Back away. Srsly.

Photo emitting the “please leave me alone, for God’s sakes” vibe. Source: Hal Trachtenberg via

I’m coming down with a cold. And I’ve got an unusually high work load this week. So when I came home from work, I took some Theraflu and laid down for a nap before I tackled the work I brought home with me.

I eventually got up and slogged to the kitchen to reheat some dinner, and all I wanted to do was have a few minutes to wake up and listen to YouTube while I eat my meal. My husband ate hours earlier.

But so far, he has pulled me in for a long hug I clearly didn’t want while I’m trying to take my food to the table. He’s also dug around in the ice tray, dropped dishes, interrupted me multiple times to ask if I need anything, and generally done everything except blink like a traffic light to get attention.

I get that he is incapable of being direct and asking for attention. I get that he’s not making an unreasonable request in wanting my attention. But Jesus Christ, can he be a little less annoying? I don’t pester him when he’s sick, tired and busy.

This isn’t him “showing me that he cares.” How it comes across to me is that he believes his clingy emotional needs are more important than the fact that I am functionally threadbare today and don’t have another molecule of energy left in me.

I wish I knew a way to ask for some alone time in a way that doesn’t have him retreating, emotionally wounded and sulking, away from me. It would be nice to be able to just say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have much left in my tank today. If I were a car, I’d be running on fumes alone. Can you just leave me alone until tomorrow when I hope to be feeling better again and am less busy?”

How does he NOT understand that making unnecessary noise and hovering near my elbow makes me want to scream?

But he’s all “I just want to HELP.” (This is not helping.)

  2 comments for “Back away. Srsly.

  1. Darlene
    April 2, 2020 at 10:06 PM

    Hi Effie,

    I too feel the same way about my boyfriend. We’ve been together 11 years and have 3 kids. I have 2 adult kids as well. I found your website while asking Google some important questions. After reading some of your posts here I can say I can relate. I’m currently at my daughters for the night because I couldn’t stand how I was treated today by my boyfriend. Normally I call him my husband, however we’re not married. I’m indecisive about what seems to be the same reasons you have. Anyway just reaching out to you. I hope all has been well.

    • Effie
      April 7, 2020 at 8:51 AM

      Thank you, Darlene. I’m sorry that you’re having to navigate these seas too. Sometimes I feel like I have an invisible problem — or that I AM the problem. I find it confusing to sort out.

      Truth be told, my husband could make a good case for himself as a loving husband who treats me with tender loving care. Need someone to run to the store to pick up Tylenol? Want to have supper cooked for you and the dishes done? Sure. So when he says or does something hurtful, dismissive, derogatory or patronizing, I feel like I should weigh it: “Is this really worth getting upset about? Does it really matter? Am I reading too much into this?”

      But when I’m in a more self-caring mode, I tell myself, “Yes, it’s worth saying something. And I can show him healthy boundaries. Shitty behavior isn’t okay even when it’s “balanced” by nice behavior.”

      I try to honor my gut feeling of “This is definitely not okay.” Even when he rolls his eyes at my pushback.

      Peace to you. I hope you find your safe path.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.