We seemed, once again, to be on the path to a solid footing, and then on the last day of work before Christmas break, J casually announced that he would be working 8-10 hours every day of the break. While I knew that he had server maintenance to do, and he had talked about working some during the break and then saving the time to use for remodeling our house, he had NEVER mentioned working all day every day. I was angry and hurt and confused – again – but didn’t say anything and just got in the shower instead. He got upset because he felt like I was pulling away from him and I was – I just didn’t know what to do. I tried to explain that it felt like abandonment, and that his acting like I was a clingy, unreasonable, crazy person for objecting made me feel even worse. He had pledged over and over that I was his first priority, and here I was again, alone on my longest vacation and my favorite holiday, with no money to go anywhere and nowhere to go any way. I just could not understand why this kept happening – why we would make such positive steps, and then suddenly end up back in worse shape than we had been before. He backpedaled, saying he could go back to the original plan and just work part of the time, but I really felt like it was too little too late. I really don’t think I can even explain how discounted and unimportant his decision made me feel, and then he treated me like I was being completely unreasonable, which just made me angry.
I managed to pull myself together and go to work, but when he called to find out about going to the grocery store to shop for Christmas weekend food, I just burst into tears at the sound of his voice. I didn’t want to see him, I didn’t want to go home, I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas…I just wanted to curl up alone somewhere and pull covers over my head. I couldn’t stand the place we were in and I couldn’t stand the idea of going to the store and trying to act normal in public for an hour or so. He offered to go with E instead, and so I went and finished up the Christmas shopping, crying as I went from store to store. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to take much more of this, and I didn’t even know what this was – was I really that low of a priority, or was he once again avoiding? If it was avoidance, what was he avoiding? He had told me everything – he swore he had. Was he just not interested in spending time with me?
We managed to be civil after we both got home, and he continue to say that he would work less, so we made it through the evening. The next morning while we were cleaning to get ready for E and her boyfriend, who planned to stay with us over the Christmas weekend, and the Christmas Eve Party, he was cold and distant – like I had done something wrong. He was so angry with me for being upset and insisted that I was being irrational if I couldn’t understand that he had put a lot of his life on hold to “work on us” and he needed to concentrate on his work. Eventually I just threw a fit and tried to cancel Christmas – I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and so I certainly couldn’t put on a happy face AGAIN and make some sort of Norman Rockwell Christmas. He calmed down enough to apologize and comfort me and assure me that we could do it, and that he didn’t want me upset so he wouldn’t work at the beginning of the week, and that we should go ahead and do Christmas for E and her boyfriend. Somehow we managed to pull it together and get the house cleaned and the presents finished and everything ready to go before anyone arrived. The Christmas Eve gathering went well, the presents were appreciated, dinner had a few weird moments because we didn’t have all of the ingredients, but everything still tasted good, and overall it was very relaxing, and I think a good time was had by all. E got to share her version of Christmas with her boyfriend – the type of Christmas filled with all sort of traditions that he has never had and that are important to her. He is a really nice guy, and I was glad that I managed to hold it together and we managed to pull it off. It felt like everyone had a lovely Christmas, and that feeling continued after the kids left. The next several days were peaceful, but there was a continual undercurrent of tension and confusion.