Here are the bare bones: I recently asked Z to do something really big and really hard. I asked in a way that left little room for him to say, “No.” Years of therapy, both individually and as a couple, have made us into pretty good “fighters”. There isn’t a lot of yelling or meanness. And we are most often able to the root of what is bugging us. It’s a huge change from the way we used to fight (um, yelling and meanness). I’m sure a lot of couples have gotten to this place without therapy, but we needed it and I’ll be forever grateful. After a couple hours of cooling off he was able to articulate exactly what made him so mad about my request. It’s that when he asks me to do something I often blow him off, but when I ask him it is expected he will comply. He wanted me to quit smoking? My response was, “Fuck you! I’ll do it if and when I’m ready. And if you want me to ever quit you’ll never bring it up again!” Most of the time I’m not such an overt brat. He’ll ask me to do something. I’ll say yes. And I just won’t do it. And if he asks again I tell him he’s nagging me.
This all gets much worse when I’m not doing well. Being anxious paralyzes me. The house gets filthier and filthier, the clothes go unwashed, I stop making meals. I sit on the sofa and stare at the TV or the computer. And feel wretched about what a lazy slob I am. I worry about not giving T enough attention. I worry that Z has to work all day and then come home to a wreck of a house. And of course during this particular period of being unwell I’m also nauseous all the time and terrified I’m going to miscarry. I know the fear surrounding this pregnancy (Jesus Christ, this first trimester has been the longest three months of my life) is causing the out of control anxiety, but that doesn’t make it better. And if I am honest with myself, even when I’m doing pretty well emotionally I don’t respond to Z in a timely fashion. I don’t do what he asks, but I sure as hell expect him to hop to it when I ask him to do something.
Since our argument earlier this week I’ve been living with that sour and burning feeling of shame in the back of my throat. It is easy to beat myself up about this. It’s easy to think I don’t deserve him, I’m useless and unlovable, both Z and T would be better off without me. My mind goes there on autopilot. But I want to do the harder thing. I want to change. And all I can give him are the empty words that I will listen and act on his requests in the future. I don’t think he will believe me until my actions back up those words over a period of time. Hell, I don’t blame him. Clearly we aren’t a perfect couple. Partly because perfect couples don’t exist and partly because we are both very far from perfect. But we manage. He’s a good guy. He deserves to be treated better than I often treat him. He ain’t perfect, but when I call him out on his bullshit he makes an effort to change most of the time. And he puts up with an awful lot from me.
He is very into hugging right now.
Handsome even with his eyes closed.
As he tools around he looks like such a big kid from behind. It makes me proud and breaks my heart at the same time.