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Ooooo.... kay.

So... something just happened that was not good. I'd like to talk about it.

About a month or so ago, a friend of mine started a writer's club, with me, him, and another friend of his acquaintance. We meet weekly at a Panera restaurant, have a little food, read each other's stuff and critique it. We give each other prompts and write them and critique them. All of us are interested in being published some day, and we find this interesting and instructive.

Then Mr. Chat and I went on vacation for 10 days to England (more on that in another post) and got back just last weekend. This week will be the first time we've held writer's club in two weeks. This morning I was furiously writing the second of two prompts before I go to bed (I'm noctural because I work the night shift). Mr. Chat thought I was going on Thursday, I regretfully informed him (as we had literally just settled this about two hours prior via e-mail) that the group needed to meet on Wednesday due to scheduling conflicts.

Now, my schedule has me working two nights on, two nights off, with alternating three day working weekends or three day weekends off, in a regular pattern. I always sleep during the day, but sometimes my best writing inspiration comes in the morning before I sleep or just after I wake - basically the times a normal human would be awake. I may have been nocturnal for several years, but it doesn't stop the fact that a human is normally awake during the day. My creativity takes an upswing sometime between 6-10am. It's a quirk. I'll short myself on sleep if I get bitten by a creataive bug.

Since Mr. Chat works during the day like a normal person, we usually only get to see each other for a few hours after I get up. We get a little more time on my days off, obviously, but even then Mr. Chat usually retires to sleep between 7:30 and 9pm, due to rising early for his work. It's strange, but we've been doing this for three years (the three I've been on night shift while I've been married, out of five years of marriage).

When I told Mr. Chat I had writer's club tonight, he said, "This writer's club is a pain in the ass." I asked why. "Because it's one less day I get to spend time with you!" This was said while stalking out the door to go to work, and puntuated by slamming the door behind him.

My first flood of emotion was sadness, a little panic, and that terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach I get when I've disappointed someone and I'm not feel like an adequate human being. Was I being too selfish with my time to deprive my husband of some of the time we spend together with friends instead, particularly when our time is so limited?

My second round of emotions was anger. In the five years of marriage, aside from gaming groups with mutual friends, together (in all but a couple of instances when I was on day shift), we spent virtually all of my off time together when we're both awake. I don't think I've gone out without Mr. Chat on a social engagement (baring, again, one Saturday gaming group for about a year, every other weekend, that Mr. Chat was invited to and declined to come) more than a shallow handful of times.

Why the hell should I feel resentful for trying to do something I find enjoyable with friends, just because it's not something Mr. Chat wants to do? I would love to publish something someday, and it pisses me off that my brief attempt at trying to improve my game in original fiction is apparently an unreasonable use of my personal time.

Mitigating factors in Mr. Chat's tantrum outburst could include the fact that:
1. He's been fighting a cold for two weeks
2. We're about to drop over $3000 on a new air conditioner tomorow and have to get the house ready for the workmen in my now-limited timeframe today
3. We just came back from vacation and he's homesick
4. Mr. Chat did not sleep well the night before because it's very hot and obviously we have no AC right now
5. Mr. Chat doesn't really have any hobbies that would take him out of the house, and so he couldn't do a similar activity on nights I'm at writer's club
6. Mr. Chat doesn't like to see me staying up as late as I was (I make up for it. I take naps on my nights off. 'Cause I can.)

It could be any of those, something else entirely, or maybe I just need to sit him down on the couch and slap him with a dead fish.

Anyways, this is my rant. And now we have to have a Conversation when I get up today. I really fucking hate Conversations.


ETA - Talked to Mr. Chat about that abreviated conversation. He pulled out the following arguments:
1. I didn't bother to talk to him before joining the writer's club.
2. It wouldn't bother him if it happened after he went to bed (which would be after 8pm... which is too late for everyone else in the writer's club because one guy has to be at work and the other gets up in the morning like a normal person, so... that's really impossible).
3. And then he pulled out his high card and brought up the fact that he had moved thousands of miles to come over here and live with me. That pissed me off quite a bit, though I didn't say anything at the time because I knew I'd only get pretty unreasonable myself.

I compromised by talking to the writer's club and we agreed to do more virtual meetings, meeting face-to-face perhaps only every two weeks. Or maybe once a month. We'll try every two weeks and see if Mr. Chat's panties stay in a bunch.

I will also have to have an additional conversation with Mr. Chat that storming out and slamming the door after delivering emotional blackmailing ultimatums do not help, makes him look immature, and only make me feel bad, and bringing out his ace of "I moved thousands of miles to be with you" is equally damaging.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
*huggles huggles huggles* Gahhhhhhhhh sorry hon. That is never a happy Conversation to have. I hope it ends up going better.
May. 17th, 2013 01:47 am (UTC)
*sighs* I just ETA a section on how that conversation went. Not as well as I'd hoped. Not at all. But thanks so much for the huggles!
May. 18th, 2013 02:00 am (UTC)
Oh yick. Yeah that wasn't a great way for that to go. Gah I'm sorry hon.
May. 17th, 2013 12:36 pm (UTC)
Unless they've reinstituted slavery while I wasn't looking, he's not entitled to your time, your attention, or your love, no matter how far he moved. That you have enjoyed sharing those with him in the past does not allow him to appropriate them in future. It's not a thing he owns; it's a thing you happen to share with him when you are moved to do so. Even if he gives you a kidney and saves your life, he can hope for gratitude, not the right to run your life.

He needs to do some growing up.

I'd suggest you establish some boundaries by continuing with the writing club exactly as before and let him learn to wear big boy pants. Tell him, 'I value the opportunity to get better as a writer. I enjoy the meetings and will be attending them every XXX date. If you continue to be angry about me attending the writer's club, then I will feel resentful and what time we have together will be more strained.' Make your attendance non-negotiable. What's up to him to decide is how much he sabotages his relationship with you over it. That's all his decision - entirely his.

(Of course, this being said by someone who divorced an abusive prick and sees no reason why people should stay in relationships that aren't working for them. Don't let him use your love for him as leverage against you.)

Edited at 2013-05-17 12:38 pm (UTC)
May. 19th, 2013 06:11 am (UTC)
You seem to have a pretty clear-headed view of the incident, including your feelings about it and your understanding of the Mr. Chat's mitigating factors, both of which I can really sympathize with since I've been married awhile myself. It can be really tough to sort out the heart of different arguments, particularly about how each person spends their time, because there really are just so many factors beyond what's immediately apparent.

Because you can see how you feel about it so clearly, and can also recognize reasons Mr. Chat might have blown things out of proportion, it's clear to me, anyway, that you respect him and his feelings as well as your own--you took the time to think about how you felt about it and to talk to him sensibly instead of just blowing up.

I guess the thing that bothers me is the same thing that bothered you, in the end--that he threw out the old "I did this for you, SO," card that really doesn't have a place in the particular argument. It's the kind of thing that indicates it's still a sore point, and it's unfair to you if he's always going to have that in his back pocket.

Seems to me you're doing all the right things, though. Not taking the bait on side fights is awesome when you can manage it (god knows I don't always XD). Coming back to a side issue in calmer moments--hell, coming back to the main issue in a calmer moment--is mature and how people keep relationships healthy and happy. I don't have a lot to offer in terms of advice because you're already doing the right things (and probably you don't want advice, it's just nice to post about things that are getting your goat sometimes). You know that you want to consider his feelings about spending time with you, and you also know that you can't just entirely give up on things that will benefit you.

He wants to spend time with you, which is a great thing! As long as you can both agree that you want to solve the argument and try to do it as respectfully as it seems to me you have, you're going to work it out. *hugs*
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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