Sunday, May 29, 2011

Then and Now 3 - Land Beach

Then and Now 3 - Land Beach
Time: Late 2007, dating my wife.

There were two people I met when I first got to the hostel in the main city. I'll discuss the adventures I had with the fellow foreigner Ken in another update, but for this installment of Then and Now, I am going to focus on the local girl, May. She and I met on my first or second night in the hostel. She seemed a bit stand-offish at first, but I think as we talked more and more, that she realized I was a genuine guy who was looking for good company, and not an easy girl. She was an honest, adventurous and sweet girl, and I think that really helped us to get along so well.

Our first conversation was largely ice breaking. She shared some stories of her adventures abroad with some other foreigners, and showed me several dozen pictures of her time in another country. She had taken a train ride to a forested lake, and spent a good weekend camped out with some other travelers. They swam, they hiked, they watched and rode horses, and she looked very happy in all of her pictures.

I didn't have much to show her of my experiences in her country, because I had only been there for a little less than two months and I wasted a good two weeks of it. Still, I was able to show her several pictures on my camera of sunsets, panoramic views of night city settings, people that I had met, and more. Soon, it started getting late, so she and I went to our respective dorms and slept. We talked almost every night for the next week or two after I came back from exploring the town outside, and soon enough, she had left the hostel to stay with a friend.

The morning after she left, when I woke up, there was a note lying next to me. May thanked me for our time together, and left her email address to get in touch with her while she was at her friend's place a few miles away. Of course I got into contact with her, and we shot several emails back and forth for a few weeks before she moved back home, then invited me to come down and spend some time with her. By that point, I was already dating my wife, so I knew I wouldn't let anything develop between us. Still, it sounded like fun, so I went down to see her and look around as good friends.

I went down by a long bus ride, which traveled a long freeway at the foot of a long mountain range. When I got there, she picked me up and took me to a seafood restaurant where one of her friends was waiting, and we chatted for a good hour. Her friend left when lunch was over, so May and I jumped on her scooter and headed back to her place to get prepared for the day's journey.

When we were ready, she took me to her college campus, and we spent a good hour or two just walking around and talking, and I was interested to see that the campus looked a lot like my own back home. There were towering dorm rooms above lush, grassy areas and many trees. There were also miniature lakes that sat beside artsy-fartsy postmodern art pieces, and some ducks were swimming around in the waters. We went to the college library, and though I wasn't allowed in because I wasn't a student, May showed me her slightly mischievous side by telling me to "act cool" and just go in anyway.

It worked. We went up a few floors to get a good view of the campus below, and to see some of her favorite books. I understood about half of what I read. After a short while, we left her college and went to a local convenience store to get something to eat, then headed to a juice shop that she worked at so I could meet some more of her friends (and we could get discounted drinks). And at last, it was back to her apartment to get ready for the main trip.

A few minutes later, we got back on her scooter and headed out. We rode for about an hour through twisting roads, under a freeway overpass and past some beautiful windmills sitting tall upon some hills, and I took a bunch of pictures of my goofy face getting pushed back by the wind. Although we got lost and had to ask for directions a few times, eventually, we found what we were looking for.

We arrived at a beach away from the beach. At the spot, we both removed our shoes and walked on some watery, but firm, mud that stretched out for miles. There were little crabs in the mud, small enough not to be dangerous, but large enough to see scampering about under the mud. We ran, jumped, and traveled all over this muddy beach-like place for an hour or two, and I took a lot of pictures of our time there. My favorite pictures were of her jumping and pulling her legs in, so it looked like she was flying over the mud. We were there until the sun began to set. I took many pictures of the orange orb setting over the horizon, casting brilliant reflections off of the water upon the mud. It was an incredible sight.

We soon hopped back on her scooter and headed back to her apartment on darkened roads, beautifully lit up by house and street lights. On our return, we bought some fireworks and shot them off behind her house, though for the life of me, I don't remember why. She and I then went off to an outdoor market to go check out some of the delicious foods and toys around, and I'm a bit ashamed to say that I never cheated on my diet as hard as I did that night. It was almost midnight by then, so she brought me back to her place to sleep before I headed home the next morning.

Nothing happened. She didn't make any moves, and I certainly wasn't going to while I was already dating someone else, so she napped on her bed while I took the floor.

At around 4:00 in the morning, she woke me up and took me to the bus station, and I thanked her for the amazing time. At last, the double decker bus arrived, and I was on my way home. It was my first time taking a bus that size, and I enjoyed watching both the TVs inside, and the forested mountains next to the highway whizzing by.

About an hour or two later, I was back in the main city, just outside the main bus/subway/train station. The sun was just beginning to rise over the buildings to the east. In the early morning glow, I felt relaxed with so few people around, like the whole city belonged to me. But even more, I felt refreshed that a new day was dawning, and that it was time to return to my blissful life.

As for today...

I woke up at 7:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the computer.
I took my son out on a trip past a long bridge heading over a quiet river, past a go-kart track, then alongside the river to a construction site where he could watch heavy machinery move around. Then, we doubled back and headed to the mall, but it was still closed, so we took a trip up into the mountains to another town. On the way, we passed through a huge mountain road that ran next to the freeway, so my son could watch cars going by as we flew on. In the new town, we explored a combination apartment complex and shopping center, then headed back on the mountain road to the mall again. We played crane games and looked around a bit, had some donuts and juice, then we went home.
I ate lunch.
I played video games.
I watched TV.
I played cars with my son.
I played video games.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I slept.

Today was a good day. Not as good as things used to be, but I still appreciate this break from the norm.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My wife and son aren't the problem

Marriage is the problem, and it always has been.

Back when my wife and I were still dating, we got along very well. Almost every weekend, she came to my apartment from her mom's house to hang with me, and it was non-stop fun and adventure. From hometime of DVDs, TV, sex and her watching me play video games, to adventures out in the town seeing sights, going to movies, taking walks and enjoying nature and city life, we were having a ball. And sometimes, when I wasn't up to seeing her because I was tired or raring to hit the town alone, we just didn't hang out that weekend. Simple as that.

In addition, my wife never fought me on anything I wanted to do. She was never too bored for TV, too tired for walks, too hot for a hike or anything. For every last one of the three months that we were dating and didn't have a baby coming, I did as I pleased, and she followed. On the rare occasion when she had a different idea of something to do that day, whether it was something more fun, more productive, more interesting or what have you, I gave up my plan to follow her. We had a good relationship.

In fact, now that I remember, in that whole time we only had two fights. Once, she was upset because I was platonically hanging out with other girls during the week, and she was worried that I was planning to cheat on her. Her fears were groundless, but understandable, so after I got her angry email, I called her up and assured her that I wasn't going to do anything romantic with other girls while we were together.

A week or two later, I was talking about hanging with friends, and a girl's name came up. She started up the fight again and began swearing up a storm, so I just basically said, "I'm getting tired of this. Trust me. And don't go crazy again." After that, I never heard about the other girls again. No third fight, no snarky comments, no upset phone calls or emails, nothing. That was it.

Going back even further in my life, my relationship with my first girlfriend in college was much the same. She lived with her family, and I lived in my apartment, and we met up whenever we wanted to see each other. We went to movies, took walks, drove around the city and mountains, had sex, watched TV, took dancing lessons, did everything couples do for fun. It was a great few months that we had together.

The enjoyment I was getting out of both relationships ended abruptly when I moved in with my first girlfriend, and after I married, then moved in with, my wife. In both cases, I was suddenly sharing a house and a life with another person, and sacrifice, routine, work, sniping and other negative nonsense began to fill both relationships.

In the case of my first girlfriend, after we moved in together, she hated when I played video games to relax after a long day of work, tests and homework from college. She had chores for me to do. She started numerous, endless conversations about our future. We had sex less and less, until I was begging her a dozen times a week before she reluctantly gave in. And this all started when the relationship went from fun to serious co-habitation.

In the case of my wife, we were still living apart for a few months after we got married, but she started coming over almost every weekend and free day I had, so I rarely had any time to go out and sightsee. She was pregnant and I didn't want to force her to go out just because I wanted to, so we just stayed at my apartment all day. She monopolized almost every free moment I had from after we got married to when we moved in together, and we had much, much fewer things to do while we were at my place. It only got worse when we finally got our apartment together, and if you've read my previous posts, you know why my life sucks, and why I can't do anything about it.

All this mess isn't my son's fault, either. If I were just dating my wife, I would be much happier now, as the above experiences show. And hypothetically speaking, if I just had a son and not a wife, I would be just as happy.

I would have less stress. With more choice on how to fix my problems, and being the only powerful (and capable) influence on my son's life, I wouldn't have to compromise, make sacrifices or deal with fights and issues from my wife at all. And since my son would be under my guidance, he could easily have become as happy and honorable as his dad.

I would have less chores. With just a son, I would have much less dishes and laundry to take care of, in addition to keeping things spotless and spartan in my house as I prefer, which would cut down on cleaning.

I would have more money. Even assuming the cost of day care, without a wife and her family to support, a bigger house, another car, furniture, toiletries, higher bills, more insurance and so on to pay for, my take home pay could easily be multiple times higher than what it is now.

I would have less drama. No wife means no in-laws, and any friends I made or girls I dated could easily be left in a heartbeat if they ever became too selfish, rude or unpleasant for me and my son.

I would be happier. No wife means no compromise and little sacrifice, so if I wanted to take my son out on a trip, nobody could stop me. If I wanted to play video games with him, or watch movies with him, or go outside to play, it would be between him and me. We could do what we wanted.

I would have more freedom, and could still, maybe, follow my dreams. For the first few years of my son's life, I could easily continue traveling the world with him along with me, and show him what the world had to offer. When it was time for him to go to school, I could put down roots with him for a few years to give him some stability. Later, if he was interested, the two of us could continue our travels about the world in a new school and life every year. If he wasn't interested, I'd just shrug my shoulders and stick it out in the same place for a few more years, then continue my travels when he was off to college. It would be up to us to decide.

And all of this could be done with no accountability to anybody but my son, my bosses and my honor.

Putting marriage and child-rearing together, however, you come to the life I live now. I don't blame my wife and son, not just because I don't want to start resenting them, but because this isn't their fault. It's marriage, the long, dragging, life-draining cesspool of shelved dreams, that has ruined my life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Then and Now 2 - Awakening

Then and Now 2 - Awakening
Time: Mid-2007, at my bud's aunt's place.

When I first got abroad, I was still kind of a mess. I wasn't as bad as I was back in high school with the crying, whining and suicidal tendencies, but it was hardly a pretty sight. I guess I figured that after all the work I had done, physically, emotionally and financially, that all my efforts would be rewarded the second I got off the plane. I would be surrounded by girls, job offers, friends, fun times and everything I was looking forward to as soon as I arrived.

Of course I didn't really believe this, but I thought things would immediately change upon arriving in my new country. Instead, I was still the same man who got on the plane in the first place.

I spent the bulk of my first week or two of my new life, I'm ashamed to say, holed up in my bud's aunt's place. I just sat around, watching TV or playing PSP, and only went out when my bud dragged me outside to look around. Even when we went out together to eat with his family or something, I acted like an idiot. I distinctly remember faking illness at dinner one time, so I would have the opportunity to go home early and spend more time wasting time. Like I said, it wasn't as bad as it was in my scrub days, but it's still embarrassing to mention now.

This Then and Now is about the moment I decided to take matters into my own hands for the final time in my life. After this moment, every bit of success, every friend I made, every sight I saw and every last red cent I made was through my own persistence, hard work and boundless optimism. I never let another moment go to waste after this, until my wife got pregnant.

One day, my bud and I went out to a local hospital to get our health checks done, and I was itching to get back to our house to lounge around like a giant slug for the rest of the day. We walked down a very large and busy street with trees going down the median, and the road was filled with the bustling of people and cars going to and fro. After a few minutes of walking, the two of us cut through a huge park filled with winding roads, trees and a few mini-lakes full of mosquitoes. When we noticed the swarms, we sped up and got out of there as soon as possible and to the hospital, where we finished our health checks and started to head back.

I don't know what changed at that point. Maybe I was finally tired of living like my old self, maybe the excitement of the mosquito park was an inspiration, I'm not sure. But when we were walking out of the hospital, I asked if my bud wanted to walk a bit farther past the hospital to see what there was to see. It was scorching hot, so he refused, and we headed back to our house. But when we got there, I said goodbye and decided to go exploring on my own.

This was the first time in my life that I was on my own, looking around and adventuring for fun by myself, and without a parent or friend at my side. In all honesty, it felt weird and uncomfortable at first.

I walked past some towering apartment and business buildings, which cast very much appreciated shadows along the road that provided excellent shelter from the sun. After a few minutes of wandering aimlessly, I felt thirsty, so I stopped off at a convenience store just outside of a park. I got a soda, then sat down outside the store to watch what was going on around me. I had a relaxing look at some parents and their little girl running around the grassy park with their dog, and just did a little overall people watching. I started to feel a little more relaxed about being out on my own, but it still felt weird. Finally, when I finished my drink, I continued on.

On the other edge of the park was a wide field that was surrounded by tall fences that didn't allow any looks to the inside. After a few minutes of walking by the fence and finding not a single crack to allow a peek in, I finally got the bright idea to jump as high as I could and take a picture of what was there, and it was an amazing picture. It was almost like a jungle in there, from how thick and high the grasses were. Questions began to flood my mind: "Who owns this place?" "What are they building?" "Do wild animals live in there?"

This was the beginning of the best time in my life. It was just an abandoned construction site, but just the sight of it and the wonder it evoked kickstarted my desire to see more of the country I was living in, and to start to be a more interesting and curious man.

I passed by the construction site and in the distance, I saw a familiar sight: there was a ferris wheel sitting atop a huge building off in the distance. My bud told me it was some kind of amusement park a few days earlier, but it wasn't until that moment that I suddenly had the desire to go see it for myself. After almost a half hour of winding through streets and passing by the glistening waters of a nearby river, I finally made it there: it was a combination department store/shopping mall/amusement park. I was in awe of the place, and even as I still felt slightly nervous from my old life nipping at my heels, my poor language skills and the change I was noticing in my desires for my life, I still proudly went inside to look around.

The lobby was a massive, open area dotted with stores and restaurants. While the first floor was mostly clothes and stuff, I did find a coffee shop snuggled slightly in the back, and went in to quench my thirst. There, I noticed a local couple sitting down and having a drink. I still feel a bit stupid for what I did at that point, but I was trying to live a new life: I went over to them and asked if I could sit down and chat.

What a pair these two were. Not only were they welcoming to this dumb stranger who just came out of the blue to talk with them, but they were incredibly patient with my horrible language skills while I stumbled out the few words I knew to communicate. I remember trying to explain that the guy's name, Leo, meant "lion." But I didn't know the local word for lion, so I had to settle for "big cat in Africa." I got blank stares, then friendly smiles, because these two were just that awesome. After a good twenty minutes or so, I finished my drink, bid them farewell and moved further up the store.

On one of the middle floors a couple stories up, I came upon a store selling crystal sculptures. The owner was kind enough to let me take about a dozen pictures of the glistening items, and I thanked her a month later by buying a sculpture of the country as a thank you gift to my bud's aunt. I've never seen such exquisitely carved pieces in my life, and was glad I made the trip to this place to see them in person.

Finally, after wandering around for another hour or so (and getting scolded for taking pictures of things I shouldn't have been photographing), I went to the top floor to see the amusement park. I didn't have enough money to ride anything at that point, but I was still in awe of the many rides they had available. There was the ferris wheel, of course, which was visible for miles around the city. But in addition, they had a carousel, a swing ride, and even a roller coaster to enjoy. After several minutes of watching the people having fun up there, I decided to get some more cash and come back to ride those rides some day.

When I left the building, the sun had almost completely set. The burning orb was sinking over the river, and the ocean it led out to, and splashed a hundred colors of every hue across the rolling waters. Following that amazing sight, I headed up the road in the direction of my bud's aunt's house, hoping I could make it before night set in and I got lost, but I got home without too much difficulty. When I returned, my bud looked a bit intrigued at the new, sunburned, grinning man who stood before him. And believe me, with a guy as unflappable as him, that's saying a lot.

I know this doesn't sound like the most exciting day I ever had, but it was the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one that would lead to the happiest (and briefest) period in my life. I felt like a new man. I was acting like a new man. And I had six more months of this exploration, fun times and friends on the horizon.

As for today...

I woke up at 10:30.
I went to work.
I ate lunch.
I taught students.
I came home.
I started a load of laundry.
I played cars with my son.
He fell asleep.
I played video games.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I hung up wet laundry.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I slept.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Marriage misconceptions

I first decided I needed a girlfriend, then a wife, to be happy when I was in high school. I was 17, and in the throes of some of the worst of my depression, so anybody can already tell that both my plan, and my overall idea of marriage, were flawed. I distinctly remember me telling myself that I was the perfect husband material: honest, kind, devoted, faithful and hard working.

I also told myself that I was not the perfect boyfriend material: I wasn't confident, outgoing, rich or muscled. And so, I figured I would never become a husband and live a perfect, happy life because I would never be able to accomplish the first step of getting a girlfriend who might one day be my wife. But even though I knew that things were hopeless for the boy I was, I still (vainly) attempted to meet and date girls at every opportunity anyway, in case luck ever went my way.

The truth was that my perceptions of myself were completely false:

- I wasn't honest. I kept secrets and lied to keep people from seeing how depressed I was.
- I wasn't kind. I was rude to, or uninterested in, anyone who wouldn't give me something in return for my friendship.
- I wasn't devoted or faithful. I claimed to want marriage for the love, but I really just wanted sex and a woman to fix my life for me.
- I wasn't hard working. I did what I had to in school, work and life, and no more.

I didn't admit any of these facts to myself until my 21st birthday. When I finally came clean and decided to change my life, it took a year of hard work and three more of adjustment to become the man I was before I got married. But I never re-evaluated that old goal by a deluded scrub to marry and have kids, and that's what brought me to the position I'm in today. I maintained those misconceptions all the way up to my wife's conception, and it wasn't until I knew a baby was coming that I realized how wrong I had been about marriage.

Misconception 1 - I need someone to fix and support me, and marriage is the key.
Truth 1 - I needed to fix and support myself, and I was the key.

Any romantic relationship built upon one-sided caretaking is doomed to fail.

With my first girlfriend, when I was in the inferior position, I didn't realize the damage I was doing not only to her, but to myself. I was forcing her to support me while I did little to help myself, which was completely unfair to her, and I was left getting more complacent and unhappy every day. When I was in the superior position in my marriage, I found myself feeling jaded and underappreciated for all the effort I put into my wife's problems, while she just took and took. Sometimes, I still feel like this.

And even when it comes to a marriage where each person takes care of the other's problems, I likewise fail to see the appeal. For me, as an adult, I can support myself emotionally and financially, no matter what happens. Two weeks after I got abroad, marriage had nothing to offer me, and everything to take.

Getting married for the support, to put it bluntly, is scuzzy. I found myself saying things like this when I was younger:

"I want someone who's always there for me."
"I want someone to take care of me when I'm older."
"I want someone to stand by my side and face the challenges of life with me."

To accept help from someone when I have no other option is fine to me, of course; I've been helped by more than a few people in my life, and I applaud anyone who has the humility to admit their faults and be helped by others. But to force the support from people with marriage? Contractually and morally obligating someone to become my caregiver, instead of trusting my best friend in the world to support me?

If someone truly loves me, I shouldn't need a marriage contract to re-affirm that they'll be there for me when I need them, and I shouldn't need the unspoken threat of financial ruin, homelessness and social stigmatization (divorce) to assure that I get what I want.

Contracting a husband or wife to provide emotional care is lazy, weak and pathetic at best, selfish and manipulative at worst.

Misconception 2 - I'll have more money with a double income.
Truth 2 - I have more debts with a wife.

I have described my financial situation, and in all honesty, things could be worse. My wife could be a spender, a golddigger, obsessed with name brands, or sending presents to friends all over the country that I never see. But she isn't and doesn't. My son could have health problems, expensive tastes, or a mother who spoils him. But he doesn't.

And even saying this, I still make less than 10% of the take home pay that I made before I got married ($100 a month compared to $1500 a month). Tax breaks and a double income don't even begin to make up the money I need to spend on keeping my wife, her family, and our son (mostly her and her family).

Misconception 3 - Marriage means free, plentiful sex.
Truth 3 - Marriage means mechanical sex, which is neither free nor plentiful.

From five times a week to once every month or two. That's what happened after my wife and I got married. It's always something popping up or affecting her mood that keeps us from being together, and since she holds the keys to our sex life, seeing as how I'm always ready and she always has issues coming up, I'm the one who suffers for it.

And because my wife unconsciously knows that sex is a bargaining chip to make me do as she wants (because she holds a monopoly on the people I have sex with, and why would you sleep with someone that you were fighting with?), my sex life is more of a detriment to my overall happiness than something I enjoy or look forward to. It's just another way of getting me to do more things I don't want to do. Four or five years of sexual rejection later, I started rejecting her to keep her from dominating my life in exchange for access to her body.

As for the price, see Misconception 2.

Misconception 4 - I love companionship, so I should get married.
Truth 4 - I love companionship.

I've had talks, walks and experiences with my best friend, my bud, other friends, classmates, family, even strangers that were almost mystical in how deeply they affected me. I have brought light to more than a few of these people in my life, as well. I never married any of these people, either, and still, the times we shared were just as special as my wife and I's best moments.

I'm happiest when I'm around others, true. But that doesn't mean I needed to marry my sister or my guinea pig. In fact, when I was around someone that I liked being around, but they were being irrationally rude or selfish and not listening to my advice on how to change, I just left them alone for a while and came back later. But this isn't possible with marriage; if my wife's in a bad mood, I have no place to go, and nobody else to talk to.

I was lonely before I changed my life at 21, but after that, I never was. And that's because I realized an important fact about life: any time I felt lonely in my scrubby days wasn't because I wasn't married. It was because I was living life wrong. I didn't have to take on all the sacrifice and problems of marriage to be around people, if I had just taken responsibility for, and charge of, my life in the first place. Before I got married, I did just that, and never lacked companionship.

Now that I'm married, I don't have the freedom or time to go out and be with people, much less the interesting life needed for good conversation. And because of this, I need to futilely rely on my marriage for the bulk of my companionship.

Misconception 5 - I want to be with (girl's name) for the rest of my life.
Truth 5 - People change.

I felt this for both my wife and my first girlfriend, but wanting to be with someone until the end was based on a fundamental ignorance of human psychology. People don't change very easily, that's common knowledge. Just look at the old me: I was depressed from age 14 to 21, all because I chose a comfortable pain over an uncertain future. It's tempting to settle and coast through a boring or unfulfilling life, because as I've heard others (and my previous self) say, it's "safer." So all in all, it would seem that getting married to someone who is just like you, as I did with my wife, sounds like a great idea. She's just like me, and people don't usually change, so why not take the plunge?

The problem is this: people don't change easily, that's true... but they do change. It's not common, but when something very, very big happens in a person's life to change the status quo, or when there is a huge shift in their personal power (more or less money, newfound confidence, a new job, etc...) they are likely to become someone very different.

For me, I changed from the depressed me to the awesome me because my friend Leena struck me right in the heart with a pointed question, and shook me out of my complacency, as I described in Then and Now 17. Others change because of things like a death in the family, winning the lottery, getting an excellent job, moving, a major crime happening to them or one of their family or friends...

...or marriage.

Yes, marriage is a big step in life. And if you can accept that fact, and the fact that people don't usually change unless something big happens to them, then you must come to the conclusion that the person you married is likely to change once you've tied that knot. And God help you if you add children to that marriage, which is about as big a change as you can make in life, and who cement that marriage into place. That girl that you married is probably going to change in some way, just like marriage changed my girlfriend from a supportive, hypersexual and bone-thin enjoyer of all things nerdy, to a nagging, frigid, overweight, lazy computerholic.

When that person that you once dated, who was like you in every way, becomes your wife and subsequently changes into someone who does things you don't like, you have three choices: compromise, sacrifice, or divorce. Or more specifically, give up parts of your dreams and happiness, give them all up, or lose your children, half your money and a portion of your livelihood for the rest of your life in alimony and/or child support.

Misconception 6 - I don't have anything else going on, so I'll get married.
Truth 6 - I didn't have anything else going on, so I should have kept looking.

When I was younger, I was so ready to ignore all the problems of marriage and jump straight into it, because I was giving up the very thing I never used or understood in the first place: my life. Before I went to work on myself, I never traveled. I never had a wide network of friends. I never had a car, saved any money, had a girlfriend, had sex, or did anything useful with my life. So of course I was more than willing to give up the life that I never utilized, because I thought things would never get better. Any time I mentioned the words "settle down," "this is getting old" or "wearing thin" regarding my life, it was code for me being too lazy, too weak and/or too cowardly to continue with my unmarried life by breaking out of routines and trying something new.

Unmarried life is about choices, adventure and growth, and marriage is about routine, complacency and stagnation. It's no wonder the old me was so attracted to the latter: it seems so much easier, even though it's anything but. Choosing marriage when in a rut is not only choosing a new life path, it's removing almost every other possible choice in life in the process. It's like taking a sledgehammer to your car's engine when a road trip gets boring.

It wasn't until I started to live the life of a real man and a real winner, that I realized the power to change and enjoy my life was entirely my own. With 20/20 hindsight, I know now how wrong I was to give up before I had even created and cultivated a life for myself, and I know now what I really gave up when I married.

Misconception 7 - A loving marriage is the best thing in the world.
Truth 7 - Love is the best thing in the world.

First, love is unconditional compassion for another. Period.

Marriage does not make any relationship more special than another. The love a man feels for his wife should be the same love he feels for his best friend, ex-girlfriend, father, child or pet: that is, all the love he has to offer. If they mean anything to him, they should receive all he has to give.

Second, even if the love shared with a wife were more special than the love expressed to any other person on the planet (though I think people are confusing "love" with "love and responsibility" in these cases), that doesn't change the fact that I have a lot less love in my life since I got married. Without being able to travel, go out, volunteer, date, make friends or otherwise experience the world around me, I am closed to the relationships, experiences and love that I could have felt and shared if I were still unmarried.

Misconception 8 - Marriage is the perfect bookend to a tough, but well-lived, life.
Truth 8 - Marriage is work, routine and sacrifice, the very antithesis of rest.

Do you know why movies, books and TV shows always end on the wedding, then fade to black? Because that's when life ends, too. Nobody wants to watch the once dragon-slaying, world-traveling, life-experiencing hero and his love spending the next decades of their lives fighting, washing dishes, watching TV and scraping poop out of their kids' buttcracks, unless they're doing it for the schadenfreude factor.

Marriage is work. It's chores, the 9-5 grind, errands and fights.

It is routine. Wake up, go to work, go home, go to sleep. Whatever surprising things that come up in any of marriage's monotonous days are almost guaranteed to be some kind of extra work or problems to take care of.

It is sacrifice. No more travel, no more sex, no more money, no more time... it's a multitude of things shelved and destroyed for the sake of those around you.

Marriage isn't two people riding a white horse off into the sunset on another adventure. It's a beat up station wagon heading to and from work, stopping only at the bank or the grocery store. If I wanted to live the perfect life after years of working hard to get where I was, I should have just kept on living. It's that simple.

It's not like I wasn't warned about all of this. No less than five times, situations came up in my life that loudly told me that marriage was a bad idea, but I just ignored all the warning signs in favor of that comfortable old goal.

The first was me at a young age, saying something surprising to my mother. She told me that when I was a kid, I said, "I don't want to marry. Then some girl will just steal all my money." Probably something my first father told me. Of course, finances are only one casualty of marriage and I missed the more important issues, but who knew that a kid who hadn't even gone to school yet would be wiser than his counterpart two decades in the future.

The second was, nerdily enough, a video game. I used to religiously play a farming simulation game for the Super Nintendo called Harvest Moon, where you can plant crops, milk cows, raise chickens, chop wood, hike and spend time with the people in town. In that game, you could also get married. As a young man, I was just interested in getting the highest score and best ending, so I chose one of the girls in town to marry and have kids with.

It didn't take long after that to realize what a mistake I had made. If I ever came back late from a long day of work, and my wife went to bed before me, her happiness went down and my score started to suffer. I never had enough time in the game to talk to the people in town, water my crops, pick up my veggies to toss into the collection bin, buy presents for my wife, go treasure hunting and just enjoy a quick trip up the mountain in one day. I started to resent my fictional video game wife for forcing me to come home so early every night, and basically interfering with my ability to not only play the game to its fullest, but to just have fun in the first place. Why I never applied the lesson I learned in this game to real life is beyond me.

The third was taking a long, hard look at the families of those around me, where almost every friend's mother (and my own) were multiple divorcees. This isn't even getting into the national average of first marriage divorces in America alone. Why did I reason that if people got divorced with such frequency, that my married life would be any happier than theirs?

The fourth was several months after dating my first girlfriend in college. After spending a good long while living apart and meeting up to date, take walks, eat, have sex or what have you, we decided to move in together. Then, all of a sudden, I had no time to unwind after ten hours of school to play video games. I had errands and chores to do. Fights and problems got worse and more plentiful, and our sex life dried up.

Relationship fun comes with an expiration date, and that date is usually either the several month mark, or the moment co-habitation begins. I didn't have enough experience with women at that point to know that was true, but I could have at least looked at my friends' relationships and inferred it from them. Out of the dozens of relationships I've seen that all my friends and family were in, not a one of them seemed overly exciting or fun after the critical "several months" or "moving in" point.

The fifth was actually coming abroad after spending so much time fixing myself, and not realizing that I didn't need a wife to be happy. I never re-evaluated my scrub goal, and because of that, I trusted a worthless birth control pill to protect everything I'd worked for. I just didn't listen.

Finally, as a way to show your own self that marriage is not the dream that people make it out to be, do something I never did when I was younger: take a look at the parents around you, out with their kids and husband or wife at the mall or elsewhere. Do they look happy, or is one or both staring blankly off into space with masks of bored unhappiness on their face(s)?

I can certainly tell you what the vast majority of families look like when I see them now, and I can certainly tell you that I'm no different.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Then and Now 1 - Lost and Found

I've discussed the things I've lost and the troubles I've gained from marriage, and I've written why I think marriage is a bad idea all around. I haven't gotten to all the essays and points I wanted to get to just yet, but I will in time. This post is Then and Now. In these, I will give a brief synopsis of the day I just zoned through and a look into the happenings of a married man's life. In addition, I will share a story of what I used to do in a single day as an unmarried man, and compare it to what I do now as a married man.

My unmarried time abroad was very short: just six months, between first leaving America and getting the news of my wife's pregnancy, from mid-2007 to very early 2008. Not only are the days limited, but there were also complications with my best time: I felt like a real fish out of water and was a depressing homebody for about two weeks before I really started to live it up, and later, I had a job that cut into my life and free time.

But even then, I lived more during this period of time than every other year of my life combined; I have hundreds of experiences and stories to share from those six months alone. Who knows how many more thousands of experiences I could have had in my life if I hadn't gotten married... and not just in the past three years that I've been married, but for the next decade that I'll be holed up in this apartment.

Then and Now 1 - Lost and Found
Time: Late 2007, dating my wife.

One Tuesday morning, on a day off sandwiched between two ten hour work days, my wife (girlfriend at the time) called me up and wanted to meet me in the main city. So I dressed up, spiked my hair and jumped a bus and a subway car to get to the combination subway/train/bus station. We had spent the previous weekend together (and several more before), so I think she was willing to give me some time alone that day to travel the city. Sure enough, after a brief lunch and coffee date together, she kissed me goodbye and went home, and I was left to adventure.

My plan at that point was to go back to my apartment and just play video games all day, because I felt like I didn't have the energy to go out and adventure that day. But since my girlfriend got me out of bed and out of the house, I realized my body was just trying to trick me into staying inside so it could rest or something. Now that I was out, I was full of energy, and ready to take on the town. So I took out my trusty (if somewhat ragged and marked up) subway map, to see which of the city's many sights I hadn't seen and checked off just yet.

I scanned the map from top to bottom, checking past some theaters, parks, museums, shopping districts and other things, and noticed something unusual: the subway system was basically two main rails, one heading east-west and the other north-south, with a couple of smaller rails jutting off from the main lines at the far ends of the city. Oddly enough, in the middle of one of the lines, I noticed that there was a single car going from a big rail line to a single stop. There wasn't much written on my map as to what important sights or buildings stood there, so I was curious as to what necessitated a train car to run endlessly between these two stops. I smiled a bit, and hopped the nearest train to go there and find out.

The subway car took me up to the spot in less than an hour. On it, I always enjoyed looking around and doing a little people watching with the locals around me. When the car arrived, I hopped out and made my way to the information booth to see if there were any maps of the surrounding area that could satisfy my curiosity for this place. But aside from a museum pamphlet, there was nothing else. It looked like I had to wing this one and find out for myself what was so interesting about this place.

I went outside, and noticed that the street curved into the station in an odd manner, which caused some real traffic problems as people hopped in and out of cars to get into the station. So, I carefully navigated my way through the mess, and was off.

I walked up an ascending street, and was enamored by the sights around me. Tall apartment buildings rose to my left and were decorated with signs, plants and even people's wet laundry. On my right, there was a school that had just let out, and there were kids pouring into the massive park that sat next to it. Some of the kids kept saying hello to me, so I smiled and waved back, and continued down the road. I ended up outside of an interesting wooden building with people milling about inside. I got closer, and saw that it was the museum from the station pamphlets, so I dropped off a donation and went inside.

I don't remember what the museum was about, because it's been years since I went there, but I do remember two things about it: one, they had an aquarium in the floor with fish swimming around, and two, that there were some very awesome movie posters on the wall outside. They looked really old, and the art style reminded me of those old 1950s Sci-Fi B-movies, like "Bride of the Swamp Thing" or "Invasion of the Martian Ants," but they were written in the local language. I thought it was really interesting to see those kinds of posters, only with actors from this country in the starring roles, and I wondered what kind of cultural sharing took place to get those movies made (or if the movies even existed). In any case, I wanted to see them.

I left the museum a short while later and continued up the road, when I smelled a really foul smell. It only took a second to tell what it was: hot sulfur. A little up the road, there were massive, steaming pools of hot water that were completely fenced off and only open to look at (and smell, apparently). It was still a beautiful sight, with the translucent waters of the spring sitting just in front of a very thick forest behind it. I wondered if people actually swam in there. After I hit a dead end and turned around, an old local walked by me, and seemed shocked to see a foreigner just a few feet away from him. He looked even more shocked when I said hello to him in the country's language, but after he failed to respond, I just figured he was too shy to talk and moved on.

The road continued even higher, up into the mountains. Soon, all the buildings, the school, the park and everything behind me retreated and gave way to a road winding around massive cliffs to my right, and a huge, snaking valley down and to my left. The latter was an incredible sight: the grassland where they were building something just seemed to shoot out of a forest far below and behind me, and I was so high up that the trees looked like twigs, the excavators in the middle of the construction project looked like toys, and the people working were like ants. I snapped a lot of pictures up there.

The road continued for miles, past some really nice looking apartments and a couple of other construction crews. A bit later, I came across a restaurant at the end of a descending road that sat overlooking the forest below. It was completely empty, except for a bunch of clean tables and chairs and a woman who came to greet me. I didn't have the money to eat there, but I did ask for something to drink. Unfortunately, the place was closed, but I still had the chance to see the view from the window and chat with the boss for a while.

I went out, and finally, after about an hour of walking, I came to a great four-way intersection. I was on the north-south road heading north, and the east-west road seemed to be some kind of mini-highway, so I decided to just keep heading up the road I was going. But before that, on the corner of the intersection was a woman working a fruit stand. I felt kind of hungry, so I bought a bunch of bananas from her and snarfed them all down. Continuing up the road to the north, I came to another bastion of civilization, and not a moment too soon because those bananas made me thirsty. I stopped off at a local convenience store and got a soda, drank it up, then found some bins for my banana peels and pop can.

The road continued even farther up, even after I had climbed so high, and I was pretty sure it was going straight to the top of the mountain. In just a few minutes, my suspicions were confirmed... and I realized why this area needed a train stop. I followed a crowd of people up the side of this huge mountain, and after a couple of minutes, I found myself near its summit. There was a huge garden up there, dotted with flowers and trees of every shape, color and size.

My camera never got such a massive workout as it did at the top of this place. I walked up a path that wound its way around the huge garden, and provided several amazing vantage points of not only the flora atop the mountain, but of the winding valley and huge forests at the foot of it. Then, some local girls approached me up there and asked me to take some pictures of them in front of the flowers, so I happily obliged. We chatted for a bit, then went our separate ways.

The day was starting to run out, so I walked back down the mountain to the bus stop outside of the garden, and waited for the bus to take me to the nearest train stop. On the way, I met a man who spoke very little English, so I spoke to him with what I knew of his language. He seemed happy and willing to speak slowly and easily, and I learned that he was a businessman, and he made his living traveling around the world (much like myself). After a nice talk about the history of his country and some suggestions on what else I could see in the city, the bus arrived at a train stop and I boarded the next car out.

But I still wasn't tired.

Since I was in an "off the map" kind of mood, I decided to see what there was to see at another set of short train lines. This time, it was a fork at the very end of another subway line, with only a couple of stops on each "prong." I started with the prong on the left, and got to the very last stop. By the time I went outside, it was almost completely dark, and it was getting hard to see.

There wasn't much to see here, other than an outdoor market, but I still took the chance to go into an antique furniture shop and peruse the beautiful statues, pictures and other assorted things that were way out of my price range. The lady there was very nice, and I spent a good couple of minutes just admiring the masterful work that had been done on the art pieces and furniture around her shop.

With that stop partially seen, I went to the end of the other subway prong to see what was what. At first, I didn't see much of interest (but then again, it was pitch dark). It was just a street that led between two tall rows of apartment buildings, with some street vendors selling their wares between them. I bought some sort of fried bread/meat thing from one of them, and it tasted really good. As I turned down an alley to take a shortcut back to the train, however, I saw it.

Spanning over the waters and shining in the darkness, I saw a huge suspension bridge, lit up in a dozen colors. On my side of the river that it spanned, it was pitch dark, but on the other side, there were hundreds of office and apartment buildings lit up beneath the night sky. It was an amazing sight, and I spent a good while just taking pictures and happily watching cars pass along the bridge and into the night. I don't know if I would have been as amazed with the sight if I had gone to that train stop during the day, but I'm glad things worked out as they did. The lights of the buildings behind it, coupled with the brilliance of the bridge and the cars upon it, was a sight to behold.

I was starting to get pretty tired at that point, so I went back to the station and boarded the train to head back home. On the way, though, I decided to see some of the last tourist attractions that were in the center of the city on my subway map, leaving the outskirts of the city for another day. All three of the attractions were outdoor markets.

The first was jam packed when I got to it, and I was really fatigued at that point, but I still noticed the fantastic welcome arch that bore the market's name, and I still made an effort to look around all the shops selling delicious foods, old electronics and hot clothes. The second and third markets were so close to each other that I just walked straight from one to the other. Again, fatigue makes my memory of this place a little hazy, but I remember seeing a lot of masseuses plying their trade, and a local woman who was running an outdoor shooting gallery. She called me over in English and we talked for a while, and I was surprised by how fluent she was. I don't think I made the best conversation partner, as tired as I was (and I don't even remember her name or what we talked about), but I still tried my best all the same.

With those three markets quickly seen, and hopefully saved for another day to check out in more detail, I boarded my final train ride home, then hopped a bus back to my apartment. After a quick shower, I collapsed in bed and was asleep in less than a minute.

That was Tuesday. Not a celebratory day of my first paycheck, a birthday trip, or anything else special or out of the ordinary. It was just Tuesday, a single day in the life of an unmarried man.

As for today...

I woke up at 10:00.
I roughhoused with my son.
I went to work.
I taught students.
I came home.
I started a load of laundry.
I roughhoused with my son.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I hung up wet laundry.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I watched internet movies with my son.
I slept.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How I cope

I'm married, and all I want to do is find some way to make all of this end. The chores, the nagging, the work, the fights, the routine, the lack of anything meaningful to do, I just want to work my butt off at SOMETHING to make it all stop. But everything about marriage flies in the face of what life was meant to be, and what people teach you from the moment you're old enough to learn about life: hard work means rewards. The ant toils now so he can survive and thrive later. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish. But no matter how many times I wash the dishes, fight with my wife, go to work or just brace against my own mind while the regret for everything I lost pounds against it, nothing makes my married life more tolerable.

If my room were suddenly bathed in a glowing light, and out of that light stepped the figure of a man who told me, "Do a hundred thousand push-ups, and I'll give you the magic power to fast-forward every moment of your life where you fight with your wife, go to work, do a chore, run an errand, regret your old life, commute, or otherwise feel unhappy about how your life turned out," do you know what I would do?

I would turn the computer off right now, do a hundred push-ups, then change the name of this blog to "John Q. Public: Push-up Beast" and chronicle the quickly approaching deadline to when I got my life back, a deadline whose arrival would be entirely up to me. I would enjoy every fun moment with my family (usually comprising a few hours of any given day), and my married life would be finished in no time.

But that's not marriage. Very few problems on this earth are like marriage.

For example, if I were poor, I would sell everything I owned, move to a very, very small apartment and eat nothing but cheap crap until I got my finances back up. If I didn't have a job, I would beg for food for a few days until I successfully interviewed for one. If nobody had money to spare, I would find a local charity or church to help care for me while I got back on my feet, then once I was, I would pay them back tenfold for the help they had given me.

If I weren't educated enough to get a good job, I would go to college. If I couldn't get into one, I would start at a community college, spend two years studying there and getting stellar grades, then transfer to a university. If I didn't have a high school diploma to begin community college, I would start by getting my GED and working from there.

If I were dying of hunger, I would get a job to support myself. If the whole country had no work, I would farm. If I had no place to farm, I would leave the country and eat garbage on the way until I found a place with land to farm or jobs to work.

If I were a woman in an abusive relationship, I would leave while my abuser was sleeping, then go to the local police station and have them take photographic evidence of my abuse, testify against my abuser, then never date another abusive man.

As a child growing up in abusive households for almost two decades, I did something exactly like this to overcome my depression: I spent four years re-programming my mind, thrusting myself into situations that previously terrorized me, working my ass off at minimum wage jobs to make enough money to realize my dreams, and fighting every negative thought along the way with every last ounce of my strength. And for this, I was rewarded with my six month, unmarried life abroad.

But there is nothing I, a married man, can do to help my current situation. The problems in my married life aren't insurmountable; they're inescapable, and unending, unless I want to destroy my wife and son. For marriage with kids, there is no action a man can perform to make it end without substantial cost. The only way out is dishonor, poverty, death, stagnation, or some combination of these.

Dishonor - Leave your wife and child(ren) to fend for themselves, and lead a life of hedonism and freedom away from them. And, of course, live the rest of your life in shame for the pain you have heaped upon them, and the responsibilities you ran out on... but more importantly, leave your family in dire straits emotionally, physically and financially.

Poverty - Leave your wife and child(ren), but send back alimony and child support every month to take care of them. Combining high poverty and moderate dishonor, this leaves your family financially taken care of, but you without any money, and your child(ren) ever wondering why daddy only wants to see them for a few days out of the month (thanks to the court system).

Death - You or your family dies of disease or accident. Any man with a shred of honor would never wish this upon himself, only to leave his family behind with no support and eternal questions, or his family.

So that leaves the final option, the option that guys like me choose so we can take care of the people that depend upon us: Stagnation. Sit around, do what you must, and wait until the time limit is up so you can live again. Because stagnation cannot be ended early through extra work or effort, it's important to come up with ways to make the jail sentence of marriage more tolerable, and hopefully, speed up faster. And after three years, I've come up with a few ways:

1. I zone out.

I've talked about how I deal with the repetition of marriage. I'm awake for the few fun things, I zone out for the abundance of boring stuff, and I defuse any fights with my wife before they happen by withdrawing from her and denying her battle. Zoning out also speeds up time, so for the vast amount of the day where I'm bored or unengaged by what I'm doing, it doesn't seem to take as long. This has the added bonus of moving days by faster, which helps with my second coping mechanism.

2. I count days.

September 1st, 2027. That day is the beginning of the school year when my son will have finished high school and be off to college. When he is off, so am I. Like a prisoner, counting days makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something every day I live. Every night, I watch another day tick off my cellphone and tell myself that I only have a few thousand more to go.

3. I believe in reincarnation.

This isn't a blog about religion, so I'll keep this brief. I believe that after we die, we review what we did right and wrong in life, then return to the planet as another person. While we lose the memories of our old lives, we retain our core personalities, our goals and the lessons we learned, and continue on to learn more about the world around us and ourselves. If I'm right, then I am currently preparing myself for my next life, which is the amazing life I wanted to live this life.

Overcoming depression and becoming honorable and self-reliant at 15, instead of 21? Going abroad at 22 instead of 25? Being born sterile? Knowing from adolescence that marriage is a raw deal, and never going through it again? These are all things I'm planning and looking forward to now. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say this: I would rather take a bullet in the brain in any other life than be stuck in this position again.

4. I play video games.

My games are a way for me to challenge myself with problems more difficult than "Sit there while your wife complains" or "Big clothes need clothes hangars, small ones use the carousel." They also provide mental rewards for my work, rather than getting nothing more than a pithy "Thanks" for transferring more than a $1000 to my wife every month, or the nothing at all I get for the chores.

In addition, whenever I'm in a position where I have to sit around and wait for something to finish (like my wife getting ready or window shopping or yelling about something, or when I'm doing work training or standing in line or something else), I find that time passes much quicker with the help of video games. I play them in my head, I plan characters for games I plan on playing later, and I remember the successes and fun times I had when playing my favorites. Most importantly, video games let me pass the time pretending I'm someone important and respected. When I'm playing a really good one, I'm even able to completely forget that I'm married while I'm lost in a new world, and not have a single thought about all the things I lost when I tied the knot.

5. I daydream about my wife divorcing me.

There's no point in daydreaming about how life could have been if I hadn't impregnanted my wife. That was the past, this is now. And since I'll never be the one to divorce my wife (for the sake of our son), it only makes sense that to be more realistic, and therefore therapeutic, that my daydreams involve my wife divorcing me.

A divorce would slam my finances hard, but a second job would cure that in no time, and everything else that marriage has taken from me would be returned to me in a heartbeat. The only one who would be hurt would be my son, but if I weren't the one initiating the divorce, I could hardly get down on myself for the troubles that his mother flings on him, problems that I would be there to help him with.

My wife has promised me that she would never divorce me unless I cheated on her or beat our son, neither of which I would ever do. But she also promised me before we married that we would have sex at least twice a week, which not only turned out to be untrue, but she lied later than she ever made the promise. So, this is just even more proof that the divorce scenario could easily come about. It's a very realistic ending to my marriage, and those make for the best and most involving daydreams.

6. I keep this blog.

Going back and reading what I wrote sometimes makes me feel like another person is talking to me, and understands what my life is like. If I told too many people in real life how I feel, my feelings might get back to my wife and hurt her and our son. And when I tried to speak to people anonymously on the internet, I get nothing but derision and derailing. This blog is the only place I wish to voice myself.

7. I ignore my wife when she's being stupid.

When my wife ever does something that makes me unhappy, like when she constantly gives me obvious suggestions and orders that you wouldn't give a ten year old, or when she's in a bad mood, or when she complains about me playing too many video games, or any other thing like that, I just firmly tell her to stop, then I ignore her. Before, I used to politely tell her that some of the things she did bothered me, and she almost always got annoyed and upset for me asking her to stop. And since I don't need (or frankly, want) her for anything, it's easy to focus my attention away from her and onto a daydream, TV or a video game.

When she gets her way, I make sure to give her very little of my attention, because nothing else works to stop her from being selfish or rude. If I act nice, she presses her advantage and demands more, or gets angrier. If I act angrily, she gets angrier. But if I withdraw from her, she suddenly tries her best to get things back to normal. Of course, none of this ever does anything to restore my old life and dreams, but it does make day to day life more bearable.

8. I maintain strict control of my thoughts.

This is the most important of my coping mechanisms. If there's anything my journeys through life have taught me, it's that all emotion and action is the result of one's thoughts. Believe that a certain race of people are thieves, and watch as your body seizes up when you draw near a person of that race. Engage in thoughts of revenge fantasy and murder, and feel your gut tighten, the blood rush to your face and your heart quicken. Anything you think, your body will respond to.

I once kept this blog under the name "marriageisdeath," but I deleted it two months ago when I realized that it was incredibly abrasive towards my wife and other people who were married, instead of focusing solely on marriage and myself. Though I tried to keep things relatively civil, even when I took just a jab or two at my wife, I still unconsciously started to blame her for how my life turned out. That unconscious feeling turned to unconscious resentment, which developed into me being rude to my wife for real.

Controlling my thoughts in a situation that I cannot change is a daily struggle, and in a married life that is comprised mostly of boredom, work and stress, there are many times when my mind begins to wander. During these times, whenever I have a nasty thought about my life or marriage, I accept it and follow it through. But whenever my mind wrongfully blames my wife or my son, I brace and toss the thought away immediately. This happens several hundred times a day, and is one of many kinds of stress that I endure to keep my family safe and in the dark regarding how I feel about marriage.

For the thoughts, I immediately counter negative thoughts with a positive one. I don't care which of the two thoughts is the correct or true one, it just matters that I fool my brain into thinking I'm content when I'm not.

For example:

"Look at all those foreigners walking around down there, enjoying life without a care in the world. Bet they aren't married to a..."
"My wife is a good woman. I take care of her."

For the situations where my wife or mother-in-law are being insulting, controlling, bossy or rude, or someone is berating me for something unimportant, or I have ten hours of work to slog through, or some other real life issue comes up, I do something different: I just shut down my mind and block everything out, and let my zoning out handle disputes, insults and problems with automatic answers and action.

To summarize, I don't engage in thoughts of divorcing my wife. I don't entertain any kind of false thoughts where she or our son ruined my life. Even when I'm daydreaming, and mentally roleplaying the moment I need to explain to a girlfriend why marriage is a terrible idea, I never superimpose my wife's face or name onto that imaginary girl.

In addition, I write this blog in a very mild tone of voice. If you've read this far and think that I'm not truly bothered by marriage because of my semantic choice, then know that this is the reason. If I wrote how I truly felt, those words would translate into upset feelings, which would then foster resentment for my wife and son, which would turn into me becoming angry or sad about the things I don't like in my life.

By keeping my thoughts under strict control, and keeping my unhappy attention focused only on how my married life is a miserable, unsatisfying existence, I keep both my wife and son out of harm's way; I deny the free man in me who wants to be free for the sake of my family's welfare. But I always keep my eyes on the future, when I no longer have to do this.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I had one girlfriend before I met my wife. Sometimes, she or I would be in an upset mood, or one of us was tired, or we just felt like we were having an all-around unpleasant day. At those times, before we moved in together and our relationship felt more like roommates sharing an apartment, she or I would just tell the other that we didn't want to hang out that day. I also didn't have many fights with my friends growing up, but the same was true for them: if either one of us needed our space, we wouldn't hang out. As a married man with a child, though, the freedom to leave, give one another space or just end the relationship is long gone.

My wife used to have a problem controlling her emotions. It was a common thing to either wake up to, or for me to be at home to greet, a moody wife. It might have been a million different reasons: she was tired, sick, stressed, upset about something someone said to her, weighed down with work, hot, cold, anxiously awaiting bad news, upset with some negligible mistake I made, fighting with her family over something trivial, or much more.

The reason she acted like this for three entire years, 2010 to 2012, was because I believed the lies of my mother, the media and general consensus in the west that a man must defer to his wife, because she's usually smarter and more in control than he is. What ended up happening when I did this, though, was my wife constantly "s*** testing" me time and again in a backhanded attempt to get me to man up.

For those not sure what this is, it's when a woman does something purposefully provocative to a man to see how he'll react, which is her way of judging what kind of man he is. If he acts nice, he's a loser with resources to be dominated, belittled and controlled. If he gets toothlessly angry, she weaponizes that rage because she knows how to push his buttons, and uses that leverage to extort resources from him. If he treats her tests with indifference and/or punishes her in some cold and uncomfortable way, he's a winner to be respected and deferred to.

When a man concedes to a s*** test, as I did over those two years, the behavior gets worse. If he loses his cool, as I did a few times, the behavior stops for a few days, then starts up again. Only when he treats his wife's tests with the cold, logical and precise cutting of a scalpel, or just flat out dismissive and rude responses, will a man find peace in his relationships with women. At least, he'll have it until the next time she decides to test him.

I had a similar problem with my ex-girlfriend constantly testing me in college, but we weren't married. I broke up with her after two years of dating when the sex dried up and she wouldn't stop testing me. But dating is not marriage, is it?

So what is it like to live in a married purgatory? There were several nasty fights from 2010 to 2012 with my wife that threatened to break my already warped spirit. In each one, I felt as a caged animal who couldn't fight back. Each of these fights sent me into enraged nostalgia for the life I had given up, grinding pessimism with the knowledge that I would never find a way to either stop or win the fights, or just resignation and apathy.

I never want my wife to know how much I hated (and hate) marriage with her, so I hid these feelings as best I could; I simply choked down and buried them into the pit of my stomach. I couldn't defend myself, because that made the fight worse. I couldn't leave her for a while, because that made her angrier. I couldn't divorce her outright, because that, too, would have hurt my son. I did politely tell her the truth of her being rude to me dozens of times, but she never changed her ways, and oftentimes, ended up blaming me or getting angrier.

My solution to that stress, which is the same solution to my boredom today, became to just tune everything out. Right now, I'm awake and aware as I'm typing this post. Whenever I have a happy wife, a good child and time off, or that time is being spent doing something I want to do (i.e. writing this blog or playing video games), I am a man of moderate regret and apathy, wishing he were still single.

I don't live as this man very often. Between a wife, work, chores, errands, remembering how things used to be and other such issues, I don't particularly like living my life. During those times, I blank out and let my body automatically handle whatever inescapable stress it is that's bothering me. The psychological term is "flow," the feeling where your body is doing something that your mind is not actively engaged in, and I'm sure everyone has felt this way before. Perhaps you had to walk five miles to get home because nobody could give you a ride, and before you knew it, you were back. Perhaps you were reading an incredibly boring book, and you didn't even notice that five minutes and five pages had slipped by until you "woke up." It's where the world gets dark, you tunnel vision, your mind wanders, your hands and body move by themselves, and by the time you finish your task, you only have a vague recollection of the specifics of what you have done.

I live like this for almost every moment of my life. My consciousness submerges whenever I'm faced with a boring or stressful task that I don't want to deal with, but doing it is the only choice. Almost everything that crops up in my married life causes me to zone out: doing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning up the floor and table, dealing with a moody wife, disciplining my son, every last hour that I work, errands, commuting, shopping, bank runs, standing in line, waiting around for my wife to get ready to go somewhere with me, watching her shop, and much more. During all these moments, my body automatically takes care of everything, time speeds up, and I don't remember much of what I did.

It wasn't until years of doing this had passed that I found out the actual, physical reason for this happening: one time while out at the hospital with my wife, son and mother-in-law, I was black-vision bored. After about thirty minutes of sitting around and zoning, I tried out a free heart rate and blood pressure monitor. My normal heart rate and blood pressure are 70 BPM, and 115/75. The results that day were 60 BPM, 110/55. Less blood being pumped means less blood going through the brain, which diminishes concentration and awareness, and fast forwards my perception of time.

For example, as soon as my hand touches the knob on my door on my way to work, I tunnel vision. Everything from the drive to work, to the teaching, to the midday break, to dinner, to the drive home is done automatically and with little to no input from me. I don't feel unhappy when traffic is bad. I don't feel amazing when my work is good. I don't feel full when I eat dinner. I don't feel anything at all; I simply do my best, then leave. Once I return, and I've finished my ascent up the stairs to my apartment, my awareness opens up, and I'm back again to shower.

If I come home to a washing machine full of laundry, a sink full of dishes and toys all over the floor, I tunnel vision again until the chores are all finished. Then, I wake up and use the computer or play with my son, then it's off to the oblivion of sleep. It's so automatic that I can't even will it to happen; something boring or aggravating comes up, and I tunnel vision. That's that.

I'm fairly certain that those men out there who "tune out" their wives and don't want to talk after work are in a similar boat to mine. They regret how their lives turned out because marriage is not a happy thing, and they just want some time to be alone with themselves, and away from the drama and routine.

I've done experiments at red lights to see how much faster time speeds up when zoning. When I manage to catch the number left on the light until it turns green, then zone out as I wait for it to turn, I sometimes "wake up" to see how much time is left. Comparing the time that actually passed on the traffic light to the time I felt pass is pretty consistent: when zoning, time speeds up around five times faster than normal.

I'm essentially fast forwarding my life. And how can you blame me? Comparing the greatness that was my life to the fleeting moments of happiness I experience now, I needed to find a way to make time go faster, and to protect my real self from the stagnant prison of marriage.

But still, before, this wasn't enough. Sometimes, when my wife was going full bore and really laying into me during one of our fights, being me or zoning out just made things worse. I tried dealing with fights by defending myself and/or zoning out in the first few years of marriage, but anything I did never worked. Either the fight dragged on, my wife got angrier, or the fight would end and just start up a few hours or days later. Eventually, I had to come up with a new way to negate these fights, because nothing else was working. To be exact, I'll now revisit the big fights that my wife and I had, and the horrendous, s*** test failing technique I developed to deal with them.

Our first huge fight was during Christmas of 2009 when I took my wife and son back to the USA to meet my family. On a trip to an amusement park with everyone, my son was being a real pill. He didn't want to stay in his carriage, so people had to take turns carrying the little guy around. My wife didn't say anything while she was holding him, and I wanted to spend time with my littlest sister (we were very close growing up and I hadn't seen her in a year), so I left my wife with our son for an hour or two. I figured she would ask for help if she needed it.

Later, when we were going home, she seemed distant and cold. When I jokingly asked her if she was angry, she exploded at me in front of my family and shouted, "Of course I'm not angry! WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO BE?!". Apparently she had to carry our son the whole time alone, and she almost dropped him at one point. While she stormed away, I looked over at my sister. I told her point blank, "Don't get married. Don't ever get married." I was so shocked and upset, that I didn't care if my wife heard me or not. My sister thankfully replied, "I don't want to."

Fast forwarding past the silent treatment at dinner to the inevitable fight in the hotel room, I was awake and swinging. Highlights of the fight include:

- Telling me that I let her down.
- Telling me that I should know how she feels without her saying it.
- Telling me that I didn't help her enough.

- Telling her that I didn't leave her with a problem on purpose.
- Telling her that she needs to talk to me more often, instead of clamming up then exploding later.
- Telling her that I was tired of her mood swings.
- Telling her that she could have assumed I was either spending time with my little sister or purposefully treating her like garbage, and she obviously believed the latter because she exploded, and I expected more from my wife.

The fight lasted for an hour. For every good argument I provided, she had either some pithy comeback or just changed the subject. Nothing got accomplished until the fight just petered out, she took a shower, and we mutually apologized.

I never hated my life more than on that day. An unmarried man would have just dumped his out of control girlfriend on the spot and found someone better; I was stuck, and terribly missing my old days before I married my wife.

For the second fight, I tried to zone out. My son slipped and fell down one day, and I thought it was because my wife had mopped the floor (I told her four times to stop doing it when our son's awake because he always slips, but she never once listened to me). Because of that, I continued to lie on the couch, daydreaming of the life I used to have, because I figured it was her mess to clean up.

But he actually slipped on a piece of paper or something, not mop water. Naturally, my couch reclining was the very definition of jerk at that point, because it wasn't her fault. I got the silent treatment for a good twenty minutes, until I finally had enough and took a walk around town for an hour. During that time, I fantasized about planning divorce proceedings the second our son went to college: telling her off in the airport as he left, leaving her stunned and confused as I dropped my wedding ring on the floor of our apartment, and other such escapist daydreaming.

When I returned home, I had calmed down. Unfortunately, the silent treatment was all that welcomed me back, so I woke up from zoning out and I had it out with her. Highlights of the fight include:

- Telling her that I need her to express herself instead of bottling everything up.
- Telling her that I shouldn't have left, but I needed time to cool off.

- Telling me that she wasn't to blame, and I should have helped her.
- Telling me that I don't help her around the house enough.
- Telling me that I play too many video games.

The fight went on for thirty minutes or so. Again, an unmarried man would have just apologized as I did when I came home, but if she pressed her advantage, he could have just broken off the relationship.

So defending myself didn't work in America, and zoning out, then defending myself, didn't work in our house. So what about defending myself first, then zoning out?

Fight three happened in early 2011. I went to pick up my mother from the airport for a visit she made here, but I went one day early because I was confused about the international date line's role on her schedule. It didn't help that the dates were strangely written on the paper from the airport, that this was my first time dealing with the date line, and that the same flight arrived at the same time on Saturday and Sunday. When it turned out that I had brought my son to pick up my mom for no reason that day, and that she came the next day, I called my wife to let her know of my mistake. I spoke normally, because I thought things were ok.

Then she made a comment that next time, she would check to make sure I was correct before I left.

This got me real angry. For the previous two or three months, my wife had taken on an even more motherly role towards me, and I was chafing under her numerous and daily suggestions, requests, comments, reminders and orders like I was her son:

"It's cold! He needs his jacket!"
"If you're riding your bike together, you should put his helmet on."
"Please?" (Said after she tosses a diaper at me. Usually, I didn't even get the "Please").
"He needs his shoes."
"You washed the bottles wrong."
"You should use a spoon when you drink soup."
"Can you hang the laundry outside?"
"Can you take out the trash?"
"Can you turn on the fan?"
"Can you change his diaper?"
"Can you make milk?"
"Can you put this in the trash for me?"
"Can you close the window?"
"Can you turn the TV down?"
"Can you go downstairs to pick up a package?"
"Can you go to my mom's house and get lunch?"

I told her several times during those months to please stop talking to me like I was her son or servant. She always promised to stop, but continued to do it again. And again. And again. So finally, when that comment came over the phone, I yelled at her, then hung up.

Married men, if this is happening to you, your wife has absolutely no respect for you. Order her to stop, but do not lose your cool as I did. If she continues on as my wife did, just treat her with absolute indifference and refuse all further orders, even the reasonable ones. Barring that, find a way to punish her by cutting off her money supply or putting her on a sex blackout (even wives who don't sleep with their husbands, like mine, will become extremely nervous when their main weapon in the relationship is defused by the one she's trying to dominate). You will only get this behavior for as long as you take it.

So after telling my wife off, I called her back to explain myself (bad move), and we had a nice, long fight over the phone. Highlights include:

- Telling her that I was tired of her ordering me around.
- Telling her that she hadn't said one word of friendship to me in the past month, only orders.
- Telling her that she was starting to feel like my mother.
- Telling her that if she needed my help, I'd be glad to give it, but if she could do things around the house on her own, she should just do them and stop bothering me about it, because that's what I always did for her.

- Telling me that she would do what I asked.

Turns out that was a lie, because this fight was a two parter. Just two days later, I noticed she was acting cold while we were in bed, so I asked the magic words that get any woman's hackles raised: "Are you angry?" Nope, she lied... but the question made her even moreso. And so, the chores fight continued. Highlights include:

I said nothing. I zoned out, and I'll explain why shortly.

- Telling me that she didn't understand why I was upset because she asked me for help.
- Telling me that for the past three years, when she asked if I was fine and I told her yes, she didn't believe me.

Alarm bells went off immediately. She knew something was up. What was I going to do? I swear, I was ready to unload everything I had pent up on her:

"You getting pregnant ruined my life. I was happy before we got married, but I hated every second of the last three years. You don't lift me up; you drag me down. I was amazing before we got married, and now I'm a loser. And the reward for my enormous sacrifice and work is you fighting me with me, ordering me around and just generally making my life suck. When our son hits 18, I want a divorce. You happy? Now leave me the hell alone."

The breath was in my lungs, my vocal cords tightened, my mouth opened... and out came:

"I'm just unhappy that I'm not making enough money for you and our son. I'm failing as a husband and father."

I should have said what I wanted. I should have put the fear of God into her, knowing that I'm in a place that doesn't routinely violate men in divorce or family court. But instead, I immediately tunnel visioned. She went on a lengthy diatribe about my lie and how it shouldn't affect my mood. And to my surprise, while she lectured me, I didn't feel anything. I wasn't angry about the life I left behind, I wasn't upset about another in a long string of arguments and fights, I wasn't even relieved that I kept my secret.

I ended up creating this awful technique by accident, thinking it was for the protection of my family through the defusing of fights. And since I thought that the only way to shorten, and ultimately end, a fight with my wife was to concede and do whatever she wanted, I thought this was the perfect way to do it. When my wife got upset, I put on a smile, bowed my head in subservience, lied about how wrong I was, then gave her a fake apology while I told her what I would do to make up for it. I thought it was the perfect act for a fight: not only was the fight over quickly, but I wasn't even really apologizing. I didn't even care what the problem was; the important thing was that I thought family harmony was maintained, and my wife and son were protected.

I put this technique through a trial run a bit later. My wife was upset (again) because she had to take care of our son all morning while I went to work at a job I hated for eleven hours a day. I asked her why she was upset, and she got huffy. I scolded her for her lack of emotional control, then just threw up my hands and left to go to work. A few hours into work, I was ready to "apologize." I dialed home, and this is how the conversation went:

Me: Hey.
Wife: Hey.
Me: Listen, I'm sorry I got mad at you this morning. I know how hard you're working and that it's tough for you.
Wife: Yeah, that was weird.
Me: I know! It won't happen again. I know I slip up like this sometimes, but I'm working hard to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Wife: Ok. I think this fight was really nonsense.
Me: You said it. I'm sorry.
Wife: I forgive you!
Me: Thanks! I'll do better next time. Talk to you later! Love you!
Wife: Bye!

But of course, despite the length of this small spat, another would start up soon enough.

My wife was recently diagnosed with anemia, and because of this problem, her temper was very short in April, 2011. At that time, she had to give my son medicine, but he didn't want to take it. She looked at me, and I was playing Metal Gear Solid 2, which was in the middle of one of its infamous twenty minute cutscenes, and I didn't have the ability to pause in the middle of them. Still, I asked her if she needed some help feeding him the medicine, but she shook her hand at me and said no. Good for me, because I could finish the cutscene, pause, then come over to help anyway. The cutscene finished, and I paused the game to go help.

The silent treatment... I zoned out. Soon, it was baby's bath time, and the whole way, my wife was yelling "Be quiet!" "Shut up!" and other things to our son while he was throwing a tantrum. I put a smile on my face to try to defuse the situation and said my son's name gently to let him know he shouldn't be shouting, only to have my wife tell me that I should let him release his anger.

She yelled some more. I tunnel visioned. She went silent and sat in a chair. Finally, I woke up, and I realized I had to defend my son, because she was out of control. So I dressed my boy up and prepared to go outside, and the fight began.

Me: ...
Wife: Where are you going?
Me: I'm taking him out somewhere safe. Away from you.
Wife: I'm not going to hit him!
Me: What you're doing is just as bad. You're out of control, and there's no reason for you to scream at him like this.
Wife: Oh, like you don't yell at him all the time, either?
Me: I only yell at him when he does something like hitting people or throwing things or playing with scissors. Don't try to compare what you've done this morning to what I do as his father.
Wife: So why didn't you help me at all today?
Me: What, you mean after you told me you didn't need my help?
Wife: How about all the other things you never do? You never do the dishes, or look after our son!
Me: What's wrong with you? You say not to help you with his medicine, then yell at me for not helping. You tell me you love doing the dishes and that you can do them, then yell at me for not doing them. You scream at our son to shut up, then berate me for trying to get him to be quiet. I mean, what do you want from me? Do you even love me?
Wife: ... (This was some of the most stunning silence I've ever experienced, though truth be told, I really don't care either way.)
Me: Because I think it's really weird that you told me you loved me when we were at the doctor's office, then three hours later you're biting my head off and yelling at our son for no good reason.
Wife: Even so, do you see how he comes to me first for things, before you? Don't you think that's strange?
Me: That's a low blow!! I can't believe you just said that! Of course he comes to you first: you're his mom! Kids always go to mom first! Are you trying to hurt me by saying our son loves you more than me?!
Wife: I'm sorry I said that, but I only yelled at him because he was being so bad.
Me: What you're doing is the same thing my mother did to me: yelling at me for trivial things, getting upset all the time. It messed up me and my siblings.
(Talking together)
Me: You want that for our...
Wife: Don't start talking to...
(I pointed my finger directly at her)
Me: Hey! I'M talking here! Do not interrupt me!
Wife: ...
Me: Do you want that for our son? To grow up in a house where his mother is yelling all the time and putting him down? Do you want our son to be depressed, too?
Wife: Look, I don't know what happened to you with your mom, just please don't try to compare me to her, ok?
Me: No problem. I'm sorry. Look, I admire that you try to shoulder all the burden onto yourself and do everything like Supermom, but what I don't admire is you exploding on everyone later because of that. I understand, though. My long hour job is only for another four months, then I'll be back to take care of everything again, no problem. And you know what? I'll even do all the chores around the house, immediately and without question. You only need to take care of our son in the morning for a few more months, then I'll be the Superman of the house.
Wife: (sighs) ...Ok, thank you.

Then, it was off to tunnel visioning through laundry, dishes and toy cleanup. When my son tried to get the two of us together again by playing with a toy digger, I briefly woke up and faked being chipper and optimistic with my wife to seal the fight. And a few hours later, she was back to normal.

I honestly didn't care when my wife tried to provoke a fight with me anymore. And even if she did manage to get one started, I'd been through the routine so many times that I just didn't care what she was on about. It's like watching the same godawful movie a hundred times over: eventually, I just got desensitized to it. If she yelled at me for something, I just fake apologized and she left me alone. If that didn't work, and she just kept laying into me, I didn't have anything invested in the fight anyway, so I didn't care who won.

When she inevitably did win, it was just more of the same powerless, useless, pathetic boring me continuing on, living the life I don't want. If I won, what did it matter? It wasn't like any fight I won was going to give me back freedom, time, money, sex, dreams, or anything else I gave up when I married. And she just ended up starting up the same fight every few days until she won, anyway.

Soon, as time went by in my married life, I realized how wrong I was to develop this technique for stopping fights. Thanks to some extensive research into the nature of a woman's reptilian mind, I found that she was performing s*** test after s*** test on me to gauge my worthiness as her provider, and I was failing them one after the other by responding to her idiocy with anything but logic bombs and never letting her change the subject when she was wrong, but most importantly, apathy. My previous technique was a terrible way to handle the fights, and only made things worse. Her drama gets only apathy, withdrawal or stern, emotionally uninvolved lectures now, and it stops her cold every time.

But that's not all. These were the major fights of our marriage, yes, but there were so many more times where my wife or her mom started nonsense between us before I put a stop to their s*** tests, and since I've started this blog, I know exactly when and how the bigger ones happened. Here are the journal entries I made:

May 8th, 2011

My mother-in-law came over to watch my son.
She barked at me for not giving him his medicine, when nobody told me what time he was supposed to take it.
She barked at me for not noticing the note from my wife that explained this, which was pinned to a diaper hanging from a bag facing the wall.
She barked at me for wanting to take my mildly sick son out to an air-conditioned store.

May 12th, 2011

I said hello to my wife, but she didn't respond, so I zoned out and prepared myself for a fight about something. I engaged with her an hour later, and she said that she was upset that someone called her fat the previous night, so I spent about thirty minutes or an hour comforting and advising her.

June 26th, 2011

I took my son on a trip into the mountains and invited her, but she said no. After my son and I came back, my wife was in a bad mood about her mother and sister, so I spent the next hour pulling information out of her and comforting her.

July 6th, 2011

My wife called me, saying that she might get fired because some customer was falsely accusing her of being rude. I tried to console and comfort her, but she wasn't even listening. After complaining about my new friends being late to meet me, she flippantly told me to have fun, then hung up on me. I wasn't surprised in the slightest by how little I cared.

August 23rd, 2011

My wife woke up and barked at me for something or another. I honestly don't remember what it was about.

September 11th, 2011

My mother-in-law and my wife had two fights on a family trip with our son.

Mother-in-law: *Annoying comment*
Wife: *RAGE!*
Mother-in-law: *RAGE!*
Wife: *RAGE!*
Mother-in-law: *RAGE!*
Wife: *Silence*
Mother-in-law: *Silence*
Wife: *Silence*
Mother-in-law: *Normal voice talking*
Wife: *Quiet reciprocation*

September 12th, 2011

My wife was suddenly in a bad mood and started shouting and seething. I tried to calm her down, but it didn't work, so I ignored her.

September 27th, 2011

On the way in, I got a text message from my wife saying she needed to start smoking again because unless she did, she would be a "crazy b****." All I could think was, "Oh, for God's sake. Here we go again."

I prepared myself to apologize for whatever trivial mistake it was that I had made, then went inside and engaged with her. It turned out she was actually super upset about the same exact problem she's been harping about over and over and over and over and over again: supporting her mother without getting some kind of acknowledgement for it. For the tenth or twentieth time, I had to remind her that she should do good things because it's her honor to do so, and not because she wants something out of it.

I work and sacrifice much harder and more than she does, especially regarding my money. Financially, I'm supporting her mother with twice the amount of money she is. And I don't just get things like my dreams and money taken from me, I get punished for my sacrifice with fights, more debt, and heavier workloads. And I never complain to her about it.

Like she was reading my mind, she then told me that she felt guilty for placing so many monetary debts and emotional problems on me, and for taking away my ability to travel and live life because she got pregnant. She actually apologized for ruining my life. Of course, I still don't believe she or my son ruined my life, and I didn't let slip that she was actually partially right in that I hate my marriage ("But you getting pregnant gave me you and our son!").

I forced her to get out of bed and jump up and down to get her blood flowing and kick out her depression. After a bit more talking, she took a nap.

October 9th, 2011

My wife was in an extremely bad mood, partially because someone bought clothes for her that are way too small, and she took it personally. I had to deal with her moodiness for the next hour or two.

October 30th, 2011

I related a story to my wife of my ex-roommate's mother from my college days, and how she was hot and I would have dated her. I was just joking, but my wife took it personally, got silent, then told me I was very cold to her recently. I told her the five or ten things I've done for or with her in just the past two weeks, then apologized anyway, just to keep this tiff from turning into something worse.

December 4th, 2011

On the way back home, I saw one of my co-workers walking out of the apartment complex with his smiling, thin, cute girlfriend, no doubt on their way out for a happy date on a weekend night. In contrast, I was on my way up to my apartment, where my wife, who has been in a bad mood all weekend, and chores, awaited.

December 14th, 2011

My wife was in a bad mood because someone at work was having an affair with a married man and possibly got pregnant by him, despite the fact that my wife warned her not to for three years. I spent over an hour listening to her complain and offering her advice on not letting other people's decisions affect her mood. Ironically, the source of many of my wife's problems is her not listening to my advice, either.

December 18th, 2011

As I mentioned before, my wife and I have a debt scale. If one of us is working too hard, the other picks up the slack, she gets angry, or something else happens to rebalance the scale. After working for two days straight from 3:30 on Friday afternoon to 2:30 Sunday afternoon, then having more work Sunday night, it was my turn to be helped out as my wife gave me the first day in four months (yesterday) that I didn't have to do chores.

And, of course, I got paid back tonight. After our son didn't listen to the two of us telling him to stop running around the house, we all went to bed. At that point, I was treated to a rousing twenty minutes of her lecturing him angrily, repeating the same points over and over again. When she was finished, I asked if she was doing ok, and with all the subtlety of a roaring jet plane, she attempted to provoke a fight with "Did I do something wrong?!"

Beyond wise to her tricks, I just calmly answered, "I didn't say that," then rolled over to go to sleep.

I remember a time when I only had to do chores once or twice a week, and the kind of work I did this weekend (and every other weekend for the last four months, for that matter) was rewarded with lavish praise and gratitude. And I'm again reminded of how marriage has ruined my life.

January 11th, 2012

During a discussion today about buying some beans off the internet and how much it would cost, I told my wife that I spend between $100 and $200 a month on our son's trips. She whirled on me in shock, and proclaimed that it was too much.

Naturally, I held my tongue about how it's a drop in the bucket compared to how much she, her mother and our son take from my paycheck every month. Naturally, I didn't say anything about how she wastes twice as much every month on lunches, shoes, purses and other nonsense. Naturally, I kept quiet about how I used to make fifteen times the amount of take-home pay that I do now. Naturally, I didn't remind her for the fourth or fifth time that we should move her mother in with us to a bigger apartment so we can save some money, just so she could ignore my request or outright refuse.

Sacrifice. Subservience. Emasculation. Obedience. Endless, thankless, profitless work. Marriage is rife with these things.

January 19th, 2012

My wife came home, and she was in a bad mood because she's sick. She wasn't responding to any of the support I tried to give her, emotional, physical, verbal or otherwise, and met everything with stink eyes, complaints or silence, so I ignored her.

March 1st, 2012

My wife woke up and was in a bad mood. She asked why I washed my big blanket in our little washing machine, then let it hang up all night with a fan on it to dry it off. I told her it was because she said it was ok (and besides, I did the same at my apartment for a year, and it was fine there).

Eyes wide and head shaking violently, she snapped, "No, no, no! I said you could wash the outside sheet, not the comforter inside!!"

I stared at her, expressionless and uncaring.

"Mommy, where are you going?" my son cried from the bedroom.

"I'm going to the bathroom!!" she shouted. "Can I go to the bathroom?!"

She stormed inside, and I watched the closed door for a few seconds. Then, I just popped my earbud headphone back in, and played some more Wizards & Warriors.

These little tantrums happen all the time in my marriage, dozens of times or more a year. But after the realization I came to in my last vacation about how I don't care about my wife's problems anymore, I can now look forward to apathy, rather than being upset, when my wife inevitably explodes about something. Marriage's numerous and unfixable problems, the fighting and my wife losing control, all just reinforce that marriage is nothing but pathetic, repetitive, inescapable nonsense that just isn't worth the trouble.

In any case, what's she going to do? Divorce me and give me my life back? I won't start the proceedings, and if she does, it's not my fault that she puts that on our son. If it comes to that, I'll be happy again, and I'll be ready to show my son, by example, how a man should really live.

March 8th, 2012

My wife was in a bad mood because her sister was starting up trouble in the family again. She followed me outside, then complained and swore for about twenty minutes while I smoked and stared at the building across from us, trying to remember the time before I got married. When she was done, I gave her the same advice I have given her about this exact same problem at least six times already the last time was a month ago: tell her sister to move out of her mom's house and spend more time outside with friends.

She's not going to listen to me. She's not going to give her sister this advice. And if she does, her sister won't change. This situation won't change. My life won't change. This cycle:

Step 1 - Dump problems on me.
Step 2 - I give exact instructions on how to fix everything in three months, tops.
Step 3 - Nobody does anything.
Step 4 - Everyone except my son and me gets angry.
Step 5 - Someone explodes.
Step 6 - Return to Step 1.

...will continue.

March 19th, 2012

My wife was in a bad mood, and when I asked her what was going on, she was vague on every single point. All I could get out of her were things like "I've had enough," "I'm tired of the world" and "I want to stop at one child." The latter comment was spoken with the caveat "I'll probably feel differently next week," so I didn't get at all excited about it.

Just like the previous dozen times this exact same discussion has come up, I knew she was either hiding a problem from me or fighting depression.

Just like the previous dozen times this exact same discussion has come up, I asked her to bring her specific problems to the surface to fix or sever them, or if she had no specific problems, to exert heavier control over her idle thoughts of unhappiness to control herself and her emotions, and I promised she would be permanently better in just a few months either way.

Just like the previous dozen times this exact same discussion has come up, she nodded in understanding and said she would do what I suggested.

Just like the previous half a dozen times this exact same discussion has come up, I doubted that this would be the last time this discussion would come up.

I took the opportunity to try and convince her to adopt our second kid, while she was already thinking of stopping at one. She said she'd think about it, which is code for "I'm going to consider your idea only as far as I need to combat and refuse it for the next time it comes up." I don't really care either way. I've been through these situations before in my marriage, and it's not the last time I'll see any of the shutdowns, rejections and ignoring of my wishes.

April 5th, 2012

I had a long discussion with my wife about her sister, who is stirring up trouble again. I repeated the same general advice that I've given to her over ten times before, and repeated the same specific advice that I've given her once before.

April 11th, 2012

I took my son on a long trip. Before I left, my wife groggily shouted from the bedroom a laundry list of orders and whining. She nagged me to change his diaper, which I already did, told me not to take him to the beach because it was "dangerous," and more stuff I can't remember but already took care of. I contained my irritation as best I could.

My son and I went to the breakfast shop near the ducks to eat, then we drove around the countryside and a couple of farms. Then we went out to the mountains to go to a scenic park overlooking a very big bridge, where he won a keychain at a crane game. Finally, we headed home.

My wife and son went out to his grandma's house, and she was pretty irritable. She slept until 2:00, took another hour long nap later, nagged and ordered me around all day, and it still wasn't enough to even out her mood. Marriage made her into this.

April 15th, 2012

My wife was in a bad mood and shouted at our son because he tried to touch something he shouldn't have, then stewed on the couch for thirty minutes.
My wife was in a good mood and we watched DVDs together.
My wife was in a bad mood and shouted at our son for something I don't remember, then stewed on the couch for thirty minutes.
My wife was in a good mood and cooked burritos for dinner.
My wife was in a bad mood and shouted at our son for running into her, then stewed on the couch for thirty minutes.

May 6th, 2012

11:00 - My wife tells me that she is a much happier, and more in control person. I lie and agree.
2:00 - My wife comes home, yelling at our son. He asked her to buy some pudding that he didn't want to eat, and dropped something outside on accident. She starts staring daggers at him and barking at him that he was being very bad, then storms off to go to the bathroom and seethes for a half hour.
3:00 - My wife is in a good mood and we watch DVDs for a while.
7:00 - My wife yells at our son, shouting up a storm, because our son is running a bit in the house and not letting her clean his feet. She seethes for another half hour.
All day - I remember the time before I got married.

May 13th, 2012

As a reward for completing his potty training, I took my son out with my wife on a big trip. We went to the beach to play around in the water and ride a little roller coaster, then we went to the mall to play at the arcade and buy my son a new toy car, then we went to a tea shop in the mountains and relaxed on the empty second floor.

My wife was on her period, so she spent half the day bellyaching and half the day having fun. Aside from the hour I waited for her to get ready, and assorted complaining about the weather and parking, she was doing mostly fine up until we were on our way to the tea shop, when I asked if her head felt better. She snapped, "Stop asking me. I can't answer with a headache."

At the next red light, I wanted my wife to rest (and stop ruining the trip), so I looked over at her on her bike and said, "Just go home. Turn right here and go back."

She shook her head and followed my son and I anyway, and even though I rode off without her, she still tailed us. To her credit, she calmed down at the tea shop and started to speak to me like a human being.

Later, our son threw up all over the floor. I got pretty mad at him because I've told him several times to go to the bathroom to yak, and when I saw that he was about ten seconds away from barfing, I tried to get him to the bathroom, but he pulled away and threw up on the ground anyway. My wife and I cleaned up the huge mess, and of course, this did nothing to help my wife's on and off sour mood, either.

I'm starting to wonder why she gets like this every single Sunday. Is it because she has a day off, and in her world, that's a bad thing? Or is it because I spend more time with her today than any other day, so I just notice her moods more often?

June 10th, 2012

My mother-in-law came over to bark at my wife and I for not answering our phones, snarling that it was totally unacceptable for parents of a young child, for about twenty minutes. Then she went home.

June 20th, 2012

My wife got a phone call from her mother, complaining about me and my job for about twenty minutes. Then, we had a discussion for an hour about all the ways her mother butts into our lives. She was rather calm; this drama was entirely on her mother. Just for kicks, I asked why her mother thought I wasn't being a good man. My wife, not agreeing with any of the reasons, explained:

- I don't do any work in the house.

I'll let this blog serve as a refutation on that point.

- I can't be trusted to find my own work, and my wife needs to have the first and last word on everything I do.

I've travelled to half a dozen countries in my life, lived in two of them abroad for several months at least, and I was doing fine before I got married. My mother-in-law hasn't lived outside of this city, and my wife only left her hometown, not the country, for about a year.

In four and a half years, I haven't missed a single $1000 to $1300 monthly payment to my wife. Two years after I got married, I had to pay off my mother-in-law's $7000 bank debt that she avoided paying by moving without telling the bank.

Projection. Nothing more.

- The job I have now is taking up too much of my time for commuting.

It pays more than my last job, has more hours, and I like the work better. In any case, it's not her business.

June 24th, 2012

My wife, son and I all went out to the mountain tea shop. My wife was angry again on the way there, and especially when we got there. She gave everyone the silent treatment, slammed her bag and books onto the table, tossed things at our son when he asked for them instead of handing them to him, and seethed, all for no good reason. After a while, she calmed down, and we all drank tea and watched trains go by.

July 9th, 2012

During lunch, I told my son we could all go to the arcade today. He got a little impatient and didn't finish the last three bites of his lunch. As I went out for a smoke, I heard my wife say that I should have waited until the end of lunch until I told him. I also heard her tell our son that she didn't want to go with us.

After my smoke, I came back in and told my son to eat the last of his meal, but he seemed full. Because we hadn't gone out on a big trip for a while, I told him we could take a big drive to the beach, the mountains or somewhere else. My wife spoke up and said it was too hot outside. I said I could put on sunscreen, and turn back if he felt bad (even though this has never happened before). She said her mom would yell at her.

I calmly gave up and told my son we would go to just the arcade, and he asked if we could go to two. I checked with my wife and she said it was ok, so I started to get us ready to go out. She got silent and stopped talking to me and our son. She only spoke once: when our son asked if she was angry, she said he never listens to her, so "Do whatever you want."

On the way out, my son and I said goodbye, and she didn't answer.

My son and I played at one arcade at one mall, got a drink at a convenience store, played at another arcade, then we went home.

The door to our bedroom was locked when we got home. My son got worried. Eventually, as I was smoking outside, my wife opened the door for our son, but not before telling him to tell me to make milk, so I did. When she came out a few minutes later, she gave everyone the silent treatment again. I let her stew for a few minutes, and after she mumbled that she loved our son when he asked her, I engaged with her.

"You doing ok?"
"Is there anything I can do to help?"

Silence. And not a word for the next two hours.

I watched internet movies with my son, then my wife said she had to take him to his grandma's house. I told him to get dressed, and he asked me to go, too. My wife immediately got impatient and said she would take him, then he started to cry. I got off the computer and helped him dress because my wife was still giving him the silent treatment, even as he asked if she was angry, and what was wrong.

We went outside together, and my wife walked ahead of us. When she was ready to go and our son and I caught up to her, I told her I would take him over to his grandma's house. Silence again. I dropped my son off, then came home.

Later, I called my wife to smooth things out. It was every bit the same drama we've had every time stuff like this comes up. I zoned out the entire time, and maintained my cool throughout the call.

"I'm mad at you. You wanted to take our son away from me this morning."
"He asked you if you wanted to go, and you said no."

(Silence, jump to a new point)

"It's too hot for him to be outside."
"The heat won't hurt him; I've been out in weather worse than this as a boy. Besides, the wind was blowing, and we went straight to an air conditioned mall, stopped off at an air conditioned convenience store, then went to another air conditioned mall."

(Silence, ignore my points, rephrase)

"Can't you take him out when the weather is better?"
"The weather always seems to be too hot, too cold, too rainy, too windy or something. There's never a time where you seem to be ok for me to take him out."

(Silence, ignore my points, rephrase)

"Can't you wait until 4:00 to go out?"
"I work all day, every day, except for Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. This is one of the few times I have a chance for a trip."

(Silence, jump to a new point)

On and on and on and on.

July 14th, 2012

My mother-in-law started an argument with my wife over the phone about the coming baby. The saying "s*** rolls downhill" pretty much sums up the key points:

My sister-in-law, a self-injuring, depressed, lazy woman, controls my mother-in-law through her threats and attempts of suicide. She's going to quit a cush job she has right now because it's too "difficult" for her, so she needs more money while she moves back in with her mom for the fourth or fifth time.

My mother-in-law gets mad because that will start eating into the free money my wife and I give her every month, and comes down on my wife for having another baby.

My wife gets upset at me, and leans extra hard on me to give her more than the 98% of my money I already give her.

And I take it, because if I don't, everyone comes after me like a pack of wolves, and my son grows up around all of this.

From the top of the world, to the bottom of an outhouse. Marriage has ruined me.

July 17th, 2012

I described this fight in detail, and it was a big one.

July 30th, 2012

A pair of dialogues between my wife and I:

"Our son and I just went to the bank, and I got your payment for next month. We can go to my bank together later," I told my wife.
"So?" my wife replied snottily, eyes narrowed.
"So I can put it in my account, then transfer it to yours."


"Why don't you just give me the money and I'll put it directly in my account?!" she demanded loudly, and for no good reason. "Why do you have to put it in yours first?"
"...Good idea," I answered apathetically.

Of course, the reason I didn't want to give her the money directly is because the last time I did that, she dropped $800 on the ground outside of our apartment building, and didn't notice it was gone until a half hour later. Luckily she picked it up where she dropped it later. She made me promise not to remind her of that time, joking or not. She's more than happy to remind me of my faults, of course, even in many cases where she only thinks I'm in the wrong.

The three of us went to another bank to deposit my wife's payment, then we played at the arcade. Before we even went in, my wife separated from our son and I to go try on some shoes. She hadn't had the money for more than ten minutes, and already she was planning on spending it. You can take a wild guess as to whether I got any word of thanks for the payment.

August 2nd, 2012

After watching a show about the topic, I made a joke to my wife that I was married to hide the fact that I was gay. She teased me to confirm soon, so she could have time to lose weight while she found a new boyfriend. I felt uncomfortable, like she had just confirmed my suspicions that the only reason she's fat is because she has no incentive to get thin (her husband gives her what she wants regardless, but a boyfriend needs her to lose weight before he'll stick around).

I changed my thoughts and assured myself it was just a joke, and nothing more. I went outside to smoke, and my wife followed me. She said her sister was cutting herself and trying to commit suicide again, but she and her mother didn't care anymore because she never stops, and the hospitals never hold her. Then she told me about her heart beating too fast and her back hurting, and that her doctor couldn't tell what her medical problem was.

I took one look at her square-shaped face, the loose skin flapping under her arms, her spare tire and her thighs that are bigger around than basketballs, and knew immediately why. But of course, I didn't say anything...

...until she started talking about being depressed, being stressed, thinking about death, don't want to live anymore, going to stop my medicine and if I die who cares blah blah blah March 19th all over again. After a bit, she went inside and sat in the Angry Chair. I repeated the same advice I've already given her over and over and over again:

"Why are you sad?"
"Too much has happened in one month. I always think about how bad a person I am."
"But that's not based on anything. If there's a reason, fix the problem. If there isn't, stop thinking bad thoughts. You feel terrible about yourself and your life, but emotions are caused completely by thoughts. So what are you thinking?"
"My grandma, my sister, our baby, too much."
"You can't be sad about your grandma. You went to her funeral, and you're religious, so you know she's still around. You were given a gift to know she's not gone forever. Do you think she wants you to sit around feeling sorry for yourself?"
"And you already told me you don't care about your sister."
"I don't. I'm still sad about our baby."
"This can't be about Peanut either. We had two choices: you and the baby die, or the baby dies. We couldn't do anything else."
"I know already!"
"Well, I'll tell you what I'm doing. I changed Peanut's college fund bank account into a charity account. Every month, I'm going to put a little over $100 in there, and by the time our son goes to college, I can raise about $20,000. That's enough to save at least one child's life, but more likely, several hundred. If you give me just $20 or $30 a month, you can join me in that. We can make it back to Peanut."
"Whatever, it's not our problem. Those parents in those countries have too many kids, and that's why they're poor. I shouldn't have to help them."
"It's not the kids' fault."
"And your problem about your heart, just keep taking your medicine."
"I can only take it three times a day, and it only lasts for three or four hours!"
"So take it every five hours."
"I don't want to be on this stuff for the rest of my life! It won't fix the problem, I know it won't!"
"What would you rather be? A loser because you tried for twenty years and failed every time? Or a loser because you gave up in the first place?"
"You probably have health problems because of your weight. So why don't you start mixing some fruit and vegetable drinks and drink them four or five times a day, and eat nothing else? You can take my multivitamin supplements; there's hundreds left."
"Come on, I've given you the perfect advice you need to get better. Control your thoughts to control your emotions, help me give to charity for Peanut, and lose weight with the method that worked for me. All you need to do is follow what I said, and you'll be better in about two or three months."
"Look, I heard this about ten years ago, and even though it pissed me off then, I need to tell you too, because it helped me a lot: nobody's coming to save you. I can't put my hands in your head and force to you think positively. I can't force feed you the right food. It's up to you to save yourself. But I'm giving you the exact instructions you need to do it."
"...Ok, I'll do everything you said."

She finally relented, and repeated all of my instructions back to me to confirm them. After she took a nap, she seemed to be much happier, and we talked for a while about more fun things. The man I was four years ago would have felt hopeful. "Finally, she's going to turn her life around and my life will go from the feeling of dog crap to just the smell of it!"

Today, I'm a bit more jaded. Five months ago, I gave her the same advice, and she ignored me then, too. I'm sure this will all repeat itself in another four to five months.

August 12th, 2012

My wife snapped at our son several times for asking her the same question a few times. He started crying and hid in the fort I made for him, so I gently pulled him out and hugged him to comfort him. Like I said, she's like this every Sunday.

August 15th, 2012

I woke up to my mother-in-law coming to my house sooner than expected, and she caught my wife smoking. Do I even need to say that I told my wife twice this year that she shouldn't smoke after 2:00 because her mother would catch her and throw a fit? She ignored my advice the first time, saying it would never happen, and the second time she told me, "That's fine."

So I groggily got up and listened as my mother-in-law went through with the same emotionally manipulative shouting and crocodile tears that define her relationships with everyone around her. My wife yelled back at her, speaking with difficult local words with her mom, perhaps so I couldn't understand them.

But I understood it all: you're sick and how could you be so irresponsible to smoke, stop scaring my son, he's going to be a cigarette addict because of you, I'll never forgive you for lying, blah blah blah.

Sometimes my sister-in-law stirs up trouble, then the diarrhea squirts down from her and onto her mom, then to my wife, then finally to me, where I sit silently and scrub it off. Sometimes the crap comes from my mother-in-law. Sometimes it comes directly from my wife.

But no matter the source, I'm the final step, the final person, who gets dumped on. And being the only adult in this family, I don't snowball the drek to my son and yell at him for no reason; I just take it like a dog. I wonder how long it will take for my wife to seethe about this before she starts another pointless fight with me. 10 days is the average length of time between drama, so I'm guessing I'll get yelled at about something by the end of next week.

August 24th, 2012

My wife cornered me outside and starting yelling and swearing about her sister self-injuring again, then continued the one-sided, shouting conversation inside.

Her sister refuses to take responsibility for her life, but doesn't really try to kill herself either: fencesitter.

Her mother refuses to call the doctor to get her some help because she wants to avoid a scandal, but won't stop telling me or my wife about the problem while telling us not to get involved: fencesitter.

My wife doesn't do anything with her family to solve the problem, and instead puts the problem on my doorstep, then ignores what I have to say about the issue: fencesitter.

I give ignored advice, and sit there, powerless to change my condition: married.

Nine days later, just one day short of the average amount of time between my wife's or mother-in-law's drama, and as I predicted on August 15th when the last bit of drama happened, here we are again.

August 29th, 2012

I went out to have my double smoke before work, daydreaming about my old life. I was outside for seven or so minutes, and when I left my family, my wife was on the couch and napping quietly, my son was happily playing with his cars, and I was gearing up for a day at work.

Halfway through the second cigarette, I heard the screeching of a child. I turned my head to the sides, trying to see if it came from inside or out of the house, when a second screech confirmed that my son was extremely upset about something. I lay the cigarette down and went inside to see what was going on, and I saw my wife sitting in the Angry Chair, red-faced, her mother standing next to her with her hands on her hips, and my son pounding the couch in frustration and screaming.

He continued on for a few seconds until he noticed that I was standing in the doorway to the little balcony outside and looking at him, then he immediately choked back his cries and shouts, and fell silent. He locked his eyes onto me, worried about what I was going to do.

Before I came in, my son was mad that we had to take his little fort down so my mother-in-law had a place to sit, and he started screaming at his mom, who slapped his hand or butt in punishment. He retaliated and hit her arm, then they both flipped out. I sent him to his room for a few minutes, finished my smoke, then came back in to lecture him.

I feel like the only competent authority figure in this house, as evidenced by my son's behavior when I walked into the room and he saw me. He loves me because I take him out all the time and play with him every day, and he doesn't respect his mom because she spends almost the entirety of her free time using the computer or napping. My mother-in-law can't walk into anybody's house without bringing a whirlwind of drama and rage with her, and my wife can't prevent or handle a tantrum, even as I've explained how to raise kids right at least three times to her. She just doesn't listen.

This is all a microcosm of how my life changed after I got married: I went from taking care of everything about myself and my life and living happily, to having every problem of lazy, irresponsible, selfish ingrates being dumped on me to solve. Things were fine before I got married, as they were fine before I went out for a smoke, then they went to pot right after.

I can't wait for all of this to be over.

September 28th, 2012

My mother-in-law yelled at my son for pretending to eat something, and he started crying. I took him away from her and went downstairs to buy him some snacks, and told him he was a good boy. Then we went home.

October 7th, 2012

I heard pounding on the front door, and opened it to find my mother-in-law, barking mad. She was angry because I didn't pick up her phone calls while my wife was napping.

I didn't pick up the phone because I'm completely sick of playing messenger boy every time my wife is sleeping. I knew it was probably her mother, and she was probably going to ask my wife to do something, and my wife would just tell me to do it. It's the same "s*** rolls downhill" situation that defines my, and I would guess most, marriages every day.

As my mother-in-law sputtered and seethed that she was angry (no doubt because she had to walk two whole blocks to come over, when she could have just ordered someone else to do it), she drew back a bit to pick something up, and I closed the door on her.

She came in again, muttering and seething, and I ignored her. She left shortly after.

November 24th, 2012

My wife argued with my mother-in-law on the phone for about twenty minutes, then my mother-in-law came over to yell at everyone about my sister-in-law trying to kill herself again. I took my son into the bedroom to play with him while the other two children had their screaming fight.

November 25th, 2012

I discussed this huge fight in another post.

January 25th, 2013

My mother-in-law called and asked me to tell my wife to call her later. I said ok, but fell asleep before I could do it. I woke up later to my mother-in-law standing over me.

"Hey! Do you even understand the local language? I asked..."
"I fell asleep."
" to tell your wife to call me, and you didn't..."
"I fell asleep."
"...even do it. It was something really important, but..."
"I fell asleep."
" didn't even tell her. How many times..."
With increasing volume, I responded. "I fell asleep. I fell asleep. I fell asleep. I FELL ASLEEP!" I finally shouted.

She stared down at me with the kind of look you would give to a pile of dog crap that you had just stepped in. I stared back, eyes alight with rage, until she turned away. My son started laughing his little butt off, repeating what I said to her over and over. My mother-in-law got mad at him while I was smoking outside and yelled at him, and I burst back in, demanding to know what was going on. My wife stopped me and said she would handle it.

I comforted my son, then went out to go to work. Before I left, I caught a glimpse of my wife, panties just above her knees and shirt above her belly as she changed clothes. "Woman of Willendorf" briefly flashed into my mind, and I had to turn away before I unconsciously scowled in disgust.

My wife called me at work and acted supportive for a few seconds as she tried to figure out what happened. I told her, and she said I should just ignore her mother. I told her I was wrong to give her that advice, and that ignoring her just gave her mother license to do it more (ironically, this is something I learned from the way my wife acted these past four years). My wife tried to make it sound like I should have done something different, but I directly told her to threaten her mom with cutting her support payments if she acted up again, and that I wasn't going to bow to that woman's abuse anymore.

My mother-in-law doesn't support our family in any way outside of babysitting, and if we didn't have to support her, my wife wouldn't need to work and spend nearly her entire paycheck on that loudmouthed ingrate. I'll never again be the chump or punching bag for anybody in this family. Ever.

And it needn't be said, but I'll make this perfectly clear once more: marriage ruined my life.


With all these journal entries done, we return to the subject of marriage, the pressure cooker prison filled with sacrifice, work, monotony, routine and just general dissatisfaction, punctuated by brief moments of soul crushing fights and the occasional happy moment. How wonderful everything could have been if I had never gotten my wife pregnant. The choices I would have had, the love I could have experienced, the world I could have explored.

But that's all gone now. I've even lost sense of who I am, because in order to continue going down this sham road for the sake of my wife and son, I can't even be myself. My true personality, the one I locked away when my wife got pregnant, hasn't been awake since I got the news. I swear though, when my son is off to college, I will never again tunnel vision or pretend to be someone I'm not. I will only need to be me, not the man everyone wants me to be.

I'll end this post with the dialogues that would have ended any of these fights with any girlfriend, had marriage and a child not prevented me from them in the first place:

*Outcome 1*

Girlfriend: Trivial problem! Explosive reaction! Damning accusations!
Me: Stop yelling at me. I'm sorry I did that and it won't happen again, but this is a bit much.
Girlfriend: I'm sorry, too. Friends?
Me: More than that, cutie!

*Outcome 2*

Girlfriend: Trivial problem! Explosive reaction! Damning accusations!
Me: Stop yelling at me. I'm sorry I did that and it won't happen again, but this is a bit much.
Girlfriend: Shrieking rage! Unnecessary insults! Impotent threats!
Me: That's enough. Get out of my house.

(Later, on the phone)
Me: Hey, girl who's been pining for my affections for the past three months! What are you doing tonight?