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Hiding The Fighting

By Monica Bielanko |

Marriage isn't all photoshopped domestic bliss

I’ve been blogging for six years. It’s been a long, winding, pothole-riddled road, to say the least.

There was that bizarre and completely mind blowing online back-and-forth (that lasted for years) with my husband’s ex-girlfriend – who I have never met.

There’ve been all the exes that contacted me after I wrote about them but before I was smart enough to use pseudonyms. How was I to know they’d track me down to my small corner of the internet?

There was the time I realized by boss reads my blog regularly. And, of course, there have been a lot of creepy strangers who have decided they absolutely hate my guts and must tell me about it.

Take, for example, this latest comment in reference to a somewhat sarcastic post I wrote about being exhausted by my newborn who is up most of the night:

…Monica & Serge have been having serious trouble in their marriage for a while now. It’s only going to get worse. They have no foundation.

If you get divorced now, they kids won’t even remember you two together and they won’t even miss the family they never really had.

Monica can go back and investigate her bisexual urges and try and find someone who makes her life comeplete (although I must crack your bubble here and let you know that crap ain’t even real. No one ever does it for you. You’ll just spend your life looking for someone else to make you happy when to be happy was within you all along.)

And Serge can go find a decent job, get a decent girl he’ll meet down at the bowling alley who loves his music and adores him and truly loves him mentally and physically and wants to be a wife, not the man in the relationship. And Serge can thrive as the leader and husband he was meant to be. He’s have some new kids with this uber sweet wife and they’ll love Violet and Henry, and everyone will life happy ever after with no needless shreeching drama from Monica being unhappy because she’s stuck with Serge when she ain’t got that old time feeling no more.

Come again?

That’s some seriously freaky anger right there.  I hope it’s misplaced aggression from somebody who just got dumped, otherwise I need to hire a bodyguard, ASAP.

YEESH.

It’s comments like this that make it hard to be honest when my marriage isn’t doing so well. Why give some unhappy, ham-fisted buttface ammunition? I’ll tell you why. I guess because there are so many people out there pretending. Pretending their marriage is amazing, pretending they’re happier than Charlie Sheen after a brick of coke and a hooker, pretending they have more money than they do. I hate that. I want you to know my marriage sucks sometimes. I want you to know that I’ve gone in the bathroom, turned on the shower and scream-cried into a towel. And I want to know that about you too. Because it helps us all feel a little less lonely in an increasingly isolating world.

So, in a way, it’s hateful comments like the above that let me know I’m doing something right. I’m shining a flashlight on my marriage and saying, hey, it ain’t all photoshopped pictures up in here, y’all.

Maybe there are some people, a lot of people, who never argue, who never feel like punching their husband in the face. If that’s you, fantastic! If that’s the kind of stuff you want to read about I can politely direct you to a million blogs that showcase alleged domestic bliss. However, I am not one of those people. Maybe the Bielankos are dysfunctional (we totally are), maybe it’s me personally (it probably is) but who knows, I haven’t been to enough therapy to figure it out.

I do know that if I didn’t write honestly about my marriage I might as well not be writing at all. Disagreeing, arguing, fighting, whatever you want to call it, is a part of my marriage.  But, as much as I want to be honest to complete strangers about the ups and, more specifically, the downs of my relationship, it’s the part I desperately struggle to hide from my daughter, and eventually, when he’s old enough, my son too.

Both my husband and myself grew up in houses with single moms who yelled. Before they were single they fought with our dads. A lot. We had no positive role models for relationships, hell, we had no dad role models at all. That’s no excuse, but it can seriously hamstring a person trying their hardest to make it through the latest lap of the marriage marathon. Each lap is SO different. You can be cruising along on one lap and gasping for breath the next.

I don’t want to put on a show, I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not. I wrote the story of how we met , and it’s as romantic a love story as there ever was. But it doesn’t define our relationship, it was just the first few months. Over the course of seven years we’ve had some highs and lows, all of which define our relationship, and quite honestly, it’s coming out on the other side of the lows that are the most defining of all.

It’s hiding the drama from the kids that is most difficult, the impatient exchange of words that Violet so carefully listens to now. Parents are built to want more for their children than they had and I would consider myself an abject failure as a mother if Violet ever looks back and remembers me arguing with her dad like I remember with my parents.

That’s why it’s the aspect of parenthood I find the most challenging. Hiding when I’m upset, controlling my acid tongue and moving forward without saying what I really want to say. Because, in the end, my children are so much more important than proving I’m right in whatever ridiculous argument we find ourselves having in front of our children.

Read about the personal struggles 6 other parents try to hide from their kids.

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About Monica Bielanko

monica-bielanko

Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Hiding The Fighting

  1. Katie says:

    I admire you and thank you for posting honestly about your marriage. It aint all sunshine and roses, and although I prefer posting the good over posting the bad, I think it’s good for people to see all sides. Our marriage is real and we have ups and downs as well…and it’s refreshing to see others expressing that without feeling the need to sugarcoat it.

    And people who are married and never fight? I always say either they are lying or living in separate houses from each other. Not sure how you could live with ANYone and never fight.

  2. Erin says:

    Good for you, Monica. I love your writing and I love reading about the not-so-sunny times you and Serge have. It makes me have faith in my own marriage, that we’re just in a valley and not heading towards a finish line. I don’t have kids so I can’t imagine how hard it must be to continue caring for them on no-hours of sleep; but even if I did, I still don’t know what it’s like to be YOU doing those things. I think that’s something people should keep in mind. Everyone deals differently and if writing about your hard times here helps you deal, keep on keepin on. xoxo

  3. Julie says:

    You. Are. Awesome. I can’t tell you how sick I am of reading blogs that paint this picture of hearts and smoochies when it comes to married life, or write crap like “I never raise my voice at my husband, I just take a deep breath and calm down!” Bullllshiiiitttt. Or maybe it’s not bullshit and I’m just a terrible wife because the only deep breaths I take are when I’m preparing to scream at my husband that he is a stupid fucking asshole at least 2 or 3 times a week. We fight, a lot. Most of the time it’s over something really important like the tone with which I said “Ok” when he asked me if I wanted pasta for dinner…then two hours later he’s calling me a nagging bitch and i’m screaming that I never liked his cooking anyway. We don’t have kids but I think the dogs must judge us. During the bad times I think we both doubt the relationship. But, at the end of the day, we love each other and this thing we have going works, most of the time. Thanks for your honesty, Monica, and you are not insane. Or we both are.

  4. Rebecca says:

    My initial response to that angry comment was shocked laughter. That person can’t be serious, right?! You’re response to that comment was the best and only correct response. Ya old pro!

    I couldn’t possibly agree with you more. Everyone out there faking that everything in their life is perfect isn’t doing anyone any favors. It’s sad that so many feel like they are failing and being judged unless their lives are perfect. More people need to realize that life isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be happy. I have no doubt that you and Serge and your sweet family are happy, even if your life is a little bumpy. And, frankly, I sometimes envy the honesty you two share in your relationship. That should be treasures.

    And by the way, I’m totally one of your creepy stalkers. And one of these days when I see you at Walmart or the mall, I’m totally going to say “hi!” … Maybe…

  5. Autumn says:

    Eff the haters. (Am I allowed to say that? Hmm…)
    Every relationship is different, and I applaud you for being honest about yours. There are a million blogs out there full of people who photoshop themselves, their kids, their marriages – their entire lives.
    Retouched photos are driving 14 year old girls all over the world to puke up their lunches in public toilets and to never think they are “good enough”. BS photochopped lives are having a similar effect on the 20 and 30-somethings. We are walking around thinking that our lives aren’t good enough, we don’t have enough “stuff”, our kids aren’t perfect enough and we aren’t losing our pregnancy weight as fast as we “should”. In reality the “reality” we are basing these self-judgments on is a series of sparkly half-truths spun by someone desperate for attention.
    If I wanted to read storybook fiction, I’d read a novel, but that’s not what I’m after.
    Thanks for being real. It makes the rest of us “real” girls feel like we’re just fine, even if we aren’t perfect.

  6. Lori says:

    I LOVE your honesty. I’ve been reading your blog for years, and the thing that I appreciate the most is that you don’t sweep the ugly parts under the rug, and pretend that everything is sunshine and rainbows. I know too many people (in real life and in blogs) who seem to live in a fantasy land. I personally think that a few of them are hiding a lot under their happy facades.

    I’m glad that you are aware of fighting in front of the kids. But one of the best things I’ve heard about the topic was that it’s okay to fight in front of kids (albeit probably not the ones where you’re calling each other every name in the book), but that you must also Make Up in front of the kids too. When kids never see conflict, they don’t learn how to deal with it. They need to know that it’s okay to disagree or voice your opinion AND THEN know that it can be resolved (okay… maybe not every disagreement can be resolved). And I think that when we (as adults) know that we have an audience, it also makes us more apt to fight fair (at least some of the time).

  7. Amee says:

    I generally do have a blissful marriage with 3 charming children. But sometimes, I have nights like last night, when we are both sleep deprived, have major deadlines, and when we go to bed at 2 AM (because he was using the computer in our bedroom) I tell him “I feel like you don’t care about the things in my life” …only to hear him snore in response… Then spend the wee hours of the night crying and catching up on dishes and laundry… My point is, reading your honest account of life and relationships DOES help ME feel less alone. Even though you are a complete stranger.
    I hope you have more blissfully happy moments than the discouraging ones. (like the video you posted forever ago with Serge singing with the spongebod drum and Violet wandering around…I loved that one, so sweet) And I hope, while you are going through the baby-caused sleep-deprivition you can tap into the happy memories to get you through. The babies do start sleeping…eventually.

  8. Tina says:

    Monica, you have to be true to how you feel at any given point. Your refreshing “tell it like it is” writing style may offend some people who feel its their place to tell you how much of an out of touch bisexual kook you are, well, they don’t have to read your post now do they. My relationship with my husband has just as many downs as ups and while I may not feel as comfortable telling the whole world about them as you are. Don’t let them get you down girl…or your post-partum mommie hormones might go all ninga on them….type on!!!!!

  9. Jessica says:

    I admire how you write about your relationship. I can’t. My husband wouldn’t stand for it, and I can’t just veto him on that. Plus things have been REALLY rough for the last year or so and it’s hard to write about it when I haven’t been able to put it in perspective yet. A diary is great, though. Props to you guys for being able to put it out there. I know it’s nice for me to hear that not everyone is having an awesome relationship all the time, so thanks.

  10. (London) Amanda says:

    Monica, you are true to yourself, don’t ever change that. It’s one of the things we love about you.
    You get so many positive comments, that I’d say when you start to read a comment and realise it is a personal snipe at you or your family, rather than a response to something that you’ve asked people, don’t even bother to read any further. Just move on to the next one. There is a whole world of difference between the particularly vindictive comment you posted above and people giving their opinion when you’ve asked for it – like your induction post recently. It’s great to hear all opinions even if they don’t agree with you, but a personal attack on your family is just not acceptable. Bin ‘em.

  11. emily says:

    Thank you for writing this. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and just had our first baby 2 months ago. We are both battling depression and our once solid marriage is shaky. I believe we will make it through but I need to hear about other couples going through the same thing.

    Word of advice, don’t Google things like “baby ruined marriage” or “had baby considering divorce.” Not only because you won’t find anything helpful but also because your computer will remember it and suggest it to you when googling something else and its just a sad reminder of the hard times.

  12. Lucky says:

    “quite honestly, it’s coming out on the other side of the lows that are the most defining of all.” That is awesome! So true.

  13. Beth says:

    Monica, you are so inspiring, raw and real. I love reading your writing, and what makes it so amazing is your honesty. Honesty whether high or low. You have courage to be authentic, and that makes you so relatable. What a relief for someone to say out loud that marriage is not a happy little dreamworld where everyone’s needs are met all the time and lollipops grow on trees! We are all doing the best we can trying to love each other and while being true to ourselves every day. Anyone who says that they don’t have to work through issues in marriage is probably repressing like whoa. Like you said, conflict is inevitable, it’s how you manage and come out of it that defines the relationship.
    Keep writing, lady.

  14. blogreader says:

    but why does it upset you when people who know the back story give you their opinion about what you chose to make public & write about in the first place? don’t u post teasers about what you write here, at your blog? so someone or a few different people called you out. isn’t that what you are expecting?

  15. yougotsars says:

    It takes courage to be honest, whether in your day-to-day life via voice or in writing on the interwebs. It takes an inordinate amount of strength to do so and share your name and show your face for anyone to see. Knowing anyone can comment and condemn you for the realities of your life is something writers who choose this forum face daily and the results can be disheartening. On the other-hand, they can be uplifting and a good reminder that inasmuch as humans have the capacity to hurt, they have the capacity to love.

    Be well, you are loved.

  16. Juli says:

    Welcome to Normal. I have 21 years of experience riding the marriage roller coaster (26 if you include time served, aka engaged). We all disagree. We all run away, even if it’s just to the bathroom behind a locked door to scream into a towel. We are all flawed in some way. I don’t know anyone with a perfect or near perfect marriage. I do know far too many parents who argue in front of their children and have been witness the damage left in the wake of those arguments. That you and your husband do your best to keep that separate is a testament to part of the makeup of a solid foundation to a good marriage. Some of the things that drive you nuts during the first decade of marriage tend to become the endearing things that just make you shake your head and smile as more years go by. Please ignore the bitter comments you included in your post. People who write with venom like that are really the unhappy ones who live such dysfunctional lives, that by comparison, you ARE living the fairy tale. To be completely honest, I think I contemplated divorce in the first 10-12 years of my marriage more than a bajillion times. Now we are in that comfortable place where there’s no more uncertainty. And it’s not because we settled for anything or felt like it would be too difficult to start over with someone new but because we truly love and respect each other for all that we are as well as for all we are not nor ever will be. So allow me to once again welcome you to normal and please let yourself enjoy the ride.

  17. Linda, the original one says:

    WTH? Am I understanding this correctly? Someone wrote that one your personal blog?

  18. Mia says:

    I love your honesty! You make me laugh because I totally know how you feel. Why can guys be so clueless? Ugh. I should start blogging just so I can keep track of all the ridiculous conversations I’ve had to have with my husband over the years. I try to crawl into his head and imagine what it must be like to live such a simple existence, one where I honestly think he forgets other people live in this house. I know I’m always part to blame too though – neither of us are perfect. Anyway, I love your writing. Don’t filter it. Puuulease! You make me want to blog!

  19. Elissa says:

    Wow! That’s crazy anger styles. The sort of thing that you can only laugh off because if you think about it too much it’s really creepy and a bit scary.

    Of course all couples fight! Well, they either fight or they don’t talk honestly at all. Not that talking honestly means you’re always having productive, rational fights and disagreements either. I have totaly stupid arguments with my husband all the time and they are usually about the same things. Sure, the surface issues are different, but we’ve got some underlying differences of opinon that I think are the root cause of most of our disagreements. And, you know what? It’s ok. We’re both passionate and stubbon people, so the only way we could avoid fighting altogether would be to not be together, or even know each other. On the flip side, we’re just as aggressive with our love too!

    I think we need to stop pretending that perfect means happy, sunshine and rainbows all the damn time. Perfect is having mutual respect to forgive and move on, and enough self respect to stand up and say so when you aren’t happy.

    Thanks for being real, Monica.

  20. jeneria says:

    Again, I love your writing and I love your humor. And I know all about the shower and screaming trick. I’ve been married almost 13 years, since the age of 22 and it does get smoother. Not that we don’t still fight, but our coping mechanisms have (for a lack of a better word) matured.

  21. April Taylor says:

    Ahem… Just to put this out here, not that you care (and you really shouldn’t) I guarantee that the ratio of haters and lovers of you/your blog is fairly low on the haters side. Its almost as if these negative comments are from people who may know you in person or something. So strange. Anyhow, keep up the writing style. Write what YOU want to write. I’ll keep reading and love every bit of it. ;)

  22. Julie says:

    One word: Bitch (her, not you)

    Correction: “Sweet” bitch.

    Nope. Make that “Uber Sweet” Bitch.

    That’s right, honey. Stay sweet. Working like a charm.

    (And yeah, duh, real love is sticking it out — honoring your commitment despite the fact that it isn’t perfect. If you’re not a testament to that, I don’t know who is)

    As always, thank you so much for your honesty. You’re an incredibly generous person to share your life with us.

  23. hannah says:

    yup. real is real. no one’s perfect. and it’s nice to know that you see more than just the negative or positive in your relationship, since both contribute to the life you have.

    I don’t really know how bad ‘bad’ is for you, but i just wanted to tell you that for some of us who do feel in the sunshine & roses (coming up on my 2nd anniv, and first kid soon after) to be real and honest about yourself and please don’t give up on continuing to try to make things better. Everyone has issues, sure, and only stupid people think there’s no getting past them (like that obviously hurting and delusional commenter) to better days. You sound like you have a great head on your shoulders, keep using it to make the next day brighter :D

  24. Jenny says:

    I think your honest writing (and Serge’s too) is what makes you so special as a blogger. It also means you’ve got balls, woman! I don’t know if I could do it as well as you do. EVERY marriage and relationship has been through major milestone rough patches. I know mine has… and you’re right: coming out the other side of it is what defines the relationship. Anyone who reads the honesty you put out there about your fights either isn’t in a relationship (and never has been) or is living in a lonely little naive bubble. Ignore them.

    I have to say too: part of what I’ve learned about my relationship with my husband is to focus on what he DOES do for me… ways he DOESN’T disappoint me, and the positive things in our marriage rather than the negative. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know: what we focus on and put our energy into is what will feel the most acute to us in our lives. I think it’s awesome that you post the truth about the fighting. But keeping posting the truth about the loving too, ya know? Not for us… for Serge. It’s not as if he doesn’t already know you love him, and as if you don’t communicate love to him one on one. But I’m sure he loves to read your posts to the general internet public of the positive stuff too.

    It’s all about balance. And you’ve got more of it in your blogging than any of the other fake-bliss bloggers out there. Bravo, woman. :)

  25. Katy E says:

    My parents have been married for 35 years and my mother will tell you or anyone else who asks that of those 35 years, about 33 years of it have been wonderful. The other 2 didn’t come all at once.

    I’ve been married for 2 and a half years and I adore my husband but this past year we moved to a new town for his job… it’s a place I absolutely hated when he interviewed here but we still moved here… and I still hate it. The only thing that could make me more miserable than the thought of being here longer than another year is being anywhere without him. If it weren’t for the love and devotion to my husband and our marriage, I’d have never stayed here this long.

    Please, please, please remember that it’s completely healthy to fight as long as you fight fair. If the kids catch you fighting, be sure to kiss and make up in front of them. Love each other more than your own pride. The crappy times make the good times that much sweeter!

  26. funkyamazon says:

    Jealousy.

    That is what motivates people to write bizarre scenarios where this person (possibly female, most likely, I’d guess) replaces herself with you in the scenario and cuts you down to make herself feel better. I truly think that story was something the commenter has probably been daydreaming for a while, because you cannot just spit something that insane out in a matter of seconds.

    Good for you for not photoshopping your life. That is why you have a successful blog and 50 people telling you that the other person is a shrew.

    That is why you are the only personal blog I read or really have ever read. I don’t do blogs, just not my style but I can relate to the feelings and sentiments you express. Just because someone doesn’t understand wit, sarcasm and style doesn’t mean they are correct. It means they are a rubbernecking nitwit who probably causes accidents on the freeway staring at the carnage of others’ lives while criticizing them at the same time. Just look away.

    Thank you for your honesty and the laughs. And once in a while little tears and sniffles of sentimental stuff. And if people think you are bitch, good, because bitches get shit done.

  27. heather says:

    I hear ya! More power to you for being honest that marriage is work – every.single.damn.day. The happily ever after is a crock of something that I bought, believed in, married and then realized didn’t have a darn thing to do with the every day realities of life. Marriage is swallowing what you want to say because you know it will only cause more harm in the long run, taking a deep breath when you really want to scream, forgiving when you want to hold a grudge, and giving your partner more slack than you thought you ever could. However, if you have a partner with you who’s in it, willing to do the work every.single.damn.day then it’s worth it. Most days.

  28. Janet says:

    For years we fought via email or instant messenging on our respective computers. Kids never knew a thing, I swear. It works.

  29. mwilson says:

    First of all, let me say thank you..for being so goddamn honest. I met and married my husband (also a musician) within 5 weeks. I love him more than anything…but I spent the 1st 2 years of our marriage thinking I was fucking crazy because marriage is HARD and sometimes..I do want to punch my hubs in the face. I came to realize that everyone feels that way at some point(s)
    during their marriage and there will be fighting and fucking and more fighting, throwing and breaking shit, mishaps and make-ups..and then some more really good fucking. That was only after I asked for/received some real balls out honesty from other couples (or in some cases blogs like this) that I realized that most people act like that shit NEVER HAPPENS. I felt so betrayed and lied to, so I decided from that point on I would be brutally honest with everyone when it came to how marriage can be, mine especially. Its never 100% bad and its never 100% good either and it is most certainly not the fairy tale that some people make it out to be. What matters is that you love each other and you make it out on the other side of bad with that love intact.

  30. just sayin says:

    Here’s the thing. I realize most of your new readers may not be aware of the drama stirring you’ve done in your time as a blogger, but a lot of people are…so I don’t really think you have much room to paint yourself as an innocent bystander here. On the one hand, you want to be respected as a writer, blogger, parent, etc. But on the other, you regularly use a public forum to air deeply personal issues, serious conflicts, and complaints, with seemingly no effort to improve them. So, that kind of puts you in the “trainwreck” category for a lot of folks, whether that’s your intention or not.

    Honestly, you can find plenty of people who vent and complain about their lives in a totally boundary free way, all over the internet. Check out opendiary and livejournal, and any number of miscellaneous journal oriented sites–what you’re doing really isn’t that unique. The difference is, you’re being given a much broader platform to air your grievances, which comes with certain trade offs. This isn’t a “safe space” you’re posting in, and if you’re uncomfortable with people criticizing you, well…you may not want to post such sensitive information.

    Also, looking at some of these comments? It’s kind of unnerving that your marital struggles may be causing some people to think their own negative, troubled, dysfunctional marriages are “ok” as is, which really may not be the case. It’s hard to say. You’re setting an example not only for your own kids, but for your readers as well. Constant fighting and verbal abuse, whether “common” or not, really aren’t healthy, and ought to be addressed through the right channels.

    Anyway, blah blah blah, if I don’t like I don’t have to read, yadda yadda. But, I read because I’m honestly hoping you can pull yourself up in life and improve your circumstances. You seem to have grown as a person, at least in writing, over the years. I’m hoping you’ll continue to do so.

  31. Alexandra says:

    Have enjoyed your writing for so long, Monica and grateful you don’t let the crazies scare you away. I think they are far, far outnumbered by your appreciators. The motivation of wanting to write something to hurt someone anonymously is a mystery. (or yeah, someone who just got dumped.). But your motivation for sharing your difficulties, to make those difficulties less isolating and hard for others, is a really beautiful thing.

  32. Dayna says:

    My parents didn’t fight. They just stopped talking to one another…for days at a time. On about a weekly basis.

    We have four kids and enduring some really stressful financial times, trying to sell a house while renting another… it’s been amazingly difficult and we fight sometimes. And sometimes the kids are home. We make up though and I like to think we don’t fight dirty and get really ugly… so I use the rationale that the kids are gonna be alright. They see lots of happiness between us and sometimes they see the not so happiness. Hopefully what they take from it is that discussion, sometimes even heated ones, is key to a (somewhat) healthy relationship.

  33. Amber says:

    Are you sure that isn’t from someone wishing it would end between you and serge? Because, they obviously were pretty fond of him….hahaha move over monica, hello crazy stalker. Sometimes the comments are as great as the blogging, sad I missed this gem when it occurred lol. And p.s. I threaten the mr. on almost a daily basis…its love, the other crap is fake, I dont do fake, I plot on him mostly when hes sleeping. Joking. Kinda.

  34. Just Jill says:

    Monica – you rock and I love you. And you’re human, and so are the rest of us. Blogging with honesty definitely requires a thick skin; not sure how you do it sometimes, but you are to be commended.

    Tomorrow is my 9th anniversary. Thanks for posting this particular topic; awesome timing for me because I’ve been thinking about throwing in the towel for a while. This gives me hope, and so do the others comments – thanks everybody!

    Thanks for continuing to keep it real. May you have at least 4 hours of blissful sleep tonight! Big hugs!

  35. Melissa says:

    Monica: Your honesty makes you REAL! Let the haters, hate. I love your writing. I am convinced you cannot live with another person 100% of the time and never, ever get mad. If that person happens to be a man, and a spouse – it’s a bazillion times worse. I met my husband on a Friday and moved out that immediate Sunday. I had no idea he would be my greatest love but also my complete opposite. We have been married for 10 years and have 4 kids. Being SO different has definitely lead to our fair share of arguments, that’s for sure. I can’t help but share a fantastic article about the normalcy of fighting that I just read today. It totally made me feel better about the bickering that pops up from time to time.

    http://www.yourtango.com/201168680/the-marriage-secret-no-one-ever-tells-you

  36. Erin says:

    Geeezus! The person who wrote that about you must have some serious issues. They know nothing about your relationship except for what your post. What a dick. Or bitch. (?)

    Either way, yeah, my husband and I fight. And sometimes I think, “Ugh, I’m not even attracted to you right now.” It happens.

    I think of it this way. My mom is one of my best friends. Sometimes she makes me crazy. She says something patronizing…er…something…and I go nuts. BUT, she’s my mom. I love her and I always will. Unconditionally.

    However, I honestly find it hard to love someone unconditionally who I haven’t known my whole life. It’s FUCKING HARD!! (Not meant to be a sex joke). It’s easy to get in an argument with my husband and think, “What a bastard,” and go fantasize about that hottie on that one trashy show I love. I mean, there’s no way out with your mom or your kids. These are people we will always love unconditionally. Blech. I’m rambling. Long post short: I think it’s hard to love someone unconditionally forever when you haven’t grown up with them/you’re not raising them. There are some weeks that my husband makes me crazy. Other weeks, I swoon. Sometimes it’s daily/monthly. That’s marriage.

    One more comment: lets analyze the person who wrote about you without knowing you since they honored you with the same courtesy. I bet it’s a fat, nasty old man with an awful sex life, a wife who let’s him “be the man and wear the pants” (which obviously Serge isn’t allowed to do: mindfuck happening) who loves analyzing other people’s marriages to give him ammo for his weekly Mormon ramblings over the pulpit. Or, a bitchy, gossipy Relief Society Sister also looking for new shit in class to talk about…who also has a shitty sex life. Now I’m done.

  37. Hillary Laney says:

    Thank you.

    Sometimes I feel like we are doing this so wrong and everyone around us is doing it right. I am glad to know that there are others out there that struggle just like we do but work through it, like we do, and don’t throw in the towel, like way too many do.

  38. L says:

    Oh God. I have to go to bed. But just quickly:

    1) Sweetie, you just had a baby. Even I know that isn’t the time to worry too much about what your marriage might look like on paper to an outsider, or even to worry too much about it at all. Your mission right now – both of you – is to just get through this time period.

    2) WTF? Leader? Snort. Man in the relationship? Double snort. Anyone who thinks like THAT has serious trouble ahead of them in their relationships. And no foundation.

    3) And no foundation? WTF? and anyway, if you want the opinion of one internet stranger, it’s all looked a lot better in the past couple of years. That’s what happens. When you have shared goals and stuff (like getting out of debt, building a future, etc.) and you get used to each other, and time starts to smooth over the rough parts. This is just a temporary post-partum blip. It can’t be anything else, given the fact that you are post-partum. Don’t give it much airspace in your head. It’s not the time to evaluate anything.

  39. Karen says:

    Pluuuuu-eaze. Living with someone is SO hard; that is why I’m still single and have become a spinster. The person who made the nasty comment needs to take that hyperbole and stick it up their ass.

  40. Colleen says:

    Monica, you are so my favorite.

  41. Laura says:

    Marriage? Hardest thing in the world. And I’ve only been at it 2 years. One of my aunts, who had five kids within 12 years, just told me over Christmas she thinks raising 20 kids would be easier than the work it takes to make her marriage work. But also, that it’s worth it. Thank you so much, Monica, for being honest and encouraging ALL women to be honest and to support each other. Because it DOES feel lonely if you and your partner aren’t speaking or have hurt each others feelings or you think OH MY GOD I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE and you think you’re going to lose it. Does it mean you don’t have a foundation? NO. Does it mean your marriage will crumble to the ground? NO. But sometimes it feels like it does, esp. if you feel like you’re in it alone. But we’ve all been there. And yeah, it sucks. But it doesn’t mean you and Serge don’t love each other. And it doesn’t mean you won’t get through it. Thanks for letting us know you’re in a tough spot, cuz now we can all be thinking of you. I know in my life, that’s seriously made a difference.

  42. J says:

    When I came across your blog a few days ago through a link under a youtube video, I instantly fell in love with your writing style. So blunt. This world needs honesty, so I appreciate those who can tell it like it is. Your writing also reminded me of Dooce – are you familiar? Regarding hate mail, she actually created a website packed with ads to make money off all the hate mail she receives – brilliant! and funny. You’ve probably seen it, but if not, http://dooce.com/hate/ It’s sad how much hate there is in this world and how easy it is for people to express it though the internet. Being able to find a way to make light of it when you’re in the public eye is necessary.

    My husband and I rarely fight and when we do, it’s very tame. I know that we’ll have a huge explosion of a fight some day, but until then, I’ll go with what we have! But even tho we never fight, our marriage is far from perfect. Sometimes I wish we’d fight sometimes … Make things a little more passionate. We are both just too easy going.

    Anyway, keep doing what you’re doing! The first night I found your blog I literally read for hours and stayed up way past my “bedtime”. Thoroughly entertained by your work… And when I read the story of how you and your hubby met, I have to say I was a bit envious. I’ve had that dream about a few musicians in my day, but it was never the right time or place. It’s good to be able to live vicariously though another’s experiences!

    Thank you!

  43. Amelia says:

    if it were me in your place (rattled by an angry troll, hoping for some unanimous fist-bumping support), i know i’d hawkishly read the comments on this post. so although I tend to consume blogs in the most passive, voyeuristic fashion possible, I think I owe it to you (and every other blogger whose content i’ve mainlined without so much as a “what’s up!”) to chime in.

    like many citizens of the internet, I have a little collection of blogs that spew into my RSS reader each morning. I skim to see what fancy craft cocktails these strangers whipped out for their dinner party last night. I look on as they agonize over paint chips labelled “Infant Fawn” or “Pashmina Blush.” Or, seething with envy, I follow them as they spend an incredible year abroad with their husband (who is inexplicably referred to by his first initial only), punctuated by photos of their souvenirs, morning coffee, etc.

    my point is this: we all use these things as a means of living vicariously. and i spend more time than i’d like to admit comparing my life to that of some random woman cheerfully shaking up cocktails as she paints her perfect living room. and I can think myself into some dark doldrums until i remember: these people are delightful storytellers, but real and unflinching they are not. which is why you’ve stayed in my rotation so long. and the earlier commenter who suggested that this kind of honest, soul-bearing writing only has a place on LiveJournal? that’s the same type of person who’s getting all their news from FOX.

    here’s to remaining badass and unflinching. don’t let them chase you into the land of dinner parties and pink paint chips, and don’t you dare start referring to Serge as “S.”

  44. powergoddess12 says:

    Wait! Scream-crying into a towel is okay, right? Cause, um, I’m a big fan. We don’t fight often, but that’s the best thing when we do. The scream-cry into the towel on the side of the tub. It makes me feel better, and it always brings our fight to a close, too.

    I’m glad you don’t hide the tough sh!t from bloggers. We need the re-assurance that we aren’t the only ones who struggle. So in the words of another commenter, Eff them Effers. I gave up swearing for Lent. Otherwise I’d go crazy with those Effs!

  45. Elissa says:

    wow – can’t believe someone wrote that – you sure it wasn’t from one of the aforementioned ex-girlfriends :) I absolutely appreciate your honesty about your marriage and you’re right, for most people, marriage is hard work and definitely has its ups and downs. My marriage became infinitely more difficult after having our second child. Children add a whole other dimension to a marriage and if its not navigated carefully, it can have the potential to cause serious problems. As long as you keep working at it and try to remember why you got together in the first place, you have a shot.

  46. Lizi says:

    As a twenty-something woman who’s wants to get married one of these days, I thank you for your transparency.

  47. jen says:

    i grew up with parents who seemed to hate each other, but they’re still married 34 years later. that did a number on me. i struggle every day to keep my marriage on the right track, and sometimes i slip. my husband is my best friend, and i can’t imagine life without him. some days though…a nice brick wall would be awesome. you can never trust those we-don’t-disagree-or-argue couples. that’s a bunch of bullshit. our friends often say we have the perfect marriage because they don’t see the valleys, only the many peaks and plateaus. i assure them it’s not all roses, but without those bad parts the good parts wouldn’t be so good. we’re a team. we’re a good team. we’re a team who knows how to work through the hard times like deployments, a crashing housing market, and cancer to get to the good times like beach vacations, drinking coffee on the back porch while the sun comes up, and having a baby.

  48. jen says:

    and…screw those people who leave nasty comments to make themselves feel better. i’m sure it’s hard for them to get up every day and put so much energy into finding ways to be mean. i’m sure they have perfect marriages and perfect kids to go with their perfect jobs and perfect clothes that cover their perfect bodies. we should all be so lucky.

  49. CDN Andrea says:

    @ERIN- I really thought I was the only person who though like that- re: hard to unconditionally love someone who hasn’t raised you/you are raising. I feel so much better now, there’s at least one person out there like me :) I’ve realised though, that this problem would be the same no matter who I married, so I might as well stick to it with the hubby I did marry who, on sometimes a daily basis, makes me swing between being madly in love and considering where I would hide his body in our backyard.

  50. pookamomma aka gibsondog says:

    Dang! That was a freakish comment, crazy mo-fo!

    Just know that when you write, others listen, others relate, others don’t relate and hate. But, those who relate, greatly appreciate.

  51. JenC says:

    I’m sorry someone commented like that. During a recent extended rough patch, it was so hard to keep it from the kids and I so don’t want the shouting matches, or the silent dinners as my parents ignored each other that I had as a kid. Children watch their parents so intently, and internalize far more than we realize at the time. Marriage is tough work, adding ingredients to the mix: children, finances, work increases the friction (as well as adds to the connection, its a two way thing). I think you’re right, coming out of the lows are a defining moments and often make you stronger. Peace.

  52. JenH says:

    I can’t lie, I like reading the trainwreck, sorry!!! This is going to sound bad too, but I have read Monica for years, and while I totally admire her and would love to take her out for a beer or 3, she makes me not want to get married and never have babies (well i don’t want babies anyway!). I am 32 years old and i sure as hell won’t put up with any bullshit now from any man! Readin this makes me want to be an even stronger woman!

  53. Fanannie says:

    Thank you for sharing that…I often feel like I am surrounded by people with perfect marriages/perfect relationships, so to have someone share their HONEST story is so refreshing! Makes me realize I am not alone…

    And as I get older (approaching 40), I realize that the world is filled with more shades of gray than I could have ever imagined. When I was in my 20′s, I thought everything was black and white. How wrong I was…

  54. Monica Bielanko says:

    @Jenh – A “trainwreck” to you perhaps, but real life to a lot of married people. And I definitely have a tendency to chronicle the bad more than the good as I find the good times can be boring and vomit inducing. But putting up with shit from a man is part of marriage… It’s about compromise. That doesn’t mean you get dumped on, it’s give and take.

    Also, I don’t like being pregnant, but that’s COMPLETELY different than motherhood. I LOVE being a mother.

  55. jen says:

    JENH… being married and having kids doesn’t mean you aren’t a very strong woman. it takes a strong woman to face those things in life that are difficult and rise above them. i don’t put up with bullshit either…and does it look like monica does? um, no.

  56. Lauren says:

    I agree that if we talk about the reality of marriage we would all be better off. It is hard and takes work and compromise. Newborns are especially hard on a marriage!
    I’ve been married 5 years now – we have 1 child and another due in September. What I have found is this….
    When I ‘vent’ about the bad parts of marriage I tend to focus on them more and feel less content in my marriage. When I go out of my way to brag about the good things my husband does I think about those more and feel happier overall.

  57. Annika says:

    Hi Monica,
    I’m going to deviate a bit from most responses here. I hope the following is helpful, because that is what it is meant to be.

    There is a group at the University of Washington that studies how fighting correlates to the longevity of the relationship. What they find is that *how* a couple fights is a much better indicator of the longevity/happiness of the relationship than the *quantity* of fighting. There’s a fascinating discussion of their findings on a “This American Life” podcast:
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/261/the-sanctity-of-marriage

    So, just because you guys fight a lot doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong, per se. What these researchers have found is that the couples that last are the ones that “fight fair”, and that people can learn to “fight fair”. I am super conscious of this whenever my husband and I argue (inevitably about the same topics!). We try to keep it respectful and cut things off when we are clearly not getting anywhere.

    It may be helpful for you guys to do a bit of couples counseling or find a friend who can maybe moderate an argument, because it really does seem like the frequency and nature of your arguments are getting to you. It might be a relief to both of you to learn to argue in a way that doesn’t leave you both so upset. Even though my husband and I have a pretty low-drama relationship, we have been going to couples counseling on a regular basis for a while to learn how to deal with our stress in a way that won’t damage our relationship (we’re both academics who work 60+ hours a week). We’ve learned a lot, and it has made us stronger together.

    By the way, I don’t think it’s bad if you disagree in front of the kids. It’s useful for kids to know that there can be big differences between people but that they can still (mostly!) get along. The only thing is to make sure that the superego has a firm grip on the id, at least until the kid is out of earshot. No kid wants to hear one parent call the other an awful name.

  58. funkyamazon says:

    Venting can prevent the arguments for some personality types. And sarcasm can save the sanity of snarky people before they “attack”, it can deaden the impact of a statement taken the wrong way. To let a bit of the venom out before the bite, so to speak.

    It may not be the PC way to do it, but for some people, it works wonders. Like the poster who wants to “bury her husband in the backyard”. Hilarious, yes. Serious, no. Many of us feel that way, but we aren’t great writers who can express it the way someone who has a gift with dark humor, sarcasm or wit. People on the internet just troll to make themselves feel better. Commenting can feel good, even though it’s new to me. I kind of like it. Thanks for providing a forum even if there are some out there that don’t get it. Agreeing with everything someone says is no fun, but you have to at least understand that people are not saying everything literally all the time. I love reading the comments, it’s half the fun. You have some really funny followers, too.

    If I wasn’t snarky, I’d snap. But that’s just me. I never actually want to hurt anyone, it’s a protective measure I take to diffuse my irritation with human beings. Because having a husband (boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, whomever you live with) is annoying and even if you love them, it helps to hear that others can commiserate with you. Don’t varnish over it, otherwise you will have a shiny happy people BS blog like so many others. No one wants that.

  59. Linda says:

    Annika, thanks for posting the link. I read about that in Blink and was blown away with the alarming accuracy of the predictions. How frightening!

    Of course, it wasn’t a fatalistic conclusion; couples–as you mention–can seek out therapy to address conflicts and levels of animosity toward one another.

    I agree that kids shouldn’t have to hear their parents calling each other vile names or lashing out, but does anyone think that it can also be dangerous if babies, toddlers, or just kids observe their parents losing patience with one another? You know, like that tension? That silent anger, tension thing — in a moment of losing one’s cool — is my problem! I don’t lash out, but at least twice a week I have a frustrated moment where my unhappiness is apparent. The tension is apparent. It doesn’t last very long, but I don’t want to be stressing out my infant! Can they sense it? I’m sure they can. Is it traumatic for them? What do people think?

  60. SouthernMan says:

    Monica, you are a crack up.
    My wife once said “I don’t know what they’re talking about. Marriage isn’t hard work. Its the easiest thing being married to you.” Me: “You mean you’re not working?” Hello? So I’m the only one carrying this load? Seems easy to her. To be fair, I think she meant that the work of being married to me was enjoyable to her, considering other alternatives. Like being single or being saddled with men like the husbands of her friends and sisters. So I take it as a complement and will keep pulling the mostly enjoyable, always worth it, and quite often supremely happy load of being married to someone who isn’t me. Keep it up, it gets better as the years go by. He clearly loves you, as you do him. Just don’t hit him when you’re angry.

  61. Linda, the original one says:

    @Monica, it looks like you’ve arrived at Strollerderby with your own built in fan club.

  62. charity says:

    Thank you for writing so honestly about your life. I love that you that you share your feelings and insights.

    We all have those I want to hit you in the face moments. It’s nice to know someone else has them too. :)

  63. JenH says:

    Ouch, didn’t mean to touch a nerve, just saying.

  64. Monica Bielanko says:

    You call me a trainwreck, imply I am a weak woman who just sits around putting up with crap and toss in a comment about how I’ve somehow inspired you not to want children but you didn’t mean to touch a nerve? Uh, okay. If you took me out for that beer you were talking about would you say the same thing to my face?

  65. Gina says:

    Aw…Monica, you are so far from being wrecked. Now I…I am wrecked. We all put up with crap and some longer than others! You and the S-man have something special we all see that. This person Linda was just in a mood….you know…a nasty mood at the time. It’s all benign I am sure. so here a song I wrote about MARITAL CRAP. It’s called Big Eddy (also the name of a bitter Russian Lager)

    I don’t have a clue what to write in this song
    the chorus is fine but the words are all wrong
    although it’s been said that these lines should be read
    thought it best if you sung them instead, dear Ed,
    drag a comb through your darling bedhead

    Well I came home to find you asleep on the couch
    and tiptoed around you my big hungry slouch
    if I knew you were home I’d a planned something nice
    but this chicken’s still frozen on ice, anyway
    it’s about time you took my advice.

    (Chorus)
    Don’t say you do when you don’t
    Ed I’m talking to you honey
    Don’t say you will when you won’t
    you know it really isn’t funny
    Don’t say you’ll come when you know that you can’t
    and I won’t say a word when you rant
    no I shan’t, not a whisper from me when you rant

    Last month I told you my car’s rather beat
    the muffler that’s hanging? it dropped in the street
    the cops heard me coming and followed me home
    on the back of my ticket, your poem- it’s a tome
    on the lips of my lover is foam

    Paint me a picture, I’ll pay for your time
    Inspire one stanza, I’ll write the last line
    if you’d bring me some hope for I’m failing to cope
    we could spice up our rhythm with rhyme, one more time
    give me something worth more than a dime

    (Chorus)
    Don’t say you do when you don’
    Ed, I’m talking to you honey
    Don’t say you will when you won’t
    you know it really isn’t funny
    Don’t say you’ll come when you know that you can’t
    and I won’t say a word when you rant
    no I shan’t, not a whisper from me when you rant

  66. Shannon says:

    Good for you monica. these freaks who cant look at their own lives honestly, cannot handle the fact that you put yourself out there as a real, vulnerable person with highs and lows, good days and bad, triumphs and defeats…they are just trying to unload their own shit on you. life, marriage and kids…they’re all messy, complicated wonderful things and you face them head on…with a lot of people looking on. most of the people who read you, are inspired by you, or relate to you for that honesty. i know i do. i mean we’ve only met a handful of times, but through your blogs i’ve come to know you and care about you as more than just a friend’s wife…but as someone i really relate to. marriage, motherhood, money, a career – they’re hard to juggle to say the least. anyone who pretends otherwise is full of shit and not worth the time it takes to read their posts. dont let them unload their crap on you…
    xxx Shannon

  67. Jenh says:

    You didn’t really inspire me to not have children, how about you made me realize how freaking hard it is! How hard marriage is! Maybe that is the part that makes me want no part of either. I don’t think it’s a bad thing necessarily. I just see that I couldn’t go thru it.
    If I took you out for a beer maybe I could find a better way to get my point across and not use words like “trainwreck”.

  68. Katy says:

    That troll sounds hot for Serge’s sausage. Fuck her and her inability to proofread her posts.

  69. Kristin says:

    Excellent post, Monica. You nailed it completely. My life is wonderful. My marriage is fantastic. My kids are terrific. We are comfortable financially. My husband is as close to an equal-time parenter as any on the face of the earth. And I still want to punch him in the face sometimes. But I never, ever raise my voice to him, and he never does to me. If we’re mad as hell, we wade through it, we eat dinner as a family, we talk about other things. And when we’re both calm again, we discuss it calmly. We might not agree in the end. There might not be an “I was wrong, you were right,” moment. But we hear each other’s points of view and accept them.

  70. Tricia L says:

    Monica
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….your honesty is the reason I’ve been reading your blog for 5 years. It was like a freakin miracle…”Hoy shit! This girl tells it like it is!” Sooo refreshing. The internet is filled with phonies waxing poetic. You are the real deal. From all the way across the country you make me feel like I’m not alone.
    Tricia

  71. Jacqueline says:

    I don’t understand how utterly MEAN the internet can be. I read several blogs and I’m truly astounded by some of the comments. No matter what you write, no matter what you share, nobody can really know you or your husband just from a blog. That said, please allow me to give you some advice (ass-vice…advice you didn’t request). My children are practically grown up now but I’ll never forget how hard and tiring it was when they were tiny. My mantra was: take care of living things first, including self. Babies, self & husband, pets, plants…pretty much in that order. The dirty dishes and laundry are not alive and aren’t going anywhere. The mess will eventually get picked up. Buying prepared food is fine if you’re too tired to cook. It’s really ok to let the toddler watch cartoons just so you can have a moment of peace. No blame, no shame. People are generally much too hard on themselves. You’re doing an important and exhausting job. Take care of yourself and the family and let the rest go for now. I ask myself all the time if it would matter to me on my deathbed. No, it wouldn’t. I want to be surrounded by my loved ones and I doubt seriously I’ll think about that time I was late paying the electric bill or that time I let the dishes sit there for two days or that other time we ate scrambled eggs and grits yet again for dinner. All the best to you and your lovely family. Go easy on yourself. You’re doing an admirable job!

  72. Imadylle Bais says:

    everytime I told my girlfriends that we argue, they would always give me this look like “you have family problems???”. Like we are getting a divorce… But we are not. Arguing just makes our marriage stronger. I don’t know why most people think that arguing is a sign that our marriage is on the brink. That is why I can relate so much to this post. I am so much happy when we argue because it in I can know how he feels and what he thinks. It is the silence that really piss me and scares me. Thank you monica for this blog. I really can relate.

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