Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dreading a conversation

Scott's parents have kind of followed what is happening with us over the past few months because they read our blogs once in a while.

I would get a text from my mother-in-law saying something like, "just read your blog. My heart is heavy. You will always be our family no matter what. We love you and you are in our prayers."

But my parents don't even know what blogs are, let alone how to read them.

And they worry and fret and lose sleep over every little thing...

So, considering some health problems my dad was having a few months ago and the resulting fear and stress, I chose not to tell my parents what was going on in my life, other than the pregnancy and work.

And I chose also not to tell my siblings. I had been telling my sister everything, so I'm not sure why I didn't tell her. I guess I figured she didn't need the stress, either. And I guess I was hoping that Scott would change his mind, and so I didn't want to give her any reason to worry if it ended up that nothing was changing in our marriage.

And then there is my brother and his wife. I used to be incredibly close to them, and we told each other everything. We have had a couple of rough spots over the years, but before I told them about Scott on labor day 2 years ago, we were getting along as well as ever. In the past two years, however, they have been quite withdrawn from us, and the weird vibes I get from them seem to be getting worse. I wondered a few months ago if they also read our blogs but have not told us.

Well, during the first week of school (about August 25th), I finally told my mom that Scott is now sleeping downstairs, and that he thought it best if we eventually divorce. My decision to tell her came from her recent curiosity. "Scott's not home? Is he working late? Oh, he's out with friends? Why aren't you with him?"

After I told her everything, she said that she was not surprised, that she had sensed that something was going on. She also asked me not to keep things from her, that she would rather know what was going on than to wonder and worry about what might be happening.

Oh well. I still think waiting this long was the right thing to do.

But now it takes on a life of its own. My mom tells my dad (of course I expected her to), and my dad tells my brother who tells his wife. She calls me, her voice sounding frantic--"Are you okay?"--like as if she expected to find me crying that very moment. I didn't really have time to talk, but I assured her that I was fine. That I was a wreck a month ago, but that life was good overall.

Next day my brother unfriends Scott on facebook. His wife reminds me that he is very protective of me and is therefore having a really hard time with the news.

I have had many people to talk to over the past month and prior that have allowed me to vent and work through my feelings. But I have primarily chosen people who understand the complexity of the situation, people who will continue to love and support both Scott and I through this change in our lives: blog readers of course, Moho friends, my therapist, and recently my best friend at school.

I knew that my family would not understand. I knew that they would be angry and judgmental of Scott, and I wanted to work through my own anger for Scott first, so that their anger would not influence me and make it harder for me to deal with. Now, their negative emotions and reaction actually make me less angry with Scott and more protective and defensive of him.

I did tell my sister a month ago, when Scott's post and decision to move downstairs made me wake up to what is happening. She just listens, and although I know she loves me and is concerned for me, she doesn't appear to be overly stressed or angry with the situation at all.

After Scott's text to let me know of my brother's un-friending, I sent my brother a message, telling him that the best support he can give me is not being angry with Scott, and trying to realize that this is difficult for him as well. A short facebook conversation ensued, where I learned what information my dad passed along, and just how disgusted my brother is at the thought of Scott ever having a boyfriend. He admitted that he would probably never completely understand, but I feel the same way. I can try, but I will never be gay and will never really understand what it feels like and what Scott is going through.

Anyway, I really need to face the inevitable but uncomfortable issue of talking with my brother and his wife in person so that they will know better what is going on. Probably sooner than later would be best. ugh. How do I schedule such a thing and then guarantee that I am not going to be having a bad day? I want to be strong and supportive of Scott when I talk with them, not angry and likely to talk badly of him. So I just keep putting it off. 

5 comments:

tksinclair said...

Is it possible to not schedule it too far in advance. On a day you're feeling "good" and balanced maybe you could call and say "hey what are you doing later, or tomorrow?" I know there were days when someone would sympathetically say "how are you?" and oh my gosh the dam would open!! I would just start sobbing uncontrollably. And, this could be a simple "how are you" in the grocery line. How embarrassing. And now that things are pretty stable at home I still have "weepy" days that fortunately my husband feels I've "earned" and is supportive of. Sort of my own personal PTSD I guess.

Maybe you could write them personally at first. You do write out your feelings very well. It's a good form of expression for you.

There are just no easy ways.
Really it sounds like all you want is for them to be supportive of both of you but I know it's hard when you feel protective of someone. When you love someone and you know they are hurt it's hard not to want to "fix" it or "right the wrong".

I think their anger in part is seeing you hurt and in large part dealing with their own hurt and loss. The family dynamic is changing.

You know about six months ago my brother called and announced, unexpectedly, that they were getting divorced after 16 years of marriage. They did it quickly, in fact it was the strangest thing but they had one child and I think they just wanted the divorce "band aid" style. You know, tear it up in one big RIP. Unfortunately for me it wasn't so easy. This is MY sister in law. I took 10 years getting to know her and put off with her "stuff" assuming she would be "family" forever. At least after 10-15 years. And my brother and I are very close - he didn't know it was coming so neither did I. He was okay with it but you know what? I cried everyday for weeks. We'd done vacations together and I was one of the few people my sister in law liked or considered a friend. It still makes me sad. SO, I got angry. It was much easier than being hurt. I just got mad at her selfishness.


She still calls and says "let's do blahblahblah" but you know it will never be the same. My brother says, "sure, go with her" but you know what...it's not the same. It will be something but it will never be "THAT" and I want "THAT".

It's a loss for everyone and people deal in their own ways. You've had a couple of years...they haven't. It's new. There might still be hope from their perspective. It takes time and understanding from everyone. This is why divorce is so painful. It's really not just about two people. It's like a ripple effect. Maybe even your Dr. was giving it "the ole college try" to attempt to "fix" it. It's what we try to do for people we love and care about. Even when it's the wrong thing to do.

I know you'll do the right thing in the right way when the time comes. YOu have a knack for that.

Sarah said...

Terri,

Your comment is amazing. Thank you so much for your insight. Exactly what I needed to hear. I wondered if I should post this at all, but now I'm so glad I did.

recover and thrive said...

not that this is feasible, but I feel like when something like this occurs, where you have to explain uncomfortable situations or actions, its always best to go to the temple first - that always gives me confidence and peace, which then translates to whatever confrontational conversation I migth be faced wit that day. But I know having kids does not make going to the temple easy, but prayer works just as well!

tksinclair said...

Thanks Sarah, I'm sorry SO LONG. You know how I "drone" on, writing as I think without much editing. Funny, after I posted I almost deleted thinking, Holy COW! How did that get so long! I will be more careful in the future but thanks for including it. You know you are in my heart!

drakames said...

Hi Sarah,

I've been thinking about you a lot lately. Having read your blog and also Scott's blog, I have some idea of what has been going on, but I also know that it is only a small window.

I know that we don't know each other extremely well, but I wanted you to know that if there is ever anything you think I can do for you, I would be happy to help.

I've been through a divorce too. My former husband thought that would be the better option. Eventually, it was. But it took time.

From what I do know of you and Scott, I admire you both very much. I think you two have done so much good for so many people. You are a MoHo hub in a way. I hope that you both will continue to be such a positive influence for those of us who struggle, especially when it comes to the "fight" we have with our families about being who we are.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Please let me know if there is ever anything you need.

Amy