Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My afternoon rant. Now the bad part... Wife rant.

A little side issue that has been bugging me is that I feel as if my wife does not appreciate the time I've been spending working.  A fight we had this morning was that I told her that she cannot treat my project as a stable job because likely any day, it will end.  I also told her that when "shopping," there is nothing wrong with getting what is necessary, but if she spends money on something that is outside our budget, as a consequence of her momentary gain of pleasure by making the purchase, she is taking away from our long-term savings and my ability to provide for us.  Our agreement upon starting the project was that until we have at least six months expenses and rent saved up, any extra money that I make needs to be saved so that I can start working full time on the law firm.  So far I have ZERO saved since I've started this project. 

I also told her that even if she spends money on expensive items outside our budget, she must understand that we need to earn (and I consequently need to work for) whatever she buys.  The context of this was that we had a huge fight last week over her not being sensitive to my feelings of loss when I hesitated her taking a trip to Israel to visit her sick grandmother.  Basically, she just assumed I would come up with the money or work to pay for the trip, and I was hurt that she did not acknowledge the many hours *I alone* would have to put in to finance that trip.  I was also sad that she didn't even acknowledge that her trip would be a huge financial setback in our plans to save up to start the law firm.  She didn't even consider that I was sad about this and it took a fight to get her to acknowledge this.

So on a smaller scale and as recent as this morning, when we took the kids to the zoo on Sunday and she wanted to buy a monkey doll with the zoo's logo, "just so that our child can remember the experience," I told her that I'd rather buy that same monkey doll at Wal*Mart for $10 rather than $30 at the gift shop.  Later on as we were leaving, she disappeared and after taking a few minutes to find her, we found her purchasing the monkey doll from the gift shop.  "There we go," I thought. "That will cost me around an extra hour of work sitting at my computer in the torturous and boring document review project."  I agreed that it was a nice gift, but it wasn't until this morning that I told her that I was upset that she bought the doll after I told her not to.  "I wasn't asking for your permission," she barked back.  I told her that we are already barely making ends meet even with my project, and that the extra money she spent will force me to work extra time just to dig ourselves out of the hole that the extra $30 purchase.  I told her that I wasn't upset about the purchase, but I was upset that she was disregarding the fact that someone (namely, me) will have to work and toil to pay for that extra purchase, and I thought it was insensitive to force me to be the one that has to cover it, especially after I told her that I didn't want her to buy it in the first place.

"Well I want to live a regular life, and regular people buy things," she said.  I told her that we are not regular people; that Hashem has not given us a job, but only temporary income, and that we need to respect the money we are given and not waste it on frivolities.  On top of that, I need to work to pay for everything she's buying, and I'm not in the mood to kill myself to pay for wasteful purchases that have no value.  "Well I'm going to live a regular life," she said. 

At that point I lost it.  I asked her if she was crazy, and whether she understood that I am the one that needs to pay for everything she buys, and that she cannot live a regular life because we cannot afford to pay for the things she is purchasing.  I also told her that I was upset that she didn't acknowledge or pay any sensitivity to the fact that I am the one that has to work to pay for all this, and that I'm not working to pay for a stupid doll!

At that point, I found myself on the verge of tears, and I couldn't hold back my shaky voice.  I was about to start crying, so I walked away.  I kissed my kids goodbye, and without saying good bye to my wife, once again I walked out of the house and left to my work.

It occurred to me that she was being sarcastic this morning, especially since we had an all-out fight on this very topic just before Shabbos.  Although I wasn't sure.  I texted her shortly afterwords, "Hi honey, apparently my phone does still have some battery life.  I realized after I left that you were joking about" ...and then I left the rest of the e-mail blank because I couldn't think of a way to phrase it, and either way, I wasn't so sure she was joking.  To my unsurprise, she didn't write me back.

I hate having this distance between us.  I hate not liking her.  It hurts every time I think of our fights.  I wish she understood what was really going on.  I wish she knew how her actions affected our family and our shalom bayis.  I wish she was more sensitive to these issues.  I'm sure I'll get a "what were you talking about, I always save money" comment from her in a few days when we finally resolve this.

I just wish we were operating from the same place.  I wish we were a team, rather than me being the silent supporter of our affairs, obviously no pun intended.


Anonymous said...

Regular life? Give me a break! I have never bought an overpriced stuffed animal or gift from a "gift shop" at one of these types of places. Being careful about spending wisely does not make a family abnormal, it makes them a team working for the same goals and it makes them a family that is realistic. This post certainly brings out her selfishness.

Zoe Strickman said...

Your comment was both welcome and upsetting. While I appreciate the feedback and the information [it is nice to know that I am not overreacting to something like her buying a gift shop doll when we are so close to going broke], it still hurt me to hear you call her selfish.

I cannot be close to someone who is selfish, as it violates one of my fundamental views of what it means to be married and in a life long relationship. I will do whatever it takes to shield myself from viewing her as such. I appreciate it if you would do the same.

Anonymous said...

Come on. You have spent years sharing with us countless examples of her not so caring, and yes, often selfish ways. You cannot be serious when you ask us to not share our view of YOUR comments.

It is obvious both of you are suffering terribly. You are both extremely unhappy.

It is so sad to me that you let the years go by and you cannot enjoy the beauty of life and family.

Ahuva said...

It's only selfish if it's something that she does frequently. You may want to budget a small amount a month for frivolous things. If she buys one $30 doll every 6 months, then the money is no great loss in the grand scheme of things-- really, it's $5 a month (and not that much more than you might spend on an occasionally motzei shabbos pizza).