The Joy of Christmas Day

Is there anything more stressful than a day full of relatives crammed into one small house? Add to it an infant and two fussy toddlers and you have a recipe for family disaster. 

My poor wife. She has been sick the last couple of days on top of not sleeping well. We had over a dozen relatives show up for Christmas brunch at our place. Normally Wife is the host. She mingles and gets drinks and otherwise puts everyone at ease. We have siphoned off most of the main dishes to others which frees her up from cooking. I spent most of the beginning outside in the cold cooking bacon and sausage on the grill so we don’t stink up our house like last year. We need a new range hood. 

This year did not go as planned. Little Fox, our infant, was very fussy while everyone was showing up, and Wife took Little Fox upstairs to feed. I went and checked on Wife and she was near hysterics. Little Fox wouldn’t eat and kept screaming, and Wife’s mother kept coming up to attempt take the baby. 

Oh my mother in law (MIL) is a piece of work. Oblivious to most of what’s going on outside of her world. Because the sun circles her and her alone. Of all the people on the planet she gets under my wife’s skin the most. I have to play rodeo clown between Wife and her own mother. In this case MIL thinks of her grandchild as a perfect little angel, and just wants to parade around holding Little Fox and showing how great she is as a grandma. She has no idea that Little Fox is over-stimulated, and going to scream his head off. She also has no skills to calm him, and does not listen to us on what to do. 

Usually Wife’s sister is here, and has a way of putting their mother in her place, but she couldn’t be with us this year. The absence was noticeable. The negative feelings quickly spread to me as they always do. No matter that I’m now acting host and cooking and rearranging the tables. I asked Wife a question at the wrong time, and she snapped at me something fierce. I told her she needs to go upstairs and cool off (kindly, I was very kind), and you could see was nearly in tears climbing the stairs (not at me, she was grateful I sent her upstairs). At one point I was trying to whisper something to her about how she was doing, but she yelled at me to speak up because the baby was loud. I did. Then she was pissed I said that in front of everyone. Hey, guess what? I tried not too!

Christmas was a mess. Wife and MIL plus a couple of other people that get under Wife’s skin. Wife was a tired, stressed out lady, and people were visibly uncomfortable because of it. “Hey look at me everyone!” Says the rodeo clown, trying my best to salvage the day. 

Oh and everyone decided to bring their fucking dogs! We have a bunch of children running around and an infant. Leave your dogs at home! I locked all the damn dogs in a room upstairs. I’m going to lay down the law next time. Your dog can stay home by himself for a couple of hours trust me on this. 

We all survived, but it was tough. Wife and I are having trouble communicating anyway. Then you throw in the stress from the holidays and you can really see it break down. 

*

The day after Christmas MIL decided to host another Christmas party. I know she did this because we took her Christmas away from her. She has to control everything. Well we went up because there were some relatives there we didn’t get to see on Christmas. One of the dogs was there again. He snapped at my toddler, Little Owl, and I made the dog’s owner put him upstairs. You’d have thunk I asked them to make the dog stand outside in the snow all night. Pathetic. Oh and that fucking dog bit my foot when I pushed him away from Little Owl. 

Anyway the party was fine. Then on the way home Wife and I got into a HUGE argument. She does not listen to me. Earlier that night I said there was something wrong with Little Fox’s eyes. They were very red. I was worried we might need to leave if it were an allergy or something. She dismissed it and would not converse with me about it. Just snapped back answers downplaying all my concerns. Just another day of Wife shooting me down. So I let it slide. 

Then on the drive home she said Little Fox’s “eyes were getting red because of my Moms sweater. She kept letting him rub into her sweater.” Without mentioning anything about my concerns. WTF! I called her out on it, and she got stuck talking about the details of what was wrong as far as a diagnosis when the problem is that she is not listening to me. She does not see how her actions impact me as a person. But we didn’t get  that far before she just stopped talking to me for 2 hours. 

Eventually she did start talking, and it took me some time to get her to understand that the eyes being red were not the problem. The problem was that she doesn’t communicate with me. She was not helping me find an answer, but instead just dismissing anything I said until it was important to her. She did not acknowledge that as a parent I was concerned, and needed those concerns validated at some level. In essence shutting me down and making me feel very sad. 

I told her I would normally just let it slide, but I’m not doing that anymore. She made me feel bad, and I was letting her know. The fact that it led to a 2 hour standoff argument only intensifies the problems I’ve been telling her. We do not communicate well when I have problems. Believe it or not I have emotional needs, and I need her to see them. I will no longer just sulk away, and take care of them on my own. She will now carry some of the water for I believe this is a major reason I ended up in an affair. 

*

Wife is going to start seeing a counselor next week. This is really good. She needs someone to talk to. The more I tell her of my feelings and the way she impacts them the more she is going to need someone professional to talk to. Having a 2 hour stand off because she can’t see or admit that she knocked her husband down in front of the whole Christmas party and made him feel really low, is a sign that she has some personal growth to deal with. 

Her husband isn’t happy in this relationship. I have kept most of the negative feelings I have bottled up over the last 17 years because she cannot handle them. Now she must learn to face them, and handle them or let me go. The day after Christmas was not pretty. Yet it is one in a string of daily knock downs. A string of unmet emotional needs. 

 

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14 thoughts on “The Joy of Christmas Day

  1. Communication is a two way street, someone has to start. I’m glad you finally decided to, now you need to continue, don’t stop!
    And IMO (which you didn’t ask for so take it or leave it) if you have any chance of making this work you need to stop focusing on mistress. Comparing is a sure fire way to kill any relationship. Good Luck, really!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Communication is a start. It sounds like Christmas was rough and edgy, especially with your wife being sick. Add hosting and dealing with family (and their dogs), along with your strained relationship, and you have to admire her for holding it together without a meltdown.

    I hope I am not out of line for suggesting this, but it would be a very good idea for you to see the same counselor that your wife is seeing. The counselor is going to be in tune (hopefully) with what your wife is feeling, will be able to help you understand her.. and yourself. That counselor will likely want to see you both together, a very good thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah I don’t blame Wife for what she had to deal with on Christmas. The only thing that bothers me is how much she takes out on me. I’m the one running around trying to keep her from having a total meltdown and then she dumps on me too. It’s just hard.

      That’s not a bad idea but unlikely to happen. She is going to one through her work which is near where she works. I will most likely go see one myself but it will probably be in the city.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You ought to read Chump Lady blog. The posters have been cheated on, lied to, gaslighted and dumped. Some of them are men. They refer to a fictitious book, The Cheaters Handbook 101 because everything you write about your wife is in there.
    My wife yells at me
    We don’t have good sex
    She pays more attention to the kids
    I hate my in-laws
    We don’t communicate
    I have found my soulmate.
    Etc.

    You are not unique. Neither is your affair.

    You might divorce and remarry. Sex will be off the charts until the kids need you. Spoiled diapers, throwing up, temper tantrums, needing to be held, wanting to play, having to be quiet etc. that’s just the kids. Your new wife might not be in the mood. You might have a bout of ed, your job might suck, someone in your extended family might get sick. Romance doesn’t last. If you and your lover marry life will show up. It always does.

    I also think you are just waiting for April to dump your wife.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good to see you are spreading the love, Moi. I’m getting the feeling this is personal to you, like you need to hold all us cheaters accountable for some reason. Please understand we are humans with dreams and desires and flaws, just like you. I don’t know why, but lately I’m getting the feeling that you don’t understand that. That cheaters are all the same to you, that we are all petulant children who’ve made our bad decisions that can never be justified, our lives will suck whatever we do, and we just need to accept it, suck it up, and start acting in the manner you’ve prescribed. There may be some truth in the opinions you hold to, but it seems to me there expression is not tinged with genuine concern. Perhaps you just feel this is giving us a needed dose of ‘tough love’.

      Patience and I have made some bad mistakes in our lives, but we are trying to be honest about our thoughts and feelings and striving to find the best way to live with those mistakes when we are only given a set of bad options. Chump Lady is extremely one sided in the opposite direction, an emotional echo chamber for the pain cheating can cause and has caused, also providing honest opinions and personal perspectives, and anecdotes, but like us, doesn’t really prove anything. Perhaps we are chasing impossible dreams, and maybe down the road we will realize you were right all along and we should have just sucked it up and stepped back in line with all the other good little husbands. But, I don’t see that as the obvious end to all things, and I don’t think Patience does either.

      I am usually hesitant to ask about someone’s background because I don’t want it to influence my evaluation of their arguments, but I have to say I’m getting very curious about your background and experience. If you are going to continue to speak with such authority on all these subjects, I would personally appreciate you relating your credentials sometime. I hope you take this comment in the respectful tone it was intended. Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I have read some. It gets a little monotonous. Yes I know I’m not unique. Far from it. That was what got me interested in writing here in the first place. I know I’m not unique but you rarely get to hear stories from my perspective. Also there are only so many things in a relationship that could be core problems so it’s not unusual that the list repeats like that.

      With small differences. Wife doesn’t pay more attention to the kids than me. It’s to work over me and the kids. Who doesn’t hate their in laws right? Ha! But my comments on my in laws also state that Wife is affected by her mother far more than I am.

      Communication though, that is probably the core of all marriage failures. Many books have been written about this topic alone.

      Soulmate. Yes I did. Unexpectedly. And I suspect that does happen to a lot of people. You think you have it all going well then the paradigm shifts. It really throws you for a loop.

      I think there is a bit of a difference in your discussion about sex though. Wife has never been into sex and Mistress has always been. Regardless of all those other factors, and we all have kids. Life will always show up that is true, and it’s nice if you have something to slow down to. If I slow down any more now I’ll be a monk. Romance doesn’t have to come to a halt though. If you can communicate well then you can find ways to keep things going.

      But you are right. Life will happen. Things will change. I know this. It could be really bad. I’ve written about those fears too.

      Perhaps you are right about April. I’m honestly not making any decisions until then. And not until I can see a counselor.

      I appreciate your response. I can tell you care, and are acting as a warning sign of danger ahead. It’s good to get your perspective every so often.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reading this, the first thing that struck me was you recognize how stressed your wife was and yet you still, somehow, managed to make this about you. Your wife was sick, dealing with a cranky baby, a mother from hell, inconsiderate family and (wrongly) feeling responsible for everyone’s Christmas. My guess is when you asked about the baby’s eyes she responded as she did because she hated herself for not being able to say NO to her family, and disliking herself for not being able to stop her “mother” from hurting your baby. I agree that therapy would help your wife process her boundaries and ways of communicating with you, but second the idea you go with her sometimes.

    Pls forgive any typos…I’m sick at Christmas, too 😑

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha! Nice first comment. Well yes, the entire blog is about me so you’ve got me there. It would take too many words to also show where I stepped up to the plate to be super husband and host. Not the point of my blog.

      The eyes incident happened the next day though when she wasn’t host. I will say that you are right that she carries a lot of guilt with her family and mother and often has lots of trouble saying No. even when she does she manages to carry they guilt around. But this time she did step in and take the baby from her Mom once she realized what was happening. It would’ve happened a lot sooner had she actually discussed it with me though.

      I’m not a therapy expert. Will see where it goes.

      Enjoy your Christmas break!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My education and my work are focused on family issues. The most helpless people are the yougest. They have no say in how you and your wife run your marriage. The little boy who thought you hung the moon has a secret that he has carried since you left the family. It is rage. That boiling under the surface rage thatcomes out of hiding with the first hormone surge. All that sorrow, all that rage has to go somewhere and adolescents do not have the life skills to find something constructive but instead choose something destructive to do.
    I recently saw this in my extended family. The couple hit a rough spot, he had lunch with a friend, an affair ensued and a family split up. There are kids who are trying to make sense of the idea that their dad loved someone more than them. Needless to say the romance fizzled. The wife opted for divorce and is marrying a very nice man. Neither one of these people have a clue why their marriage exploded. Right now the couple is working together to see that their children don’t suffer too much. It is the ONLY family I know that has managed this.
    I just want you to be honest with your wife.
    I want you to get your head out of the clouds.
    Deal from reality. Deal from kindness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Regardless of how marriages end they do end and I worry myself sick thinking about the kids. Your description above is hard to read. I don’t want them to have to suffer at all. I feel so horrible that my life choices could have such a negative impact on them. I will take this slow, I’ve already ended the affair, and we will work toward either a better marriage or a more agreeable dissolution which will be from kindness and with the kids best interests in mind.

      Like

  6. I’m not sure how long you’ve been married. For me, it’s twenty years. Over those twenty years there were a few rock bottom low points like you described. Where I truly thought there was no coming back from it – as polite, sexless roommates. Well, each time we came back. In some instances it took a very long time (years) but at the very least we managed to get back to our equilibrium of friends who on some level enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes I think that’s all you can hope for.

    We never did go to therapists. Quite frankly I feel they’re overrated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It will be 14 years this summer. It sounds like you had ebbs and flows. I’m not sure ours has been quite like that. More of a long slow ebb.

      I’ve never done the therapist route either but I’ve talked to so many people here who have and the one thing I find interesting is how they help you find the words. I’m always amazed at how much the right language and perspective can change how I approach things. I feel so very lost in this new world of emotions and I could use the words. Wife could simply use the validation. Hopefully she finds it.

      Liked by 1 person

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