Sometimes, I Hate My Husband.
Sometimes, I hate my husband.
I know, I know, I’m a terrible person. Blah, blah, blah. I know I’m not the first person to have had this sentiment. Those lyrics are from 1927! Never mind the stories from Greek tragedies and Shakespeare. I think it’s completely natural to have feelings of hate towards a spouse or significant other at one point or another — and before you get too judgy, you should know that not only have I spoken with my husband about this post ahead of time, he even edited it. (He edits all my posts for grammar. Thanks, babe.)
I remember feeling this emotion quite strongly one of the many times our son was hospitalized. You see, Chris happened to be at work, when what seemed like a common cold quickly turned into vomit that look liked coffee grounds, and severe respiratory distress. I sped to the ER where, long story short, Oscar, being on the verge of septic shock and respiratory failure, was admitted to Intensive Care Unit right before we were supposed to go on Christmas vacation.
This being the only break Chris would have for another year or two, he was understandably bummed. And, having missed Oscar’s health deteriorate right in front of his eyes like I did, he was still adjusting to the fact that this was much, much more than a cold. (It turned into pneumonia.) So when I saw my husband lose his damn mind, proclaiming that Oscar was fine, that we should be able to go home, that he needed a break, that he didn’t understand why we were spending Christmas in the ICU — I HATED my husband. Like, hated him. I was asking doctors what my rights were as a mother since my husband was under the impression that he could take our son off of oxygen and bring him home against medical advice. I was calling my friends crying over the fact that surely I would have to leave my husband and raise my son on my own.
Clearly, we’ve survived. With a healthy dose of couples therapy, a will to keep our family together, and the ability to step back and ride out tough moments and discuss things, when we are clear headed— and preferably not with our son in ICU — we have made it through our share of tough moments.
I think back about my unfiltered, visceral emotions those days in the ICU. I have never hated someone or something so much in my life as I did in those moments. How could he do this to me? How can he say these things? How can he think like this? Doesn’t he know I can’t keep it together for all of us? Why isn’t he taking care of me? I’m the one that had to hold our son down while they drilled an IV into his bone marrow! I’m the one who had to carry our son into the same intensive care unit I had visited just weeks before to see a classmate of Oscar’s who unfortunately lost his battle. I’m the one with all the feelings.
At the end of the day, “I hate my husband” really translates to, “I hate this situation. I hate that my husband doesn’t process grief and anxiety the way I do. I hate that we are going through this unfamiliar territory together with no rule book, hanging on by threads, with no energy to be there for each other. My husband isn’t allowed to have nervous breakdowns when he sees our son struggling to survive. I am extremely vulnerable, and need my husband for support, but he isn’t emotionally available for me, because he is a wreck over the exact same scenario — and I hate that.”
So, yes. I felt like I hated my husband — and I’m sure it won’t be the last time I feel that way. We still have a lot to learn about each other. After all, we are completely different individuals than we were when we first met a decade ago. Life was much simpler then. If we can remember to allow each other to grieve, feel, fear, and even love differently, then I think we have a better chance of growing as a couple. My way certainly is not the only way, and his way is not the only way. I think that’s how love works. Two beings allowing each other to live the human experience alongside each other, learning who they are as individuals and as a family for the rest of their lives — and that is a beautiful thing.