My "Other" Relationship


My "Other" Relationship

wedding-rings-169580_640What a week. I would say what a weekend, but since it's taken me until Wednesday to write about it.

Mom got to go to her sister's 75th birthday for a couple of hours on Saturday night! My cousin came and picked her up and it was marvelous for everyone concerned. Then again, it was the only thing she did over the weekend. She doesn't like to go out when it's cold, or snowing, or raining, or dark, and sometimes she even uses the fact that's it's a nice day not to go out! She sat here sighing Sunday afternoon until I asked my husband to please drive us the 40 minutes to Red Lobster and help me out. Well, that began a 24 hour fight! He didn't want to go. Why don't I ever ask him how he feels about things? Well, because he tells me over and over again how he doesn't know how I do it, and that he's sorry I have to work so hard, and that he knows I need a break, but he doesn't know what I want. Well I'm telling you what I want and you just don't feel like it! I'm supposed to call everyone else for help, not him apparently. So mom sat there sighing, and I ended up spending half a Sunday dealing with dirty laundry and dishes and cooking. Mom and Rachel get upset because we're fighting. I get impatient with them. Mom threatens to move into a nursing home.

He was very supportive when we talked about Mom moving in with us. He was adamant that it was the right thing to do. I tried to tell him it wouldn't be as easy as he thought it would. I tried to tell him there's more to it than just a place for her to sleep. He made me believe he would be a partner, not just someone who tells me how badly he feels for all the stuff I'm doing. Obviously we have very different definitions of partnership. I'm sorry that you can't take a shower some mornings because Mom woke in the night wet and tossed her pee-soaked pajamas over the shower curtain. I'm sorry that sometimes you can't watch something on your TV because mom wants to come out to the living room and be part of the family for a while. I'm sorry that your shirts aren't always ironed because I have three times the laundry to do now. I'm sorry, but I'm not waking up at 5 a.m. to change the shower curtain and do laundry either! I tried to tell you!

I don't blame him. He's a man, I'm a woman. No matter who tries to tell you there's no difference, we just think differently. His idea of partnership is getting promoted in his job, making more money to make up for my lost income, working an average 10-hour day, and coming home. He'll go to the pharmacy, the grocery store, pick up take-out so I don't have to cook - but taking care of Mom is apparently "my job." Sometimes I hit that wall, I can see "burnt out" written on it in my mind. My job doesn't include evenings or weekend off! I go off on him. I don't want him to tell me how much he understands and how badly he feels that I never get a break. I want him to GIVE me a break! Call someone to watch Mom and Rachel, take me out for Heaven's sake! Make it possible!

But we've been married too long to let self-righteousness and some impossible ideal of fairness drag us under. A fortunate thing about staying with someone you've loved, hated, been to H**L and back with (and I mean that!), is that you learn to let things go. Even big things. You have learned to accept them, man-thinking and all--and, I may add, they have learned to accept you as well. You have already learned to look at them as another human being, not just someone who hangs around to make your life more difficult. You have learned to let yourself be humbled, and that having everything your way isn't always the most important thing. You realize that everything that affects you affects them, and that you can't just think about yourself all the time if you love someone. You realize, who else would possibly deserve me? He's been through your daughter's sickness with you and knows. He is a wonderful father and he's sacrificed his own wants to give opportunities to all of your children, and no one will ever love them as much. You have learned to forgive each other's humanness, and to put an arm around each other instead of getting angry.

I wish I didn't hit that wall, but every couple of weeks I do, and he still loves me. He doesn't want to drag the wheelchair out on a Sunday, or touch my mom's wet clothes, and I still love him. And I am sure that if we had more support from the rest of the family we could both get a break! I think we've discovered the real problem, here!

Like this article? Share on social


Sign in to comment


What an excellent commentary on the give and take of a partnership. A good reminder for me to focus more on the many things my husband does do for us and to fret less about the ones I wish he would do.


This is a great essay on the unequal partnership of marriage - I bet many many many of us can relate. I love the way you resolve your emotions at the end. It reminds of all that I'm grateful for in my husband even though he doesn't do the things that I do.


When I read this post, Sandy, I kept thinking: What a gift Sandy gives us through her writing.\r\n\r\nI just love how you bring us into the challenges you encounter and then bring us out with you to your resolution. What an amazing description of marriage and love you offer. What strikes me most is that you focus on the hope you have with your husband, which is the treasure of your relationship. \r\n\r\nI'm looking forward to your next post. :)


I am so sorry that that wall keeps jumping up and hitting you! You have enough to deal with! Hugs to you.