The Vine: April 10, 2013
My husband and I have been married for three years and have a baby on the way. We have a recurring issue in our relationship that I would really like to resolve with finality.
I work a traditional nine-to-five job whereas he works long, unpredictable hours. It's annoying and inconvenient to not know when to expect him home, but I've adjusted to it for the most part. The problem is that sometimes he likes to go out after work with friends or co-workers and not tell me that he is doing so. If he still gets home at a half-decent hour I won't know the difference.
As long as he thinks I won't know the difference he will just pretend (by omission) that he worked later than he actually did. Sometimes I find out about these occasions a day or so later because I will see a debit-card transaction from a bar or restaurant post to our checking account.
Other times, he comes home late enough that it is obvious he didn't come straight from work. I will wake up at 2 AM, 3 AM, sometimes later, and he won't be home and there will be no phone call or text message from him. This will jar me awake and I will immediately try to call and/or send him a text. More often than not he will be unreachable. Sometimes his phone will go straight to voicemail and his excuse later will be that the battery died, or I will call multiple times hoping he will answer or call back (I don't leave voicemails because he doesn't listen to them), and/or I send him multiple texts that will go unanswered for an hour or two or more.
We have had many, many arguments as well as rational discussions on this topic. We've come to an agreement (more than once) on proper going-out etiquette; conclusion being that if he is not coming straight home he will let me know what he's doing. And if he's going to be later than expected he will update me, even (especially) if it is an hour where I might be sleeping because the waking up alone and ignorant is the worst part about the situation. I believe that a rational person might have legitimate reason to worry about their spouse's safety in a situation like that. Unfortunately for me, it has happened so many times that I don't doubt he's just safely enjoying himself without regard for my feelings or peace of mind.
Let me clarify exactly how I feel about this behavior. First, I acknowledge that I have developed an insecure attachment relationship to my husband. Like a neglected child, I am deeply hurt that he chooses to spend his precious and rare free time with other people while I am home alone, probably bored, just wondering when he will get home. I know this sometimes manifests itself in the tone of my late-night text messaging or next-day arguments. I know it is unfair to want him to spend all of his free time with me, so as long as he lets me in on his plans and those plans are reasonable I am very nice about it.
I also have a problem trusting him in general because I know he is habitually deceitful in this way, and has been occasionally deceitful in other smaller ways that are technically water-under-the-bridge issues. But, you know, trust isn't quickly or easily repaired.
Lastly, and less importantly, this is a little bit about money management. He will easily spend $40 on an average night out all by himself. Meanwhile I'm packing leftovers or sandwiches for lunch because I'm trying to be frugal.
This is something that has been going on since the very beginning of our relationship, but it didn't used to happen all that often. The last several months it has become more and more frequent. I am tired of having the same argument over and over and hearing him promise to behave differently only to go through it again. With a baby due in six weeks this makes me even more angry and impatient. I want this to be a time of solidarity in our relationship and he is undermining that. It has occurred to me that the increased frequency of this behavior could be related to the anticipation of the baby and all of the responsibility that entails. I still expect him to act like an adult and in the best interest of our family. And this isn't a new problem since the pregnancy so we still need to resolve it because I have no confidence that it will pass.
Wise friend, I obviously don't know what to do. In my sleepless nights I think of doing things like locking him out or turning the tables and disappearing for a while. These are extreme actions that sound like punishment. I think these are bad ideas. But I'm out of good ideas.
"It" happened earlier this week and he decided he isn't sorry. After trying to reach him beginning at 2:30 AM he sent me a text at 3:20 saying, among other things, "I will be home when I get home." This sent me reeling and I got up and locked the deadbolts for which we do not carry keys. At 4:30 I saw that his car was still not in the driveway. The car was there when I got up for work at 6 AM and I assume he was sleeping in it. We haven't talked since.
His mother is visiting this weekend and I have packed a bag to stay with my mom for the weekend so I don't have to pretend to be loving toward him in front of his mother. He thinks I'm overreacting.
Sorry for the length. Please sign me
I have questions, but unfortunately I don't think the answers matter. I mean, what "other things"? What exactly is on the "bar or restaurant" tabs? What does he do for a living; is he just telling you he can't predict his work schedule? Because from where I sit, and I'm really sorry that this is my theory but I'm just going to rip the Band-Aid off here, the only explanations for the Tony Soprano hours (and matching attitude) besides that he actually is a Mafia capo? 1. He's an addict or 2. he's sleeping with someone else(s).
But as I said, the "why" is irrelevant here. The "what" is that he doesn't want to come home, he doesn't give a shit that that upsets you, and he's got you making excuses for him like it's your fault or the baby's. Sure, dudes freak out about an impending child and whether they can handle it, but you said yourself that this might explain the "increasing frequency," not the behavior itself, which is ongoing — and more to the point, you said that. He didn't. If that's the case, why wouldn't he trust his wife and the mother of his child enough to just say so, instead of having yet another fight about why he's not answering his goddamn phone at 3 in the morning? And: your wife is pregnant, guy. You keep the phone on, and when it rings, you answer it.
Unless, of course, you're in the middle of some sketch transaction behind the bar or restaurant having to do with narcotics or maybe not being straight.
I know you want it to be true that he's just having some beers with friends to unwind, that his battery really did die, that he's coping with the pressures of imminent fatherhood and it'll take care of itself — and again, I don't know how often it happens, and if it's only every two weeks, maybe it isn't an issue, I don't know. But even if it is that he has a stressful job and daddy anxiety, his coping skills give you stress and anxiety, and he refuses to change them. More likely, he's doing something he doesn't want you to know about, and I have to tell you, the whole "well maybe if you weren't so clingy" line of reasoning is classic junkie projection. He's trained you not just to accept his shit-heel behavior, but to give consequences for it only to yourself.
…Enh-enh. Can't continue; won't continue. The whole situation is shitty and unfair, and terrifying, and you don't deserve it, but sugar-free, he's already abandoned your little family emotionally. The worst that could happen has, really, already happened, and I think once you accept that, as horrible as it is, you'll feel relieved. No more "what if"s, just "what's next"s, and at this point, with a baby coming, you don't have the luxury of waiting around for him to do better (and he won't). Enough reacting; it's time to act, for yourself and Tired Jr.
Stay with your mom for a while, if you can. Inform your husband that you've had it. You don't know why he's lying and avoiding you, you don't know why he can't show you some consideration or charge his phone, but you don't care why; you're done. He's had enough chances, and this isn't a negotiation. And it really shouldn't be — the idea here isn't to force his hand, or scare him into compliance, but to really be done and accept that you can't count on this person, emotionally or otherwise.
I'm sorry this is happening to you, I really am. But it's happening, so take control of it, now, before the baby arrives and you're too exhausted to call him on his shit. And it's shit, make no mistake, so: scoop and flush, lady.
Tags: boys (and girls) kids