Misunderstanding emotion and bad communication. My husband and I have come to terms with the fact that our lives are going in different directions in certain areas. I celebrate growth and encourage that. I want people to get in touch with who they are and share that, to feel that with complete abandon. I’ve learned that I haven’t applied those values to my husband. I never realized how much I expected him to conform to what I believed–and convinced myself that he already believed those things when he was just going along with them. I’m angry with myself for not honoring who he is. And I’m pained seeing how different we are now. More pained that I deluded myself into thinking he was this person I built in my mind rather than who he is. It wasn’t/isn’t healthy for either of us.
My husband is a fairly flexible person when it comes to our relationship. He’s happy to go along with things and I misinterpreted that as him wanting the same things as me. I’ve only recently learned that isn’t the case. At first I was angry at him. Why didn’t he just tell me what he wanted? I honestly ALWAYS asked him if he was ok, what he wanted to do, if he was happy with what we were building. The answer was always yes or, “I’m fine with it.” When we lost the baby, I noticed a subtle change in him and I thought it was just the natural progression of grief. Then we started looking for a house and this level of frustration I’ve never seen in him in 20 years together surfaced and caught me off guard. Realizing I was part of the cause threw me for a loop.
We all have the capacity to do things we don’t realize hurt others, so I wasn’t shocked that some of my traits rubbed him the wrong way. Finding out things in my core had ALWAYS bothered him is what threw me. I felt lied to. I felt resentful. The things I had given up in order to be with him played through my mind and I was righteous in anger that he didn’t appreciate what I sacrificed to get him what he wanted. It was a habit from the time we got together. My insecurity and self-doubt led me to focus on getting him what he wanted and I lost myself in trying to appease him. He was never satisfied. He never learned to fish for himself because I became his provider. He didn’t need a mother—he needed a partner. I think he felt guilty because he knew what I was doing for him so his way of making me happy was to go along with the things I wanted. So HE built resentment over time that he felt like he couldn’t express what he really wanted.
Then I started thinking he had been wearing a false identity this whole time as well. Did we even know each other? That was the most disorienting part; the life I thought I was living didn’t exist. It was all fake. Made to look pretty and to get us through, but it wasn’t real. Were the emotions we expressed real? If we weren’t honest about who we are, how could we really love each other? Was anything real? We were both trying to please each other and not expressing what we really needed, so neither one of us were getting what we wanted and felt misheard by the other. We loved each other enough to each wear a persona we thought would make the other happy. Can we be brave enough to love each other as we really are?
The truth is, I don’t know. We still have days where we are at each other’s throats but we are still trying to build a future together. We are both willing to stick it out but we haven’t determined if it’s for the right reasons. Is it love or is it the comfort of being with this person for 20 years? Are we really on the same page and working toward the same thing? Or are we still trying to please the other? I will say, it was a relief seeing that his actions weren’t malicious—he was doing what he could to protect me and trying to make me happy. He doesn’t hate me for it, he’s just tired of it. And I don’t hate him for who he is, but my patience with him repeating the same mistakes over and over and ignoring how those mistakes impact the future is wearing really thin.
We got together when we were kids and the simple fact is that we are older now. We are evolving and sometimes evolution takes you on a different path, sometimes away from those you love. I don’t believe we have fulfilled our purpose with each other but I do believe that we are going to have to learn to adapt. Change is uncomfortable, but we get to decide what we want that to endure. Do we endure it together or do we move on? Sometimes we do things out of love, like change our responses to align with our partners. It isn’t malicious, but it’s a sweet poison that we willingly drink that slowly decomposes us. We have stopped drinking the poison of appeasing the other and are tasting the reality of who we are. It was bitter at first, but I believe that it can be sweet eventually. I can’t see the future, but I am willing to accept it.