Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is being a kept woman worth it?

I've been pretty excited about 2011 so far. The end of 2009/beginning of 2010 left me feeling as if everyone around me was falling apart. So many people in my life had relationships in flux. I was going through my own self-analysis of my sexuality, marriage and learning to allow myself to adjust to a long distance relationship.

One of the most difficult relationship demises of the past year was between my sister and her (now ex) husband. My feelings about this went from trying to be there for her to jealousy of what this new man was providing for her.

Sadly, we don't have the relationship we once had. We were never close as children. She confessed later in adulthood that she was jealous of many things about me. We finally bonded when she lived with me for a brief time and have been good friends up until this past year.

We were both pregnant with our children at the same time as well. My daughters have looked at my sister's children, not as cousins, but as extended sister and brother. We've spent every holiday together since my sister and mom moved to town. Last spring break, Mom, my sister, my brother, myself and all the kids went camping together.

Then, as her marriage disintegrated and she grew closer to the new man, our family fell apart too.

***

My sister has always been a workaholic. She is very type A and has lived on coffee for the past 10 years of her life. She is a big-balled tough bitch and doesn't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks about it. As long as work gets done, or else she'll do it herself dammit, and life looks as pretty as her new outfit.

It appeared to me that she emasculated her (now) ex-husband. He was a successful, handsome single guy who'd already been married once. They were inseparable and he moved from his beautiful home to be with her. Soon they had 2 children of their own.

My sister brought in the money as he could never find a job that gave him the same income of his previous position. He'd left his home. He'd left his job. And now he was trying to adjust quickly to parenthood. In her eyes, from my outside observation, he could do nothing right.

I'm certainly not taking his side of things. I'm certain that she obviously felt some unhappiness in their marriage. But knowing her... knowing how WE are (meaning the women in my family*)... and watching as this once eligible bachelor soon became a vegged-in-front-of-the-TV-unmotivated-"yes-dear" kind of guy, I can see where they were BOTH unhappy.

Now she's left him for another successful man who has left his wife, children, job and his home for her. The difference this time?

HE is emasculating HER.

He is extremely wealthy. He is very controlling. He never leaves her side. He is even more type A than she is. He, she once told me, is so powerful that "no one tells him 'no'".

She has now left her lifestyle as the bread winner to be a kept woman. Thus far, she claims to be happier than ever before... but there are little cracks showing. She isn't allowed to spend money. She isn't allowed to do much of anything unless he is with her. I haven't even spoken with her because she is never without him, a complete stranger to me, at her side. He hasn't reached out to get to know me, my brother or my mom. He never says more than 'hello' to any of us. When I've talked to her about him before her divorce, it almost seemed as if she was hypnotized by him. She even told my grandfather that this man was her 'soulmate'. She sounded, to me, as if she'd joined a religious cult rather than simply fallen in love with someone.

I miss my sister. I miss our girls' nights with our mom. My kids miss their cousins. I want us to be comfortable around each other again. I don't know how to break through this change in her. I don't know this stranger in her life. I feel very sad about losing her.

She travels the world. She lives in a posh home. She drives brand new cars. She is home with her children now. She's never had this life before and she is experiencing something brand new.

But I can't help but wonder: will this lifestyle suit her?

***

In the meanwhile, her ex-husband is lost, stumbling, angry, raging, completely discombobulated. He is trying to regenerate the testicles she took from him. He is wondering who he once was, who he is now, how to be a single father, how to watch his (in his mind) wife be with some other man who enjoys taunting his "stolen catch" in front of him.

And I'm sad to say that one day, I think my sister will be in the same boat.... trying to regenerate her "balls" too.

I sure hope I'm wrong.

I can't tell her that this fits her perfectly or that it doesn't. She has chosen to experience something dramatically different from before. Only she can know if it is a life she is well-suited for or not.

All I know is that none of us know what to do to reach her. She claims to be open to us but then gets shut down... for some reason or another. I know she's enjoying the money, I have no doubt. But to imagine my sister in all of her independent glory, getting squashed by a tantrum-throwing showoff (yeah, I said it)... I just don't see it.

What can you do when someone chooses to live a life that isn't something you would choose for them?

All that we can do is be here, on the outside sadly, while she decides if it's worth it.



*The women in my family are very hard-headed, strong-willed, and independent.

13 comments:

  1. What a truly incredible story. You really are a remarkable writer.

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  2. Last night, when my ex boyfriend was in our yoga class with his new girlfriend, our teacher said "Relationships are seldom about the other person. They are about what that other person brings out in you." These people have chosen to play the roles they are playing, whether they realize it or not.

    So what does your sister's relationship bring out in you? Can you learn something from it?

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  3. Two points (one which you made) - the 'newness' of the relationship and having what she has never had before is obviously attractive to her. From your post it seems he doesn't respect her nor does he trust her. Eventually that will wear and no amount of money will keep that from happening.

    Second, you do nothing. Sharing your feelings that he may not be right for her will only alienate her and drive you both further apart. Eventually, and who knows when, she will realize that being treated like a 3 year old (and I would guess he feels justified by the type of life he is able to provide her) will drive her to seek solace with her family and friends. Until that time, imho, you can only support her when she needs it.

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  4. Holy Smack, Molly@Postcards! That doesn't sound like a yoga class that I could breathe and relax in. I am impressed!

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  5. This is a hard situation to be in. You already know the best thing to do. Be there when she falls because it seems as thought the writing is on the wall with this guy. Sounds like he is a control freak. Stand back and love her.

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  6. Aw this makes me sad because I know how important my sisters are to me. But you're right, the only thing you can do is be there. If my sisters had tried to get me to break up with the EX and see the light, I would have resisted big time. But they were there for me both during and after, and that's all that mattered.

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  7. How very sad. TO some degree I am your sister.
    and I have treated my husband this same way.

    Its a hard thing/behavior to break.

    : (

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  8. It is SO hard to see that happen to a close family member, or friend, especially a sister. And you are dead-right, only she will be able to make that decision for herself, even if you do talk to her (or anyone else). It's really hard to sit and just watch the 'trainwreck happen" (not saying it is a trainwreck, but you know what I mean!), though, especially for it to be your sister. Gosh, even I'm annoyed about your sister's choices and its' not even my sis! ;)

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  9. Terri-LOL. He likes to make us think while we breathe. It's a vigorous class which ends up quieting the monkey brain.

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  10. Hmm. That's tough. These kinds of things are really hard. My sister suddenly divorced her first husband, someone we were all close to, about 20 years ago, and the relationship between my sisters hasn't been the same since. It's sad.

    Hugs.

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  11. Sometimes the hardest thing is sitting back and being willing to simply help pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong. Not that I'm wishing her ill, but the word 'inevitable' comes to mind.

    Sending you hugs.

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  12. I have an aunt and uncle who are like your sister and her ex-husband. She demeans him left and right. The poor guy can't do anything right to save his soul. The only time since we've been back that I've seen her lovey dovey towards him was Christmas.. and that's because he got her diamonds, and she was a bit drunk. They've split before, but they always come back to each other.

    Obviously T, there's nothing you can do. I know it's hard. But all you can do it sit, watch, support, and in the end comfort. A relationship like the one she's in will never last.

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  13. It's sad, but everyone has to learn these hard lessons in life. Some of us learn them at a young age and some of us learn them later in life. It's just sad that she is hurting her family while she's going through this.

    Why don't you try reaching out to both her and her new man by inviting them both to do something casual together. If he is comfortable and unthreatened by you then he may let her see you more often... and rebuilding that bond could help her out of this situation. A slow but necessary process.

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