Simply Solo Spotlight: I Fear Breakups
A little late this Tuesday (sorry, I was sick all day), but I wanted to get you this week’s Simply Solo Spotlight. This one really moved me and I hope you enjoy it. It’s written by Margaret from I Am Not A Hobo Yet, where she talks about dealing with unemployment.
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!
I Fear Breakups
I feared breakups more than I fear spiders. I feared the agony of deciding to part ways for good, the anxiety of a solitary future, the regret of giving your heart to someone. I feared the nostalgia from seeing the gifts he gave me and the question of whether he misses me. I feared oversleeping without someone waking me every morning.
So, when my boyfriend proposed a few years ago after 5 years of a long-distance relationship, I accepted, elatedly. After all, he loves to cook! And heʼs a morning person! But, as the wedding date approached, I lost my job with no end to unemployment in sight. My future husband suggested that I didnʼt need a job and that I could live with him, but staying at home never was my dream. I feared breakups, though, so I swallowed my doubts, got married, and moved.
I found unemployed life difficult in a new city without friends, and my husband traveled frequently for work. I slipped into a crushing depression, and because my husband ridiculed mental help, I secretly saw a therapist for what turned into a year. I thought my husband deserved a happy wife, and besides, happy spouses avoided breakups, right? When my husband refused to help me find a job within his company, I hid my frustration.
I believed my husband wanted me home, and anyway, did I tell you I feared breakups? When my husband stomped angrily around a house deemed a “pigsty,” I spent several hours each subsequent week cleaning and arranging our home to his liking. I learned how to clean, very seriously, because I feared breakups.
More than I feared breakups, though, I love birthdays. I adore it all – the cake, the friends, the gifts. So, I planned a three-day build-up to my husbandʼs birthday. Day 1: Happy hour at an expensive Italian restaurant. Day 2: Professional photo shoot as a couple, followed by happy hour and bleu-cheese-and-pork-belly pub chips. Day 3: Homemade birthday cake and a trip to In-and-Out. Day 4: Dinner at a seafood restaurant of his choice.
Imagine my surprise on Day 4 when my husband arose, sullen and angry. With his reassurance that he didnʼt feel upset with me, I drove us to our favorite outdoor mall, where we wandered confused and dejected. In silence, we returned home, where my husbandʼs ears increasingly grew red at the tops. Several times, I asked him if he was angry with me. He said no, and though I thought otherwise, I feared breakups enough not to inquire further. Rather than celebrate his birthday eating sickening mounds of shellfish and gigantic slices of double chocolate cake, my husband stated quietly we were going to eat at IHOP, where we consumed omelets with questionable cheese paste and salty buttermilk pancakes in deafening silence.
For the next two days, my husband renewed his anger every day. But, I feared breakups. So even though I felt frustrated that my husband felt free to ruin his birthday, I kept quiet, just like when my husband wore oil-soaked shoes into the house after a long day of cleaning, or refused to help me find a job. When my husband finally arrived home one day and declared that I didnʼt care about him, I tried to explain that I indeed cared very much. I did everything I could without his asking – clean, fix, love. In fact, when I should have been taking care of myself, I tended to as many of his needs as possible because I feared breakups. My husband wouldnʼt listen.
To brush off the hurt from a failed, thankless birthday party, I threw on my running shoes and ran until my heart stopped aching. As my feet carried me step over arduous step in the blistering Arizona summers, I saw a woman losing herself with increasing clarity. I saw someone defined poorly by a man too short-sighted to find love in front of him, too insecure to let me work with him, too critical to enjoy married life. And I saw a woman too consumed in silence. I mentally outlined things I wanted to blurt to my husband, but when I reached my house, nothing came to mind. It didnʼt matter. I knew my husband wouldnʼt see what I saw, and I didnʼt care to explain it.
Instead, I firmly committed to speaking up, putting myself first, and trusting myself. I wrote these goals on index cards and placed them in my drawers. I repeated them as I tied my shoelaces, walked to my car, and took a shower. I began to address conflicts immediately and plan personal getaways. My husbandʼs botched birthday really became a rebirth of my own. And I ceased fearing breakups since.
Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.