In All-Anon it is said that expectations are premeditated resentments. I am learning this over and over again, and it is a bitter lesson.
Yesterday was my 7th wedding anniversary. I had kept my expectations low. All I really planned was us going to lunch together about a block away from the house. I left open the possibility of going to an early (matinee) movie, because I am low on money. I know that if we were to actually do anything for our anniversary, I would have to be the one to pay for it, because July 3 marks an entire year since he has had any kind of job.
So I moved heaven and earth and had to come up with plans and contingency plans and arrangements out the whazoo to be able to take the afternoon off of work.
I came home to pick him up to go to lunch, and he says he is not hungry, not interested in going to lunch, and not going anywhere. Of course, the 6 year old hears me mention lunch and so she wakes up - yes, he had her sleeping until noon - and I end up taking my 6 year old to our anniversary plans instead of my husband. At lunch I am so resentful and angry, because in my mind he is getting another day of puttering around the house, and now he doesn't even have to be bothered with his own kid.
Then I realize, that was my expectation. And my marriage does not work for me because of my expectations.
I expect my husband to honor basic plans with me like I see other couples do.
I expect my husband to work a job, like I see other husbands do.
I expect to see him apply for a job or look for work in some tangible way. I do not accept that he is "looking for work online," when he won't answer any calls on his phone. I expect someone who is looking for work would use their phone number and accept calls as a call might be a potential employer or job interview.
I expect my husband to fulfill some sort of fatherly role in supporting his child.
I expect him to try to financially support himself in some way.
I expect to have some sort of relationship.
So after lunch, instead of going home and sitting in my room, I got in my car and drove. I took Tara, the 6 year old, with me, as I didn't want to be alone and she is really the only one in the household who wants to be with me even when I don't have much money. We drove and checked out a bookstore cafe about 40 miles from my house a couple of counties away. We walked through the historic downtown there and I watched her enjoy herself. About halfway through the day the husband sends me a text message that says "Don't go back to work." I stayed out with my daughter and had a decent time. I talked to complete strangers at the cafe, and everyone was very nice.
When I got home I went to bed. About 3 hours later the husband stated he would go to supper with me. At this point I was thinking that I could afford lunch, not supper, and that is why I suggested it instead. But we went to a Mexican meal. At the meal he told me he did not know why I was so stressed out about work. I stated that I take my job seriously. He stated he did not know, if I am working a program, "why [I] let people live rent free in [my] head."
I wanted to say :"The same reason why I have let you live rent free in my home for the last year, and for most of the last 7 years, even when you had a job and should have paid some rent."
I said instead - and he interrupted me before I could get it out the first time, but I interrupted him and firmly made my point: "I am not going to listen to any criticism of what I am doing or what program I am working, because I am at least making an effort and doing something, from someone who is not."
We had planned on going to a movie as well. It stared raining pretty heavily during supper and I realized I had no desire to force any more type of facade from this day. I had been disappointed by this situation for far too long already. The day was a wash. And I could not afford, after paying for a lunch that he would not attend, and then supper, to pay for a movie with all the drinks and popcorn then. So we went back home, and I went back to bed.
So I have realized two things from this day:
1. Anything I expect from another human being on this planet most likely will not happen. I cannot ask or trust anyone to do anything I want or need them to do.
2. Others expect far too much of me. If I were to not fulfill their expectations even a small percentage of the time - much as they continue to not fulfill mine - they could probably learn to do for themselves, just as I have. The people at work could probably do their jobs or get fired. The adults in my household would have to work and support themselves or they would be homeless. The children would be less spoiled.
As far as the future? I expect God is working it out, loud and clear.