Conversations I recall

What happened is really not worth much of a shit, is it?  Nothing I can do to change any of it; talking about it doesn’t help; worrying is fruitless effort.  Not that I haven’t tried.  A small example:

  • I said:  I still can’t believe you did that!
  • S.O. (Significant Other) said:  Did what?
  • So I said:  Two weeks ago, you
    • stayed out til one with “the guys”
    • got so drunk you set my sister’s napkin on fire at dinner
    • told me I’M the one with a problem — yeah, and its name is you

(Take your pick.)

  • He said:  We already discussed this, and I apologized — what more do you want me to do?
  • Then I said:  I want you to stop drinking.
  • Him: Oh, not again.
  • Me:  Oh yes!  If you would just stop screwing up so badly, we would have a happy marriage.
  • Him:  Right.  Let’s get high and watch some TV.
  • Me:  Okay.  That sounds like a good idea.

That is a composite of the thousands of nights he and I spent together in our 6 years together.  Now, I was right, right?

No?  How can you say I was wrong?  I was the one sitting home alone, or being embarrassed, or coming downstairs in the morning to see him sleeping on the couch.  What?  You ask why I married him.  Well, because I had to be married.  No, I wasn’t pregnant.  I just didn’t want to be alone, and he seemed so charming, at first.

Why did I want to change him?  Well, obviously, he needed to change.  What do you mean, he wasn’t the one?  No, he wasn’t drinking before I met him — he was dry.  But he was drinking before I married him.  That’s enough.  All right, I don’t want anymore questions.  Because you are upsetting me.  On purpose?  What possible reason could you have to want to upset me?

Well, yes, I can see that I could have called off the wedding when I found out what a drunk he was, but….  Wouldn’t matter?  He used to…..  Oh, I see.  Let’s turn this one on me and food, then, shall we?  He never asked me to change.  No, he didn’t really protest; actually he looked kind of sad.  Drunk and sad, but sad.  I can see his face after the one I told you about when we started talking.  You know, he did look kind of puzzled — but I always assumed that was because he was drunk.  Yes, yes, I know about assume.  Ass, you, me.  No, I never asked him why he looked so conflicted.  I figured he would tell me if he wanted me to know.  How would he know to tell me?  Isn’t that what husbands and wives do?  What, only in an open, non-judgmental blah, blah, blah?  Be real.

You know, I think you should just ease up on me.  No, I’m not telling you how to feel, or to change anything.  I only want a little understanding from a friend.  What?  I’m not a good friend?  I try to make everyone fit my ideas?  How could you say that?  You’re full of shit.  Get out of my house — I DON’T NEED YOU!


That is why, for all those years, I didn’t have any friends except family.  Sometimes I am so surprised that my sister S. and I are still friends.  By the time I was on my own, I’d forgotten how to make friends.  Long, lonely years.  How did anyone put up with me?  

What have I learned?  That caring about somebody does not mean I should make him fit my mold of a good husband, or a good friend.  That I have no right to tell, or even to ask anyone to change.  That if I don’t love them the way they are, I should just walk away.  That if I do try to change someone, I will lose them, probably sooner than later.  And, that I don’t ever want to be that way again.  And that’s enough for now.


9 responses to “Conversations I recall

  1. Yes, I’ve had some of those conversations Judith; they suck. A lot of what you wrote reminds me of things said 25 years ago in my very short and very sorry second marriage . . . to an older woman . . . a bartender no less.

    I spent many years in college intending to learn how to change people. As you already know, it doesn’t work that way: If they want to change, they will. If they don’t want to, they won’t—I don’t care how nice or mean you are, it just doesn’t work that way.

    • I’ll never forget: when I decided to go to seminary, my intent was to teach Christianity to underprivileged people. I’m so glad I realized how wrong that was before I let someone drop me in the Amazon with a handful of bibles and eagerness to get started.

  2. You seem to be going through a lot of reflecting and hind sight. I’m impressed that you see the “You” back then. I think most people don;t have the guts.
    Your excavation of your authentic self is hard work, but there is such a beautiful soul there. you is compelling

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