"The Holidays Bring Out the Worst in Me"

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Her Turn, continued

"Steve was angry when I announced I wouldn't be cooking. When he gets mad he never yells, he just gives me the silent treatment. I often can't find the words to explain how I feel either, so I shut down, too.

"The fact that I'm often exhausted doesn't help. I work seven days a week as a music teacher, which I love. Music has always been my lifeline. When I'm performing, I'm a different person. But my long hours deplete my sex drive. I know Steve feels rejected. To get myself in the mood, I have a glass of wine. But if I do, he says that my interest in him isn't 'real.' No matter how much I tell him that's not the case, he never understands. 

Their Background

"I met Steve when I answered his newspaper ad for a musician in his band. I was 23; he was 33. I played with his group for four years. At the time, Steve was divorced. Our relationship developed easily; three years later, we were married.

"Steve says he never would have guessed that my childhood was like a bad TV drama: My father died when I was 10; my mother used to smack me with a hairbrush for the slightest offense, and as the oldest of three girls, I got the brunt of her anger. To avoid being hit, I'd hide in my room. I had few friends and was never good in social situations. At 18, I left home, and put myself through community college. Except for one of my sisters, I no longer speak to any of my family. When I met Steve, I felt that my life really began.

"But now, I feel like Steve's roommate, not his wife. It's ridiculous to quarrel about Christmas trees, but even when it's not Christmas, I feel so lonely. I fell in love with Steve because he made me feel adored and appreciated; I forgot to dislike myself for a while. Now I'm scared he doesn't care anymore."

Continued on page 3:  His Turn


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