours I spent at Ross. I just have to ask, what is the deal with the parents? Sometimes I want to walk up to them and scream in their face(s). Needless to say, my momentary ‘getaway’ didn’t help how I was feeling, I think being around all of that chaos actually exacerbated the situation. A night’s rest afterward didn’t help either. Not surprisingly, when I awoke this morning, I was oh-so-slightly agitated. I craved space and silence, and I knew once I encountered my husband, I would get neither. What I would get is ‘unloaded’ on by ‘Mr. Speculator’ (my pet name for him).

“I think I’m going to visit my family for a couple of days,” I interrupted, after he started up about whether or not the house was going to sell. “Would you like me to come?” he volunteered, “I usually don’t like to go but if you take me to the beach, I wouldn’t mind.” An awkward pause followed. I didn’t want to answer, but I felt like I was going to burst. “I’d really prefer to go by myself. I could really use some space,” I finally blurted out. “Oh. Ok,” he replied, looking dejected and hurt. I tried to explain how all of our ‘togetherness’ was affecting me and how it felt like we’d been sharing a bubble and the oxygen was in short supply along with a few other poorly-phrased excuses which didn’t help my cause. The more I said, the more upset he became. And then, in a very passive-aggressive manner, he threatened, “Maybe I’ll just leave and not tell you when I’m coming back!” “What?!” I replied angrily, “I thought we could handle this like adults.” That sentence was followed by a string of expletives, sorry to say. I was really angry and frustrated and a handful of cuss words just rolled off my tongue.

Instead of being understanding and supportive, my husband gave me a rash of crap. After expressing that my request for ‘space’ hurt his feelings, he stopped talking altogether. His lips were sealed. He had nothing more to share on whether or not the house was going to sell or the various ways to seal a driveway or how to resurrect or save the pond or whether or not the neighbor sold his trailer. From then on, the only time he used his mouth or lips was when it involved eating food or drinking a beverage. Other than that, he had nothing more to say. How did it make me feel? Well, I felt like sh*t. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt him. Before I even broached the topic with my husband about needing space, I had a suspicion it wouldn’t go well, and it clearly didn’t. After he finished breakfast (in another room) and made himself scarce, I tried to carry on but I was so down that I could hardly function. I walked the dog but it was anything but joyful. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day, but all I could think about was what had just transpired between my husband and myself. I had yearned for space and silence and boy-oh-boy, I got it tenfold! Things sure didn’t go the way I envisioned.

Today sucked. I know of no other way to describe it. After walking the dog, I went back to bed and wept for a while. My hunger finally coaxed me out of bed, so I went down to the kitchen and made a sandwich. From the kitchen, I went into the livingroom and sat down on the couch. I tried to watch a little TV while eating my sandwich but it was too hard to concentrate. I then went outside and shuffled around a few plants. One of a pair of matching plants had died, so I dug up the dead one and threw it away and relocated the healthy one, and then planted two drought-resistant grasses in the vacant spots. I wish I could say that I felt better after that but I didn’t. I knew I had to resolve the situation with my husband before that was possible. Fortunately, after I cornered him in the garage and we had a long, earnest talk, things turned around. It took a little while, but within a couple of hours, we were back on solid ground. I’m glad we’re to a point where we can get things worked out within a reasonable amount of time. I would hope we’d be able to accomplish that by now, we’re 34 years in! No doubt about it, marriage isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of work. But I’ve got to tell you, it sure beats the alternative!

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