It’s a relief to be able to write it down – to tell you. Keeping niggling worries to yourself makes them worse. But I can’t tell Ethan. He’ll hit the roof. And we’ve only just recovered from horrible rows and resentment last week over an £18,000 BMW Ethan wanted to buy (yes – really, never mind that we’re overdrawn and getting more so each month, in debt on our credit card and have all our kids birthdays and my 40th in the next few months...oh, and that we can’t afford to go on holiday this year. Ethan couldn’t seem to link any of this to the fact that he wanted a BMW. He seemed reluctant, or unable, to let his desire for a BMW be influenced by the money we have (or don’t have) as a family). Anyway, we’ve just about managed to find a compromise and the tension and hopelessness that has hung over us for the last week has gone. I really don’t want to start a whole new thing with the loss of my car keys (my house keys are on the same key ring).
It’s at times like these that I mourn the fact I don’t have a husband that I can share the whole of life with. I’d love to be married to someone who I could feel confident telling I’ve lost my car/house keys, knowing that he would rib me a bit but that, overall, he’d roll with it as one of the little yet constant annoyances in life, we’d take appropriate action and get over it. But with Ethan, I know it will lead to him being totally stressed, aggressive and frustrated with me for not putting the key in the ‘key place’ that he’s created and that the frustration and irritation will linger for days, possibly weeks.
Keeping things from him (we’ve got one of Sam’s seven-year-old friends coming for a sleepover on Friday and I’ve not plucked up the courage to tell him that yet) is one of the ways that I feel I’ve been aspergerised through living with Ethan for so long. My habits, tendencies, outlook even have been tempered by how he reacts to things. Take a couple of weeks ago when we had friends over. They’d arrived at 2pm to go for a walk and then we’d invited them back for drinks and nibbles. Both of us expected that our guests would leave by about tea-time. When at 10pm that evening they still hadn’t left, I could sense Ethan getting stressed, drying up, extracting himself from conversation (fair enough – he’d been making the effort for the last 8 hours. He had pretty much run a social marathon and needed to rest). He started conspicuously looking at the clock, he’d already put our youngest child to bed as a kind of almighty hint (unfortunately our guests had drank too much and failed to pick up on it!), he’d tidied up around us all and sighed a few times. I felt myself getting more and more stressed too – because I was worried about what he might do/say next, because I knew how desperately he needed them to leave now and partly, although it’s hard to admit it, because although I used to love drinking and chatting into the wee hours, a combination of young kids and being married to Ethan has changed me. I find that, almost by proxy, I too want my social exchanges these days to fit into a specific time-scale with a start and end point and to not go on too long. I like impulsive meet-ups or long conversations or parties that run on less and less. And then I feel frustrated with myself for feeling this way instead of just relaxing and enjoying myself. Perhaps this would have happened to me anyway as I got older and had more responsibilities and life got busier – but I think being married to Ethan and always conscious of how long he can keep going until he hits burn-out or says something rude and we need to get him out of there, has made me far less relaxed and more intolerant too.
Well, no-one’s broken into our house or stolen our car yet – perhaps I should just keep quiet about the keys and hope Ethan never notices...