I Was Holding Him Back???

After the way our second marriage counseling appointment had gone so wrong, I checked carefully with J to make sure that he still wanted to go. He said yes, and we since we had scheduled it at 8:00, I approached it with a lot more confidence. Unfortunately, it went VERY badly! We had really been trying to look at our marriage and when and why it went so wrong. After a lot of discussion, one of the truths that came out was that he had buried resentment about my refusal to move out of state for him to go to graduate school after he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree. He felt that he had worked so hard throughout his undergraduate program to prepare himself for grad school, and then at the last moment I had refused to be supportive. I had freaked because this meant that the last fifteen years of our marriage had been buried under resentment that I didn’t even know was there, he was quick to explain that it was really not a part of us and that he hadn’t even realized that he had any resentment until the final year of his NPS contract when he was receiving so much praise and recognition from outside agencies and the avocational community, but at the same time being discounted at the university because he doesn’t have a PhD and his primary work has always had an archaeological component rather being primarily archaeology. Of course, the resentment became focused on me…which appears to have translated into the disrespect and anger and unhappiness that he was exhibiting through much of 2009. In our last appointment, he had really expressed loudly his dislike for his current job, and how far outside of his passion or even interest the work was, and how much he wanted to do archaeology full time. He had been looking at archaeology jobs online – all of them in other towns – and also considering going back to school in archeology – which would also need to be at another university in another town…and we just purchased a house here ONE month ago. He couldn’t understand why these items would make me feel insecure, and as we discussed this situation with the therapist, including the fact that he had spent six months prior to the disaster planning to move without me, without ever discussing it with me, so that he could make more money and do the kind of work that he loved, I had a sudden epiphany and blurted it out in the middle of a rant about how I had held him back. I realized that he had not spent his entire undergraduate career planning to go immediately to graduate school – for the first year he was in school without a plan at all, and once he had settled into a major, he was quickly on track to have a job with the state historical commission as soon as he graduated – so on track that he actually served as a consultant for the purchase of equipment and set up of the original project. This job fell through at the beginning of his last semester, and he started planning to go to graduate school then – and I didn’t refuse to support him and his desire to go – I just said that I would have to wait for him here – where I had managed to put together three jobs that allowed me to make ends meet and still have time for Emily and a life. I also had a support system here – moving to another state and trying to put a budget back together – without a support network of friends and family – while he was totally absorbed in a graduate program was more that I could handle at that point in my life. He looked absolutely thunderstruck at that point and actually said “I forgot about the job at the historical commission.” The appointment went from bad to worse since he couldn’t understand why I would be so upset that he had been feeling that I had been holding him back – and that our current circumstances seemed to me to be perfect for creating the same sort of feelings. He expressed to the therapist that he was worried about my self esteem – neither one of them seemed to understand that I was not upset with how I viewed myself, I was upset about HIS view of me….We were both in terrible shape when we left, and we went home for lunch to try and pull it together to be able to go back to work. Instead, I had a mini-meltdown. I insisted that I was done – I didn’t want to keep doing all of the work, all of the reading, all of the pushing, all of the discussing. If our marriage was not important enough to him to have him focus on it, then I wasn’t going to work on it either.

This entry was posted in Musings.

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