I’m so tired.
I feel like most of the time that J and I spend together is strained. Counselor has been telling us that we need to learn to ask for our wants and needs, and so I have been making an effort to do so rather than resent him when he doesn’t read my mind. It should be simple, right? It can’t be that hard, can it? Yep. Very hard. If the thing I want is an emotionally charged request (“Will you please hold me? I’m lonely”), it’s hard to be vulnerable enough to ask for it, especially knowing that he is allowed to say no. Counselor says it’s important to say no sometimes. When someone says yes to every single request, it begins to feel inauthentic. (I think, in general, this is a female way of thinking. “I want him to choose to stay home with me because he WANTS to be with me, not because I TELL him.” Ladies, does that sound familiar to you?) Well, if every time I ask J for something he says yes then it doesn’t feel like he’s actually choosing to do whatever it is I am asking for. It feels like he’s going through the motions but doesn’t actually mean the sentiment behind the request. Theoretically, if he says no from time to time, then when he does say yes, I can trust that he actually wants it…or means it…or whatever. (Shoot, I have no idea if this makes sense to anyone other than me. Okay, back to the topic at hand…)
It’s hard for me to ask J for what I need from him. Because it’s a vulnerable place, right? And what if he does say no? And, even worse, what if he says no in one of the nasty, sneaky, confusing ways? What if he says no by getting defensive, simultaneously making me feel like I’m being unreasonable AND distracting me from my original request by raising a new complaint of his own? Or what if he says no by verbally saying yes, but not following through on whatever he’s agreeing to? (*Ahem!* Sex.) Or what if he says no by saying yes and sort of following through, but not being fully present in the gesture. (Like I’ll ask him for more physical affection and he’ll put his hand on my knee while browsing on his phone with the other hand.) All of these ways of effectively saying no without actually saying the word “no” are so much harder to take than a real no. If he said something like “I’m sorry, Sophie, but <insert reason>,” at least then I’d feel like my request hasn’t been belittled. At least then I would have a chance to offer an alternative that would meet the need behind the requested gesture. (“You don’t want to kiss me because you don’t feel close to me? Okay, well, what if we just held hands for now and see if we can start to feel closer?”)
I’m making J out to be this terrible, villainous character. He’s not. He’s a really good man, and I respect him a lot… He’s not trying to be a jerk. I don’t think he realizes what he’s doing.
I wish we could unload all the… All the BADNESS of the past decade and just start fresh. There’s so much crap between us that we end up defaulting to bad reactions (both of us). We hear accusation in a tone of voice, even when it’s not there. I wish it wasn’t like this. I wish I could ask for my emotional needs to be met, without shame or guilt or fear. And I wish that he could do the same.
I wish a lot for my marriage.
There has to be away to get past this ugliness in our relationship. There has to be a future for us.