I have so many hard truths rattling around in my head, but I don’t even know how to start putting them out there. I don’t even know if they are mine to say. I guess they are mine as much as anyone’s. Nick and I have been together 27 years, and yet there is no guarantee that we will stay together. We have been having serious relationship talks again. I’m sure anyone who is in a marriage or long-term relationship has had those kinds of discussions.
A few weeks ago, around the time we moved, Nick decided that he was no longer going to try to change me. I was the immoveable object to his unstoppable force, and neither of us was getting any satisfaction. As he said to me, ”You never hid who you were. You were this way when we were dating, and before we had kids. I’ve been beating my head against a rock trying to change you into someone you’re not.”
Ironically, most of the changes he would like to see from me are things that I would like myself, and when we have talked, I say I want them, but then I don’t follow through-hence his frustration. A lot of that has to do with my upbringing-feeling so horrible about myself, self-sabotaging, and because of being raised in a cult, having such a problem with authority. I have somehow put him in a place of authority in my mind, and I will fight any imposition of authority tooth and nail, even if I spite myself in the process.
He asked me yesterday on our drive home from Palm Springs how I felt with less pressure from him to change. I started crying and I said I felt like he had given up on me and that every time he sighed and said, “I can’t change you.” it reminded me that he doesn’t like me. His reply was that he loves me and likes me, but living with someone is a whole different story. He asked me if it didn’t drive me crazy all those years to have him trying so hard to change me. And, of course it did. I admitted it. And also that I was feeling a bit more free with less pressure.
I had a good session with my therapist today and we talked about some steps I could take to make changes. What things Nick wants that are valid. Please don’t jump to my defense. This isn’t a he said/she said. None of you are seeing a whole picture, because you can’t hear his end of things. He works really hard at this marriage and has never given up at times when I would have cut and run if I could have.
The saving grace is that we love our kids and each other. And we still have unbelievable chemistry. We don’t have the typical problems of most couples. But we have a whole slew of others. I asked Nick if he thought I had ever tried to change him, and he said he really didn’t think so. Sometimes it is exhausting being the fucked up one in the relationship and feeling like the weight of whether things work out is all on you.
I am having a feeling-sorry-for-myself moment, but I will get over it. My self-improvement plan started today, but it goes into high gear tomorrow.
(Sorry for the stream of consciousness ramble; if I thought this out, it wouldn’t have hit the page.)