Dear Mix Tapers: After you read the next post, you’re gonna think it’s ‘Spouses Suck’ week. An unfortunate coincidence, I assure you. Read on…
Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,
I am writing this to you in the middle of the night, and I’m desperately trying to keep my crying as quiet as possible. I think I know what the right thing to do is, but I guess I need to write it out and also get your take on it.
I’ve been married for two years now. In the beginning, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Meeting “Nate” was like a dream. He’s a successful lawyer who comes from a good family, who seemed to not be threatened by me being a doctor. In fact, he encouraged me to expand my practice, and open up a couple of offices. The only problem we had to deal with is his lifetime affliction of Crohn’s Disease, which certainly took a toll on Nate’s health every so often. However, he took it in stride, and me being a doctor, I was more than happy to help shoulder any extra issues his condition brought up for us (i.e. walking our dog, monitoring his health, doing extra housework, etc). No big deal. We’re in this together, right?
Well, about seven months ago, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer – with a particularly aggressive strain (I’m not going to get into all the medical jargon). There was no time to harvest my eggs because I needed to start chemo immediately (I’ve actually had two courses of chemo already). Throughout this time, I’ve lost 35 pounds, all my hair, yet have still maintained both practices (with some help from colleagues). My family has been terrific, and I thank God for them everyday. The problem is Nate. He still insists that I walk the dog everyday, even when I can barely stand from the treatments (my dad now comes by and walks them). He complains that the house smells from my sweating and vomiting and moved my stuff into the guest room to sleep. While I’m really not up for having sex these days, it would be nice if my husband actually touched me once in a while. When I have asked him to talk about what’s going on with him, on why he’s being such a complete prick, he says he doesn’t mean to be distant, but he has to focus on his own health issues and doesn’t have enough energy for mine.
Another problem: my husband and I both own my medical practices, with the promise that he would put my name on the house deed (he bought it when he was single) once we were married. Frankly, I forgot about it at first, because I was so busy building my practice, but once I was diagnosed, I asked him when he was going to put my name on the deed. He evaded the issue for a while, but finally yelled back at me the other day, “the house is a pre-marital asset” and walked out of the room. Who answers like that unless he’s already thinking of leaving me?
The final straw came when I scheduled my surgery (double mastectomy) and when I announced the date to him, he said, “Well, my friend Ari from college is getting married that weekend and I can’t miss it.” And guess what? He didn’t. I had the surgery, with my parents and sister by my side. I’m staying at my folks’ place, and Nate came back a day ago. He’s supposed to be coming over tomorrow to get me. I’m seriously considering telling him not to come and to file for divorce. My only hesitation is that I don’t have the emotional energy for a legal battle right now, and as stupid as this sounds, I’m still hoping he’ll have this ‘light bulb moment’ and be the guy I fell in love with. I know there’s no debating that Nate’s been horrible, but is divorce the answer?
Dr. Worn Out
That just about sums it up, don’t it?
Dear Dr. Worn-Out,
Listen to me, and listen to me good. If it takes every ounce of your energy…every fiber of your being…every last breath in your body…you tell that “husband” of yours to never sully your life with his presence again. He is the only remaining cancer in your life now.
Too strong? I don’t think so…the vows says “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health” and I believe you BOTH had to recite those, correct? It seems to me you’ve more than held up your end of the bargain. He cannot say the same, which means that you married a very selfish, immature, self-entitled character who has been too used to everyone catering to his needs. You would think it would be the opposite…that after dealing with a chronic illness throughout his life that he would be the perfect partner to help your shoulder the burdens of cancer treatment. Bizarrely, the opposite was true. Which means you got sold a bag of gold and wound up with a pile of shit.
I’ve got to tell ya something, Doc. In the years since I’ve been running this blog, I have NEVER had a letter which has made me so sick to my stomach. That’s how disgusted I am by your husband and how heart broken I am that you’ve had to go through this. I am so so sorry. Thank goodness your family is amazing, you have friends and colleagues you can count on. So, you’re not going to go through this alone.
You question whether or not to file for divorce, but that’s a mute point because you have already got a spouse refusing to merge his life with yours, calling his house a ‘premarital asset’. The writing is on the wall, sweetie, and he’s just waiting for the ‘right’ time to serve you with divorce papers. The sad truth is, if you file first, he’ll probably be relieved.
With most situations, I usually recommend counseling, but the trust that has been broken here is so beyond irrevocable. Personally, I could forgive my husband fucking another woman faster than I could forgive a man who emotionally abandoned me during cancer treatment. The choice is up to you, but regardless, this marriage is over…your life is not.
You are a smart, accomplished, generous-hearted woman who deserves a man who honors you and your marriage. These are the dark times, my dear, but karma is a relentless stalker, and I promise you that he’ll get his…and you’ll get yours…which should be everything. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing, ok?
Dr. W’s Mix of Healing and Redemption
10/09. “This Woman’s Work,” (Kate Bush) The Sensual World, with “Waking the Witch,” (Kate Bush) Hounds of Love.
I never do this, but in this case, I’d do a DJ compilation of these two songs. Listen to them both – then just imagine when ‘This Woman’s Work’ gets quiet, the second track harps in with ‘Kate, you must wake up.” Oh well, it’s perfect in my head…
08. “This Place is a Prison,” (The Postal Service) Give Up.
07. “Couldn’t Cause Me Harm,” (Beth Orton) Central Reservations.
06. “Every Hour Here,” (The Innocence Mission) Umbrella.
05. “I am Part of a Large Family (Live),” (Great Lake Swimmers) The Live Sessions.
04. “Karma Police,” (Radiohead) OK Computer.
03. “Laughter with a Mouth of Blood,” (St. Vincent) Actor.
02. “Red Letter Year,” (Ani Difranco) Reprieve.
01. “Refugee,” (Melissa Etheridge) Melissa Etheridge Greatest Hits.
Melissa Etheridge? Melissa Etheridge? Did Ms. Mix just put Melissa Etheridge into one of her mixes. Damn straight fools. First of all, her version of this Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song ROCKS…and just be grateful I didn’t put in that lame dick ‘I Walk’ song that gets played at every Cancer Society special event. It’s one of the few songs I can always count on to rev my engines when I’m down and out.