#159 In which our hero discusses being a horse widower.
Recently, The Scientist mentioned me in her blog, regarding my feelings toward her having a horse. She also had someone leave a comment which said, in part:
I'm also curious to know how Craig handles being a "horse husband". Mine had issues with it the last time I was seriously competing...but maybe this time will be better...who knows. Does he have any tips on how to convince my Wonderful Husband that this is a good thing??
How do you convince your husband that it’s a good thing? You don’t. Because it isn’t.
My wife is maintaining an affair with another male, and has been for about 13 years -- considerably longer than she’s had a relationship with me. The only consolation is that this other guy had his testicles physically removed years ago, so I’m one up on him in that regard. She spends lots of money on this other guy, and makes special arrangements to see him during the week. In fact, one of the first considerations that came up when we were talking about marriage is that she still be allowed to see him. She doesn’t even have the decency to keep her affair secret from me… she gives me all the grisly details over the diner table. Every. Night. I thought I could deal with it (matter of fact I met this other guy, and he seemed decent enough, other than his big scary teeth) but lately it’s really worn me down. He doesn’t give my wife any enjoyment any more; all he does is cost us a great deal of money and make my wife cry. If he retired tomorrow and moved away to a small condo in Palm Springs I would not be upset. I would, in fact, welcome the change.
But seriously, is that how I really feel? Yes, it is how I really feel.
Honestly, it’s terrifically hard sometimes. But I’m lucky in that my horse-woman wife loves me and our kids more than she loves horses… I suspect that a lot of husbands/children of horse-women aren’t so fortunate. Because I’ve been to horse shows, and them dames is crazy.
So, as a public service to men who are married or otherwise involved with a woman who owns a horse, I present the following:
The 5 Stages of Horse Widowers
“This isn’t going to last. She’ll give up on all this horse nonsense soon.”
Don’t count on it. Once a woman gets riding in her blood, it’s there to stay. Like Leukemia. Acting like your wife/girlfriend isn’t getting into something that’s going to cost a whole lot of time and money only sets you up for the next step.
“What the hell? Do you really need to go out to the barn every night?”
This is a tough one. You’re angry that you never see your loved one any more, but you realize that she’s doing something she loves, and you don’t want to be a big dick about it. You have your own hobbies. I mean, how would you feel if she suddenly said, “I don’t want you going golfing on Friday!” Don’t fall into this line of thinking. Because you’re right to be angry. Your hobby doesn’t involve you driving and hour or more every single day out to BFE to ride for several more hours. Then again, maybe it does; in which case you have no room to bitch. But if you find yourself eating more and more TV dinners and seeing less and less of your loved one, you’ll probably be tempted to move on to:
“Come on… just skip riding tonight, we’ll go out to see a movie!”
Good luck. The hard truth is that you can offer up the most tempting things: diner, dancing, theater, concerts… and they still fall short of the joy your woman gets from riding her horse. If you try upping the ante with, say, a romantic weekend getaway to the beach, you’re only going to hurt yourself when she doubles up the following week to make up for the time she missed with her horse. When it finally hits you that there just isn't anything you can do for her that trumps her furry four-legged lover, you’re going to hit rock bottom and get a bad case of:
It’s hard to deal when your suavest moves can’t compete with a good canter. This is the breaking point for a lot of relationships, if they even get this far. You end up either a mopey mess or picking fights with your significant other. In the end, it all boils down to this: either you decide to cut your losses and get the hell out, or you go in the other direction:
“Explain to me again what’s the difference between a martingale and a snaffle?”
If you’re lucky, you might have a little horse-lover gene in yourself, allowing you entry into the horse world. But, if you’re like the rest of us, you just accept that your wife is part of a passionate community that you don’t really understand, and never will. Ideally you both will be able to set a balance between time at home and time at the barn. Since, once again, the horse thing isn’t going away, this is the only long-term solution to the “problem.”
Of course, acceptance doesn’t mean that you won’t have to deal with any of the other steps ever again… take it from me, if something unexpected happens and the vet bills start to get into four digits, you’re going to re-explore denial and anger again. And again.
But it’s worth it. Even if it doesn’t always show, she loves you more than she loves her horse. But just, so don’t push too hard.