Time to say goodbye

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52FM
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Time to say goodbye

#1 Post by 52FM » Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:22 pm

One of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. I hoped it would never apply, but it does.

Bear with me one last time. Or not – feel free to leave this message now because it’s going to get detailed. I feel I owe it to the people who have read through my trial and traumas.

In business, we often talk of an 80/20 “rule”. It seems to apply to a lot of things. Usually it comes down to 80% of the work can get done relatively easily, and then the other 20% takes tremendous effort. At some point, you have to assess if the effort / resources is worth getting that last 20%.

I’ve hit the 80% mark a while ago. The 20% is truly necessary in order for me to be truly happy. But it can’t come cleanly. I’ve concluded that achieving this 20% will come at the expense of other things that will cause a different but equal level of unhappiness.

Of course I don’t know really if I’m at 80% or 50% or 90%. But you get the idea.

It works like this – to feel like I’m free to be myself, I have to be able to communicate to whoever I want, however I want. Within a level of trust of course – that doesn’t mean I’m free to be sexually or emotionally unfaithful. But it could be an “internet friendship”. Or an email friendship. With occasional phone conversations perhaps but primarily via email.

But my wife is literally freaked out about this. We have been talking about this for over a year. I suspect there is something very deep about her objection – in fact, I know there is. But at this point she has described this solely as a fear of “cyber-smearing”. The possibility that someone will know who I am and have access to what I’ve written and publish it to people or websites where I can be embarrassed. And of course my family as well. It’s not that she doesn’t trust me. It’s not even a question of trusting whatever person I’m talking to. It’s not trusting “the internet” because of its potential dark side.

As you might imagine, there is a LOT more to this. It is likely a matter of not trusting me and what I might say. Or any number of fears that she flatly denies and I can’t prove. This fear of the internet has become a non-negotiable point with her. And in fact it causes her stress that I can’t describe – but it is severe, with severe health consequences.

She has changed in many important ways. However, when all is said and done, the changes simply mean I’m no longer treated with disrespect. Though I’m very happy that has all stopped, it’s tough to feel fulfilled with the concept that my wife of several decades no longer treats me badly. That should have been there all along. I should not have had to go through all of this to get there.

Would a woman who was beaten by her husband be HAPPY because he stopped? It would be necessary, obviously, but certainly not enough. It’s a bit of an extreme example, but not as much as it might seem on the surface.

There is a feeling I have that she has done all she can. All she is going to do, at least. Here’s the basic truth – had she not done this much, I would have filed for divorce. But she did – and I trust it is sincere and real. And so I’ve pushed for all the rest that I need – and all I’ve done is create severe issues as a result. And I find myself ashamed of the fact that I essentially wish she was still treating me disrespectfully so that I could justify leaving her.

There Ith – I said it out loud. It felt good.

So without getting into what those issues are – I am trapped. Any further attempt at finding personal happiness only creates a different type of unhappiness. For example, I can’t seem to get any time to myself despite the long hours I work with two jobs. We’re spending more time together of late but I want time for my own interests too. Yet my wife now feels hurt and left out of my life whenever I’m doing anything other than work. All my relaxation should be spent with her to work on our relationship – otherwise I’m not serious in wanting things to get better. In effect I have to give up other interests to prove I love her. And she sees NOTHING selfish or controlling about this – she sees it as caring.

Yet what can I do? If I file for divorce anyway I’ll have ostracized myself from her family, most of our friends, and maybe even one or more of our children. Unacceptable to me. Spending time on my own interests causes disagreements and unhappiness. Where is the stress-relief in that? And I certainly can’t force the issue of my talking to whoever I want – that will create stress on her that will leave me with severe guilt. Unacceptable again. To say nothing of the fact that I’ll have placed a person dear to me in a position of being part of all that. If I simply give up, I’ll live the rest of my life knowing that I was manipulated into acquiescing rather than my wife facing her fear or issue for my sake. Well, I’ve lived most of my life that way and worse, so this may be the least objectionable.

I always assumed the fear was my wanting to find someone better than her – or at least someone I’d rather spend time with. She won’t give on this issue for me – she flat out says she simply can’t and wants me to understand (I do) and accept it (I can’t).

Of course I understand – if she can’t stand to see me play guitar or learn another instrument or mix music files or other solitary yet enjoyable activities, of course she’d hate to know I was spending enjoyable time talking to someone (female) other than her.


So what does that have to do with me leaving this site? It has become for me a symbol of my struggle – and as such has become a venting point. I’ve been shown studies that say too much venting creates a negative aura that makes things seem worse than they are. (Of course, it’s my wife who showed me that, but I do see the point at some level.) Anyway, maybe I can try to pretend things are OK. Maybe I can “fake it until I make it” as my counselor has suggested. Maybe I can accept that where I am is better than many other alternative situations.

I doubt all that sincerely – but it’s worth a try. All I know is I’m VERY depressed. How does a person feel when they come face to face with the reality that can’t ever get what they set out to get – that they really feel they need? That all this time was futile? And though I met a wonderful person through all this, I’ll never talk to her again. And overall – despite what I know she’ll say, I caused as much sadness and concern as happiness and fulfillment. The fact is, I know this very message is causing her sadness and concern. I know sometimes she reads a message I write and aches and wants to be able to help somehow and knows she’s done all she can. At times her silence sounds like crying to me. Two years of all this. I’m way too high maintenance for an internet friend. In the end, can anyone clearly and honestly look at the whole situation and say it was worth it?

I love my children and they mean the world to me. They are the only things that keep me going. And I mean that very literally. I have stress from my two jobs, I have money issues with three kids in college (one out but still loans to pay) and counseling has only made them worse, I can’t afford the time to take a relaxing vacation, I have a student who has accused me of being a racist just because I took too long to write a recommendation (because I’ve been so busy) and against my better judgment I wrote that recommendation to avoid a confrontation with the department. (And I never told my wife any of that because it would justify in her mind the whole cyber-smearing fear.)

In cyber-space, no one can hear you scream. But I’m doing it at the top of my cyber-lungs right now. Even giving myself a hug doesn’t help.

I purged my feelings in a horribly written but heartfelt song. It didn’t help as much as I envisioned, but it’s a legacy and I’m happy I did it.

Oh by the way – private counseling is out because my wife simply can’t stand not knowing what I’d be saying. She can’t understand why I can’t just talk freely with her in the room too. As much as I’ve tried to convince her the benefits to both of us, she can’t understand. And the fact is, what I’d say would cause her stress that would affect her health and create different but still serious problems for me. Our counselor understands both our points of view. I have now officially grown sick of that. I wish to hell he’d grow a pair and tell her that her stubbornness and immaturity is destroying any chance of our truly being happy. I’ve said that to her – but of course she says that it’s MY stubbornness and immaturity that is destroying things.

But I know – he’s OUR counselor, not MINE. When I tell him next session that I’ve given up, maybe he will do more than just listen.

And under all this is the common refrain of being happy for what I’ve got. Nothing wrong with settling. Things could be worse, so count my blessings.

Looking back on it all, I was happier in ignorance. I’ve said this before – maybe just to Ith, but I HATE good dreams. Absolutely HATE them. Because they are dreams and they end. This was like a dream – a nightmare – of knowing what could have been but can’t be.

A very hokey movie – The Family Man, with Nicholas Cage, made this point. My oldest son saw it with me several years ago and astutely said “the worst nightmare must be knowing how good your life could have been had you just done one thing differently.” In the movie, he had a chance to change it.

I don’t. I thought I did, and I’ve tried with EVERYTHING I had. Ith knows that. It’s more than most people would have done. Congruous has told me that many times. It’s the only satisfaction I take from this. I thank both of them for their caring. Most especially Ith. Words can’t describe what she has meant to me. I’ve tried in many different ways until I’ve begun to feel that I’ve become a pest. After all, how many different times and ways can anyone stand to hear thank you? When there is no end in sight? When there is no resolution behind it? When what you’re being thanked for may never be worth the investment in time and emotion?

I could write thank you’s and poems and songs and epic stories and build shrines and monuments and in the end it brings me no closer to where I want to be (and where I know she so sincerely wishes I could get to.)

I have to now choose my unhappiness. I know this – I will not choose anything that will cause sadness in my children.

To those of you looking for a relationship – please understand this. A bad relationship is FAR worse than none at all. There is NOTHING more important than being able to be yourself. (Provided, of course, that you’re not someone like, say, Charles Manson.)

Please understand that I am not looking for sympathy. I know this falls under the dreaded category of internet-drama but every word I wrote reflects my true emotion. I suspect most people would be at a real loss as to how to respond to this – and so please believe me when I say that no response would be better than an insincere one or a polite one that holds back what you might really be thinking (positive or negative). I’d rather hear someone say “shut the f**k up already” than here “I’m sure it will all work out.”

The brass ring looked so shiny too. It was within reach I thought. It should have come with a warning: “Objects are farther away than they appear. Please ride again, and again, and again, and again, and….”

I wish I could end with a light hearted quip or something humorous. I think I used to have a pretty good sense of humor. Instead, I’ll end with a riddle:

A-E-C
"Willoughby. Next stop is Willoughby."

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Bob_san
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#2 Post by Bob_san » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:18 pm

Wikipedia has a long acronym list for AEC but probably none is what your answer to the riddle would be.

I will be sorry to see you go but I understand you gotta do what you gotta do.

Ok you want a true unvarnished honest response?

There is an episode of Star Trek where Spock says that if there are self made purgatories then we all must live in them. Actually here is what he said:
I am what I am, Leila, and if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else's.
--Spock in 'This Side of Paradise'
I have been coming to the conclusion that while we are fortunate to live in a free country, we all live in self or otherwise imposed prisons. Mostly the prison of the mind and whatever predispositions we come to possess either by genetics (nature) or by environment (nurture). It is only a few people who are able to free themselves mentally to be truly free.

My parents got divorced when I was 21. At first it seems like this horrible thing and oh no and all that but in the end it was the best thing they ever could've done. Everyone now even the children are happier now. Everyone is living the life they want and is fine with it all. Of course at the time no one can know that but over time it becomes apparent.

Good luck and Godspeed!
So long and thanks for all the fish! :D

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#3 Post by Ithildriel » Fri Jun 29, 2007 9:19 pm

I came, I saw, I read, I wept. :cry:

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#4 Post by Pockets » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:06 pm

I too am sad to see such a wonderful member of this forum leave, and for all the wrong reasons. I am not religious, but you and your family will always be in my thoughts. I really hope that you find the peace and happiness that you certainly deserve. You have only ever come across to me on this board as a very good person. And your kids are a lot more resilient that you give them credit. Your wife sounds... unreasonable in her demands of you. I'll stop now, but my heart aches for the pain you are going through.

P.S. If anything I've posted is offensive to you or against your wife's rules, just pm Bob_san or me to have the remarks edited out.

:cry:

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Tombo
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#5 Post by Tombo » Sat Jun 30, 2007 7:37 am

Hello there-

As a relative newcomer to this board,I can't profess to know much of your history...but what I do know is this-people,in the long term,are very resilient and adaptable. If you were to bite the bullet and jump ship now,you may be surprised to see how well the dust settles after a few months,and how well people adapt to your new circumstance.

You're not responsible for anyone elses happiness but your own,harsh as it may sound.

All the best to ya. I hope that you reconsider everything,and stick around.

Tom xx

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#6 Post by Congruous » Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:15 pm

I wish you all the best. I wish you wouldn't speak in absolutes about leaving here. Go do what you have to do and come back whenever you feel like it.

And tell the Cubs to stop beating the Braves.
"Are there no more arrows left?"

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52FM
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#7 Post by 52FM » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:13 am

One last thank you to everyone. It means a lot to me that people took the time to read all this and respond.

A common response talks about kids being resilient. I agree. (Of course my “kids” are all adults, so maybe that doesn’t apply.) This weekend was one of great reflection and I had the opportunity to assess how each of them would take the various options that are in front of me. They are three individuals, and so there is no common reaction to anything I’d do.

Not very long ago, my daughter lovingly said to me that she looks forward to her children (whenever in the future she has a family) getting to know me. Of course, she meant the “me” that she has come to know. I fear that person is slipping away – the last week has been a shockingly downward spiral. I tried to convey that to my wife, but she is so concerned over a certain health issue she has that she doesn’t see my point. And it’s so unlike me to not have empathy for her – but her behavior last week left me feeling so trapped that I just don’t have it.

So I have no idea what happens next – but I am considering every option. I know that my daughter’s dream would be shattered if I grew into a miserable old man; yet my unhappiness will assure that – and I certainly can’t rely on my adult children to save me from that.

What do people do when they are trapped? Most people fight. People like me reflect on the pain I am causing everyone and take on guilt feelings. And so it’s time to eliminate those feelings somehow. My first act is to leave here. I have taken far more than I have given - especially from Ith. That has been made very obious to me this last week.

After that – I have to try to keep ignoring the conductor calling out “Willoughby”.
"Willoughby. Next stop is Willoughby."

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#8 Post by Ithildriel » Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:02 pm

52FM wrote: My first act is to leave here. I have taken far more than I have given - especially from Ith. That has been made very obious to me this last week.
You're wrong. :(

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#9 Post by Bob_san » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:32 pm

He's gone.
Oh why?
We better learn how to face it. . . .

Seriously he's gone.
52FM has left the building.

Congruous
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#10 Post by Congruous » Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:11 pm

Remember the old Dead tune, "He's Gone?"

Rat in a drain ditch
Caught on a limb
You know better but
I know him
Like I told you
What I said
Steal your face
right off you head

Now he's Gone
Lord he's gone
Like a steam locomotive
rolling down the track
He's gone
He's gone
and nothing's gonna bring him back
He's gone

Nine mile skid
on a ten mile ride
Hot as a pistol
but cool inside
Cat on a tin roof
Dogs in a pile
Nothing left to do but
smile, smile, smile

Now he's gone
Lord he's gone
Like a steam locomotive
rolling down the track
He's gone
He's gone
and nothing's gonna bring him back
He's gone

Going where the wind don't blow so strange
Maybe on some high cold mountain range
Lost one round but the price wasn't anything
Knife in a back and more of the same
Same old rat in a drain ditch
Out on a limb
You know better but I know him

Now he's gone
Lord he's gone
Like a steam locomotive
rolling down the track
He's gone
He's gone
and nothin's gonna bring him back
He's gone....
"Are there no more arrows left?"

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