Friday, January 23, 2009

Yes. I Mean, No.

Last night, my husband and I took a lovely bath together. We used fancy bath salts I'd gotten for Christmas, and everything was warm and beautiful. He washed my back, soaping and scratching and making me feel wonderful, and when he was done, I lay with my head on his chest, listening to his heart beat. He asked me if it would be alright if he prayed, and I said it was OK. He prayed for his recovery, for his family, for me, for our marriage. I closed my eyes and heard his heart. Its beat was true and steady. I felt warm and safe.

Moments like those mean so much, and they remind me of why I stay, why I kept staying through the ugliest times of his addiction. I knew there was a kind, loving, beautiful man underneath all that acting out, using, lying...I knew it was possible for us to be together and to love each other. I knew, in fact, that nothing in the world should be easier than for two people who love each other passionately to live together and make each other happy...I knew that recovery was possible for us, separately and together.

We went to the movies last night after our meeting. I hadn't wanted to go, as I am not sure how I'm going to make the money that I have stretch over the next few months. I haven't had a freelance writing gig in a few weeks now, and the one regular check that I can count on is about $800 short of what I need to cover my basic monthly expenses. My husband had been asking and asking me to rent him a movie, and when his sister called to see if we wanted to go to the discount movie theater with her, I said "Yes" when I meant "No." I said "Yes" because he'd asked several times, and I was afraid of his reaction if I said "No." I was afraid of losing the closeness I felt to him after our lovely bath and his sweet prayer. We went, we spent about $20, we saw his sister, and it was a good time. I'd thought that it would mean he'd stop asking for a movie, and I thought it would all work out, always all works out with my finances.

This morning, though, as we were getting dressed, he said he wanted to rent a movie tonight. He thought it would be nice to watch a movie together after the AA speaker meeting we usually attend on Friday nights. Again, instead of saying, "No, I can't afford to spend any more money on things that aren't necessary," I said "OK." Apparently, the way I said "OK" revealed my hesitancy, and he asked me, "Are you sure? Are you sure you want to?" I said, "Well, really, I don't want to. I am worried about money, and we just went out last night."

And he threw a great big fit. He yelled at me. It scared me. I cried a lot. Before it got to the part where he was yelling really big, I tried to explain the finances to him. I told him how much I made and how much I had to spend and that I was sorry, but that every dollar counts right now. Hearing the financial details seemed to make him even more furious. He said, "The money is tight, but that's not why you won't rent a movie. You won't rent a movie because you don't want to do things that will make me happy."

And I thought, he's actually partly right. I don't want to rent a movie for him. I won't spend money on frivolous things for myself, so I don't think it's right for me to do it for him. So I said, "You know, you're right. I've been saying 'Yes' when I mean 'No' a lot lately, and I'm sorry. I really resent it when I buy you little luxuries that I won't buy for myself, and I probably shouldn't do that anymore."

Next, his argument shifted. The movie hadn't been a frivolous thing for was a frivolous thing for us. It was something he'd wanted so that we could have some time together doing something fun. That was when he started yelling a lot, and I kind of retreated into myself. I went into the bathroom and locked the door, sat on the floor, while he stomped around and yelled.

I'm trying really, really hard to own my part here, but it just seems like he is acting like a child. He wants to see a movie, and I can't afford to get it for him, and so he's throwing a huge hissy fit. I'm tired of this pattern, and I want a way out of it. What I see is that I need to say "NO" every time I mean it, as every time I say "YES," thinking I'm buying myself a way out of his yelling and tantruming, I'm actually kind of feeding the beast. I don't like that my choices are either to give him what he wants and resent it, don't and deal with his tantrum, or stop living with him. I want another option, and I can't see it yet.