Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Something to Think About

I’ve been quiet since February for the same reasons most of us stop blogging -- life got busy. My husband changed jobs; he moved from night shift to day shift and from tech support back to programming where he belongs. A pipe under the house clogged requiring super-human efforts to unclog it, another pipe broke, flooding our basement, and because of all the plumbing problems my washer spewed its watery waste all over my kitchen floor. TWICE. The van started acting up and threw the serpentine belt. And during all this my Knight started acting like a rebellious teenager.

The  job change is a good move. My Knight likes the work environment and he’s happy to be back doing what he loves and making the amount of money he’s used to making. But he seemed to have a slight attitude shift with the job change. All of a sudden he started ignoring requests, “forgetting” things again, spending money without getting my approval first, not making my coffee in the morning ( my only morning requirement of him), he even started to forget to kiss me when he came in. The changes lined up perfectly with his job change. I talked to him and he denied that anything had changed. I am a mental list taker and I was able to to rattle off *every sinngle* rule he had violated over the previous 2 weeks. He made a bunch of excuses like not having time to do things and saying the he wasn’t clear on what I wanted from him. I called bullshit and told him I was not willing to go back to the way things were before. I stopped our bedroom games completely. Told him I wouldn’t even touch him until he stopped his bs and started doing what was expected. I informed him that just because he’s making a decent paycheck again our rules have not changed. He is subject to our FLR agreement regardless of how much money he’s making. He swore that was not what was going on.. that he likes the FLR arrangement and doesn’t want to go back to the way things were.

“Then why are you acting like a rebellious teenager?!” I asked him.  My Knight continued to insist that he was not.  I was beyond frustrated with him and started to really consider making him sleep on the couch until his attitude changed. But.. the kids would notice and it would spark questions and worried kids, so I didn’t.  I started searching for answers.

Because the problems started the day the washer blew up on his first week on the new job, my theory was that now that he’s no longer bringing in half the money he’s used to making that he no longer felt like he was letting the kids and me down. My Knight believes in his heart that if I am in the position where I have to bring in money in order to help pay bills, then he isn’t doing his job as husband and father. I don’t hold that belief and I certainly don’t mind working to help support my family. But for my Knight not bringing in enough money is almost an unforgivable transgression.  Because of that single issue, the past 2 years have been hard on him emotionally. I assumed his change of attitude was because he was making more money. I let him know in no uncertain terms that I like the FLR “thing” and I had no desire or intention to change our arrangement. Once again my Knight assured me that he didn’t want to change things either. So then.. what was causing the change in behavior?

*Finally* he told me. “You’ve been mad at me since before the washer leak,” he said.

Huh? No.. I didn’t start getting angry with him until a week later when I had to move the washer and deal with the towels and shop rags he used to sop up the mess. These towels and rags were soaked with drain cleaner so strong some local farmer had used it to clear a pipe of an dead animal. I did NOT want to mess with that stuff and he knew it. But... he didn’t do it after several requests and reminders, and it needed done, so I got stuck with it. That’s what pissed me off....well that and him leaving the dryer in the middle of my kitchen for a week. I finally had to move THAT myself too. Sure I *can* do it, but like car repairs I prefer not to. And I expect him to handle those things without being asked.

After a long discussion about why he thought I was mad at him I realized I was partially to blame.

A few days before the washer spewed my Knight screwed up. He abused his computer download privileges and took advantage of my lenient opinions regarding porn and nudity. He was allowed to download whatever he wanted as long as he tells me about it and watches it in my presence. But, he downloaded something and didn’t tell me, and what’s worse was that he was careless and left the file in the trash folder and the trash folder open..... on the only desktop computer in the house. I was LIVID. This is the computer our kids use on a regular basis. There should NEVER be any nude pics, erotic stories or porn on that computer. If he’s going to write erotica, edit nude pics or download porn he’s supposed to use my computer because we can lock that stuff away from the kids on my system. I stumbled across the file and deleted it before the kids got to the computer but that really is not the point.

In the next few days afterward I laid down some new rules.  No erotica, porn, or nude pic editing at all if I am not around and aware of what he is doing. He downloads nothing *at all*, not even movies for the kids or ebooks for me, without my permission ever again.

I laid down the new rules, yanked his computer time for a few days, and gave him some extra chores around the house. I considered the matter closed.

My Knight, however, did not. He apparently didn’t see that as consequences and thought I was still mad at him. When he thinks I’m unhappy with him he retreats into his own little world and tries to avoid me as much as possible. And I think on some level he tries to irritate me to the point of yelling at him to punish himself for upsetting me in the first place. It’s a rotten spiral and one of the reasons we started FLR to begin with.

So.. he’s been in “she’s mad at me, I upset her, she doesn’t want me near her” mode all this time and I did not realize it.

I’m trying to figure out how to keep that from happening again.

When I gave him the new rules and the consequences for his mistake I told him the matter was closed. I said that I think that will be enough to keep him from doing it again and that when the last chore was completed the issue was forgiven. It seems to me that maybe it wasn’t strict enough to clear his conscience or resolve the matter in his own mind and so he figured that since he had not forgiven himself for upsetting me that I really had not forgiven him, either.

I may need to reevaluate my punishment system.