So Chris and I have been together for coming up on Five Years. It is time to take this whole thing seriously. So we’re going to take it to the next level.
None of us would be such relationship chickens if we hadn’t have those bad experiences. Now that I’m “taking it to the next level” that fire alarm that was comfortably damped…You know that alarm bell? The one that starts ringing DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! when you allow another person to become too important to you?
There are trip wires over certain parts of the heart that set the alarm off. When that certain cologne sets the back of your neck prickling. When you lean in. When your knees buckle thinking about him the next day.
The risk of wanting. The risk of denial.
But I had damped that alarm. It’s been practically five years, I had lulled it. Comfortable, known. When I lean in, he meets me there. He doesn’t let me fall.
But now I’m Leaning Further. More is at risk. Maybe I’m too heavy for him to catch. Maybe he’s not willing to lean in too.
Take a deep breath. Those years count for something. I think they do. I hope they do. If they don’t count, nothing does.
So I take a look and see where there might be weak spots in our RELATIONSHIP.
I don’t particularly like talking about relationships. Actually, I like talking about The Relationship too much. I feel like if we just have a good hour or two of conversation then we can settle everything….And I know I’m wrong about that. Having endless talks about The Relationship does not make as much of a difference as I feel like it does. Basically, we can talk about how we do things, but if we don’t get out and do them, we don’t have a chance to make the little improvements that would change the situation.
So, talking about it is not as helpful as I feel like it should be…It only feels good if the talks are basically insincere. It only feels good if he tells me what I want to hear.
Chris is very much a sincere person, so he won’t play that game.
I went to the library and got some books on communication. The ideas of power in a relationship are very important.
I weigh myself every day. I weigh my power relationsips every day. I can feel a very slight tip. I don’t always know what to do about it, but I know when I’m giving too much.
I was raised on very traditional female roles, so i always felt like I was required to give more. Because women were supposed to be subservient, that the man was supposed to support mom & kids (I don’t have kids, but that was supposed to change) and mom was supposed to do everything else. Including put up with the Man.
I tried to recreate that. When I was married, and I started to support my husband in school, I felt that this was an aberration. This is not how things were supposed to be. He was supposed to support me. He was going to graduate and then support me.
But that didn’t work out. He flunked out. So then we left college behind, and I got the first job I could, and started working very hard. He spent a lot of time trying to find the Perfect Job.
I ripped through three imperfect jobs, and then he finally found his perfect job.
Well! Thank god! I could now relax into the pose of subservient. I quit, because I wanted a break.
But I should have just taken a two week vacation. It was deep blackness, man, I don’t like not working.
But then I found a less important job than the Husband. I was a little intern. He was the important one. So I could maintain the right position.
I was very sad, without his company. I liked being with him. At least I remembered liking being with him. I wanted to spend time with him, but he always came home very late. It seemed like he did it on purpose! why would he stay away from me?
Finally, after weeks of crying at home and waiting for him, yelling at him when he came home because I was waiting so long, I said, No More.
If he wasn’t going to be there in the evenings, I would find someone else to play with. If I was crying at home, it was my responsibility to fix it. I thought I would just go out.
I told him, “i want to do this.” He thought it was a great idea, he told me I shouldn’t be lonely, I should go out and have fun. Go out with your girlfriends!
But then…I said, “This will change us. We won’t be as close anymore.”
He didn’t get it.
But I watched it happen.
I went out, I played with other people. Other people who thought I was interesting and smart and funny. Who didn’t play games and shelf me, and ignore me and break promises and let me down.
These other people listened to me. They TALKED with me. I thougth I was going to explode with happiness, to think that I had people listen to me.
And I gained independence. I knew who I was.
But I lost intimacy. That man, who I had been so desperately in love with, who I thought I would die without, had to go. It was a choice between me and him. He left no options.
There was the subservient role he offered, and then there was me.
I couldnt’ even fit in the role anymore. It was like pants that were too tight.
If I had tried, it would have resulted in escalating violence. I was scared of him
no more. I couldn’t go back. But I didn’t know where forward led.
Yes, that particular choice was very obvious. My independence led me away from intimacy.
But then I started thinking….
How many women refuse to know things, because it will lead away from intimacy? It’s a standard thing (I hear) for girls to not do TOO well on their grades because they don’t want to be separated from their peers in high school.
I work in a highly technical field. I get lonely, because very few people know enough about what i do to talk about it. My independence made me give up the intimacy.
I bet that the women who work at beauty salons have a lot of things to talk about and share with each other.
I have felt like it’s a sacrifice, to learn things. Yes, it’s a benefit too, but it’s a sacrifice.
Intimacy is so important to me. That’s what Chris gives in abundance. He is always there for me.
And yet, he never gets in my way. That’s what helps me to feel comfortable with him. I HATE it when someone gets in my way.
And yet, I really wish I could be closer to people. Its a constant tug.