Sunday, December 2, 2007


I want things to be fair. I am beginning to doubt that we will ever achieve anything like "fair."

Before heroin got my husband all unhinged, we had at least an outward appearance of balance in our household. While I always ended up being more responsible for taking care of all the decisions, signing all the papers, and generally being the adult, he at least managed to muster up enough money to pay half of all the bills. If rent was $500, he gave me $250. If the gas bill was $40, he gave me $20, and etc. I generally ended up paying more often for groceries and other household incidentals, but he would usually pay for movies and dinners out and other luxuries. I always handled more of the housekeeping, but it was ok with me. He wouldn't do it right, anyway, and if he lived alone, he wouldn't do many of the things that I wanted done. He didn't care about about the house being kept up, and I did, so I made it my problem. If I asked him to help, or if there was a mess that was clearly more his than mine (art supplies or a pile of his clothes, for instance), he'd take care of it.

It felt balanced. We didn't have a lot of money, but we always had enough for our bills without having to struggle, and we usually had enough to go out at least once or twice a week. I could sometimes buy a new shirt or a new pair of shoes, and sometimes, we could both take a day off and go somewhere together.

And that's what I want, back. Balance. It doesn't have to be a perfect 50-50 split...I understand that he's going through something extremely difficult, that he's had a major setback in his life. I can be supportive, and I can be patient while he gets himself back on track. I don't understand, however, his willful refusal to contribute what he can in situations where it would be easy for him to make a show of helping.

I was cleaning tonight, and he kept talking about all the things he was going to do to help. He kept lying on the couch, talking about all the things he was going to do. "I'll do the dishes, and I'll clean the floor in here, and then I'll finish up that laundry, and then I'll start the yard work." And then he sat and sat and sat some more, and I kept cleaning and cleaning and cleaning around him. I have gotten used to his words being damned near meaningless...his expressions of intent have more to do with the man he'd like to be than the man he actually I didn't even get upset when he didn't do the things he'd said he was going to do.

That's progress for me. His refusal to contribute to the housework to make up, at least a little, for not contributing to our financial livelihood drove me crazy for a bit. I was feeling very proud of myself for not getting bent out of shape, for just taking care of the things that I wanted taken care of and kind of ignoring him.

But then, I found a new thing to be upset about. When I was about 20 minutes from being done with cleaning, he announced, "I'm going to bed," with this sheepish look on his face. It was this look that I've become familiar with over the last year...a look that says, more or less, "I am acting like an asshole, and I know that you know that I'm acting like an asshole. I don't want to stop acting like an asshole, however, because I'm an addict, and it's all about me and how I feel, and I feel like acting like an asshole right now. I would prefer if you would not observe me acting like an asshole, so I'm going to go to bed now and pretend to be asleep instead of just doing the dishes like I said."

Boy, that pissed me off. He went to bed, and I mopped the floor.

And now I'm all wrapped up in negotiating my feelings. It bothers me that small shifts can throw me off kilter...I have such a delicate balance of my thoughts and emotions, and whenever I think I've got everything neatly tucked away, a new resentment rears its head.

I know that patience will repair a lot of the damage that is still hurting me, that time and recovery will wear the resentments down for me and changes in his behavior will break down my protective walls. I know it consciously, but my heart still is raw.