Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's Going On (with apologies to Marvin Gaye)

So where was I before I got caught up in all this kissing folderol? Something about explaining my current situation, reactions to it, and so forth. I've said, I think, that the breakup with Kevin has been coming on for years. It took me a long time to realize I was unhappy. When you're so unhappy for so long, however, I think remembering what happiness feels like is hard. Realizing I didn't respect Kevin anymore took me even longer; as a matter of fact, it wasn't until I typed those words--"I don't respect him anymore"--in an e-mail to a friend that it really hit me. How could I have any respect for a man who sat around all day watching the Weather Channel and porn while I worked 10 to 12 hours every day--EVERY GODDAMN DAY--trying to keep things afloat? Sure, he had occasional DJ gigs and art fairs, but most of what little money he made went to sporadic child support payments. Not that I didn't want his kids to get the money, but I desperately needed a little support (financial and emotional), too, and I sure as hell wasn't getting any.

Lest it sound as though all my concerns were financial, his lack of employment was only a small part of the picture. What bothered me more was his complete lack of interest in me. If someone held a gun to his head, he wouldn't be able to recall the name of a single author or co-worker I talked about or describe what I do for a living, other than "edit books." He knew nothing about what worried me, what I dreamed of for the future, what memories haunted me--and he never asked. Conversations with him--or rather, attempts at conversations--were the oddest experiences I've ever had. I'd try to tell him something, and it was like shouting into a vacuum. Nothing. No response, no follow-up questions, no facial expression. Just... blankness. The only time he got animated in conversations was when he was holding forth on a topic: relating in excruciating detail something he read, reporting what he saw on the news, and the like. He didn't want to hear what I thought, either; actually, he got irritated if I "interrupted" with my reaction or opinion. I don't know whether it was self-centeredness, a complete lack of curiosity in other people, or just ME. Whatever it was, it got worse and more frustrating to deal with.

I mentioned his increasingly bad temper a few entries ago, but I can't pinpoint when it started getting worse. I always knew he had a short fuse, but his fits of temper got more intense, and trying to predict what would set them off became almost impossible. His rage was almost always completely out of proportion to the situation. The screaming, stomping around, and throwing things were bad enough, but when his rage was more directed at me, it was terrifying. I'm too embarrassed to list the names he called me and the hurtful things he said to me, but I'll never forget them or the more physical expressions of his anger.

You're probably wondering how I got into this situation. I claim to be a smart woman, so what's my problem? All I can say is that no one sets out to be treated this way. No one wakes up one morning and thinks, "Hey, today I'd like someone to shatter my self-esteem!" No one wants to be called hateful names or have their feelings ignored. When changes are gradual, they're harder to notice, and then one day you're being knocked across the garage, and when you land, you think, "How the hell did THAT happen?"

When I told Kevin I wanted to break up, my first words were "I can't do this anymore." I talked for a long time about how I'd been feeling and tried to explain the depth of my exhaustion and frustration. His first reaction? "So you're kicking me out? Where am I supposed to go?" Self-centered to the very end! He's nothing if not consistent. I suggested a few possibilities: his sister, his mother (who's in her 80s and alone and really needs someone living with her), a nearby friend who's looking for a roommate. He was furious that I mentioned his sister and mother and accused me of trying to get him out of town. Yeah, AND?

I might have known he'd have little trouble finding someone else to leech on to. He's moving in with his cousin, who lives about 45 minutes away. (So I am getting him out of town! Whoo!) His cousin, Dramatic Sam (DS), is ill and needs a live-in caregiver as well as help running an educational foundation he started. The plan is that he'll pay Kevin for his help, and because Kevin won't have living expenses, he'll be able to save money and look for a full-time job. That's the theory, anyway. Kevin informed me that he and DS had decided he'd move up there in October. OCTOBER. I was stunned and knew there was no way in hell I'd make it through FOUR MORE MONTHS of living with him. DS's brother, who doesn't like Kevin, is doing some repairs on DS's house, and DS has worked up a melodramatic scenario in which his brother finds out Kevin's moving in there and refuses to do the repairs. Whatever. NOT MY PROBLEM. I finally extracted from Kevin the information that the repairs are being done in July, and then stated he could be out in August, and I wasn't in the mood to grant any extensions.

Of course, this conversation was replete with screaming and name-calling and making threats, but through it all, I kept repeating, "You have to be out of here in August." I sounded like a broken record. (Ancient reference. For you kids, records were what music came on before CDs and MP3s, and sometimes.... Oh, never mind. Google it, you young'uns.)

I'd been hoping to have a month or two here to myself to pack and just enjoy the peace and quiet, but that's not likely to happen now. I haven't quite figured out what to do about the packing timeline; it's not going to be the organized, somewhat leisurely affair I'd hoped for. I'm juggling an insane workload right now, too, so I guess I'm going to wind up tossing things into boxes willy-nilly a few days before the actual moving day. I suppose I could start packing now, but Kevin doesn't know about Ed or my move, and I think it's prudent to maintain his "in the dark" state for now. I'm rather fond of my own delicate, Southern belle hide and would like to keep it intact. Both Daniel and Ed have offered to give Kevin a smackdown, and much as I'd love to watch that with a big bowl of popcorn in my lap, I like both of 'em too much to want them to wind up in jail for assault. On the other hand, I could make a boatload of money selling tickets for admission, couldn't I?

Oh, one thing (besides Ed, of course) that's been keeping my spirits up this week: I'm having lunch with Celeste next Tuesday! I could use a good, healthy dose of Funny Lady, and she's just the woman to deliver it. :)