Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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My Wife and I are Frenemies Part II

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Laundry isn’t the only thing we passively fight about. Mel gives me the angry eyes whenever I put the toilet paper on underhand rather than overhand, or put the pots in with the cookie trays, or when I load the dishwasher like a monkey, or when I leave facial hair all over the bathroom sink. And on the flip side, I give her the angry eyes every time she runs my laptop until it’s dead, tells me how to drive, and makes snarky comments about how much soda I drink.
The thing is, we’ve been together for a long time, almost 10 years.  We love each other. But at the same time, we know each other well enough to have gotten under each other’s skin a little. It seems like our marriage has been successful through fine-tuning. We had to have some drop out, ridiculous, scream at the top of our lungs, lock yourself in the bathroom, fights to learn how to live with each other. Many of these fights were over really relevant things: money, regularity of sex, friendships with ex lovers, and so on. But thinking back, most were over petty irritations like who’s going to drive the car, and what to say when someone asks, “do I look fat in this.” (I’d like to note that Mel has never asked me that question. It is me who asks that question. Think of me what you will.) 

But now, after being together for nearly a decade, we’ve worked most of that out. We’ve learned what really causes problems and what really doesn’t. So we are down to the little things. The things that don’t really matter in the grand equation, but seem like a big deal in the moment. These are the things that neither of us are willing to have a drag out fight over (we learned to pick our battles awhile ago) but are still irritated just enough to give each other snarky looks.
All of it, the glares, the soft-spoken comments, the petty actions, reminds me of high school. It reminds me of the way I interacted with those friends of friends, the ones that hung out in my social circles. The ones that I didn’t really like, but knew they were going to be there because they were part of the group. They were someone’s best friend or sibling. They were the frenemies.
And when I think about that word, frenemy, I wonder if it applies to Mel and myself. It is the combination of two opposing words (friend and enemy). Friends that secretly hate each other. And I will be honest here, sometimes, I wonder if Mel does secretly hate me. I don’t think this is a long-term hate. Or a, “I want a divorce" hate. It is more of a, “right now I hate you” kind of hate. It is a temporary hate.
For example: Just a few nights ago Mel shoved me in the night. It was late, two or three in the morning. I rolled over to find her sitting up in bed, arms folded. I couldn’t really make out her face because it was dark, but I could hear tense breathing and I could feel her eyes. They were angry, sinister eyes. I got a little scared.
“What?” I said.
“You’re snoring again. I can’t sleep because of your stupid snoring. I’ve pushed you a few times, but you wouldn’t wake up, so I’ve just been sitting hear listing to it. You sound like you’re about to die. I can’t sleep. Why haven’t you gone to the doctor like I asked?” 

I started snoring regularly about a year ago. I haven’t heard myself, naturally. And for a long time I denied it to Mel. “There’s no way I snore,” I said. “I want evidence.” I made this comment because I was self-conscious. I didn’t like knowing that I’d grown up to be a Snoring Old Man. Mel claims to have tried to record my snoring several times, but something always goes wrong with the recording. “You couldn’t hear it very well,” or “Naturally you stopped right after I got the video camera.”  These failed attempts to capture my snoring have only fed my accusations that I don’t snore.
Anyway, like the laundry, my snoring has become another source of tension in our marriage. Mel wants me to see a doctor, but I don’t want to for several reasons. The thought of going to a doctor about my snoring make me feel old, I don’t want them to tell me the reason I snore is because I need to lose weight (I put on some weight in graduate school that I can’t seem to lose), and I don’t want them to give me a c-pap or some other Darth Vader looking sleep device.
All the tension over me not going to the doctor culminated in that moment, as Mel gazed down at me in the night, weary and angry, eyes out for blood. And I felt confident that she hated me. That I had truly gotten under her skin. If there was a breaking point, we had reached it. My charm, my love for her, and all the times I’ve proven to be a good husband and father, meant nothing in the moment. I was nothing more than some snoring jackass sleeping in her bed. I stood between her and good night’s rest.
Now like I said before, this was not the kind of hate that makes a woman leave. It was not the kind of hate that would prompt her to do any physical harm. It was not the kind of hate that would last forever. But it was hate, and it was real.
I told Mel that I was sorry for snoring. “I’ll roll on my side, or something,” I said. We both went back to sleep, and a few hours later she woke me again. And again she had hate in her eyes. And we went through the whole dance again. 

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Clint Edwards is a tutor coordinator at Oregon State University. He is also the former co-host of the Weekly Reader on KMSU and a graduate of the MFA program at Minnesota State University. His writing has been listed as notable by Best American Essays, and has been published in The Baltimore Review, and through The University of North Dakota, Boston College, Emerson College, The University of South Carolina, and Minnesota State University.



Victor-Sergiu Stropelnita said...

Oh, I had big problems with snoring, his wife moved to another room that could not rest and had to do something for our relationship to be a normal one. I found a spray that helped me eliminate snoring in your relationship. SnoreZip is a chip, a mask or other device which must be worn. It is an all-natural oral spray, homeopathic designed to help alleviate the symptoms that may be causing snoring, so you and your partner can get the benefits that come with quality sleep. It was recommended by my doctor and I got it from the manufacturer's website to be sure it is original. I assure you it was worth. I got it at the address below, I wish you a peaceful sleep as mine now: