My spouse withheld the grocery money I was promised the day before, and I got paid the following week. I stood in the kitchen, purse in hand, asking for money, and my spouse cut me off, double-talking and lying about not having money until two days later. The ugly look on his face told me not to ask again. He was moody, irritable, and difficult; either he couldn’t find weed, or somebody outside the home offended or rebuffed him. I knew my spouse had money in the house because he hoards money, another bad habit. The day I find his money is the day I stop asking for grocery money. We needed food that day, not two days later. I floated another check at the grocery store and prayed my spouse would cover it before it hit my empty bank account. My spouse stonewalls about the water, gas, and mortgage, even though we have the money to pay all the bills on time. Missing a mortgage payment affects my credit, not his, because he has none.  Mundane bill-paying turned into a knocked-down, dragged-out fight. I am stressed on the first day of every month, and the week before, because I know I will get played about the money.

I asked my spouse if he wanted to go with us to the zoo, movies, day trips, or vacations and he always said yes. But when the time came to go, he’d flake at the last minute, leaving me holding the bag. When he’d say yes, he already knew he wasn’t going. My spouse’s selfishness left me short-handed physically, emotionally and financially. He knew I wouldn’t spoil it for the kids, so I picked up the slack.  It wasn’t always this way. In the past, I relied on him driving, lugging, lifting, loading, and unloading our stuff in and out of the car. I relied on him to tell the kids to behave once, and they did. I relied on him to be there. I loved doing family activities. Every time he reneged, it was a rejection of his family; he didn’t understand the impact and didn’t care. My spouse wanted to be out and about, alone or with anybody but us. Doing his dirt in peace and self-pleasuring came at our expense. He’d call to check on us but really wanted to know when we were coming home. He made sure he was home when we got there, pretending to be there all along. I could tell if he was gone the whole time or not, so he wasn’t fooling anybody except himself. Everything he does is calculated. The most straightforward question is met with multiple answers. Life is a game to him, but not to me and especially when children are involved.

Finally, I stopped asking my spouse to join us in family activities. The minute I stopped asking, he acted wounded and asked why I didn’t invite him anymore. I told him I couldn’t depend on him because he lies to us and doesn’t want to be bothered. He laughed but didn’t deny one word. I am tired of my spouse’s games and rebellious behavior, where he goes against the norms or what is reasonably expected. In his world, up is down, black is white, and good is bad. Any interaction with him produces confusion. I live in a state of constant anger and frustration. My spouse is pulling away from us, and it’s not worth trying to pull him back.