Have been rather sporadic with my blogging of late.
Everything is going well, though.
For those of you who know me on facebook you will know this.
Here is a little something I wrote a while ago, mid-2011. I still reflect on this sometimes. It was good to have writing as an outlet.
ON LOVE AND MARRIAGE.
I do not profess to be an expert on this, or to have much experience.
I got together with a man at 19, fell in love, married at 25, and fell out of love somewhere between the ages of 31 and 32.5.
My only example of marriage, that of my parents, was overtly toxic. I grew up thinking there were two types of marriages – those with violence and fear, and the good ones. For a long time, I felt I had a good one, was one of the lucky ones, I was told so by my family.
However, for a long time I doubted things were right. The acute feeling a year or so after we got married was one of “I feel trapped”. This devolved into happiness, but with a nagging feeling that something was missing – perhaps passion or a deeper connection.
I accepted it as my lot in life, and made the best of it as much as I could. I tried to be a good wife – supportive, nurturing, not too much of a nag. I was by no means perfect but I put a lot of effort in, because it takes effort to keep somebody.
Slowly, imperceptibly, things drifted further and further away from satisfactory. It was mostly his job – he was there very long hours, and when he was not physically there, he was mentally there. He left me. It was insidious, and it gnawed away.
I would come home, really looking forward to seeing him, but he would not be there. The disappointment was reminiscent of waiting for my father to turn up for an access visit, but he never came.
I would spend the afternoon thinking of what I would cook him for dinner, and then cook it for him. I would have loved the same done for me, and I asked him, but I was told I had to come up with a schedule. Some spontaneous thought for what I desired was what I wanted from him, not just with regard to food, but to other things, too.
When we went out to eat, we would reach for our smartphones or a newspaper; something to fill the conversation void.
On the rare occasions that we had a good discussion or heart to heart, I felt so happy and relieved. These became increasingly rare. The chasm grew larger and I felt I had to shout and scream across it.
I felt like there had to be other people around to get him to come out of his shell, so I invited them into our home. When it was just the two of us, though, it felt lonely and desolate.
When I had depression, I thought he was wonderful, mainly because he did not leave me. My self esteem was too low to expect meaningful support. I knew it was hard on him, with me being depressed, so I did my best not to burden him. I continued home chores, and cooked the dinner. My way of giving back, really. Sometimes, I got so frustrated by not being able to talk to him that I said a few nasty things just to get his attention. A few nights, I took myself out of bed and sat on the couch, crying, feeling so very close to the edge, with nobody to take me off it. He was sound asleep and I did not want to wake him.
His mother was decidedly unsupportive when I had my bouts. He did not stand up to her on any level. So, when she was fierce, I felt I had to be more fierce in return, to protect him. There were many fights.
The lack of physical intimacy troubled me. I thought it was my lack of libido, my depression, my medication. I felt it was something I had to cross of the to do list every month. Initiating things was something I could do much better when drunk, and this became the only way I could become intimate with him.
I felt very guilty about not being attracted to him. Especially when I had become attracted to other men. Little paroxysms, stuffed down.
I felt everything I asked was a bother to him, it certainly did seem to bother him when I asked I eventually came to believe that I was asking too much, and that I was not worth his effort.
It was a death of a thousand cuts, and things got so bad, so far away from what I wanted, that I lost hope of them ever improving. I dreaded having a baby with him. I dreaded a future devoid of passion or conversation with him. These feelings were at odds with the conditioned “you have a good man who loves you, and you ought to be grateful”.
I realized I had had enough.
Now I am at the angry stage. I scream:
I WAS WORTH YOUR EFFORT ALL ALONG!!! YOU LEFT ME, NOW I LEFT YOU, AND I LOOK LIKE THE BAD PERSON!
And more subtle, more mournful: “Why did you not appreciate me? Why were you not there? Why could you not take some of the burden? Why could you not stick up for me with your mum?”
One day, not so long ago, I was sitting with a couple of colleagues. I found out that they were getting married soon.
I stifled my instinct to tell them “no, don’t do it!!!” I have become gun-shy.
I drew breath and looked at both of them intently. Then continued sternly, with pointed finger:
“Don’t spend too much on the wedding. Consider eloping”
“Never, NEVER take each other for granted”.
“You will argue, get mad with each other, but always see things from the other’s side. Stand up for each other.”
“Put each other first, not work, not others, but each other.”
“Don’t rush into getting a mortgage, it means shit, just be content together, because home should be wherever you are together.”
“Have interests together, and encourage the other person’s interests.”
“Concentrate on the small thoughtful gestures, pay attention to what the other person likes, and do this.”
I wish somebody had told us that before we got married. In saying all these things, I realized that I knew more than I thought I did.
It got me thinking about what I would want. I am quite put off by the whole marriage thing, but have not lost hope that I will have the love I want. My heart is open to it. I want it more than anything else in my life.
I want us to love equally – I want to love that person as much as they love me, a lot, but equally. 10 times 2 is 20, but 10 times 10 is 100. I want 100. 20 has not cut it.
I will think about him during the day, and look forward to seeing him when I get home or back from travel. I need to know he is doing that for me. I will not need to be joined at the hip with him, but feel safe in the knowledge that, even when apart, he keeps me in mind. I don’t need his attention continually, but need to feel sure that I can get it when I need it.
I want us to be able to talk. Talk about world affairs. Make low-brow jokes. Share hopes, dreams and fears, without feeling clumsy about it, or not heard at all. When we are not talking, I want the silence to feel comfortable.
I am strong, but I want to have somebody to lean on when I need it. I would like to be relied upon when the other is vulnerable. When we are both feeling strong, it multiplies, so that when we are both feeling weak, there are reserves.
I will put in a lot of effort, and I want it to be reciprocated.
I want us to share a physical attraction. It may be a small flicker or a white hot passion, and know it will fluctuate, but it must be there. We will both work on keeping ourselves physically attractive to the other.
I believe in kissing – not just a peck, but proper kissing, kisses on the neck that make my knees buckle underneath me. We will regularly make a place to build up to the sexual encounters, so that we will remain enthusiastic about them, and look forward to them.
Being a mother is something that I want; it frightens me but I feel I have enough of a capacity to nurture. I am finally learning to nurture myself, so important for nurturing a child. I need to feel confident that he will also nurture me and a child, because I know that having a baby can make relationships harder rather than easier.
I will keep this all in my mind, and try not to compromise it. It is not a shopping list of qualities I look for in a person, rather an acknowledgement of what two people need to make a relationship flourish in the long term.