The Discussion and Weigh in

I think I’ll start with the weigh-in first.  This is really the first “official” weigh-in, as last week’s loss was figured on two different scales under different conditions.  Today, it was the same scale at about the same time.

 

Last week I was at 218.x, which was down from the previous week’s unofficial 228.  This week, the scale tipped in at 211.6.  Not as impressive, but still a loss, which I’m okay with.  My workouts have been sporadic, and the not eating like a pig has been a struggle.  But I’m sticking to it.

 

I now weigh less than I did when I got married 11 years ago, which was around 220.  I’m not sure how much I weighed when Arwyn and I first met, but I must be right around that point.  It’s pretty safe to say she didn’t marry me for my body.

 

So now to update you on the latest drama.  Occasionally there is a case of divine intervention in the form of an autistic son with sleep disturbances.  Which basically means that the Friday Night Fight didn’t happen.

 

When Arwyn got home, she discovered the bill on the counter and quickly (yet quietly) took it to her secret location.  You and I know the damage was already done.  She was less than certain.

 

Rosie said she should devote every cent of her paycheck towards the debt.  That’s the problem: she doesn’t make that much.  She will not make $5000 this year working 3 days a week 9 to 1:00.  So this is why I blew my top.  Many of the charges stem from this stupid preschool teaching job where she has to buy her own supplies.  She bought her own laminating machine, cutting board, buys her own construction paper and constantly feeds ink to her printer.  This is a loser job mostly subsidized by me. 

 

So the evening was spent seething with anger.  I tried checking the blogroll, looking for train wrecks worse than mine.  Even Desperate Husband was looking quiet.  2Amsomewhere  usually has something cooking, but lately his has been all on the job front. Joe Flirt was about the only guy who was rendering up enough angst to compete this week.

 

So to answer CHs query, no I’m definitely not shedding the avoider mentality, but I am going to have to be less of one.  I really had to steel myself and I was determined to have the conversation that needed to be had.  Saturday was spent on yard work and garden work for the fall garden.  I was thinking rain this weekend, but I may have to wait a week.  Collards, elephant garlic, brussel sprouts, broccoli, romaine lettuce and cabbage all went in.   My cherry tomatoes are the only thing still producing so that bed will be kept going for the moment.

 

I was tired at the end of the day.  Arwyn was getting ready for bed as I took my shower and we actually laid down at the same time.  The boys were both finally asleep, so I decided to go for it.  I was much more mellow than I would have the previous night which turned out to be a good thing.

 

My opening gambit was asking her exactly what it was that she was 12 stepping on in her recovery group.  I thought she might be working through codependency or other adult child issues.  But the fact is, is that really has not been working through anything specific.  She just goes to these groups 2x a week, and works through whatever there is.  I was annoyed and frustrated by this, since I couldn’t find any real traction here.  So I just came out and said I saw the Visa bill.  And the Sam’s bill.  I asked her when she was planning on telling me about it; perhaps when she was $10,000 in again?

 

She admitted that she had a problem but said she now had learned her lesson.  Denial, denial.  I wasn’t buying it.  As we talked through this, she admitted she had a problem but continued to claim she was over it and had learned from it.  We finally agreed that she was going to have to get another part-time job to pay down this debt on nights or weekends.  I was ready to sign her up at a local fast food place on the spot.  She is not keen on that, of course, and is looking for something more like a weekend receptionist job.  I’m looking for something more painful in order to help drive the message home and teach her to reform her ways.  But actually, I’m fine with however she does it.  It will involve some extra work on me, too, but not all that much.  I can already cook, clean and take care of the boys pretty much.

 

The discussion did continue on from there.  One thing Arwyn continues to do is accuse me of being controlling.  Over the years she has repeated that over and over.  I finally challenged her on it, and she couldn’t really come up with a concrete example.  I told her that I did want to have some say in raising the boys, preparing for the future and things about my own life.  I then flipped it and said she was actually the controlling one.  In her view, I’m controlling by not always giving in to her agenda.  I did admit to being manipulative at times, but added that this was pretty much a failed strategy.   If it doesn’t work, it’s hardly much of an issue.

 

We discussed our relationship and I told her I was tapped out of ideas.  She saw most of my attempts to improve our relationship as being controlling, so I’ve quit.  I told her I was waiting for her to show up to the marriage.  She asked for examples, and I brought up Dr. Phil’s book/program (which she actually bought) that I did 6 years ago and the recent ENQ, which she refused to do.   There are many others, of course.  Date night, the cage, prayer time together and other book programs.  I invited her to show up by bringing something to the table.  Anything.

 

She made it a point, here, to say that it just wasn’t about sex.  I made it a point to say I was looking for something more long-term, but at the same time the whole celibacy thing wasn’t working for me.  She said that she never intended celibacy to be a way of life bought really offered nothing to resolve or address that issue.  It’s actually in the sexual arena where Arwyn is at her most massively controlling.  She controls everything about sex from the environment and frequency to the method and duration.  My input is pretty much confined to the obvious act of inputting.  But that was not brought up as I didn’t want the discussion to deteriorate into crying and monkey fits.

 

As it was, Arwyn was very calm during this discussion.  I commented that this was a welcome relief from some past discussions we’ve attempted.

 

She finally suggested that we try to go out more, just the two of us.  Initially, she thought having my mom come down and watch the boys for us while we went somewhere was the answer.  Not exactly what I was looking for, but it was something.  And something beats nothing. 

 

Getting away is a good idea, but when you have a child with special needs, it becomes a major challenge.  My mom lives 1000 miles away and does not like to travel, which is a problem.   So not having family close by makes things more difficult.  We have had babysitters in the past, but not real often and never overnight.  We are a bit particular that way.

 

We covered other stuff, too, but those are the high points that I remember.  Counseling did come up as a possibility, so I said she could look into that as her church actually is offering it.  She said she might want to go on her own a bit first, which I agree with. 

 

The skeptic in me says don’t count on too many changes as a result of this one conversation.  I’ll have to see some action to back up all the talk. 

 

There was no sex after this as it was so late and I really wasn’t in the mood, still.  Being HL for someone who delivers or demands so little respect says more about my stupidity and shallowness than her desire.  On that score, XH was right.  I want sex, but I really want it wrapped within a package of love, caring, respect and passion.   Since I’m not feeling any of those things from her, I really need to salvage whatever thread of integrity I have left and stop trying to get in her pants.

 

D.

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23 Responses to The Discussion and Weigh in

  1. Val says:

    Wow, 1st comment!
    Congrats on the weight loss first of all, that is a tough row to hoe.
    I wish I had some good concrete advice on the compulsive-shopping fiasco, but Holy Shit! is as good a description as any…Sounds like you handled it well — probably a lot more calmly than I would have, for instance…

  2. Dave says:

    The weight loss is great! Good for you, that’s a lot of hard work- be proud of yourself for it!

    I’m impressed that you were so calm, but I can understand it. Here’s hoping that she actually changes some behaviors this time.

  3. xi summit says:

    Congrats on the weight loss, way to go.

    And on the handling of the Arwyn thing as well, whether things improve or stay the course you’re handling it well with a patience that is necessary under the circumstances. Now it’s in her hands to either respond appropriately or get to work.

  4. Satan says:

    It seems glaringly obvious to me that she can’t handle having a credit card. Does she *need* one? If I was her husband I’d cut up all her cards. Why, yes, that is controlling but I’d rather be controlling than constantly in debt.
    It seems crazy that you didn’t even know about this new 5K debt until you happened across these two bills. How is this possible or acceptable at all?

  5. FTN says:

    The discussion sounds like it went well. Patient and calm, but honest and confrontational. That’s really good. And I hope the two of you are able to take some concrete actions from it… Like getting out of the house together, and the counseling.

    When you have that type of conversation, it’s good to have some real “action steps,” kind of like a “so what is going to really happen as a result of this conversation.” And it sounds a little bit like that happened.

  6. Xian Husband says:

    There’s only one thing that came to mind as advice after reading this post, and it’s going to come across rather harsh. I tried to figure out how to soften it, but decided that maybe it needed to be harsh.

    Three words of advice:

    Man. Up. Nancy-boy.

    Spent the evening seething in anger? Whose house is it? She’s upset that you’re “controlling”? Who’s the head of the household?

    Your house is running in total anarchy. It needs headship and leadership. It needs you to take charge, and it needs it NOW. Finances out of control, marriage out of control, etc. It needs someone to take control. And the only person that can legitimately be is you.

    You’ve got to stop the avoidance, got to stop the tip-toeing around issues, gotta stop the passive-aggressive BS, and gotta take control of your household. The conversation was calm? Why in God’s name should a conversation about out of control spending and sudden $5K of debt be calm? That conversation should be many, many things, but calm probably isn’t among them. I’m with Satan, Arwyn doesn’t need to have a credit card, and the only one who can take that step and stop the bleeding is you.

    You HAVE to stop deferring to her and letting her run everything. You don’t need to suddenly become a control-freak, but you do need to be a leader. You need to be in charge. She’s taken control because you’ve relinquished it. Take the wheel, and steer that ship right!

  7. So Gone says:

    Gotta agree with the premise of what XH is saying here. And Satan’s idea is exactly on point. I know that I have issues with spending on credit cards… which is why My Man has them locked in his possession. I know my weaknesses and he *helps* (not controls) me with them.

  8. traderdad says:

    On another note – I can save you some money on the therapy. One of the first things they will want you to do is spend some couple-time away from your two boys. My wife and I don’t have family nearby either, and I can only imagine how much more difficult it is finding a sitter for your boys with their special needs. Still, all you need at first is perhaps two hours, twice per month, to go out to dinner and have conversations like the one you just had. Once you are able to reconnect, you will at least have a better chance of getting sex the way you want it, and not mercy fucks.

  9. Bunny says:

    Congrats on the weight loss and on keep the discussion civil. She is obviously experiencing some sort of depression or other emotional issue to dive back into that sort of debt.

    You and my overbearing husband need to get together and find some middle ground where steering this ship is a shared endeavour (taking turns steering and navigating).

    And I’m definitely with you on the difficulties of getting away when you have special needs kids. My in-laws are 1.5 hours away during the summer months and they are the only ones willing to take the kids for overnights (they’ve even taken Boy, our autistic one, for a WEEK!). The rest of the year we’re screwed (or not, as the case may be!)

  10. Cat says:

    Wow I feel like I just woke up and it was 1975. Do I understand the comments correctly that the suggestion should be for Digger to become Arwyn’s father and cut up her credit card until she can prove herself worthy? I am not a fan of debt and I have no idea how high the credit card is or how much she is paying to bring it back within reason. But should I understand the general consensus is whatever Digger’s idea of reasonable debt is has to be Arwyn’s or he should take her credit card away?

    Oh and you know I can relate to the sleepless nights. Been there done that, wrote the manual:) BTW congrats on the weight loss…

  11. Rosie says:

    Arwyn’s running up the charge is just totally irresponsible as she had for paying it off the following month. To have finance charges after your previous experience is just WRONG!! But since she acts like a child what other way is there to handle her. This is a REpeat after all. No lesson learned for her.

    But was really shocked that the blow up was so very mild and mousy. Come on guy. Was there even an edge to your tone to let her know how very serious all this has become? Nope? The dynamics between the two of you is just too ingrained. You need help and here is the catalysis. She’ll do it again you know.

  12. LiaM says:

    You’ll only get respect from Arwyn when you start
    acting and behaving like a grown man. What are you so
    afraid of?

  13. diggerjones says:

    FYI, I did tell her she behaving exactly like a crack whore.

    Doesn’t that count for anything?
    D.

  14. Xian Husband says:

    I really don’t think that insulting her is really going to be helpful. You need to have solid, Christian, loving headship over her, not tyranny and abuse. Your job as head of the household is to make her feel secure and confident enough in you and in your devotion to her and the children’s well being that she will willingly hand over the reins. You want to build her up in love through your leadership, not knock her down.

  15. So Gone says:

    I love the crack whore comment. Bonus points for that!

  16. Cat says:

    I would say the crack whore comment was wrong if I could stop laughing 🙂 xian husband is absolutely right and mature. But I must say the crack whore comment was too good not to laugh, sorry.

  17. Mu Ling says:

    I am a feminist, and not a Christian, so I am going to contribute a somewhat different take on this. I don’t think you need to rant at her or assert your patriarchal authority over her. She’s an adult. True, she’s a woman, but I don’t happen to think that women occupy some sort of category between children and real grownups (read: “men.”)

    But is she the kind of adult to whom you can tolerate being married?

    It seems as if every so often there’s a teeny little step forward — a little less denial, a smidgin more warmth — and I find myself thinking, “Well, it’s a start.” But oh Digger, how many starts can you make? When do you get moving,?

  18. Emily says:

    Well, I have a theory that isn’t going to be very popular.

    Much as I love him, and much as I empathise with his situation and with how maddening Arwyn can be, Digger IS controlling. He and Arwyn are stuck in a bad dynamic in which he treats her like a child and she behaves like one.

    For instance, if Arwyn was a genuine equal partner with joint responsibility for finances, she wouldn’t be sneaking around spending money on the sly like a teenager stealing money from their paren’t’s wallet. She would be getting a real job that makes a serious contribution to family finances (rather than this little “hobby” job) or else learning how to run the household on what you (both) have.

  19. Cat says:

    Emily as usual I think you might be on to something. Your insight into things is uncanny.

  20. Xian Husband says:

    I disagree. The problem here is that Arwyn wants all of the power and none of the responsibility; while Digger takes all the responsibility, but has none of the power.

    And when power and responsibility become separated, bad things tend to happen.

    Arwyn wants to be able to do what she wants, when she wants it, and then have Digger clean up after her.

    If you are getting stuck with all the responsibility for things, wanting the power that should go with that — and the power necessary to keep things from getting out of hand — is not “controlling.”

  21. So Gone says:

    I just think Arywn likes to spend money, and she knows that Digger will clean up after her mess of spending. He’s done it before, why wouldn’t he do it again? She doesn’t even have to (gasp!!!) have sex with her husband, and she still gets to do what she pleases, when she pleases.

    It’s really not a bad deal on her part… spend money, have someone cook dinner for you, keep the house clean for you, have someone take care of your kids, only work when you feel like it – and not have to do any of that icky sex stuff!

    She’s the one living in 1975, not him. She’s not spending “her” money, she’s spending “their” money, and ruining “their” credit.

  22. Cat says:

    Lord knows I don’t want to be an Arwyn advocate because #1 I do work, #2 I don’t have a maid or a cook, and #3 I do think if you marry someone you should be having sex with them, but that’s just me. And most importantly I don’t know the whole story…only the pieces Digger is willing to share. But I have to say I don’t think it’s all one sided or Arwyn is just the selfish wife. She is working whether Digger values her job or not. I am not sure anyone noticed the comments like loser job and waste of time but I know if I were Arwyn I would feel pretty diminished if my husband used those words to describe my job. Whether it brings in the kind of money his does or not. There are many teachers, social workers, and the like in this world that very rarely get the pay they deserve for their work. But that doesn’t mean the job is worthless. And if my memory serves he wasn’t all that happy with her cooking and cleaning skills isn’t that why they have a maid? So maybe Arwyn feels like the only thing she can bring to the relationship is sex. And maybe that is just not something her esteem is able to handle?

    Oh and So Gone there isn’t any reason I can think of that would make it ok for Digger to cut up Arywn’s credit card. It’s just demeaning and yes makes him her father not her husband.

  23. So Gone says:

    >>Oh and So Gone there isn’t any reason I can think of that would make it ok for Digger to cut up Arywn’s credit card. It’s just demeaning and yes makes him her father not her husband.<<

    If she were the one paying it off, I would agree with you, but she’s not. He is. Therefore, he should have some control over how that money gets spent.

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