Can There Be Failure in Love? Yes.

Mitch has been home for ten days, and will be leaving again on Tuesday for his week-long run on the summit. Much like his previous stays at home, he has accomplished very little since his last arrival. He has cooked two meals, both sides of the kitchen sink are full of dirty dishes, the remaining weeds in the yard are still untouched, and the mess from Tocho’s outdoor potty breaks is literally piling up in the back.

These issues are becoming increasingly frustrating to me, because my husband asks me not to do them — professing that he wants to help with these particular chores to “lighten my load”. Unfortunately, I think he does this more out of guilt than a sincere desire to assist me with things; and though I have told him that being honest would go a long way towards helping (i.e. If you just say you don’t want to do it, then I know that I must.), he continues to give me his word that these particular chores are his to handle… and then refuses to put any kind of action behind what turns out to be empty words.

I don’t think it’s possible for my husband to comprehend the extent to which these seemingly mundane issues vex my mental state of being — and ultimately, my physical health as a result. I felt strong and healthy the day he returned home, but today? Today I feel sullen, sick to my stomach, and angry.

A Truly Broken Record

I have mentioned the weeds only once — several days after Mitch returned home — and got an earful as a result, “I said I’d do it, and I’ll do it. Not everything has to be on your time table!” Because I don’t want to fight, I have said nothing more about any of his varied derelictions of duty… and end up choking on my frustration, and swallowing a lot of hurt and cross feelings.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that I need to perform all of the household chores (outside of the occasional meal), if I expect them to be completed. And since I can’t attend to them when Mitch is here (due to the yelling that accompanies me tackling these things that’s he’s promised to do), I have to wait until he leaves — dedicating all of my time away from him to household upkeep.

This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life — whether it’s group projects at school (which I loathe, because there are always those who don’t want to carry their assignment responsibilities), my work with other addicts in my community (who rarely want to implement the advice I give in lieu of asking me to fix their problems), or issues with friends and family — I am the one who shows up, keeps my word, and gets shit done.

There’s No Reflection in Mitchell’s Mirror

Ironically, in all of the aforementioned situations, Mitch is quick to point out that I don’t have to be the one that gets things done. He often laments that I take on too much responsibility, and that I sacrifice my time and energy for folks who have no interest in lending me theirs. He’s fond of saying that I if I just leave people to their own devices, they will be forced to handle things themselves. So why doesn’t this apply within the confines of my home?

Filth has never bothered Mitch. He doesn’t care if the bathroom smells like urine (because at fifty-years-old, he still manages to pee on the floor and the walls), if the trash cans or recycling bins are overflowing, nor if there are clean sheets on the bed. When I lament that I am not unbothered by the same, he often responds with some version of, “Well, that sounds like your problem.”

This applies to our sex life as well. Mitchell is very happy with his self-proclaimed status as an “a-sexual.” (Though if he were truly a-sexual, I don’t think he would depend on regular visits to pornography sites.) Decades of sharing my desire to be intimate with him have only accumulated in buckets of tears, open wounds from continued rejection, and fights that end in, “If sex is that goddam important to you, then go out there and get laid!”

There is No Understanding

I no longer know what to do to save my marriage. Mitch has repeatedly stated that he does not want a divorce. He would prefer that we stay married, and that I attend to my sexual needs outside of our home. And we tried that for a short-lived while; but I am only sexually gratified in a meaningful relationship, and other men do not understand how my husband could sanction any union outside of our marriage.

I don’t blame them. I don’t understand it, so how could I possibly explain it to someone else?

My friends don’t understand why I stay with Mitch. Part of it is that the man has stood by me through the ugliness of active addiction, has literally saved my life after multiple suicide attempts, and provides a roof over my head while I attempt to navigate my way through a post-secondary education at forty-four. More important than all of that, though… I love him.

Mitch has a secret heart of gold. He’s not fond of people in general, but will fight like hell for those he loves. He makes me laugh like no one else can, and has been extremely accepting of the batshit crazy behavior that sometimes accompanies my mental health disorders.

Somewhere deep inside, I do know that the man loves me (albeit, not always in a way I understand). But as we’ve grown up together, it seems that we have also grown apart… and I miss the closeness that we shared so many years ago.

I also cannot leave. Currently, I am unemployed and do not have a degree. The only jobs I am currently qualified for have a minimum wage attached; and I have no financial resources, as we found ourselves in bankruptcy court last year. We don’t own our home; and therefore, we have no equity nor wealth.

These days — feeling loved or not — I often feel trapped in a life that doesn’t feel like my own. It’s suffocating and heart-breaking and isolating and lonely. If Nicky hadn’t already put my parents through the loss of a child by his own hand, I could not promise that death didn’t seem a viable solution to what ails me.

Nicky’s death taught me that there must be hope of a better tomorrow — that clinging to the positive in any situation is necessary for those that wish to wake and face another day. But hope is an elusive, intangible thing… and what I need most is support in my home.

Sadly, support in this abode is as slippery a snake as hope is evasive… all that’s left to do then, is to continue on as though I were literally living on my own. It’s exhausting, and is slowly consuming my soul. And what’s worse is that I’m not even sure that Mitchell cares.

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