Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Seven Year Itch

I have a finite amount of energy, patience, and enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, so do my relationships, and I'm afraid mine and Barry's may be approaching the end of its shelf life.

When we first met, I had been widowed for a year, and Barry seemed to be the very image of  my perfect man.  He was tall and smart and sexy, and he thought I was brilliant and gorgeous.  The course of true love ran smoothly for about four months, after which he pressured me to move in with him and sell my house.  I was reluctant to do so, but afraid to lose him, so that's what I did - and that's when his Mr. Hyde (aka Asperger) side appeared.  He didn't want me to keep anything that might possibly remind me of my late husband - photos, furniture, or souvenirs of our travels.  He demanded that I cut my ties with Tom's family.  He never wanted me to mention that I had lived in New York or traveled anywhere that he hadn't.  He pressured me to give up my job - the most enjoyable and one of the best-paying jobs I had ever had.  He even insisted that we lie about being married, although I refused to marry him because we couldn't afford to give up the remains of Tom's pension and health insurance.  Barry assured me that he had never acted this way with anyone else and that it wasn't his true self, and I wanted so badly to believe him that I did.  I also gave in to most of his demands, hoping that he would be happy when they were met.  Hah.

Fast forward almost seven years and three couples counselors.  I know now that between Barry's Asperger's and the abuse he suffered as a child, he will never be able to love or trust me in ways that I believe are essential to a good relationship.  Worse, when I am with him, I am not the person I want to be.  Seven years ago I would have told you that I was a calm, mature person without much of a temper.  Sadly, an argument with Barry can reduce me to a bratty five-year-old in the blink of an eye.  I have yelled more in anger since meeting him than in my entire 49 previous years combined - some kind of a record, no doubt, but not a good one.  I WILL NOT be this person for the rest of my life.

Last night Barry had a meltdown because I religiously followed what had previously been one of his hard and fast rules.  THIS time he wanted me to do something different.

I am so tired.  I still love him but I don't think I can continue to inhabit the same house.  Life is too short to live with someone who criticizes everything I do and apparently no longer finds me physically attractive to boot.

After Tom's death I jokingly told his sons that their father had been the most expensive hobby I'd ever had (he took early retirement shortly after our marriage).  Well, going along with all of Barry's demands has probably cost me upwards of half a million dollars, making him the official most expensive Ken doll in my personal experience.  Too bad I can't sell him to the highest bidder to recoup some of my financial and emotional losses.

To be continued.

“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” ~Anthony Robbins

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