manic monday

My husband was out of town this weekend to visit with his family a few states away.  His brother’s birthday, his sister in law’s birthday, and just general “let’s all get together”-ness.  That’s nice.

I haven’t had the need for that in my own family in over 10 years now.  And the last two families I did do this sort of thing for certainly didn’t love me for it.  What I remember of it is largely pain in the ass running around, feeling like you’re trying to please all the people all the time, etc.  My own family actually was pretty chill on the whole “hey gang” kind of planning.  “Hey gang!” being my term for what I see in these other families – it’s not enough for the visiting family member to plan his or her trip so as to maximize time with all family members (equally).  All family members must engage in activities, and all activities must involve all family members.  This is in fact a strictly enforced code.  My current husband’s family is definitely a “hey gang”.  My ex husband’s family was also although they didn’t think they were, which actually made it that much harder to address.  The guy in between’s family was ok with members going off to do their own thing providing it was approved by the family patriarch as appropriately cool – e.g. preferably involving expensive toys and large amounts of alcohol.  Any other independent planning was seen as wuss-tastic and insufficiently important to leave the family behind, and therefore subject to undermining.

While my husband was gone, I planned to have my sister over to visit.  She’s been having a rough time with work.  This coming week was my first full time week back and my husband and I planned out how to split up errands and chores on the weekend so that I wouldn’t be exhausted heading into it.  My husband suggested that my sister might be able to help with grocery shopping.  Or not.  My husband explained that he didn’t mind going grocery shopping when he got home Sunday.

Friday night two things changed.  My husband’s family called to tell him that plans changed to suit the convenience of the ones doing the hosting.  The practical result was that my husband now had to travel a bit further and would spend more time in transit and less time with the family.  My sister called and told me that she had quit her job on Tuesday, with no notice.  Just quit.  And that maybe now she’ll be homeless but at least she’ll be homeless with a clean conscience.

Bright and early Saturday morning, my husband got on the road.  My sister didn’t call until 4:45 PM and didn’t actually make it here until about 6 (she lives about 20 miles away).  So no grocery shopping.  I spent the next nearly 24 hours playing career and life counselor to her.  My husband came home in a distant mood.  I was exhausted and had just lay down on the couch.  He went shopping and asked if I would rest while he was out so I could help prepare food for the week when he got home with the groceries.  Which I did.  We cooked and I cleaned and were done with it all by 8:00.  I was happy because I thought I’d get into bed early and get a good night’s sleep to start off my big first week back at full time.

Nope.  My husband had other plans.  Other amorous plans.  This did not end well.  Had his plans been stated explicitly, I might have been able to discuss it without getting pissed off.  However, they were not.  There were four reasons his plans were a bad idea, all of which I’d have expected him to know.  First, non-explicit.  As a sexual abuse survivor, I require actual communication of intent and consent.  Even with my husband.  None of this just tumbling into sex shit for me.  I need to know the person’s intentions and I need to be given a no strings attached chance to agree or not.  Second, I was fucking exhausted.  Third, it was Sunday night and my first week at full time since before Christmas.  The Sunday night sex plans are not a terribly great idea in general – hell, there was even a crappy pop song addressing that in the 80s.  Fourth, he was distant emotionally earlier and we hadn’t really reset.  I need that reset time.  See number one for reason.

And now I’m upset.  And tired.  Happy Monday.

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  1. R. G. Maines

     /  February 19, 2011

    Hope this isn’t too personal… I have serious issues with spontaneous amorousness, for different reasons than yours, but nonetheless, it’s NEVER a good idea.

    When I’m experiencing severe levels of pain, it’s difficult to sit, lie down, stand, walk, do just about anything. My entire spine and all of the major joints throughout my body are effected by my disability, the worst of it is in my lumbar spine, greatly effecting my pelvis.

    I don’t feel the need to tell everyone, constantly, how I feel, therefore it seems to me that a conversation about whether I’m feeling up to such activities would make sense, before hubby gets his hopes up.

    Rather than having a conversation with me, he gets very ‘touchy feely’, which makes me uncomfortable because I feel pressured into agreeing, rather than considering my pain level. I have to initiate a conversation, usually relating my pain level, so he understands why I can or cannot accommodate him.

    It would be so much easier if he would just ‘talk’ to me about what he wants or needs.

    • Not too personal at all. This is a big issue for us! How can it not be? To find ways to maintain intimacy in the face of chronic pain and fatigue…this is very difficult. I think there’s a general sense that talking about having sex is somehow going to ruin the sex (if it happens). I recall running into this when I was younger (college) regarding things like “who’s got a condom?” or “should we really be doing this here, now or can we go find someplace nicer/more appropriate/more comfortable/more private?” and assumed then that it was part of young people’s insecurities that made it taboo to have a discussion about sex when the stage is set (at least for one person) for a possible opportunity of sex. I realize now that it’s just part of our culture – there is pressure to hold sacred sponaneity (sp?), impulsivity, and novelty as integral to the quality of the “moment” and over time as integral to the quality of that aspect of the relationship. And of course that translates into a judgment on the relationship itself.

      Very frustrating, especially when often, most guys really would be perfectly happy with a…uh…well with a something that doesn’t necessarily require a lot of effort and contorting on our parts. Or with an I.O.U. on it, providing that I.O.U. doesn’t end up indefinitely delayed.

      Usually, my husband and I have a way of talking about this. “Is this affection just for affection or did you have something else in mind?” is something I can manage to squeak out if I am not in a bad place emotionally. And I know that I should do better at trying. He’s also usually pretty good at giving me an actual verbal head’s up regarding his intentions, usually phrased as something like “I’m feeling frisky” vs. “I’m feeling cuddly”. But again, not always. Obviously or there’d be no post here.


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