Well Pet, I know you, at least, will be wondering how things have gone since I arrived home on Friday after picking up the boychik at the bus depot. By the way, you may have heard that I met your ex and his bride picking up your baby girl there! I made a smartass remark about women having to be tolerant in order to be married to men (after congratulating him on his recent nuptials); I was kidding around, but thought later that any one of the three, including your baby, might have taken me seriously. Lately I feel I’m coming far too close to man-bashing in my attitudes, because of my disappointment (and yours, and that of many women I know) in men. I must take more care how I speak.

His bride does seem like a sweetheart and they both look happy. I’m glad and hope she has the heart to put up with him for a good long time. Maybe he’s matured a lot since you were with him; it would be nice to think that’s bound to happen.

I arrived home to a clean kitchen; Fella had actually done his dishes, mostly, which was the first pleasant surprise. He was on Best Behaviour all weekend, as he always is after he’s pissed me off and knows it. We attended my nephew’s wedding together, him treating me like a lady as he always does when we are out in public. Finally yesterday I told him I needed to talk with him and he sat down on the end of our bed and waited to hear what I had to say.

I told him I don’t think I should live with him any longer but that I don’t know how to make the necessary changes, as the steps aren’t obvious to me. I explained why his words and tone and attitudes bother me so much, and that staying with him in spite of them leaves me feeling as if I’m a weak and stupid woman rather than a strong and smart one.

He said that he hadn’t meant things the way I took them —many things; that he had thought I was putting him down when I said that I valued my time too much to spend it doing things my heart isn’t in (vegetable gardening, for one). He thought this was a criticism of how he puts so much time into his work. And insisted that when he had said I should grow vegetables to give away, he wasn’t one bit serious.

Doesn’t this just take the legs out from under me? Well it does. It’s like we totally misunderstand each other, all the time!

And then right there in the middle of the afternoon he went to sleep, because this kind of conversation—the possibility of losing me?— depresses the hell out of him apparently. He feels like a failure, as if he’s not good enough.

I do understand that his harsh judgments are a reflection of his own low self-esteem, but that doesn’t make them any more bearable for me.

At any rate, here I still am, as always, and no solution in sight. Even a talk doesn’t relieve me much, because we’ve done lots of that over the years without fixing the underlying problem, which is his contempt for others, including me and obviously himself too.