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April 28 • Devilishly Dissappointing

Day 659


A few weeks after disclosure to my wife, and in the middle of a very difficult time when I was waiting for the final straw to break the back of the final camel, I had to go to counseling by myself. I honestly do not remember what the crisis was, but my wife encouraged it out of concern for my state of mind at the time. In the course of that session, I asked the counselor whether they thought my marriage had a chance to succeed or were we just killing time until one of us had the conviction or courage to quit. Her response surprised me as she laughed out loud. She offered that we were so addicted to each other that there was no way we would not find a way to make this work. That may be a direct quote. I didn't know whether that was a good thing or not. It lead to another discussion about co-dependency (I still can't get my head around what that is). We talked about how our unhealthy expectations from early in our marriage were now presenting a sort of safety net for us, giving us time and determination not to fail. It was not a guarantee of success, but she did a nice job of convincing me that we were going to make it. Whether we ended up happy about making it depended on the work we were doing to say it's okay to take care of ourselves, instead of believing that everything we do is always about the other person. Clearly, that has not been our actual pattern, but apparently, it was part of the conflict that nearly blew us up. We believed it, but we weren't always acting like it, and the gaps were filled with either guilt or anger. My wife invited me to take a walk with her this beautiful afternoon. I didn't want to, but I knew (or believed) her invitation was a request, and there would be disappointment in her eyes if I said no. She might even think I wanted to be alone to act out, or at least to isolate. This incident is probably not a good example of taking care of myself. The only reason I didn't want to go was that I had wasted too much time today on a jigsaw puzzle, and I needed to get a project finished; the walk was an interruption for which I was not psyched. I begged off, and she was disappointed. It ripped my gut. I felt like I failed her, but I went to work on the project. Unfortunately, I ended up spending most of my time working on this journal entry instead of that project, so I'll probably need to explain that later. I don't think I did anything wrong today, but I still feel guilty. We were told when we were teenagers that marriage is not a 50-50 proposition; it is a 100-100 deal. The burden of trying to anticipate and be right 100% of the time about what any other person wants or even needs, is not reasonable, no matter how romantic or even spiritual it sounds. It's a good goal for people who have learned to accept their imperfections, but for people like me, it's the devil hiding in the weeds of self-hatred. There, I said it out loud on a keyboard. Look at that, the world did not blow-up, and my wife is still treating me nice upon her return from the great outdoors. I bet the sun even comes up tomorrow.


–JR

 

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