After a few months out of work, Grant became depressed and stopped even trying to look for jobs. I'd come home from work to find him playing Xbox or blankly surfing the Internet at the kitchen table, surrounded by dirty dishes. He was gaining weight, too. Even though we love fried foods, we've always made an effort to eat as little processed food as possible at home--but that changed when he was unemployed. Suddenly, he was going through entire packages of cookies and boxes of cereal.Translation: his SMV has improved while hers has declined, so she wants him to reduce it in order to not feel threatened, rather than work on improving her own. This is why focusing on making women happy is a futile goal; their objectives are dynamic which means that it is an ever-receding horizon.
Seeing him that way was hard. He refused to see a therapist, saying he could work through things on his own. He's never been great at discussing his emotions (even with me) especially when he's feeling down and becomes hypersensitive to criticism. For instance, when I pointed out the weight gain-he needed to buy new pants for a wedding we were attending--we ended up getting into a huge fight. He didn't understand that the weight didn't bother me as much as the changes in his personality--it was just a symptom. He seemed sluggish and despondent, not like the active, up-for-anything guy I married. I didn't love the spare tire around his midsection, but I'd still have been attracted to him if it weren't for the other stuff. And treading lightly by urging him to meet up with the guys for a pickup game or head out on a run just made him hostile, since he could clearly understand the subtext....
Now, it's as if I'm living with an incredibly fit stranger. We barely have sex--he goes to bed at 10 so he can run or lift at 5--and his preoccupation with his body makes me uncomfortable. I feel like his diet is the most important thing in his life, and because it's "healthy," it's hard to make it sound like a problem. Every time I mention that I wish he could drop the Paleo thing for a night so we could try the raved-about mac and cheese at a new bistro, or that he could take a weeklong break from working out so we could go to the beach with my family, he flips the conversation to make it sound like I'm trying to undermine him and his happiness.
Sometimes I wonder if I might be. After all, he's always inviting me to come with him to "the Box," which I never do. I say I need to look after our daughter or that I'm busy grading papers, but truthfully, working out is not the same priority for me as it is for Grant. Seeing my husband so passionate about something that has nothing to do with me makes me feel left out. I do wonder whether I'd be so annoyed and angry if he had gotten into a more solo activity, like running or biking, and I don't think I would be. I hate that Grant has an entire social life that doesn't include me, and that he's part of a whole fitness movement that's leaving me behind.
It's an ugly feeling. I don't want to be resentful about something that makes my husband feel good--and I know we need to sort through this together. I've done some research on eating and exercise disorders in men and occasionally wonder if Grant may be too obsessive, but I think the issue is more about how his body image and workout routine is affecting us. It'd be different if he were a single guy living by himself. And then, there are the facts: He's a lot healthier, physically and mentally. His numbers at his last doctor's appointment were perfect. When he's around, he loves being a dad. Sometimes he'll take our daughter for a long bike ride on a Saturday afternoon, and I love that she and he are bonding over healthy activities. I only wish he'd put that drive back into our relationship.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
A woman manages to turn her coach potato husband onto Cross-Fit, and is now unhappy that he is in excellent condition: