I spoke to my father today via Skype video. I got the idea from my conversation with him that he doesn’t understand what I’m going through at all. I said that actions speak louder than words to me, so I’ll wait and see what actions Shu Mei takes before doing anything. I think he misconstrued that to mean I wanted to do something bad to Shu Mei. Then, I answered the question of what Billy had said about this. I said that Billy told me yesterday that Shu Mei had said to him and Tyley that I was going to take them to America to live with my “girlfriend”. I figured out that he was actually speaking about my ex-wife, Tara, and not any of the girlfriends I had between her and Shu Mei. Honestly, I can think of nothing worse at this time than to try and go back to my first wife. The idea seems extremely idiotic to me, too. In fact, if my ex-wife were the only woman on earth, I would turn gay. I have no idea how Shu Mei got that crazy notion in her head and, more importantly, why she told that to Billy.
Then, Dad chastised me for bringing this terrible situation up with Billy. In fact, it was Billy that brought it up to me. I wasn’t even talking to Billy about the situation, nor have I since Saturday night. I did talk to him then, because I desperately needed someone to talk to and he was the only one available. (You see, I have no friends to speak of.) Even then, I didn’t speak badly about Shu Mei to him. Can’t Dad understand that I know it’s wrong to talk to Billy and/or Tyley about this?
At one point, Dad wanted to hang up on me because he felt I was being negative about the whole saving face issue. Dad said that I cannot change Shu Mei, which is true, and then he tells me that he isn’t going to allow her to divorce me. Isn’t that contradictory?
Let me tell you, you don’t know the half of the problems I’ve had with Shu Mei. I have held a lot back from going in these entries, not because I’m trying to conceal something, but most of it I thought was trivial and not pertinent to the message I was trying to convey at the time. In retrospect, it is all important and the little things do add up. You think I’ve told you so many negative things? Well, there are a thousand more for every one that I’ve shared with you here. I wanted to write on this weblog more often, but I couldn’t think of anything good to say. If I had waited for something good to say, I wouldn’t have written at all. Maybe that would have been better, as Shu Mei doesn’t even want to speak to me now. Maybe I shouldn’t have written anything at all. I just thought that maybe I could help someone in the future avoid the mistakes that I have made, and to help myself recognize and strive to not commit the same mistakes as I did before. Ironically, I seem to be doing that very thing.
I’m really upset that my father can’t understand how much I have given to this marriage and how little Shu Mei has. Dad asked me if Shu Mei and I made a commitment five and a half years ago when we got married, to stay together through good times and bad, forever. He didn’t like my answer that “one of us did”. Until this past week, I had never even considered divorce as an option. (And, I have since taken that option out of my mind.) From the beginning until now, Shu Mei has brought it up repeatedly. How do you think that makes me feel? And, how do you think it makes me feel when my father questions my level of commitment? It should be Shu Mei that he is questioned, not me.
It just isn’t my father, either. My mother seems to relate more to Shu Mei than she does to me, so she tends to take that position when she attempts to advise me. I try to understand that they have known me all my life and have seen my many weaknesses and mishaps. Also, I am the kind of person that doesn’t put on errs and have let them know when I made mistakes. On the other hand, Shu Mei is someone who believes in saving face, that to put up a good front is the best way to go. So, I have to tell myself that this is what they’re reacting to. It isn’ t what is real, just a facade. But, that still doesn’t help me understand how they can have such little faith in me when I tell them the truth? Have they known me to lie about things as important as this?
I am the one trying to make this marriage work. This isn’t my first marriage. This is now. Things are different. I am different. I knew immediately then that I was a horrible husband to Tara. That isn’t the case now. I feel confident that I have done more than enough to make this marriage successful. What other man has played his role better than I have? How many hours did my father take care of us children when we were young? How many diapers did he change? How many baths did he give? How many nights did he play with us, dropping whatever he was doing to spend time with us? Those are some of the things I do in playing my role as a father. And it isn’t because I feel obligated to do them, it’s because I want to do them. Nothing gives me greater joy than the time I spend with Billy and Tyley. Nothing.
I love my father. He has helped me immensely in life. Through his wisdom, I have avoided many of life’s pitfalls. His guidance has been much-appreciated by me throughout my life, but I’m just really upset that I can’t get the support I need now. Shu Mei’s family believe in stubbornness and vain pride, but I didn’t think mine did.
Now, don’t get the idea that I’m deflecting here, because I’m not. I take full responsibility for my actions. I was the one who made a bad decision to marry Shu Mei, but it was based on the information I had at the time. Yes, Dad did tell me about saving face, not to the extent that he told me about it AFTER I was married, but he did mention it. However, and this is a big HOWEVER, he didn’t tell me not to get married or even that I would have to never bring up the problems with my spouse in a conversation with her. So, I cannot understand why he is trying to come across now with an “I told you so” attitude. He didn’t tell me so.
Now, I get the feeling that everyone is blaming me for all the problems. I just cannot agree, but that’s what I’m understanding them to be saying. Okay, let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that I am the cause of all the problems. Isn’t that even more reason to go to counseling? Am I beyond help, where even counseling won’t help me discover my problems and how to solve them? If that is so, then why is it that I have asked, no begged, Shu Mei to go to counseling with me? I could go alone, as I did when I was dating Lilee, because she also didn’t believe in counseling, but it would end up the same thing – the counselor talking about her problems, instead of mine. What good is that? The point is that I cannot see my problems as Shu Mei sees them. She really needs to be there to bring them up to the counselor, or there’s no way that he or she can understand what is going on, at least not for a very long time.
So, the fact of the matter is that Shu Mei has to go to counseling for our marriage to succeed. And, that is what I would hope my parents would focus on now, instead of trying to make me feel worse than I already do. I know it must not be any slice of heaven to see their son having so many problems in his marriage, but counseling should have been something that was encouraged by all from the get-go. I know it was by me, but nobody listened to me then. I hope someone is listening now. I’m usually more wrong than I am right, but on this matter, I have one thing to say to my father: “I told you so.”