Turning the table on a relationship.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In 1986, my husband had a massive heart attack and died at age 42. I can tell you that grieving his death took a long time and didn't follow the stages of grief I expected. One of those stages was anger, and I never felt angry about it. Then, one night I had a dream that he walked into the kitchen, not dead at all, and told me that he had faked his death as part of a midlife crisis! In my dream I was furious at him! I guess this was my unconscious mind dealing with the anger I wouldn't let surface when I was awake.

Now I'm remarried and my 2nd husband and I will celebrate our 22nd anniversary in September. If I were to compare the two men, I would say that they were miles apart in the how they've treated me. My first husband was continually reminding me that I fell short of his expectations as a wife. He wanted me to be thin, pretty, and a good housekeeper, plus good at keeping his shirts ironed and his suits pressed. I guess what he really wanted was a Stepford wife, and I never quite fit the bill. He responded to me in a passive-aggressive way most of the time. My present husband is kind, loving, and accepts me just the way I am. He appreciates me in a way that my first husband never did.

In the past couple of years, I've dreamed many times that my first husband left me for another woman who fit his ideal for a wife. It's always a disturbing dream, because I don't know how I would manage the kids, the house, etc. if he left me, even though that's exactly what I did when he died. The recurring dream is always a little upsetting, because when he decides to leave me, I feel so betrayed by his being with another woman. You may remember a time in your life when a relationship broke off because of your partner loving somebody else, and it just seems so alienating and empty when the love you had together is just thrown away. Maybe in my dream, I'm feeling that I betrayed him by remarrying, so my unconscious mind is showing me how that feels. I really don't know.

Last night, however, I dreamed that I decided I had endured enough of the way he treated me and I told him I was getting a divorce. It was interesting to see how once the table turned on him, he begged and pleaded for me to stay. Still, I took the kids and left. I didn't feel happy about hurting him, but I did feel empowered to take control of my own life. I don't know what caused this dream--spicy foods? Or perhaps a movie I watched about a doomed relationship? (Tara Road by Maeve Binchy, showing on Netflix streaming.)

There are many responses a person may choose from when she is "never enough" for her partner in a relationship. I put up with it too long, but I didn't have the self-confidence to go it alone. Finally, I decided to take better care of myself. I lost weight, got myself appointed to a city board, and finished college. Then I went on to graduate school. My husband was afraid I would find somebody else and leave him. I would never have done that, but his whole family thought the same thing. On Valentine's Day that year, I convinced him that I wasn't going anywhere, ever. Four days later, he died. He had told me earlier that he was happier than he'd ever been before.

I wonder what life would have been like for me and the kids if he hadn't died. I'm pretty sure the kids wouldn't have gone away to college, and he'd still be disgusted at me for being fat, but maybe there would be some positives too that I'm unable to envision. I'm working on putting all of this aside, but it's turned out to be more difficult than consciously trying to let it go! When I do, I hope the weight goes with it. When the turmoil in the back of my mind stops, there's no telling what other detritus of my painful memories will fly away. As I said in my last blog entry, I'll let you know.

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  • JILL313
    Your lst husband sounds so much like my ex husband. When I married him at age 21 I was young and pretty, etc. He thought I could/should stay that way. But, unfortunately after having 3 babies and eating too much at age 48-49 I went through menopause early and ate my way up to 250 pounds. I think he was disgusted in how I looked as I did change a lot in the 26 years we were married. Because he didn't hold a job the last 10 years we were married I lost a lot of respect for him. Then I found out he was with other women, etc. So, finally I had enough and told him I wanted a divorce and to move out. Well, he married a month after our divorce was final which surprised me at the time but looking back he always was a selfish man so kept me around as I was the Breadwinner. You sure think and dream about your deceased husband. I hope you'll be able to let those thoughts and dreams of him go as you found a good man who finally accepts the special person you are. Sounds great to me. Enjoy your time with him. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1859 days ago
    It's interesting on why you still continue to dream about your dead husband. But I am so glad that you found someone to love you and care for you just the way you are.
    Hopefully, the divorce dream will be the last dream you will have of him. Keep up posted. (hugs) Noel
    1861 days ago
    I think it is wonderful that you have been and are still working through all of the old baggage and issues that have LITERALLY as well as figuratively WEIGHED you down. Maybe now with your load lightened, you will be able to discard the baggage weighing you down.
    1861 days ago
  • GAL7288
    Wow those are really weird dreams, and I do believe that they say something, not necessarily bad but they are a reflection of what you been through. You demonstrated that you are a strong women, and stood by your decision to stay with your first husband no matter what. I believe he was afraid of you leaving him, and by lowering your self esteem he accomplished that, but when you told him you were staying he realized that you really weren't going anywhere, and felt relieved.

    You are leading your life in the right track and I am pretty sure, the weight will soon follow. Don't feel guilty about not feeling angry, we all grieve differently and for many reasons too.

    1861 days ago
    1861 days ago
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