Monday, August 26, 2013

The Break Up (Part 3) - Mothers-In-Law

K and I have been divorced for almost 2 years and I still consider her mother, my mother-in-law.  As far a mother-in-laws go, she is a pretty good one.  From the very first day I met K, her mother (Let's call her "Mary") was nice to me. I get hugs when I see her.  She remembers things going on in my life.  When my dad was alive, but in poor health, she always asked him and prayed for him at church.  She asked about my mom too.  

Mary is a excellent cook.   She makes up recipes on the fly and they are (almost) always wonderful.  She remember the ones I like and will make them when I come to visit.  She does not know how to cook low fat.  She makes real, old fashioned comfort food.

She is pretty good with the kids.  She is not perfect, but she makes a point to take them to movies when she sees them.  She talks to the older ones and listens to what they have to say.

When K told her parents I am gay and we were divorcing, Mary didn't treat me any differently.  As K and I went through our slow motion divorce, she was just a nice to me as she always was.  The only difference is that now she would ask me about T.    When K and AJ got married, T and I were invited.  We sat at the table with K's parents and sister.  Mary made a point to talking to T quite a bit.  She went out of her way to be nice to him, when she didn't have to.  It was really sweet.

I really fucking hate my mother-in-law.  


I cannot stand the woman.  Every time I see her I want to punch her in the face.  I want to scream, "WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM WOMAN????"

Why am I so hostile?  It's simple really.

She treats K like shit.  

And I hate her for it.  

It really is that simple.    I have been watching it for nearly 25 years.  and it is always the same.  I am not going into any details here, but it did not take me long to start seeing the things I didn't like.  I still see them today.  In some respects they have gotten worse.  AJ does not quite see them yet, but he will.  Since they live far away, it will take him longer.  He eventually he will see it.

T's mother is nice to me too.  She is also a good cook.  She likes getting me to try new Vietnamese foods.  Honestly, I think T's whole family really likes watching me try new things, well, new for me anyway.  She remembers the things I like and when there are leftover will often pack them up and send home with me so I can have them the next day.  (Oddly enough, it never taste quite as good when I eat it at my house.) 

Generally when I come into the house she smiles warmly, unless she is busy with something.  Her English is not very good, but she sometimes will make an effort to talk to me directly.  She is not used to speaking English at home and I can tell it not easy to pull the words from her memory.  I appreciate the effort.  She is trying to make me feel welcome in her home.  Trying to draw in the outsider.  It's a nice gesture she did not have to do, but she does.

I don't like T's mom either.  Not one little bit.  I don't like the way she treats T.   I think she is ruining T's life and his chance at happiness.  I think she is demanding that T live his life on her terms and not his.  I think she says she want's him to be happy, but really only if he can be happy doing what she wants him to do.  Otherwise, he puts on a happy face and that's good enough for her.

T is a gay man.  She cannot accept what that means.  My heart breaks for T that he has to live in that prison.  He hides in his work, his garden and his television.  His house is beautiful.  It's still a prison.

My heart breaks for his sister.  So scared to come out even as an otherwise successful adult in her 40's.  She is very attractive, cute, smart, funny, and I'm sure there are many women who would love to meet her.  If only she were not stuck in her own prison.  With her work and Korean soap operas as her only escape.

I love T and I care about his sister and the whole thing just pisses me off. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Break-Up (Part 2) - Time With The Kids

I spend a lot of time with my kids.  I make no apologies for that.   

I do not accept the premise that my responsibility to my children is analogous to T's responsibilities to his parent's and sisters.   My children are, well, children.  I am their father and they are dependent on me for all the things that children are depend on their fathers for when they are still children.  The fact that I am gay and divorced from their mother changes nothing.  The youngest person in T's house is 40.  They are all adults who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.  In due course, my children will grow up and become less dependent on me. Eventually, they will become adults and move out on their own.

Don't take any of this to minimize how important T's family is to him.  They are very important.  For the 35+ years he was in the closet, they were there for him.  When he had some very dark days before I met him, they were there for him.  When the communist took over Vietnam, they were there for him and got him (and everyone else) out.  So, it's not that I don't appreciate where he is coming from.  I'm just saying that the needs of his parents and adult sisters are not the same as minor children. 

The last thing to consider is AJ.  AJ lives in the same house as my kids.  I need to be present enough and active enough in their lives to make sure the kids see me as not only their father but their dad.  I do not want any of them ever coming to me asking what I think about them changing their last name to match AJ's. 

So having said all that, is the time I spend with the children a choice?  It takes at lot of my time.  It interferes with everything and it makes it much harder for me to do the things I want to do for myself.  But is this really a choice?  I'm not so sure it is.  I suppose it is a consequence of the choice to have children, but I don't think it's a choice now.  No more than going to work in the morning is a choice.  I do make a choice to be accommodating to K's schedule, but really I do that because, in the long run, it makes it better for the kids, and my relationship with them. 

But why do I have to go over to K's all the time to be with them?  Why do I hang out there until 9:00, 4 or 5 nights a week.  Is because I just like to be around her?  Is it because of the free food at her house?  Is it because I am so used to doing what she says and making her a priority that I just do it?  Am I afraid of upsetting her?  Is it because the internet is faster at her house?

Nope.  All of these are wrong.  Well, actually her internet service is faster, but mine is fast enough. 

I think children need a consistent home.  They need a home that is theirs where everything is familiar and feels like home.   While my kids used to live in my house, my house is not that home any more.  With my agreement, K has created that for them at her house.  It is better for them and better for me for me to come to K's house as often as I can to maintain my relationship with the kids as a ACTIVE and HANDS ON father.

My house has a roommate living there.  He is a nice enough guy and my kids like him, but he is not family.  I don't even consider him a friend.  He is actually my third roommate (fourth if you count the kid I had to throw out) in the past 2 years.  A parade of three strangers in my house is not exactly the stable home environment I want for my kids.  I do not have a roommate because I am lonely, I need the rent money to help pay the mortgage.    

So what would happen if I had a real partner.  What if T had offered to move in with me?  How would things be different? I think things would be drastically different. 

T and I would have made a home there.  We could make a home for the children there.  The children could have that stable, familiar home there.   Then the idea of having the kids stay with me every other week, or some other arrangement, a lot more plausible.

You see?  Even though my current situation is that I am at K's house most nights until late, that is not what I want long term.  It's just what I have to live with right now.

I don't just want a partner to come home to at night.  I don't just want a warm body to sleep with at night.  If I had a partner to make a home with, make a life with, I would make make different choices about my situation.   I would push K to change the way we share the custody of the kids.  That would, of course, spark some conflict.  K would not want to give up that time with the kids under her roof.  There would be a consequence to that choice, but, I think it would be manageable.  

I'm sure it would be worth it.

The Break-Up (Part 1) - Choices Have Consequences

If you have seen the link over to T's blog you know that once again, T and I have changed our relationship status.  We are not boyfriends / partners anymore.  Some of the readers on his side have had some... well.... interesting comments.  T posted his perceptions of what finally caused us to be over.    I feel like I need to get some thought out so I am going to put them here, in no particular order.

One of the things that K told me when we were going through our slow motion divorce, "Every choice has a consequence."  She is right.  Choose to leave the marriage or stay.  Either choice has a consequence.  I could have continued to live in the closet or come out.  Either choice has a consequence.

T and I have made choices too.  T has made a choice to put his family before me.  It's not cultural.  He has four siblings who are married.  They each put their spouses first, as they should.  This does not mean that T does not love me.  I know that he does.  It does not make him a bad guy.  He is a wonderful man.  It just means he made a choice and that choice has a consequence.  (I will discuss this more in the next post.)

If he wanted to, he could have chosen to spend more time with me.  I have never asked him to abandon his family.  Choosing to spend more time with me, however, would have created conflict with his mother because she would not have approved.  Conflict with his mother would have upset everyone else in his house. So choosing to spend more time with me or not, is a choice.  Choices have consequences.

I made a choice about what I want in my life.  I liked being married.  I liked that kind of a relationship.  I have no interest in the "freedom" of the single life.  But I also don't just want someone waiting at home for me.  I want someone to do things with me.  K and I did everything together.  We were a couple.  If ever I was seen with out her, people would ask, "Where is K?"  T and I were not going to have that.  We were not together enough.  We were not a couple like that and it was not on the horizon.  As my frustration grew with no end in sight, I made a choice that I could not continue this way forever.  It was time for us to break up. That was a choice and that choice has a consequence.

And here we are.

I don't know if anyone expected me to feel a weight lifting off my shoulders now that I am "free" to seek what I want with someone else.  Was I supposed to feel better?  I don't.  Not even a little.  I think in some ways I feel worse.  I didn't want to be with just anyone.  I wanted to be with T.  

I need to accept that it's just not going to happen.  

That's going to take some time.

In part 2, I am going to address the many comments about how much time I spend with the kids.

Monday, August 19, 2013

No Reason To Go Home

I have roommate.  Well, a housemate really.  Let's call him "Fred".  I rent a room in my house to this guy.  I met him randomly.   He posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a room for himself and his dog.  He is straight, older and not very attractive.  He is, however, very gay-friendly.  His dog is a beautiful 4 year old husky.  She is a little high strung but otherwise well behaved.  

He actually has a pretty good deal.  He pays a flat rent that includes everything.  My mortgage is pretty reasonable so it's a good deal for me too.  Aside from the money, it's a good deal for him, because he basically has use my whole house, except the other bedrooms.

Over the past month I have been working a lot.  Long hours at the office.  When I am at K's house, I am often working there.   When I am at home, I sometimes work in the office I have set up in the extra bedroom across the hall from mine until 1 or 2 in the morning.

The other day, I came home for about 5 minutes before heading out again.  Fred was making dinner for himself.  He was trying to make conversation as I was heading for the door.  Normally I would stop and engage him, but today I was in a hurry.

"You work too much!  You should stay home and relax more."  He said as I closed the door.

I drove away thinking about it.  Between work and keeping track of my kids, it is very common for me to leave my house at 6:30am and not return until after 9:30pm.  I guess I do work too much. 

But why not?  I mean, it's not like I have any reason to go home, right?  There's nothing there for me.  It's just a building where I keep my stuff.  There is no one home who misses me.  There is no one there who cares if I am there or not.  

There is nothing there to make it a home.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Taking The Scraps Left Over

I was talking to T last night.  He is worried about my well being.  He asked me if I wanted him to come a visit me on Wednesday and stay the night.  My answer to that question is always the same.  "Of course.  I always want you to come."

"What would you like to do?" he asked.  

"I don't know.  Anything is fine."  I said.  "I guess I need to see what K's work or school schedule is like."  

"When she is done with school in December, it should be better, right?" He asked.

"I don't know that either."  I replied.  "It might be worse.  She might work nights because it pays better."

"She will have to work it out with you."

"HA!" I chuckled.  "It does not work that way.  She works the hours she wants to and I adapt.  I get whatever shit is left over.  That's just how it works."

Then I thought about that for a moment.  "Damn it!  It's just one more person who fucking puts me at the back of the line.  I always get the scraps."

Is it so much to ask to have someone in my life who puts me first?  Where I am the first person they ask before they do something, rather than the last person?  Why can't I have that?  Why is that soooo hard.

I don't think this is helping my feelings of depression at all.

Maybe I need to get a dog.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Slipping Into Depression

It has been over a month since my last post. It has been hard to get motivated to write anything.

I had a great time on vacation with my kid and seeing my family.  I came back feeling energized.  Over the past few weeks, something has changed.  I have been feeling myself slipping into a depression.  I feel alone.  Isolated. I have had bad days here and there before, but this sustained melancholy is not a feeling I am used to.

I like things that make sense.  I like identifiable cause and effect.  I can't put my finger on anything that has changed significantly in my life to cause this.  

I'm taking a new medication.   I checked several sources online and none of them list depression as a side effect.  

I have been having a lot of stress at work lately.  There is more work than I can do and I have been putting in a lot of extra hours.  On the other hand, they have approved to hiring an assistant for me, which will help a lot.  Also I have talked to several people in the head office, including higher up bosses and I know that I am highly respected and everyone is happy with my work.  While I take some pride in that, there is no joy in it.   

My situation with T is unchanged.  I am still hopeful that one day he will want to live with me.   That he will suddenly come to realize his desire to be with me is stronger than his fear of any fallout and he will want us to be together like real partners, maybe even husbands.  I know deep down, it's really just wishful thinking on my part.  It's probably never going to happen.  Definitely not while his parents are alive. (They are both in excellent health for their age and I hope they stay that way.)

But this is not new.  This is status quo for us.   While it's still frustrating, why should it be bothering me more now than any other time? 

Tonight I am at K's house.  She is working over night at the hospital.  AJ is gone this weekend moving his daughter into her college apartment.  He took my older boys with him to help out.  They will be back on Monday.  It's is cold here tonight.  Not freezing cold, but cold for North Carolina in August.  It has been raining all day.  Dreary.  Miserable.  

I can hear the kids in the next room.  They are playing some online game on the X-box.  It sounds like they are having fun.  (Honestly, I am just glad they are not fighting with each other.)  I am sitting in the TV room.  The TV is off.  The lights are off.  There is light coming in from outside.  It will start to get dark soon.  I probably will not get up to turn on the lights.  But just sit here in the dark.

These are the times I wish I had T here to comfort me.  I wish he was here to hold me so I could cry and get whatever this is inside me, out.  I wish he would hold me in his arms and tell me everything was going to be OK and make me feel safe.  To tell me I didn't have to be alone anymore that I did not have to face whatever this is myself.

But he is not here.  He is at a wedding where he was invited to sing.  I don't know who's wedding.  A friend of his family I suppose.  He is probably there with his sister and his parents.  Honestly, I am not sure and I don't think he told me.  If he did, I don't remember.  I didn't get invited anyway, so it's doesn't really matter, does it?

He is signing for the happy couple.  He is singing in celebration of their love.

I'm sitting alone in the dark.