Thursday, February 16, 2012

A theory behind all this madness

Okay folks......honesty it is!

For the past little while I have been seriously unhappy. It probably comes a no surprise that we haven't fully moved into our new place. I haven't had the time because well, I haven't made the time. I'm a workaholic!

I bury myself in work because I get a lot of gratification in what I do. I feel valued. I do not feel the same reward in my relationship. I'd rather come home when my husband is sleeping after working a full day. Last night I finally figured out why.

The details are long.....and I won't go into them on this post because everything I'm feeling is relatively new. I should speak with my husband about this first before I share it with the blog world.

The main gist is that I'm feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I haven't really dealt with the repercussions of moving to another country with a Korean husband. It's hard! I haven't put in the time or the effort into our relationship that I need to. Also, Sung Hyun has the expectation that I will take care of EVERYTHING. And now that I look back and reflect, I'm starting to see that this is his character. I can't fault him for this. His sisters always took care of him. He didn't have any responsibility growing up. If he didn't pay his credit card on time in Korea "Oh well..."

Having Sung Hyun wipe his hands of the travel scam responsibility by passing the buck to his brother is an example. Buying this condo and having him accept zero responsibility in the process is another example. I'm making efforts to include him. I even went with a Korean real estate agent so that he could be involved (that was a cultural nightmare of "don't worry everything will be alright", when I really needed to hear "sorry I don't know the answer but I'll find out for you!" -- saving facing at it's best!) But Sung Hyun wasn't involved. He never has been. He needs me to do everything! Fill out his immigration paperwork, write a resume for him, call his labour office to ask questions (that he's capable of asking), buy a condo, set up EVERYTHING in our condo...walk into 7-11 with him because he wants to buy a slurpee but can't do it alone.

I'm the one who moved most of the stuff into our place. I'm the one who organized a moving crew. The only thing we have left to move is our clothes. I work 13 / 14 hours a day. I sleep 6 hours. I eat 3 meals in my car. He's home and fed by 6:30. He spends the rest of his night playing on the computer(?). There is plenty of time for him to do the rest.

Part of me wants to kick him out of the bus and say figure it out, just like I did when I went to Korea. But going to Korea was MY choice. I was forced to figure things out alone. I didn't have someone to lean on and do things for me. I was without a crutch.

The other part of me wants to do everything for Sung Hyun to help him. He gave up his life in Korea to come to Canada. I feel guilty. But I've reached my limit. I can't keep doing everything, for him, for us. I become resentful. It's been a year and a half and my all or nothing attitude says "screw it, he'll have to learn the hard way"

So at the end of the day, I come home to an even bigger list of things to do. And because I don't want to do them anymore I've swallowed myself in WORK. That way I don't need to deal with it.


When I told him the other day that we would get a $10 discount for our cable because I was a student, his reply was "really, you're a student? Ohhh, I guess....I thought you were a kind of student, but not real student". Is that being like being 'kind of' pregnant?

What does that even mean?

"Sung Hyun when I was in the computer room for 18 hours on Sunday writing a paper for my grad class, what did you think I was doing?" He doesn't know what writing a paper means. Sung Hyun failed his way through school then dropped out in grade 10. He was a "kind of" student.

The intentions of me sharing this with you today is not so I can receive any sympathy nor so that I can hear you say "I've told you all along, why don't you just quit your jobs and this problem will solve itself". I don't believe it's as simple as that. And I don't want to hear about how I'm a terrible wife. I already place that guilt on myself. And I don't want to bash my husband.

But I want to share my story. Because I'm human. And I need help. And maybe I can shed some light on what being in a multicultural relationship really means.

I'll be back. I don't know when because right now I am not well (and I don't want to pretend everything is).

I'm reading to stop being a parent to my husband. This is a scary time......for him......for us!


Anonymous said...

Jen, please get counseling. Not from your friends for free. A counselor isn't your friend. But you really need counseling.

He might, too.

Hell, you might need it together.

But you can only control and start with you.

If you can afford a new condo, new furniture, your classes, etc etc, you can afford counseling. What's more important--a new couch or your own mental health? A new home or your relationship with yourself and your husband?

Good luck.

Diana E. Sung said...

I think when we were encouraging you to quit a job or two, it wasn't just to quit, but rather to give you time to figure out this realization you have just come to. So you're there now...

I relate to some of what you've posted here. I think the only reason it HASN'T gotten this bad for me is that I try to talk it out with Min Gi and set certain limits on what I will and won't do for him and explain why I need the things I need from him. It's not always perfect, but the communication piece is essential and it seems to be missing here. For example, you mention that you should talk to Sung Hyun about it before you blog, but did you?

You need to think about counseling at this point--for yourself, for your husband, for both of you...

Kimberly Ann said...

hugs Jen - it is good you are getting your feeling and thought out before talking with anyone, as is it crazy how much we can be affected by the opinions of those around us, and it is good to have a record of the raw emotion. As sometimes you will come back to it later and think, 'What was I thinking' or 'yah it was clear then' etc... And so I will now muddy the waters with my thoughts! :P However, it is clear most all that you need to discuss your feelings with Sung Hyun.

From my view you like to have control and do things your way. I am the same way, but maybe not to as high of a degree. In that sense that is a part of why you and Sung Hyun are a good fit, because he is happy to go with the flow, but scale has tipped too far. And in your own way you are trying to reset it. By working so long and staying away, logic says the SH will have to fend for himself. But its not enough; you need to contribute to daily life together, and that is only going to come with comminication and comprimise. Maybe you have already tried to communicate your need for him to get involved, and I am afraid I am not busting with new tatics, but surely SH only wants for you to be happy and will make the effort to make some adjustments. An understanding just needs to be found.

권투선수 에이미 [Amy] said...

I can relate to you TOTALLY with being in a multicultural relationship and it being hard. My hubby is convinced he wants ANOTHER large dog, "because it'd be fun" being his reason. So your issues and my issues at play are different but the underlying points are the same. I too feel like my husband's parent at times and he senses it too, jokingly calling me "grandmother".
Hang in there Jen. You're definitely not alone and you're definitely not the only one in this situation. Be thankful that your family is there because I'm sure they're an awesome support system for you. I, on the other hands, find myself ranting to Pyen Chi (our dog).

Tell him how you feel, it's the right thing to do. He probably doesn't know the full extent of it but am sure he knows. Perhaps he just doesn't want to bring it up for fear of making you more upset.

Do what my man and I do. Turn off the TV, cell phones, computer and most of the lights. Sit in each other's arms on the floor and just talk. My husband and I do this when we know the other person is upset. It helps clear the air but the actual physical contact we have all curled up, face-to-face, also reminds the both of us that we're both in this and both love each other.

Don't give up Jen, you're so much better than that. Give it time but also give it effort too. Things don't just fix themselves. All relationships are work but it takes two. All the best with it. I have no doubt that you'll figure it out, after all, you did figure out how to get the both of you back to Canada, in school and in a new house!!!

Amy said...

I have thoughts, on things to say, but really just want to give you the biggest hug that I can via the internets <3

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, that's a lot of stuff going on.

I am sad to hear about your blogging break, I was looking forward to seeing your new home.

I have been following your blog since you were in Korea-pre marriage and just dating the "gym guy."

My older sister taught English in Korea after university too and married a Korean man as well.

She struggled a lot after they moved back to Canada too, there were a lot of lows and at times I thought they would never make it. But, she hung in there and he is a lot more independent now (after 13 years in Canada). He ended up going back to school to do Canadian high school and then Nait. He is making good money and contributing after many years of my sister earning the money. They lived with my mom and still do, but are making plans to buy their own home now.

I just wanted to reach out to you and let you know that you undertook a long and crooked path when you moved back to Canada with your Korean husband and it's really tough. But, I think you can make it if you hang in there and encourage/demand your husband to do more and contribute more.

You can be happy with your husband again and it can work--just saying.

Hang in there and I hope you continue to blog.

I want to see the new place!

Good luck and take care.

Your big blog fan.

Annie-Me said...

hey hun...I'm gunna be there soon :) Just like you always help me, you know I will be there to help you organize your house...even if it's all we do on sunday. AND stop walking SH to the store...he's a big But maybe helping him rather than doing them is a compromise. EX: Write the resume together (cuz well he's gunna have to learn it some time). move your clothes, and well make him responsible for his own. Remember in your ESL/EFL classes, when a student is working on a problem...I know you don't give them the answer right? I don't want you to think of your husband as a student...but you know the saying give a man a fish/teach a man to fish? You've been giving giving giving. We will talk more later.

I don't think you are a bad person. And i totally don't need you to post this for the world to see unless you are ok with that. It's very possible that SH is unaware of what he is doing or rather not doing and when like you said it's been that way for his life, why change unless you are made to realize. Right?

You are both grown-ups...let him make is own lunches ;)

Luv you!

Shelley said...

I think SH needs a little tough love, and I am going to be honest, being in a multi-cultural relationship myself it's not easy. I relied on my husband to do everything for me in India because everything seemed daunting and scary. But when i started just doing everything on my own and realizing I could handle the day to day stuff, not only did our relationship become better but I felt happier with my life here. Doing everything for him is only going to enable him.
This is one reason i didn't want to move back to Canada right away, I think life will just be really difficult and I wanted us to be married a few years before we took on another huge stress. I mean, we got married, my mom died, we had our daughter, and it WAS A LOT on our relationship. We are just finally getting on our feet.
Counselling is a good idea..I hope you can work things out Jenn.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,

Buying and moving a house are supposed to be celebrating things but are also huge stress for itself. I underwent the same thing: my husband and I moved like 5-6 times since we've been together but I packed and unpacked almost everything every time when we moved (and I had to pack and babysit my baby last time!). My husband and I are very different so he'd rather be easygoing but I am more strict and anxious in doing things done. You work absolutely longer hours than he does, but he works too and maybe he wants a rest after work (just like my hubby after work even though we had deadline for packing!) It might be men/women thing or personality difference. Nevertheless you would feel unfair if you work longer and do more things and he doesn't seem to contribute as much as you do. Think alone what you wish he contributes for your relationship and how much he can do. And also ask him what he thinks he contributes for your relationship and how much he can do. There must be a gap in your idea and his. Find the summit point. I feel the same when I think I work harder and longer but he doesn't seem to do much as me, but he does his part and I do my part in the different fields and sometimes I had to accept and give up some points.

BTW, how is your husband in living in a new country? I considered myself that I wasn't too bad in speaking in English when I came to Canada first time, but I wasn't really ready or comfortable enough to do a lot of things by myself so asked my husband to help me in many ways (except my PR documents. Yes, SH should have done that but… is his English good enough???) When I read your blog, I thought I could understand what he meant the 'kind of student' thing. Maybe he meant he didn't think you couldn't get a student benefit as you're not a full time student who soley study only, not work . Check his English whenever you feel confused. Maybe it's English problem, not to be sarcastic. I am not sure how good his English is and how well you guys' conversation go but it might be an idea that you write a list of your feelings/complaints/appreciation/wishes etc. about him in writing and give him a sheet so that he can take time to fill out. Sometimes writing is better than talking face to face because he might be able to have more time to think or find words in the dictionary.

Anyways I always support your couple and hope everything will resolve soon.


Why am I here??? said...

WOW! Thanks for your kind words of encouragement on this blog and by personal email. We've got a lot of work ahead of us. But I think the suggestions presented here are said with good intentions. Thanks for your honesty.

I am not leaving the blog world. I need some time to re-focus and put my efforts into my relationship instead of my work.

And the best part is that I'm excited!!! I want to do a good job. I'm ready for a change....

Anonymous said...

All I can say is you had better get used to it real fast, My husband is Korean, we live in Canada, I spent the first 4 years trying to change him, and there is no changing. These are the things that have to be worked out in a marriage as we go. Given our experiences are completly different, the around the house sort of stuff, isnt all because he is KOREAN, its because he is a man, and even amoungst most of my girlfriends whose husbands are as caucasian as they come we all have the exact same conversations.
You need to start enjoying your life, and your husband or one day you are going to wake up and its all going to be gone, and what will you have to show, but a whole lot of hours at work, and a whole lot of emptiness inside. Lifes too short! You have to remember that you and your husband have completly different personalities, you going to Korean on your own and getting by is because you are outgoing and strong, he doesnt have the same traits, he is used to be taken care of, he would have never went to a foreign country alone without someone ...Id say for that short amount of time hes done pretty good in Regina SK!!!

Jen said...

I could've written this post when we were first married and moved to the US. It took me a long time to figure out a way to make our situation work. I threatened, I yelled, I yelled more, I worked a lot, I stopped working, I went back to work.. and well I was still married to the same person. It was doubly hard when we had kids. After 14 years I think I have made peace with the situation. I am still busting my ass around here but I am more specific about what I need. "I am doing this... you need to do X, Y, Z" I realized this is what the women do in his family. "You need to rake ALL of the leaves with a rake and then put them in a bag!"
The first 3-4 years I made more money. When he started making more money then I did and had a job with a lot of travel and responsibility it helped his confidence with a new country and language. It isn't perfect... but.. it is working. The flipside? if I want to paint my house pink, I can b/c I am the one who makes those decisions..

Anonymous said...

I have been married to someone from another country before - in his country. That early marriage did not last for various reasons, but mostly for lack of clear communication (not language barrier), age difference, and family background differences that lead us to assume the other would want marriage a certain way. Those ideas were conflicting, I was young and dumb (hopeful), and he was an ass. I left him and never looked backed.

I got a divorce in the US, dated for many years off and on the wrong men in my country and others. I traveled and lived abroad while I guarded my heart, but yet made mistakes.

The mistakes I continued to make were: 1. Once I met someone I tried everything to keep him because I really like being in a relationship - no matter how badly treated I was, 2. I never was 100% me because I was afraid he would reject the real me, 3. I never asked the tough questions - what do you think makes a marriage last? How do you want to raise children? Do you want to have children? Where do you want to live?

After signing a contract to teach in the Middle East for 3 years I suddenly met my husband and soul mate. I had been through so much heart break and frustration, and loneliness that I did not know what to do. We had less than a few weeks before I left for my new job and home. We didn't waste time. He asked me on our first date, "Why do you think your parents are still married after all these years?" and I replied, "Because they want to be. They find ways to make it work. They have that one most important common goal - to have a successful marriage." We talked more about the serious stuff, I continued to guard my heart, but I also spoke the truth. I explained how I felt about childrearing, spending money, working, etc. He took it all in consideration and replied honestly how he felt as well.

We were at a crossroads when we met, but we had been in relationships before, we were ready for the "real deal" with no games. I already knew I could be alone, but I was choosing to be with him and make it work from the beginning.

Communicate often and clearly about everything - even if you assume it is common knowledge. Be you. See him for who he is; people don't change. Find a way to make it work, or dismantle it sooner than later.

Good luck!

PS I love your blog and your honesty!

asiangarden said...

Girl I know exactly how you feel! And its not easy ((hugs)) Gi bye tells me this is my house I need to take care of everything. Seriously I know!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Girl, you have a lot on your shoulders! You shouldn't have to worry about that much stuff on your own - no one would be able to handle that for very long!

Hugs to you!