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She’s Mean

It’s almost like an out of body experience. 

I’m watching it happen. I know it’s all coming out wrong. It’s nastiness and hurt and it’s just dribbling out of my mouth like black ink, running down my chin, staining my tongue, and I can’t get it to stop. 

A few months ago I considered a career pivot into couples coaching. I’ve been married for a thousand years, I’m really good at giving other people advice and compassion, so this felt like a natural fit. 

I mean, you can’t work on the internet forever, right dad? 

But, as I dove into the books and classes and zoom calls, I began to piece together a picture of myself, and of my marriage, that wasn’t in line with what I showed the world. It wasn’t even in line with what I showed myself. 

My relationship is a fragile house that I pelt daily with a thousand tiny aggressions, just assuming the foundation will hold until I can figure out how to be reciprocal with the patience, kindness, and desire I’m shown in return.

But here’s the thing about me, I’m a Taurus and I keep score. 

Sometimes, it’s cute. You want me on your team at game night. I am unapologetically competitive and rarely wrong. I play to win. 

Those are appropriate characteristics for your charades partner, they are not what you want in the woman you share a life with. 

I start arguments for sport, I swear I do it just to feel something sometimes. I might be giving you the silent treatment, but in my head, I’m in a tent hunched over a war table, with maps and detailed historical data spread across the surface, a lone flickering bulb swaying above my head. 

Second fun thing, I’m resentful. 

I resent the mental load I carry. 

I resent that only I know where the basketball uniforms are, and if there’s food for lunches, and what time practice ends.

I resent that when I wake up, I am mentally planning and preparing for a day that two weeks from now. 

I resent the amount of time I graphically explain over the phone where any random item is within our house at any point. 

And lastly, I am full of excuses. 

I’m exhausted.

I’m pouring every last part of me into the kids before they leave the house, I can focus on “us” later. 

Work is stressful, commitments are stressful, everything is stressful, I could give whole dissertations on stress and how it’s uniquely effecting me and my ability to not be annoyed when he comes up behind me while I’m making dinner and puts his arms around my waist. 

These things in me, they’ve made me… mean, sometimes cruel, and more often than not, cold. 

I’m the embodiment of the villain in every Taylor Swift song. I distract you with my friendship bracelets and red lipstick, but I am the monster on that hill. 

I want to be clear, this isn’t a post that’s going to wrap up with answers and a happy ending. There is no bow on this gift. 

No, this post is an apology. This post is an uncomfortable admission. This post is that thing where I walk beside you, swinging my arm in rhythm with yours, hoping our hands accidentally brush so you can grab it, squeeze it, and tell me you know what this feels like. 

I spend the moments between vitriol in panic. I also cry a lot. I’m kinda a mess if we’re being honest. 

In the morning when Andy leaves for work, I wait for him to leave and my eyes just well up with tears. I cry because there’s a million things I want to say to him, like that I adore him and he feels like home, and that he looks sexy with his hair pushed back, but instead I pretend to sleep until I hear the front door lock because it’s become easier for me to be distant than for me to be sweet. 

There is a version of me that deserves my husband, but this current version, she ain’t it. But I’m trying, and if he’ll wait for me, I hope to get there. Sloppy, probably medicated, and wholly imperfect, but there. 


Thursday 8th of February 2024

Ohhh I have been there. That meanness you happens to many of us. There was a period of time, at the height of the crazy kids schedules where I rolled my eyes so hard and so often at my husband that it's a wonder I didn't have a seizure. But for me, I had to connect with my own self first. I started to focus on me. Getting in touch with myself helped me to be less irritated by everything and everyone around me. It was really hard though. But that helped me to be able to connect to my partner. And I will say this, as a mom of a now 19 and 21 year old.... Try. Try to connect with your partner. Bcos once the kids move out, that chasm between you will feel really really daunting, if you don't start bridging it now. Big hugs and a 'girl I have been there' squeeze of your arm.


Thursday 8th of February 2024

I'm right there with you sister <3 We'll figure this out just like everything else. Taurus for the win!

Elissa S.

Monday 5th of February 2024

Thirty-three years of marraige here, a separation and a recommitment, and over three years of couples counseling and I hear every single word of what you wrote. I discovered that the annoyance, the anger, the exhaustion were rooted in an unintended parent/child dynamic. He was Mr. Awesome at work, but at home it was all me. He looked to me to make every single decision around home and kids and in doing so he became another one of the kids. It was impossible to welcome those arms around my waist when it felt like a kid pulling on my apron strings rather than an equal partner showing me love and affection. There were other things, of course, but that unhealthy (and unsexy) dynamic was the root of so much miscommunication and unhappiness. The therapy really helped us completely change the way we partnered, communicated, and connected. Hope you find your way through this too!

Christine Ference

Monday 5th of February 2024

B, I feel you on much of this. I am in these throws or score keeping, resentment building, frustration over how I am the only one under this stress load in our family, that I am the details keeper, house manager, and everyones go-to fixer for all things. The honest part though is I get even worse if someone else tries to do it for me, because they will do it wrong. How crazy is that? Then I will pick a fight.

I hate this stage of feeling of immense stress and the fear of needing to maintain the control so I am 'needed' and have worth.

So many more chapters for therapy ahead.I wish I had a spouse support group. To hear how others deal with some of the everyday things we experience and ensure.


Monday 5th of February 2024

I was listening to a podcast with Brene Brown and a guest, last year, and the discussion was that resentment, comes from a place of Envy. And often we are envious of our partners because we don’t know how to express what we need and also to give them and our children space to figure it out. We’ve allowed ourselves to be defined by their needs and not speaking up for ours in a loving way. I think about that a lot, every time I feel resentment. I asked why I am envious of and what is it I am missing.

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