- 3 years ago
- Wedding: October 2012
I’m so sorry for the long post. I need advice, and I’m hoping you all can help. Artists or partners of, especially, please help.
I’ve been married for just about a year. Anniversary in one week. Overall, I’d say that our first year together was really great and positive, but it also came with a LOT of challenges. We moved to a new city, I started grad school, he had a new job, we got married (in the middle of my fall semester). We generally do well together, but every week/2 weeks or so end up in a fight that’s a reiteration of the same fight we’ve always had.
My husband is a writer. Literary and young adult fiction. I think he’s incredibly talented, and for as long as I’ve known him, he’s had the passion and the calling to become a writer. It’s part of what first attracted me to him and it’s what rekindled our spark after we had spent some time apart. When we met for the second time, he was full of drive and excitement about it. He was in graduate school at the time (for a MA) and revelled in telling me about his upcoming stories and projects. He later hit a wall with his thesis, although he was happy withi his finished product. About seven months later, he finished another book – a young adult novel – and submitted it to agents. He ended up getting multiple rejections, and one possible yes who strung him along without ever (still two years later) saying no. After that round of rejections, I would say that is where he lost his spark. He’s had spurts of writing since, coming up with multiple novel ideas and stories, but never, ever being able to commit to anything. He will go for weeks or months without writing, during which his (what I view as depression-like behavior) will mount. It’s a spiral where he feels like a failure because he isn’t/can’t write, and can’t write because he feels like a failure. When he does write, it usually stops because he thinks what he’s written is bad.
To make matters worse, he’s in a job that doesn’t validate his skills. In our new town, he hasn’t made a single friend, but also hasn’t made much of an effort to have a life outside of work and me. We both have gained a significant amount of weight in the past year+ and our sex life has seriously declined. He consistently refers to himself as a failure and rejects my efforts to talk it out or praise him. He doesn’t want to talk about it, so I can’t offer to just listen. I’ve also suggested individual counseling for him but he refuses to go because he says that they won’t understand his creative predicament.
I try to support him and I’m a constant cheerleader, but I’m exhausted. It’s so draining to be in my position where nothing I say or do helps him and I just get to watch him cocoon in frustration because he’s a writer who can’t/won’t write. I do understand his difficulties to an extent, but it’s hard because these are NOT new problems and I feel like nothing has changed.
The final straw was tonight. He told me that he has changed his mind (after months of talking about it) about applying for an MFA program. He said that he “won’t get in anyway” and because he isn’t in a good place right now with his writing, he won’t be able to handle the rejection. He’s going to try to write more and get in a better place, so he’ll be able to let the rejection roll off more easily. This all makes sense to me except for the fact that it will never become easier to get into an MFA program. He has tried to “write more” for the past two+ years, to no avail, and even if he does get into a better place, I’m scared that the inevitable upcoming rejection (from either some MFA programs, or new agent/journal submissions) will send him spiraling back downwards even further.
I do have faith that he can recommit, but my head is telling me that a miracle has to happen first. It breaks my heart that he’s not applying. It honestly makes me scared of what his future holds in that route, and what our future holds together. This sounds horrible, but I can very easily see him becoming one of those broken older men who always wished their lives would have been fulfilling (re: episode 1 Walter White). I don’t think anything I can do would change that because nothing has helped thus far. I’m just drained emotionally and physically. Trying to not put the blame on myself, but it’s so hard not to. I feel like Kristen Bell in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
I don’t know how to talk to him about this because he feels that in most arguments, I tell him that he’s done something wrong and he ends up taking the martyr complex and shutting down the communication by “accepting” full responsibility for everything.