What They Say & What Actually Happens
Something posted on this forum about a husband & wife "discussing" & "agreeing" on how to rear the husband's children from his first marriage reminded me of this.
Many years ago, in what surely must have been a former life, I dated a policeman.
He'd seen it all;
he'd been undercover narcotics,
he'd investigated domestic violence & homicide.
& he gave me a very good insight.
He said we do better to pay attention to *what actually happened* rather than what people *say*.
Husband says he works hard to give wife a good life, but wife knows how to push his buttons, she "just makes me so angry".
Wife says she knows husband works hard, & she *tries*, & she apologizes for having made husband so angry that he beat the stuffing out of her, says it was all her fault.
What actually happened:
Husband uses wife for a punching bag.
I've found it to be a wonderful method for getting at the truth, which makes it possible to actually make things change & to solve problems.
& something to remember is that it's to the interest of the person who's comfortable to keep you talking (or, as an ex said, "having a dialogue").
As long as you're talking, you're not acting.
No matter what a husband/father "discusses" & what a new wife/stepmother *thinks* she's agreeing to, what actually
Husband says first wife was never a good mother, he wants new wife to be a good mother to his children, he'll work hard, she can stay home with kids, etc.
sounds so nice...
If his new wife takes all the responsibility (although husband/father almost always retains the power), taking kids to school, cooking, cleaning, chauffering, attending teacher conferences, buying clothes, scheduling time for soccer, Brownies, bake sales, non-custodial parent time, etc, & husband/father "works" all the time, *then the new wife is getting all the heavy work & will likely not get anything for it*.
So often, husband/father seems puzzled if new wife wants to talk about changing the arrangements, having him take more responsibility, etc.
He's confused; "isn't this what you *wanted*?"
"I can't just tell my boss that I have to stay home with the kids; I work so hard to give you this good life."
& if she burns out, throws in the towel, & exits the relationship, husband/father will be floored;
"we *discussed* it, it was what she *wanted*, she said she *loved* the kids".
an example, not about children, from another one of my previous lives:
When I was very young, I married someone who was also very young.
I worked in an office, & he worked in a trade.
He made a lot more money than I did, & we put our paychecks in a joint account & I paid the bills.
At some point, he threw a hissy & said he resented not having control of his own money & he wanted to change it all up;
he would pay certain things, & I would pay certain things.
We divided the bills proportionately, with him paying the house payment & his car payment, & me paying for groceries & utilities.
It worked for nearly a year.
When he got a big raise (he wasn't union, but whenever the union got a raise, his employer gave the same raise, to keep the union out), he spent the extra money on model railroads, junk for the car, & eating lunch with the guys at work.
Meanwhile, utilities & groceries had gone up in price, I never got a raise, & I was really struggling.
I was taking the bus to work & packing my yogurt & apple for lunch, & he was driving his giant Pontiac & eating $12 lunches every day.
& he refused to "re-negotiate", saying that this was what we had agreed to & that was the end of it.
(Note: no need to say how dumb I was; I know now that I should have let the electricity & water & gas be disconnected, & I should have never set foot in a grocery store. but at the time, I thought I had to do my best to get him to "understand", not realizing-yes,I already said I was dumb-that he understood perfectly.)
When I was exhausted & broke & hated my life, I filed for divorce.
He was floored.
Be smarter than I was;
if your beloved runs his fingers through his hair & rolls his eyes & sighs in exasperation when you tell him you need support/time/whatever, & says he just cannot do everything, *stop*.
Pick up your keys & go to a movie, a museum, a quilt show; go rollerskating, drive around & look at Christmas lights *& don't pick up your cell phone*.
Leave the house before he goes to work, & he'll figure out how to get the kids' breakfast & how to get them to school...or he won't.
Grab a hamburger for your own dinner, eat it at the restaurant (I like to have a book to read when I "eat out" alone) & *don't answer your cell phone*.
Respect your value, & take good care of yourselves.