I originally wrote this super-long post between 4–7 March 2013, a few months after I finally pulled the plug on my dead-end, dysfunctional relationship, and then let it sit in the drafts folder unfinished. Let’s finally move it out already!
Warning: This post is going to be a bit of a rant and more personal than usual.
I would much rather be single for the rest of my life and eventually become a single mom by choice, through the sperm bank, than marry into a dysfunctional family and have a walking DSM (with some other disorders thrown in too) for a husband. I put up with this for over 4 years, twice the time I wanted to be with someone before marriage. I personally don’t agree with this modern movement towards just indefinitely dating for 5+ years and then getting married almost as an afterthought. Many people in the old days married far too soon just to live together and have sex without scandal, but at least they knew early on if their intentions were marriage or just a good time.
When you really love someone and know s/he’s the one, you freaking marry that person. You don’t wait until you think everything is absolutely perfect the way you define perfect. People have been getting married with only a dollar in their pockets and no concrete future plans for years. When you love someone, you get married, and you make it work. Perhaps it’s not the best of circumstances, but at least you’re married and with your own home.
It is complete BS to claim that dysfunctional families, overgrown mama’s boys, and disrespectful, shrill, henpecking wives are part of “Russian culture.” I’ve been a Russophile for 28 years now, and have read plenty of Russian literature and watched plenty of Russian films. I’ve also known other Russians. His family’s dysfunctions do not define “Russian culture.” And like attracts like, so of course he’s known a few other Russians and former Soviets from dysfunctional families. This is akin to claiming that all Southerners fit the stereotype of toothless inbred hicks, just because you came from a very backwoods family or town. Not true by a long shot.
Where I’m originally from, Southwestern Pennsylvania, we have a term, Ridger. Ridgers live on the ridge of the Laurel Mountains, and are known for having awful manners. I never thought I’d encounter Belarusian Ridgers living in Upstate New York. Ridgers do things like throw wet towels on the floor, rarely or never clean the house, don’t wash dishes properly, don’t put dishes away, sneeze into an open pot of food, loudly burp without excusing themselves, you get the idea.
I come from deep working-class roots. I know you don’t have to have a lot of money or a big house to create a beautiful home. No respectable proletarian woman I’ve ever known would let guests come over when dirty dishes are in the sink, a bed is unmade, curtains are wide open with no light on when it’s dark, or never put her dishes away. You’re supposed to be proud of your home, and give the best impression to visitors. When you have pots and pans stacked up all over the stove, dirty dishes in the sink, and black bananas gathering flies, that sends a message that you don’t care about your home or how you look to outsiders.
I’ve seen dried food and old beverage stains on their utensils, plates, and cups too many times to count. They think you’re supposed to wash dishes with some dish soap, a paper towel, and a cold, slow stream of water. Makes me want to vomit. If you’re going to ignore the dishwasher, at least use very hot water, real dishwashing soap, a basin so the dishes can soak, and a dish cloth! Then you put the dishes away when they’re all dry. I didn’t realize this was a foreign concept to anyone.
They do jack with their so-called Judaism. I honestly don’t even consider them Jewish, only through an accident of birth. Their Jewish line is not going to continue, because they’ve made zero effort to establish even a marginally Jewish home, and they’ve actively discouraged their kids from Yiddishkeit. I need a religious husband, no matter what denomination or background he has. This is non-negotiable. It’s too confusing for kids, and difficult for the one religious parent. I’ve reached the point where I strongly desire a husband with a beard, who covers his head and wears tallit katan, someone I can study and go to shul with.
They’ve been in America over 20 years and still can’t speak proper English. Gone are the days when many immigrants had the attitude of, “We’re in America now, we have to speak English.” It’s admirable to preserve one’s native language, but not to use it so much you’re still making basic English mistakes 20+ years later. It’s like a cross between Yoda and Chico Marx. And of course, they continued babbling away in Russian when I was over, like it didn’t matter that I didn’t understand a lot of what they were saying. Way to be polite, inclusive hosts!
The mother was such a henpecking, buffaloing Harpy. Constantly screech-yodeling at her husband, “EEEEEEE-gaaaaarrrrr! Eeeeeee-GAAAAARRRRRR! Eeeeeee-GAAAAARRRRRR! Eeeeeee-GAAAAARRRRRR! Eeeeeee-GAAAAARRRRRR!” like a damn broken record, 15-20 times a day. And for her son, it was, “Ssssseeeerrrrrrr-YYYYYOOOO-zhaaaaaaaa!” The father screeched their names all around the house too. Totally obnoxious behavior. You can call someone’s name once, then wait for them to come or respond. You don’t continue screeching their name or have an entire conversation 5 rooms away!
As a Sagittarian, I’m the traveler of the Zodaic. I love traveling, and don’t really feel homesick. I love other cultures and languages. It’s ridiculous to expect a married woman to always travel alone, esp. after she’s got kids. What kid wants to go on summer vacation without Daddy every single year? Couples and families are supposed to travel together, unless there’s a true extenuating circumstance, like a business trip that takes precedence.
I’d kind of really like to have kids the normal way, if I’m married. I’m too old to just sit around waiting for a husband to eventually ejaculate during partnersex, like a normal man. Fertility treatments are a great option, but they should be a last resort after at least several years of trying, not something you immediately, automatically rush into. [Sergey has an extremely severe delayed ejaculation due to atypical masturbation, and thus no associations between normal sexual stimulation and orgasm.]
I don’t want a domineering, controlling mother-in-law I’m afraid of, who thinks I’m disrespecting her by refusing to kiss her ass and validate her controlling, dysfunctional personality. I don’t want my children to have that as their other grandma. I can just picture her screeching at Samuel like she does to her son and husband, screaming that he’d better come to the table because her freaking soup is getting cold after all of 10 seconds.
I’d kind of really like a man who knows how to kiss properly, who does it often, who does it as part of sex, and who does it before any other physical contact. Hell, I’d appreciate a man who knows how to give me passionate, spontaneous sex. He did not understand the concept of foreplay as building towards sex.
His behavior at my boss’s funeral was just atrocious. A few months into our relationship, my boss died shortly before his 91st birthday. This guy didn’t understand why I had to go to the funeral, and tried to show up as late as possible because HE wasn’t interested in going. (The shul is like 5 minutes from his parents’ house.) He wore a T-shirt and knee-length denim jeans, pulled away from me when I tried to take his arm as we were walking into the sanctuary, drank an iced tea during the service, and went to the bathroom while my boss’s son (one of my co-workers) was giving a eulogy. He claimed he didn’t know how to dress or behave since he’d never been to a funeral before.
His family thinks they know so much better than I do about American customs and normal behavior. I’m not the one who lives in a self-imposed bubble, avoiding contact with native-born Americans as much as possible, refusing to speak the national language unless it’s absolutely necessary. In their eyes, I’m this disrespectful bitch because I act like a normal American instead of kowtowing to their dysfunctions and ridiculous ideas about how to behave.
I want a man who knows how to cook, do laundry, and make the bed properly. It’s freaking embarrassing that anyone in his thirties wouldn’t have all these skills when he’s able-bodied.
He stayed in frequent contact with his psychotic drama queen ex in spite of my repeated pleas to stop talking to her and being so friendly. It was all about his feelings, not mine. He even let this psycho stay over at the house during a snowstorm, instead of pointing her to a hotel or AAA or something.
He’s afraid of standing up to his parents and asserting himself as a capable adult for fear of starting a fight and hurting their feelings. He couldn’t even tell them about our alleged engagement for these very reasons. If you truly don’t know how to talk to your own parents about important subjects, or even talk to them period, maybe you should seriously consider moving out and even ending that relationship. A toxic relationship isn’t worth it, even if the people are your blood.
I had to buy my own “engagement ring,” and it was hidden in his parents’ house for like 11 months before he finally anticlimactically just freaking gave it to me.
A year before, I’d asked him to marry me with a male ring I’d bought in Jerusalem, in a nice golden bag, at the track fields at his old high school, on Tu B’Av. I’d wanted a local park, but of course, he had to eat his mommy’s freaking food before he did anything, and he thought it was too late by the time we headed out. He said nothing, grabbed the ring, jammed it onto his finger, and said, “It’s stuck. I’m very upset.” That was an extremely humiliating, crushing experience.
He had over 4 years to make some basic changes and compromise, meet me even halfway, and he did almost nothing. It was always about trying to look for external factors causing his myriad of mental, psychological, and sexual disorders, not tackling the hard work of changing the internal factors. He had no motivation to change, and was convinced he’d have a panic attack if he tried any of these techniques.
He let his mommy call him constantly when she was out shopping for him. He often even got the phone while we were doing sexual stuff.
His family thinks nothing of just showing up uninvited. That would never fly at my house. You don’t just randomly show up and expect to be invited in. You schedule a date and time to get together in advance. Even lifelong friends and neighbors usually call in advance! I’d never be able to relax, knowing these dysfunctional people might show up at any time, during meals, sex, showers, putting children to bed, cooking, dressing, trying to relax.
They’re the type of people who have to be right all the time, and anyone who even deigns to contradict them or offer another opinion is yelled at and treated as disrespectful.
They’re hoarders. I eventually stopped buying food and putting it in their refrigerator because it just got pushed to the back of that endless vortex, and often molded. Most disgusting nightmare ever. You should not have to remove 20 items blocking the way just to try to find something! His dad even laughed when he’d open the fridge and food would come flying out, since it’s literally stuffed stem to stern. The freezer is even more packed. And downstairs, they’ve got like 20 bottles of detergent.
They don’t even cook real entrees. Their dinner consists of a bunch of appetizers, never a main course. Not how I was raised to eat.
They don’t know how to preserve freshness. They let bread, biscuits, cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. get hard as a rock, sitting around uncovered for days. And speaking of dessert, they almost never even have dessert.
May 2021 addendum:
I could’ve missed my February 2010 trip to Israel because Sergey misplaced my car key the night before. My rabbi seemed annoyed with me when I finally got on the bus.
He never stood up for me when his family and friends insulted me and made offensive presumptions about me, like when I was annoyed at his doctor friend from Uzbekistan for touching my computer without permission or knowledge, and when the same guy phoned me by mistake while I was driving and claimed to Sergey that I’d dropped a few F-bombs on him. I’ve never said the F-word in my life!
He refused to understand why I felt so uncomfortable with his parents, esp. his mother, even after I explained it yet again.
When he was teaching at a high school for emotionally disturbed boys, I did almost all of his work behind the scenes. I gave up every single Sunday for over a year to drive over to his parents’ house, even in bad weather, and spend the entire day there. I even gave up a fun trip to Monsey I’d been looking forward to so I could do this lazy loser’s work for him!
Even people who just met me immediately knew Sergey was using me and no good. I’m still angry at him for letting his second ex use me to blackmail him for $2,000, which put me into credit card debt for some time.
I bought him expensive gifts all the time, as well as writing him big checks to help with his eBay business and general bank account. Many of these gifts went right into the closet, like colognes, or were never or rarely used, like a GPS for his car.
I spent over $70 on a Lego set of a dwarves’ mine and had a lot of fun building it. Sergey later took it apart and sold it by sections on eBay, and couldn’t understand why that hurt and angered me so.
He upgraded his massage, when we had a couples’ massage our first Valentine’s Day, without asking if that were cool with me. Naturally, I also paid for that!
He traded in the iPod I gave him, with an engraving noting our first V-Day together. You guessed it, he couldn’t grasp why that hurt me!
While I was showing my mother and her parents the pictures from my 2010 trip to Israel on my computer, Sergey called, and I told him he was on speaker. During the conversation, he suggested we might have sex next time I visited. I yelled at him that I told him he was on speaker, that my mother and grandparents were there, and how dare he before I hung up.
It must’ve taken about two years before I finally dragged the first “I love you” out of him. I feel cheated out of a first proper hearing and saying of those words.
When he unwrapped the last birthday gift I ever got him, a Lego sticker book (I know!), the first words out of his mouth were, “Oh, NO! You got me the wrong one! I hate this book!” He also insulted and refused other gifts I got him.
Sergey is a total loser, and I’m glad I didn’t make the mistake of marrying him.