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Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don't

Posted by CascadianAaron

The last four months or so have been a roller coaster for me. Basically right before Christmas my wife and I called it quits. There are lots of reasons and I have my view of things (like for instance I've been fighring a debilitating slew of diseases for the past 10+ years...) and she has her views. Don't really need to get into them, I'm sure many of you have been there too with spouses who don't/can't/won't walk a mile in your shoes so you know where this goes. Anyway we agreed to play nice for Christmas and also a Spring Break trip we'd planed and paid for and for the most part we did. We also agreed to counseling which we have been going to. But in the end I am getting the impression that there is no win or lose here, just two people with vastly different views on things these days.

I've been quite sick with a nasty cold for about a month now (had it in Hawaii over spring that really took me down this week and have missed a full week of work. I'm not ever someone that would ask to be waited on hand and foot, but it'd be nice if there was a little understanding from the wife that I'm already running on empty most days after work so add a cold that has turned into walking pnumonia and I'm pretty much down for the count. But apparently instead this is the week to end the pleasantries and start digging at me and my disease once again. Forget that I hold down a full time job and pay all the household bills. Forget that I do try to assist around the house, do yard work, etc (yes I will admit that when I am really tired it doesn't get done right away, nobody has ever died because the lawn wasn't mowed this week!). Nope, I'm just a bad husband who doesn't pull his weight.

Seriously, I am litterally killing myself at my job to pay for all our major expenses plus vacations and projects (I make good money, but at a cost) when what I really need is a much lower stress job but that doesn't pay. So I'm fuct either way. If I work less or make less then I'm not pulling my weight financially but if I pull my weight financially then I'm not pulling my weight around the house. Damned if I do, damned if I don't

Basically we are co-parents under the same roof, but there is no affection (there really hasn't been from her for almost a decade, about the same time I've either been fighting UC or after my ileostomy). After tonight it sounds like she will be moving forward with moving out once the school year is over. I feel terrible for my kids more than anything else but what can I do?

Anyway, thanks for listening. Not really looking for advice, just needing to put my frustration out somewhere where there might be a person or two who understands


See all blogs by CascadianAaron
Bill : Hello Aaron.
Thanks for sharing your thought and the situation you find yourself in, it makes for interesting reading and it is not entirely unusual in a marriage partnership.
From the beginning, my wife and I have had virtually opposite points of view on almost everything and occasionally that had lead to some friction between us, particularly with regard to child rearing. We have been married for 50 years this year and I have found that the easiest way to handle the 'blame' for everything that is supposedly 'wrong' is to accept that different people have different views, therefore from her perspective, I am always 'wrong' and she is always 'right'. There is absolutely no reasoning one's way out of this impasse so the easiest route to move on is to accept the 'blame' for everything that happens in life, which presumably allows the spouse to continue to believe she is 'right' about everything. There are times when I'm tempted to argue but these are usually when I'm not feeling too well and my mind is telling me that continual acquiescence is not the most appropriate way. However, I find that having stated my case on a subject, it has not affected or influenced her perspective one little bit so I might just as well have not entered the discussion in the first place, other than to accept her viewpoint as being valid from 'her' perspective.
In situations where one views it as a cannot 'win', it implies that one sees the interaction as some sort of competition where there are winners and losers. There are a couple of options available: One is to walk away and pretend that it is a 'draw'- invariably, this is an illusion and both parties actually lose. another option is to devise strategies and attitudes that allow both parties to believe that neither of them have 'won' and that the game will probably continue - until 'death do them part'. There is a cliché that sums this up nicely which goes along the lines 'It is better to play the game than to win or lose'. However, there are many other quotations which encapsulate the futility of trying to 'win' at the expense of someone else 'losing'. I like Christopher Morley's view ' There is only one success -m to be able to live your life in your own way'. Tis in my view encapsulates my own concept of SOLAR (Self- Organised Living And Reflecting).
I hope things work out okay for you in the long term
Best wishes
PinkSurvivor : Hi Aaron,
You have been through a lot. Some people get it, others don't. Some people resent us for being sick, then recovering, then getting sick again and again. Almost as if they say " here we go again". I understand how you feel. Some days you feel as if you could get everything done in one day, others you feel wipe out. Sometimes with a little compassion, a bad day can turn into a great day. It takes a empathetic, compassionate person to help. The spouses get tired of dealing with our internal issue they cant see or feel. Until you feel something on their side, you just don't get it. So, do what you can and don't beat yourself up mentally or physically. Some people just don't have what it takes to relate to us, and never will. I will keep you in my prayers, as I feel your discomfort and pain. Please know that there are people who understand and care. Take it one day or hour or minute at a time. Keep reaching out and don't hesitate to vent.

Angelicamarie : Canadian Aaron ... my heart goes out to you!!! Some people are very lucky to have a loving and compassionate spouse... however we all don't have them. Don't give up keep on pushing. It will not always be unbearable look at it like this when it rain, we only appreciate the sunshine when it comes .... I will pray for you Aaron... don't give up..... you have been a brave soldier. This is the place to vent, among people who understand. Keep holding on!!!! Angelicamarie
thisgirlyisbusyliving : Thank your for sharing! You are in a tough spot and I can relate to growing apart from a partner but couldn't imagine having a child involved too. I hope life eases up for you soon! You seem pretty tough but we all have a breaking point. Hope you found the good in your day and hope you are feeling better too!
Primeboy : Hi Aaron. You got some pretty thoughtful and caring responses from people here with a lot of wisdom and sensitivity in this area. Shakespeare once said that the course of true love never did run smooth. My late wife, Esther, and I worked at it constantly over 45 years until other forces intervened. There was an old admonishment that marriage was a 50-50 proposition. Initially I bought into that, but with some modification. Yes, marriage is a 50-50 proposition, but some days are 75-25 and other days are 25-75, and still other days might be 100-0. The important thing is that, as time passes and love grows, no one thinks about doing any counting. When your relationship becomes and remains loveless over time, however, other priorities surface such as the best interest of your children and your own mutual mental health. Decision time. Be not afraid to do what's right. PB
CharK63 : Hi Aaron,
Here comes negativity! But because I positively believe you will be happier on your own. The relationship you are in undoubtedly affects your self esteem no matter who's right or wrong. You need be at a good place emotionally to get well besides overworking at home or work drags your resources down.
As far as the kids are concerned, you know they can sense the stress as well if not noticeably so. The chance for them to meet the real you instead of the broken you is worth the split as long as you continue to be their dad.
Not saying it will be easy. I was in a terrible marriage for 23 years until he finally wanted out. I'm still angry but it's because he didn't go until I was 55 years old and and I was broken mess with no self esteem also.
I was trying to keep the house I had when we married is why I didn't go myself but we ended up losing it so neither of us won that one.
Sorry but I think you should get out and learn to breathe again.
P.S. If you take a lesser job after you've bee assigned support you can go to court with the new wages and redetermine your cost.
HarleyDoll : Which is why I am not married. I can`t imagine putting up with all that crap (not just Aaron`s but all of you). I guess it works for some people but not for me. I value my sense of self and sense of freedom more than I do some imaginary sense of security and belonging - where you don`t really belong to anything or anybody and kind of free float around as per some of the posts in here. Besides, I do not want to belong to anybody except myself and God. To be ``beholden`kind of - well - sucks - to put it bluntly. Except for the kids. The kids are the keepers, the spouses not so much. Sorry but I would be long gone rather than be totally miserable. As Kenny Rogers says you got to know when to hold èm, when to fold èm, know when to walk away and know when to RUN. It`s a personal call, nobody can do it for you but that`s my story and I`m stickin`to it:)
iMacG5 : Boy, I guess I need to be thankful and I better hurry to share that with my wife of almost 55 years. I’m happy we’ve had all we did, have what we do now and can look forward to the future together. Two people living in the same place, making decisions on EVERYTHING together and happily doing almost everything together is almost unimaginable. The problem we have for starters is that each is a person. That means each is one in about 7 billion. Each has his/her likes, dislikes, wants, needs, preferences, and most horribly, opinions. Sometimes we might find a couple who are identical in a lot of ways. I can’t imagine spending 55 years with someone identical to me. I try to respect everyone’s existence in whatever way they choose to exist provided it doesn’t hurt or damage other persons, places or things. I also want to be right all the time; not to show that I’m smarter than my wife but so she could be proud that her husband is always right. I think it takes a real moron to pursue that philosophy. But, I guess we’re all a little nuts sometimes so I forgive myself. I even learned recently that accepting another’s opinion can make my life a lot easier. I wish everyone who’s good, which is the great majority, could find happiness beyond complacency. More importantly, I wish all good people could avoid bad situations.
So let’s do whatever we need to get rid of the bad stuff and enjoy what’s good for us; together with someone or alone.
CharK63 : Well said ImacG5!! Good advice for everybody!

I love your comments Harleydoll and I feel the same as you about let anybody into my comfort zone though I'm told it's because I never get out to meet any new people even before my surgeries. I am real comfy here in my zone though...

Aaron, feel free to vent. I am one of the biggest snivlers on this site but it feels so good to get rid of it sometimes! That's the greatest thing about having ostomates in my opinion.

Joanna602 : I understand completely. I was only married a year when I was diagnosed with crohns in 1995. I Fought good days and bad days and went through two pregnancies also held a full time job up until I gave birth to my second daughter in 2004. My girls father was supportive all through my surgery in 2006 for my iliostomy. But then two years later i started having other complications and had to have another surgery. This is the day which happened to be my 14 wedding anniversary that i knew my marriage was over. All I ever wanted was to be well enough to be a wife physically to my husband. But he had other plans when he decided another woman was who he wanted. My husband waited for me to be well to end our marriage. This was in 2009. So I start over single mother with a 9 and 5 yearold. With the good Lord guiding me. I'm still here. Going strong. Just wanted you to know Your not alone Aaron!!! Keep your head up.

LadyHope : Hi Aaron, Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. You came to the right place....MAO is such a wonderful site with so many kind people. I am very saddened to hear that your marriage is struggling. Who said that famous phrase... it's not over until it is over.... maybe things are just at a crossroads for now. As we all know, life is full of peaks and valleys.... maybe this is one of those times that may last for a while. I will keep you in my prayers wishing peace for you. I got sick several years after I was married. It was a difficult time because I knew my illness was adding stress to our lives not just my life. It is not easy being sick nor is it easy for the well person to see how sick their loved one is. And, they can't make it better. Take care. Sincerely, LH
Immarsh : Hi Aaron. Thanks for sharing your story. The deterioration, of any marriage, with or without children is sad. I was married for 24 1/2 years, before it ended. Both my ex and I were "miracle children", having survived, Crohn's Disease ( him) and Ulcerative Colitis ( me). It was apparent from the beginning, that although we loved each other, we had different views of life. and basically I was a "child" of 20 ( he was 28) and I accepted him as "the boss"/ or parent if you will. But I child ( even an old one) will grow up, so after having 2 children, I found it odd, that I could make decisions for my kids, but not for myself... I began to develop more interests in the community, with the kids activities, and I returned to school, something my ex knew I was going to do. But when the time came ( and the kids were in school) he made it clear that my doing things out of the house was abandoning "him" and our family. Although we both had ostomies, he had active Crohn's and was often ill. But he continued to work full time, and take care of the house and chores. He could have made life easier for himself ( hiring help) but it was his pride that stood in the way. When one of our son's became ill ( with Crohns') we were devestated, and by the time our second son was diagnosed ( with UC) our marriage was over. I wanted to make it work... I loved him, and out family, but he had become so angry, and bitter, that there was no communication. Twenty years have passed, and he died 4 years ago, remarried to my first cousin, and still carrying a grudge about "how I ruined our marriage" ( by changing). It saddens me, that I never could figure out when his love for me, turned to hate. Our divorce, divided our family, since he didn't want our son's to have anything to do with me. To have a relationship with me, meant fighting with their father. As difficult as it might have been, I would have liked to stay married. But the divorce, gave me the opportunity to be myself, not to be judged and criticized, and to restart a new life in my 40's. I think I learned that it's not about being right or wrong in a relationship, but the ability to let each partner, grow and change, while still being married. It wasn't possible for us.....but that's my hope for you and your wife.
CascadianAaron : Thank you all for your comments, I do appreciate reading everyone of them.

EasilCat : May I just offer a little reading which has some ideas you could choose to try to help change her views? f
ZaliBee : For better or worse, in sickness and in health. But, when the reality of those vows actually come in to play, that is when you find out if the 'LOVE' is actually 'love'
MassMikMouse : All I can say is that I understand. My X ultimately just couldn't deal with the fact that I had a chronic illness (multiple sclerosis) and sent me an email to "end this as amicably as possible". (All we had between us was two cats, and I sure as hell took them with me!) It is hard to be alone, and even harder when you are going through Bad Ostomy Times... but that is why I have a wonderful community of family and friends to assist when I need a hand.
I wish you the very best - and I'd invite you out for a pint if you were a bit closer to Boston!
iMacG5 : Hey MMM, your attitude is world class! You certainly deserve a wonderful community.
bearhunter : its a common thing for your partner to leave i forced mine to marriage counseling and was floored by what she said it boiled down to she thought i was going to die so distanced herself so it wouldnt hurt so much and found a younger guy. then wiped me out in the divorce. good luck dude hope for better or worse still applies somewhere