Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Go Green!

In the early days of my marriage I used to play this fun little quiz-your-lover-about-polygamy game! (As a Mormon I figured it was my way of walking a mile in the shoes of the early LDS women.) It went something like this:

So if you had 3 wives and we were having a video party (that's what we called it in my day) which wife would you sit by? Would you hold her hand? Would you share your popcorn with her? Would you? huh? huh? huh?

The thing that always got me is that my husband would start squirming and little beads of sweat would form on his brow. He could never fully commit to who he would actually sit by.

These games always ended with me stomping off to the bedroom in tears and withholding any favors from him until he promised he would only sit by me.

When I went from being a lover to being a mother, it created a whole new dimension to the fun little quiz-your-lover-about-polygamy-because-now-I'm-a-stretched-out-stressed-out-mother-and-I-know-you-wouldn't-be-sitting-by-me-at-the-video-party-so-stop-your-freakin'-lying game.

These games usually ended with my husband stomping off to the bedroom in tears and shouting Why would I want to be married to more than one . . . YOU?

Ah, the good ole' days, when I was young. And beautiful.

And insecure.

I practically invited the green-eyed monster to live in my closet. And under my bed. And in my bed.

But mostly I let him live in my head.

I let it feed off my imagination. And the media. And my abandonment issues. And my idealism. And my misperceptions of love.

It may be true that going green is good for the planet, but it's the quickest way to kill cupid.

It took the first ten years of my marriage to get rid of that destructive green monster and the next ten years to repair the damage it did to my marriage.

Even now, ten years after I've had any outbursts, I feel a little bit ashamed to admit it. In fact the first time I spoke (cautiously) and (hestitantly) about it to anyone was in my night class last semester. (I'm a college English instructor). I was surprised by the reaction. Student's began texting me during class confessing that they were struggling with the same issue and didn't know what to do about it. Other students talked to me in person or called me after class asking for advice. I actually didn't know what to say. How do you tell someone HOW to stop being insecure?

If someone were to ask me if they should allow drugs into their body I would shout "DON'T DO DRUGS!"

If someone were to ask me if they should allow jealousy into their marraige I would shout "DON'T DO JEALOUSY!"

The bottom line is the same because both are a slippery slope to unhappy, unhealthy relationships which breed secrecy, paranoia and distrust and make you increasingly unattractive to your partner.

Moral of the story?


This message brought to you by The Crash Test Dummy


K said...

Wonderful post! It's so easy to be green and takes a lot of effort to cast it off. Do all marriages in their early days color this hue? I experienced it from my end frequently for the first year of my marriage, but being open about my feelings with my husband and hearing his point of view helped. After about a year I did not find myself feeling jealous as often. I think it helped that I voiced it and heard my husband's reaction instead of harboring it within me like I do with grudges.

Great topic and I love the photos and how you wrote about it!

TisforTonya said...

My biggest jealousy issue has always come when ManOfTheHouse is chatting on the phone with friends and family - and laughing... why doesn't he laugh and have such a good time talking to me?

ummm... maybe because he doesn't discuss finances and dishes with his friends and family on the phone?

We never really had a polygamist discussion - unless you count the one where he was politely informed that if he ever brought home another wife she was welcome to him :)

Kimberly Wright said...

I've been most jealous of the time my husband has spent in books. Sixteen years of marriage - he has spent 12 of those in school.

Danielle said...

Please, please if you can, tell me what changed in you to make the green monster go away. I am fighting this issue right now and have since I can remember. In fact just this morning looked into a councilor and was researching the internet.

Anonymous said...

I spent the first many years of our marriage being incredibly jealous. I was very distrusting because my dad had an affair - and if he - an upstanding church member could succumb to it - no one was safe. It really tore down the foundation of my marriage - I can't imagine must have felt for my husband to be made to feel guilty when he'd done nothing wrong. I'd flip out if he even chatted with women at work.

Fast forward several years - and my husband had an affair. It was complicated, but I wondered if he had decided that since I already thought he was having an affair, he might as well. (not that it justifies it by any means). My worst fear had been realized - but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to us. My husband was able to get help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that had been eating at him for years and we built a marriage based on honesty and communication and eventually trust.

It was hard and painful and horrible to my self esteem. But interestingly, the jealousy went away. I had faced my worst fear and survived. I was shackeled by jealousy. It was so consumming and tiring. And so freeing to let go of.

To Danielle - Counseling is a great idea. Even if only for you. Strengthen yourself, love yourself, believe in yourself.

Great post Crash! Loved the pics too!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I'm going to be the black sheep here. I've never been jealous or filled with Green envy with anyone I dated or now that I'm married.

I don't know why that is?

I've been lucky?

My husband is the only guy at his work. A couple of the chicks he works with and HAS worked with are extremely pretty. Not lying.

But I never worried or cared. He came home to me every night... he snuggled me in bed... he kisses and nuzzles me.

Maybe if he didn't do that stuff I would be different?

Oh and the girl he THOUGHT he was going to marry before he left on his CHURCH mission... who later dear johned him... and he was a wreck for 3 months on that said mission because of being dear johned...

Well she works at the same place he does. :)

She's really pretty... and nice... and funny...

I may be a little messed up... because I think it's kinda hot when girls want my guy!

NOW... when I was dating... I WAS cheated on and it sucked... bad.

But I still never have gotten jealous.

So I just chalk it up to good luck!?

Crash... I LOVED this post... and your pics! loL!

Heidi said...

Oh golly, this made me laugh out loud! I hate that you don't know who is writing these posts until you get to the end (or cheat and look first thing) but I figured it out less than halfway through (then had to check to see if I was right). I think it's a compliment to your writing that I didn't know right away.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post Crash! I think it can be easy to let the Green Monster come out. I know sometimes I hear an awful lot about "A" from my dh's office or "D" and it does bother me. Especially when it's followed by "and we have to work late."

Mm,hmm. GREEN. But i let go of it because I know at the end of the day he comes home to me and I know in many unmentionable ways, it's me who makes his heart go pitty pat :)

dadshouse said...

Wait, I can have three women? How about just one! (I'm divorced and presently single)

MakingChanges said...

Thanks for this~! Not only did I get a good giggle from it, but I also have hope. Hope that since I have almost hit my first 10 years of marriage that maybe the next 10 will all be about resolving the issues. That's what you said, right. First 10- jealousy ruled next 10- fix-it time. Hey, maybe in the next 10 (after this coming 10) I might be able to actually relax and completely enjoy married life.

Okay, on a more serious note, really, this is an issue I think with a lot of women. I had an especially hard time with it when Hubby worked with women most of the time because he is one fine-lookin' man and has a body to die for. When we were first married he'd come home and tell me some "stupid" comment some chick would say to him (not realizing she was totally coming on to him) and I would give him the "what the heck are you telling me this for" look because I would want to run over to his work and knock the chick's teeth out. LOOK! He's wearing a wedding ring. He's married!

Sandi said...

It's true crash, I didn't know for sure this was you writing until you mentioned your night class.haha.
I'm with Shelle here, never have been jealous- not sure why? maybe something IS wrong with me? Now I am going to be insecure about that! not really. Good post!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Aloha everyone,

It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one who had to overcome this. I think it's a very complex issue/process and I'm not sure why some are more vulnerable to these insecurities.

Shelle, be very thankful this has never been a struggle for you because it's very painful. I personally think those of us who have, like anonymous mentioned, fathers who stepped out on our mothers are more vulnerables to insecurity. It really rocks your world.

Kimberly, I think a lot of marriages are plagued by this early on, but once you gain a little insight, wisdom and perspective and realize that love is like cancer, it grows and spreads and it's hard to get rid of, you're able to relax and enjoy the security marriage can bring.

I tried not to be blatantly jealous. I would play it cool and act like things didn't bother me so my hub wouldn't think I was crazy, but I felt crazy inside and it would eat me up until I would have a little outburst. I used to note in my head how long I could go without saying anything stupid. It felt like an accomplishment.

This is so embarrassing. If any of my family reads this they will be so surprised. I never came across as an insecure type. I hid it well because I DIDN'T want to be an insecure type. It's so unbecoming.

Danielle, I'm looking at your profile pic and you are gorgeous. You also have a new little baby. This was the hardest period for me. My dad used to start stepping out on my mom whenever she was pregnant so when I was pregnant I was particularly sensative to this. I felt to ugly and unattractive. The twentys are the worst, newly married and going through the transition into motherhood physically and psychologically is so hard. You feel so out of control. I think jealousy is a form of control. It's a reaction to having little control of your schedule, body, hormones, etc. As a new mom, you're so tied down and it's such a thankless, exhausting job.

I can't really say what snapped me out of the jealousy thing. It was a process, a lot of effort and a number of other things, some of it too personal to share. I really wanted that monkey off my back. Counseling would be great. I wish I had done it. I prayed a lot. I prioritized myself. Did lots of yoga. Went after my dreams. I ate good food. Read good books. ( I love books like Marianne Williamson's Return to Love and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love. I visualled the woman I wanted to be--confident, trusting, secure, supportive but no co-dependent. It helps to focus on your spirit and soul to block out all of the mixed messages all around us. Danielle, it does get easier as you get older. You think it will get harder but it gets better as you get wiser and more secure with yourself. I promise. My marriage improved a lot.

I will say this: You must choose to let go of it. It's ugly and it makes us ugly. It pushes our parnters away from us and makes real intimacy impossible.

I had to accept and realize that I'm not every woman and I don't have to be. I just have to be me and that's enough. There are other women who are much more beautiful and talented and accomplished and I'm sure my hub has noticed this too, but OH WELL! Who cares. Nurture what you have. Apprciate what you have. ENJOY what you have. Love yourself and LOVE your man.

Whoa, what a post-of-a-reply.

I'll keep checking back.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Hi Sandi, You and Shelle are twins today. Woohoo!

Youngblood, you do have HOPE. ;) I had a hard time when my hub was going to PA school because he spent all day with beautiful girls while I was home with no money, a baby and another baby on the way. He works with all women now, but it doesn't even phase me anymore. I think it helps if you have a fulfilling job too. Anything to help you carve out your own identity. Blog buddies help too. I would have loved to have had blog buddies while I was raising my kids.

Dadhouse. What's your story? Do you hate jealous girls? Do tell?

Stupid Smart Girl said...

Good post, Crash. I'm currently struggling with jealousy in my own marriage, but it is my husband who is insecure and jealous -- of my best girlfriend.

It's driving me a little nuts, I must admit. Never saw it coming, and don't know how to fix it. I am at a point now where I don't think I can fix it -- he has to do that. Time for me to learn patience, I guess.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Stupid Smart Girl, AMEN! I have had to deal with this from my hub also, not about friends, but about hobbies and interests. I think that can be just as hampering to a relationship. Any kind of possessive vibe is stifling. I think you're right about him being the one who has to fix it. I used to allow my hub's disapproval dictate my actions, but then I felt resentful. It's taken us some time, but he has learned to accept and even support the things I value. Have you tried to telling him straight up in a genuine, firm way (with sugar and whipped cream on top) that best friends are important to you and it doesn't take away from your feelings for him?

I could talk about this topic forever. Maybe I better write another post. It's tricky though because real people are exposed.

Anonymous said...

Why am I the only guy here?
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh for the love of all things good don't tell anyone!!!! I like my chances!

I have never been jealous or insecure to my knowledge but the bride......... now shes a different story. She evidently doesn't share well with others! She is an only kidlette though, hmmmm. I never understood, insecure, low self esteem or jealousy.
I don't know how to advise against it, except to believe in yourself, but not doing so is so foreign to me that it seems silly to vocalize.

On the poly deal. I might be in the minority here but I couldn't imagine hearing 2-3-4 times the babbling, bitching and moaning than I hear now! And I honestly think the bride does pretty good compared to what I have seen and heard some other brides do.

Dang. When could a fella with 4 grown females in the house ever get in the damn bathroom? He'd go broke buying dadgum items to pt in the shower and on the counter in the bathroom. Lets see. One woman uses the master bath here, there are exactly 18 bottles of something or other in there, 3 fluffy lace looking things, one long brown hard sponge looking thing, 2 razors, and not even one, NOT ONE bar of soap! What if there were 4 women using it? Thats just one example!

Well thtas my take o that stuff!

I am LoW said...

I'm green and I am proud!!!!


I am a very jealous (when it comes to my guy) creature and I just can't help it. But I'm okay with it and it's never caused any wack-a-do issues (yet) so.... I think it must be a healthy amount? Or something??? Or maybe I am okay with it but my guys isn't? Maybe I should ask him?

But what's so funny is you played the polygamy game, I am Mormon too but never thought to play that game. Instead I played the, "if I lost my arms, would you still love me?", "If I lost my arms AND my legs, would you still love me?", "If I lost everything but my head.... If I were only my head, would you still love me?" games.

I hear that guys like these games....


Anjeny said...

Dang it!! I had like this beautiful post-like comment about ready to publish when the dang power went off so now I have to start all over again.

So I'm just going to make it short...Crash, I love the post. Every thing post about, I did that. Yes I was that insecure young bride and mom in the early days of marriage, but now I'm cool with everything. I'm not as insecure as I used to be and you're right, I think when we get ourselves involved with other things, it does ease us off all the insecure thoughts and feelings we have and therefore makes it easier to keep the green monster at bay.

My poor hubby, he's been and is still on one non-stop roller coaster ride from all my different hormonal trips I don't think he can handle another one of me...eheheh. In fact he's claimed that he's pretty sure if he thought a sweet islander like me could be sooo mean and cold at times and keep him running around in circles, then every other woman he come across would probably do worse...kinda makes me feel proud that he thought I was sweet...eheheh.

Reading your comments, I have to say I'm glad to get to know this serious side of you...makes you appear even more real, not that you're not. And hey, Al is one lucky guy to be married to two were made for each other.

Martha said...

This whole post kinda surprised me. I never would have imagined you had this problem. Well, you sure have kept it hidden well.

Just this morning I was thinking how great you two are together. You were all showing off Al's haircut and he was smiling at you like he was so proud of you and his eyes said, "Hey, that's my wife and not only is she the best and coolest wife in the whole world, but she can cut hair too."

See my hubby is more crabby and rude to people and that's why I don't think I ever get jealous. Well, ok he's not that bad. Just sometimes I have to kick him to be a little nicer and not so sarcastic.

val of the south said...

My dad had an affair too - which really wreaked havoc on my ability to trust - so I was constantly doing those "prove you love me" games and then stomping off when he didn't give the appropriate response. Any wonder we made it beyond those first few (10 or so) years!

It definitely has gotten better as I've learned to trust myself.

Counseling - totally recommend it - really helps you see things from a different perspective.

Great post Crash - loved the pics too!