well, today is our fifth and likely final wedding anniversary. as nostalgia sets in and i reflect on our years together, i can’t help but wonder exactly what caused our marriage to take a turn straight into the flames of hell.
after careful thought and a great deal of chocolate eating, I’ve come up with a number of possible contributing factors. right out of the gate we had challenges that even the cast of “SURVIVOR” wouldn’t have made it through. a twenty-one year age gap, three kids who didn’t want a stepmother, and my husband’s decision to move us a mile down the road from his first family (in what i can only assume was an attempt to play out some disturbing mormon fantasy), just to name a few. we probably have to factor in that our wedding day itself was a volatile disaster. it began with no one knowing whether or not the groom was even gonna show and ended with us almost getting kicked off the island for disturbing the peace when i screamed several obscenities during our wedding reception for four and stormed off to our bungalow without getting to eat a bite of my damn wedding cake. or perhaps it was deciding to get pregnant five minutes into the marriage and gaining fifty-two pounds as a newlywed that doomed things from the start. i don’t think I’ve ever been able to forgive him for leaving me at home during most of my pregnancy unsupervised with all the ice cream.
clearly we didn’t think much through. i mean, i married a successful man TWENTY-ONE years my senior and never even got to experience my rightful reign as a Trophy Wife for christ’s sake. surely i was entitled to at least a year or two of parading a new pair of boobs around town and doing nothing of any substance.
however, instead of living in superficial bliss, by our first anniversary our twins were over 2 months old, i was still wearing my maternity pants and we were too freaking tired to celebrate surviving the year so we went to Duffy’s Sports Grill with my stepson for an hour and called it a night. i was hardly anyones trophy wife constantly covered in vomit, piss and stretch marks. instead i crowned myself Queen Frumpty Dumpty and scheduled a tummy tuck STAT.
whatever the reasons may be, we’ve found ourselves in the ‘one of us has to change or one of us has to die’ predicament that so many married couples face. though i fear we’ve reached this milestone at a much faster rate than is healthy. technically we’ve been together for ten years but the first five were by choice so we really shouldn’t be at this point just yet should we? we recently had one of THOSE talks where nobody cried and nobody yelled. i think the adults call them “mature discussions”. we decided to give our marriage some serious effort and agreed to make a list of what changes we needed the other person to make in order for us to be happily married. to each other. we would meet the following night to read our lists and the rule was that we were not allowed to say ANYTHING until the person reading had finished. then we would each decide what we were realistically willing to sacrifice or change and go from there.
the next night i sat myself on the couch with my “why i can’t fucking stand you” list handwritten about a page long. he hadn’t even walked in the room yet but i knew exactly what was gonna be on his list. the same three wifely “shortcomings” he’s been complaining about our whole marriage; i don’t cook, i don’t clean, i spend too much money. each time he brings these up i remind him that he’s always known i was a reckless spender and have zero skills or interest in anything to do with a stove or sponge. I made very clear to him i would be his wife, not his chef or his maid and he chose to marry me anyway. so as far as i’m concerned he forfeited his right to bitch. i wonder how he would feel if i woke up one morning suddenly resentful that he is older than me and was shocked and disappointed he hasn’t gotten younger every year. to make his argument lose even more validity we have a full time housekeeper. what does he want me to do? follow her around the house with another broom? since i knew we’d have to go through this same tired argument yet again, earlier that day i told him he could go first with his list. i wanted to get his out of the way so we could focus on the real issues i wanted to bring up.
he entered the room shortly after me armed with a laptop. sat down, and opened up a microsoft word document containing his “why i can’t fucking stand you” list. typed. THREE PAGES. SINGLE. SPACED.
just as i was about to let out a gigantic “WHAT THE FUCK?!” and break the no talking rule, he began:
- “You’re incredibly high maintenance.”
- “You don’t let me parent our children the way I want to.”
- “You became a private investigator.”
- “You keep adopting pets.”
oh thank God! although i was relieved, i really did wish he would stop complimenting me and move on to the areas of concern. after all, it was already 9pm, my bedtime was an hour ago and we had a shitload to cover. as if he read my mind, without warning, his list took a turn for the infuriating.
- “You spend a zillion dollars on these pets you insist on having only to hate them an hour after they move in. And then we all suffer through the havoc they wreck on our lives until their inevitable mysterious disappearances. Remember the pig?!”
heeere we go. again with the FUCKING PIG! in our marriage this pig is the equivalent to an affair. you know when someone cheats and their spouse decides to forgive them and stay with them but EVERY time they get pissed about anything they bring up the affair? it ALWAYS goes back to the affair. well in our case, it ALWAYS goes back to the fucking pig. i bought a piglet that was supposed to stay adorably small. i had it flown here from some farm. during this time we were renovating our home so we had moved into a condo with minimal living space, five kids and three huge dogs with no yard. i didn’t even know if pigs were legally allowed there but who would notice the tiny thing? well in a few short months it was gigantic, repulsive and the fifth worst mistake I’d ever made. that hideous disaster tried to eat EVERYONE it came in contact with and destroyed everything we owned in its constant obsessive quest for food. our nanny had a nervous breakdown and threatened to quit over the beast. my husband drop kicked it every time it blocked the TV and it screeched like a demon from the pits of hell if you tried to touch it. it almost ended our marriage so i gave it to a friend by telling her it was a darling little thing and then it almost ended her marriage. shortly after that it boarded a plane never to be seen or heard again. and i’ve yet to get any appreciation from gil for removing it from our lives or for naming the damn thing after him…
hated by all….
in happier times….. he continued,
- “Most women will attend their husbands work related events even when they happen to be pissed at him for something. They will put their feelings aside and support their spouse for the evening. I would like it if you would do the same.”
if i do not like you in the house
i will not like you with a mouse
i will not like you here or there
i will not go with you anywhere
then came an oldie but goodie:
- “Would you PLEASE agree to take a cooking class? I’ll even go with you. It will be fun!”
He sounded like a parent trying to convince a toddler how great it would feel to put on a shirt that itches the shit out of him.
WE HAVE A CHEF! i silently screamed. i’m not sure whether he read my mind or my expression when he added,
“Having a personal chef is costing us money we shouldn’t have to spend.”
well a divorce is gonna cost you a helluva lot more so i suggest you not bring this up again. bullet point number 76:
- ” I value my privacy. I would REALLY appreciate it if you kept our private life private.”
“I mean, you even air our dirty laundry in our family christmas cards!”
i don’t care what anyone says. it was funny as shit.
- “I don’t think it’s fair that I should have to get the kids ready and drive them to school every morning when I’m in town. “
you don’t think that’s fair? you know what i don’t think is fair? that i am going to be spending the prime of my life changing your diapers, carting you around to doctor’s appointments, making sure you get your medications and checking you in and out of hospitals. so forgive me if i am less than sensitive to your great inconvenience of driving 3 miles to the school so i can sleep an extra hour.
just as i was about to say GAME OVER he went where no man should ever go:
- “And honey… PLEASE…Once in a while would it kill you to wear something sexy to bed? I mean, if I have to look at those fluffy socks one more time…..You dress for bed like you’re about to go sled riding during a blizzard.”
FUCK THIS! i have a thyroid condition! THAT’S IT! your ass is gonna be in a nursing home before breakfast tomorrow.
i started to drift off to sleep at 1AM somewhere around the beginning of page two. my final thoughts before i welcomed unconsciousness was how i could have ignored all of gil’s attempts to get me to recognize that i’m the world’s WORST wife. there’s hardly a week that goes by when he doesn’t tell me that living me with is like being trapped in an “I Love Lucy” episode you can’t turn off. i always thought it was a compliment. and looking back, maybe he was trying to get my attention through instagram. the pseudonym he chose for his account that’s filled with photos of our family is ‘slowpainfuldeath’ and still i had seen no cause for concern.
after what seemed like a week it was finally my turn to read my list which took considerably less time. we had an eerily peaceful 48 hours after that when we didn’t piss each other off. while i still refused to change really anything about myself i did try my hand at something new called ‘compromising’. for example, although there was no way i would ever turn on the stove, i promised that i would stop ordering take out when he pays someone to cook for us. that’s the best i could do. everybody’s got their limitations. imagine my gratitude when three days in gil fucked up on one of his promises to me so i got to use it as an excuse to call off the whole experiment and return to my argumentative, inconsiderate, happy self.
i am proud to say that we didn’t give up on each other even though our efforts failed miserably. instead we decided to try to rescue our marriage another way. couples therapy. turns out i’m a huge fan! it truly DOES work! after just one session i already feel incredibly motivated to strengthen some of my wifely weaknesses that gil repeatedly felt inclined to mention during the hour. for instance, i am FINALLY going to start cooking!
Dinner is served Your Majesty! Enjoy your side of arsenic! if my husband and marriage survive the day (and this blog post) we’ll be
mourning celebrating our five year miracle tonight at and who knows, we may even renew our vows while we’re there…..
in closing: while i’m certainly not a good wife, and i never got to be a trophy wife, i’m sure all would agree i’m the World’s Worst Wife and to achieve that status with only five years under my belt is accomplishment enough for me. it’s empowering to know the reason our marriage exists is so everyone else can feel better about theirs.
*I’m Lauren Anastasi-Peter and my husband approves this message.
for any of you hoping to find a man to have children with, let me give you the most important advice you will ever get. stop wasting time with the bullshit questions i asked when auditioning potential mates: “what do you do for a living” “are you a batterer” “do you have any STDs” “do you have a criminal record” “what is your parenting philosophy” “how many kids do you want” “your place or mine”?
none of that matters. there is only one question that you need to bother asking when seeking the father of your children, it’s the ONLY one that matters: “How old were you when you started sleeping through the night?”
my husband hid this critical information from me date after date, year after year. it wasn’t until the twins had three full months of terrorizing me from 9pm till 6a under their belt that i called my mother in law near tears from the exhaustion. it was then that she revealed the source of all that was evil.
“Oh yeah, don’t I know it. Gil was four years old before he slept through the night.”
FOUR YEARS old!!!! i bred with a man who didn’t fall asleep and stay asleep for more than two or three consecutive hours until he was FOUR YEARS OLD! i honestly would rather her have told me his real name isn’t even gil and he has another family living in argentina no one knows about. if i had learned this information when i delivered the twins i would have left them at the hospital.
now let me say that looking back there were signs. red flags, if you will. since i started having slumber parties with him i quickly learned he only required three hours of sleep a night to be an energized, fully functional human being. i must have been blinded by love to not think this was anything to be concerned about. to miss all the signs. i figured as long as he wasn’t waking me up what did i care?
since this betrayal my eyes have been much more open. i would have thought since he was always up all night anyway, that when the twins arrived he would welcome having nighttime companions and readily take over the night shifts. however, i’m finding it suspicious that since the twins were born he suddenly requires a full 8 hour stay in dreamland in order to carry out his work day. how did he manipulate me, someone who should be tested for chronic fatigue syndrome, into doing the night shift every freaking night (minus a few that he took over when i’d gotten to the raging-bitch-making-everyone-miserable point) while he snores away in the guest room? i’ll tell you how. because i’m the mom and apparently that means a night-shift time card came with my c-section scar.
it’s just as well because when gil has one bad night with the twins he becomes the walking dead for a week. he then starts to spew venom at me for not doing “my job” so that now he’s too tired to do his. when he refers to raising our children as MY job i know it’s only a matter of time before i’m starring in my very own episode of “snapped”.
and this brings me to now. nine months of nightly torture. one baby wakes and decides he wants to tell me all about his short dream in gibberish for 30 minutes before he falls back asleep. 45 minutes later another baby wakes screaming, about what i don’t know. gas drops, tylenol, and a pacifier later and he’s back down. 45 minutes after that baby 1 wakes again crying for food, when i refuse to feed him in the middle of the night he continues to cry waking baby 2 up and they have a beautiful duet for the next several hours that would make your skin crawl. finally i feed the little
bastards babies around 4 while giving them the same bleary eyed lecture about how they are 9 months old, in the 92nd percentile, and eat more during the day than a football team so they don’t need food at night! they laugh at me. finish their bottles and fall asleep. until 5:30. then they are up jumping in their cribs, giggling, ready to start our day. “and so it goes and so it goes and i’m the only one who knows”.
i’ve listened to mothers, i’ve read the books, i’ve tried EV UH RE THING. this is who they are. they are freakishly happy, healthy, and energetic on 5 minutes of sleep so i’ve accepted this is what our life will be like. it is in their dna so i don’t fault them. i fault their father. they can blame him when they are never invited to sleepovers because no one’s mother is going to want a creepy little boy up all night cooking in her kitchen.
during the 30 seconds of sleep i get each night i have a reoccurring dream. i dream of a better day when i have a narcoleptic little girl just like mommy…..
so to wrap up, when you’re in a beautiful restaurant looking across the table into the eyes of a man you are falling in love with and ask him The Question, unless he says anything under 6 weeks (in which case verify with his mother) RUN. and stick him with the check for wasting your time.
for those of you future mothers who, like me, failed to see this bigger picture and already married a freak of the night, there is only one way to save yourself. adopt.
god be with you.