Card Challenge: Day 50
Card Day 50: A bride and groom stand in the moonlight, suspended inside a bird cage with a black cat watching from below.
May 7, 2011
Maybe this is what they always mean when they talk about a loveless marriage. It’s not a contemptuous one, an angry one, or a bitter one. It’s just loveless. I mean, I remember the feeling of butterflies and dreaminess when we first got married. I’d wake up in the morning and just smile at his face, snoring and drooling. Now I see him and I’m just left with nothing but boredom and abstract irritation at having to wash two pillowcases. Nothing changed between us, there is no major conflict, no affairs, no abuse. I just don’t feel anything. I almost wished I could just hate him, because that would make my path clear. Instead, it’s just like sharing the house with a visiting relative. Just smile, be on your best behavior, and go through the motions. Is this what love is? Is this what marriage is?
May 9, 2011
I wonder if he feels the same. He still kisses me good morning and goodnight with that beaming smile. Am I that good at acting that he cannot see the emptiness? Or has he just got me fooled and really feels as empty as me? I don’t know. I talked with Tracy yesterday—she just wanted to blab on about her newborn, which is great and all, but I felt like it took forever to get a word in. I asked her about how she and Jeff have been, and she said great. Of course she would. But when I started talking and asking about this kind of…lull, she just looked at me like I was discussing something obscene. In her oh-so-perfect way, she just told me she “hadn’t gotten there yet,” and laughed her fake smile.
Maybe this isn’t what marriage is supposed to be like. But we didn’t do anything wrong! We used to do all kinds of things together, share everything, cuddle, and spend hours just wasting the day together. That just stopped at some point, and everything just settled into a rut. And now I look at him, smile, and feel nothing. Maybe we just weren’t meant to be.
May 12, 2011
We had a fight tonight. A big one. I don’t even know how it started, but he ended up just unleashing on me about all of this stuff. And I really couldn’t even feel angry. I felt offended that he would yell at me like a child, but I felt like there should be guilt or sadness or something. It was just annoyance at having to waste time in all the verbal jousting.
He did ask why I had checked out. That was the first time I really felt like I could add something to the conversation .But I didn’t know. I don’t know why I checked out. All I know is that I woke up one day, and I just did not care anymore. He was just a man sharing my bedroom, and we just danced around one another in the circuits of daily living. I wanted to be able to tell him something, but I just had to be honest. I don’t know. He asked if I even loved him anymore. I didn’t answer. I just don’t know.
May 13, 2011
He slept on the couch last night. I wish we could go back to the point where he did not know, because now our lukewarm home has turned artic. I wish I could help him understand that it has nothing to do with him or anything he did. But I don’t think it’s anything I did, either. Maybe people just fall out of love? Is that a thing? Because I think he’s fine, and I’m fine, but we just aren’t fine together. It’s not fair for either of us to sit and flounder in an unfulfilling, unappreciative marriage. Right?
May 16, 2011
We’ve talked. We talked and talked and talked until the words we said really had no more meaning. He was frustrated because I couldn’t explain, I felt bad because he looked so pained. Our words spun in circles and it felt like we were getting nowhere. He wants to do therapy, and maybe we should. I just don’t feel like anything is wrong with me or us. We just aren’t right together.
Somewhere along the way, the two of us enjoyed a bright stretch of life together. Then, we decided that they joy we had should last forever, and we committed to it. Only brilliance like that doesn’t last, but it fades. It has faded. It is not because we did something wrong, but because we tried to make something miraculous and ephemeral eternal under the strain of daily living. I don’t think therapy can help with that. We dreamed, we reached, and ultimately I woke up. I’m sure he will soon.
May 18, 2011
He scheduled the appointment, and I agreed to meet. He guilted me into it with those pleading eyes. The therapist was…fine, I guess. He wasn’t nearly as weird and new agey as I thought he would be, and did not jump down my throat. I mean, I figured he would blame me for checking out, assume I was cheating, or tell me how terrible I was for not communicating sooner. He just listened and nodded a lot, asking a few questions here or there. Chad seemed to feel better when we left, and I kind of did too. Dr. Schwartz told us to make a list of things we loved about each other when we were first together, like that would be hard. It’s easy to remember what I did love, but it’s hard to remember why.
May 20, 2011
Chad gave me his list. He said he loved my laugh, my determination. He loved that I always ate things in even numbers and hid silly notes around his dorm room. He said that he loved the way I argued in class, how I doodled dinosaurs on my notes, and the way I looked when I just woke up from a nap. I gave him my list, and he seemed to be very touched. I felt a little sad. I miss feeling that way about him. I miss the love we had. Dr. Schwartz asked if we were interested in working through, or ready to go our different ways. I said I don’t know (do I say anything else anymore?), but maybe I do.
May 25, 2011
Fake it till you feel it. That was seriously the advice today. Just pretend I love him, and magically it will get better? He said we should act like the people we fell in love with. Maybe this guy is the quack I though he was. Chad did not really seem to appreciate that either, so at least we’re on the same page on this. Still, he’s the one with the degree, so I might as well give it a shot. Not like I can lose anything, right?
May 27, 2011
Chad planned a night out for us. We went back to the diner we had our first date, walked along the park where we first kissed, and he danced with me just like I used to love. He took everything he could from my list. I just tried to enjoy myself, laugh, and be the person I used to be. It was surprisingly hard. About halfway through the date, he stopped me. “Just be you,” he said and sighed. But his eyes looked at me lovingly through the pain. So I acted like I felt. He seemed happy, and it made me feel a little better to see him smile again.
May 28, 2011
I woke up this morning and he had his arm around me. He was snoring, and I was just listening to it, smiling, before I even realized it. It was not love—not quite, at least—but it was something. It was peace. Comfort. I just laid there, warm and content. And maybe that’s the first step.
This work by Katherine C is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.