Having a SO is great most times. Having someone to rub Vicks Vaporub on your back when you’re sick with the flu is awesome. Having someone who will cook and make sure you eat something in a hectic day is wonderful. Knowing there’s someone to talk to at the end of a shitty day is amazing.
But living with another human being can be a test of your patience. There will come a time when Mr. Awesome/Wonderful/Amazing is just…not.
I hate it when he eats the last of something without replacing it. I loathe when he exaggerates when he describes something. It gets my back up when he cooks curry so spicey G and I can’t actually eat it( sensitive tummies and tongues). I despise it when he nags me to do something ad nauseam.
I deal with this by doing what I believe most women do. I get passive aggressive. You know? I say, “I’m fine!”, when I’m clearly not. Or ” Nothing!”, when he asked what’s wrong. Or I do a derisive laugh when I disagree with something he’s says. I’m the woman this meme is talking about.
Recently I’ve come to the realization that he is not a mind reader. Yeah, yeah..I’m thick like that. I don’t know what happened. One minute I was angrily tossing clothes into an overnight bag for a trip to Dubai and the next looked up and saw the confusion and hurt on his face. That stopped me in my tracks.
I realized that I was being more unspeakably unkind, cruel and worse, mean, than I would be to my worst enemy. To the man I married and pledged my life to! Enemies I ignore. This man, with whom I have a child and sleep next to every night, this man I am being cruel to.
I saw the light. I dropped the socks I was holding and said,” I’m pissed at you!”.
He looked shocked. Honestly I can’t even remember what he’d done that had pissed me off. Most likely it was his language.
He swears at the drop of a hat. I hate that. I was raised to believe that a respectful tone is important whether you’re speaking to your mother, your spouse or your child. There are many ways to lose my respect. One of them is to speak in a disrespectful tone or to use gham language. Hubby doesn’t care. And it drives me mad. I think he thinks it’s one way of being coloured and remembering his roots. I think it’s ignorant and self- perpetuation of a sad stereotype. I refuse to expose my child to it. I refuse to expose myself to it.
So if being passive aggressive didn’t work, what did? Here you go:
- Instead of telling him each time he used THAT language around me or G, I marked it off on a calendar. Believe me, a week of red x’s broke the spell.
- I educated him on the stereotypes and old tropes associated with being a coloured South African and how he wasn’t helping with his behavior.
- I helped him find a milder spice to use next time he made his special Cape Town Chicken Curry.
- I talk to him about leaving me be when I’m in my headspace before doing something important and how him nagging didn’t help with process.
- Reminding myself that being kind is better than being right. It doesn’t mean I won’t be reverting to killer looks every now and again ( I’m a woman first!), but I will remember that we are a unit and that my life is better with him in it.
My daughter deserves to not be part of a humbling statistic or a broken home. There are too many out there in the world already. She deserves a father, no matter how flawed. How else is she going to learn what it’s like to love imperfect, damaged people? How else will she know that no one is perfect? Or that everyone deserves love?
So, in time for Fathers Day, I want to encourage all of you who think you can’t anymore, to look for perspective. I’m not advocating you stay in an abusive relationship, but if he’s basically a good guy, “Stay for all the things he did right. Don’t leave for the one thing he did wrong.”( The Vow).
Until next I blog,