November 16, 2012

focus on the good: friendship

the other day i read something that advised bloggers not to complain about their life. it resonated with me because i am always questioning what i'm doing here and how i can best shape this blog into a positive reflection of my life.

i am very sensitive to people that complain and never seem able or willing to do anything to change their circumstances. i am also deeply aware of what an inability or unwillingess to change feels like. 

change is a scary place but on this journey to my best self, i embrace change and it wouldn't be an authentic representation of myself if i keep trying to just be good and happy here in this space.

yes, it's a blog but i am more than just a blogger.

some of you may recall that this past summer i had wondered if my husband might have asperger's. i didn't want to think the cornerstone of our relationship was how much misery we could tolerate. i wanted to believe that it wasn't him and that it wasn't me. in the end i recognized it was a trivial pursuit and the comfort was also lost.

the past few months have been all kinds of eye-opening, heart-expanding, and emotionally-trying. as my friends and family can attest i have also taken to complaining, more than usual, about the same stuff.

to say that "my emotional needs aren't being met" is an understatement but to say it also sounds selfish and inaccurate. sometimes it isn't a big deal and sometimes it's much too large for me to be aware of on my own. often, though, it's something i can't even put my finger on. always, it's my responsibility. how am i or how am i not meeting my own needs? what can i do differently? what can i examine?

ever aware of the childhood consequences of talking too much, sometimes instead of talking, i fumble. my husband, in comparison, doesn't talk at all. neither of us much appreciate idle chatter. the lack of desire to participate in a meaningless exchange of words is mutual but sometimes i want to talk. to my partner. sometimes even the trivialities deserve a response and i always appreciate a discussion about the big stuff. the stuff of the heart. i have a need for philopsophical discussion fueled by curiosity. i prefer to avoid the meaningless but it is essential that i always explore and often discuss meaning.

i am way over-dramatic but sometimes the silence in my house is deafening.

i often ask myself how our partnership can be so good and falling short where it seems to matter most. then i ask myself if it's even good. i often placate myself with the reminder that i've a history of choosing emotionally unavailable mates. this is not new, just different.

the truth is: it's always been different.

i have been with awesome papa longer than anyone else. longer even than the sum total of all previous relationships. i'm in it for the long-haul and knew that since the first time he came to my house. i am anti-feet but even more anti-shoes-indoors so i used to cringe a lot while i had company.

the moment he sat cross-legged on my couch and the sight of his socked feet didn't make me want to hurl, not even a little, i knew i was in love in a big huge messy way. i was done for.

therefore, i often feel very confident that love IS all we need, love will NOT tear us apart. it makes no sense but it's all there is. i may complain but i also focus on the good.

little snapshots. made by me.

i am a firm believer that love is patient and love is kind but that it is also healthy and the balance of benefit vs. cost must always be considered.

i considered them...

i tried to look at what never seemed to improve, the things i kept complaining about. i wanted to be objective and i sought my husband's input and participation. we've been around this issue a few times and it always boils down to this: we love each other. we're pretty good at co- parenting.

i feel like the two roadtrips we took this summer helped crack some of this discussion open but it's been grueling and i don't think i've ever felt so alone. we've talked, we've ignored. i was beginning to think it didn't matter, perhaps healthy communication was too much to ask for.

my husband is opposed to therapy and despite my lifelong affinity for the field of psychology, i don't want therapy, either. i know what needs to be done and i'm willing to do the work. the only way out is through. i  just wanted to accept, once and for all, that for whatever reason i married a man that wouldn't or couldn't talk to me. a man so fond of solitude that his preference for absolute quiet over conversation had nothing to do with his desire to also avoid conflict. that was just my judgment, trying to make sense of it all. it no longer mattered. i had to accept the way things are and stop focusing on how i wanted them to be. we couldn't discuss things or share ideas and perhaps it was unfair of me to keep expecting it.

as i was working to accept this, it had been adundantly clear that i was becoming completely unwired and crying about everything.

if i was to practice what i preach than i either needed to shut up or own up. keeping quiet in order to keep the peace is about as effective as yelling and screaming while attempting peaceful resolution.

if i want peace, i need to be peace.

it didn't make sense to keep going around and around, so i called a truce.

he and i know each other better than anyone else and because of our own minor anti-social tendencies it would be safe to say that he and i are best friends.

yet, until just a couple of months ago, neither of us had ever really declared this as truth. i wondered what took him (us) so long and we chalked it up to logistics; we were best friend because he didn't really have many friends and for that matter i only had a few, one of whom is known as my wife around these parts, and since 2003, the role of best friend has mostly been placed in her hands.

the day before the truce i had asked him to read this blog post: 16 ways i blew my marriage. i'd read it a few days prior when it was trending hard and i was like oh how quaint. then someone brought it to my attention, i read it again, and i wept.

there were some things on that list i didn't agree with, some were complete no-brainers (pooping with the door open? tell me no one does that.) and some i could identify not only where my husband could improve but also where i could. when i knew we weren't going to discuss anything about that blog and if we tried it would end up much the same as always (he unmoved and silent, me in tears wondering wtf i was sacrificing just be in this relationship) i decided to call the truce.

the next day i wanted him to read another blog entry and he didn't respond to the suggestion favorably. even though i didn't expect him to, it would be afterward that the expectation would arise. i would want him to have something to say and i would want him to say it to me. remembering the truce, i told him nevermind, he didn't have to read it. the only reason i'd asked was to incite a conversation that would never take place.

however, i wanted to clear up a few things. he still hadn't mentioned a word about the truce and i wanted him to know that my truce didn't mean silence.  it meant meeting in the middle. i asked him if there was middle ground for a person with such little need for social interaction that it felt isolating to be his friend and a person with a moderate need for partnership and intense, passionate discussions.

the look on his face was like a punch in the gut. his long, drawn out, "welll, maaay-beee..." seemed to indicate nothing but complete disinterest in our relationship. if meeting in the middle wasn't an agreeable concept to at least explore, than i was sure he wanted nothing to do with any of it. i left the room for a moment to gather myself before asking him to be as honest as he possibly could, feeling as though a previous relationship experience in lying and cheating and the subsequent cognitive dissonance was about to play itself out again. i took a deep breath and returned to the room, prepared to hear that there was someone else or he was just plain sick of me.

instead the most unexpected and beautiful thing happened.

little couple, in our home. made by urastarhouse.

he said he hadn't been a very good friend.

he said he understood that it must feel very isolating since he hasn't had much need or interest in doing the stuff of friendship since highschool.

he said we didn't really do things that friends do, that in the bustle of everyday life, we didn't really do anything fun, and certainly not with each other, but that we should.

and so. in the tradition of doing things backwards, my partner of eight years (husband of nearly three) and i are going to begin the journey of being friends.


  1. good for you guys. I applaud you both for holding on and working hard at making it work,

    1. thank you. it is work. hard at times but mostly joyous <3

  2. good things. sometimes we're on such parallel paths it's frightening!

  3. I've been teary-eyed reading this post because I relate to it on so, so, so many levels. I so get the question: balance of benefit vs. cost. And of the partner not being a very good friend. Or partner. And the slightly anti-social. And the silence. And a lot of other things not mentioned in your post.

    Truces are hard. But I think it's beautiful what he told you.

    Love is very important. I'm not quite sure that's all there is. I go there sometimes, think that. Other times, I do not.

    There are many times, like you mentioned, that I decided to be in something for the long-haul + knew there were certain costs (emotionally) as a result. I can usually deal with those. When I can't, it's very hard.

    Anyway. I think you're very strong. And very brave. And it's clear you two love each other.

    Here's to your journey. :)

    1. thank you, becky. your thoughtful response really means a lot. i bet we could talk for hours about the other things not mentioned (bet we have some new perspectives as well as LOT MORE in common <3) you must also be strong and brave and (in) love to recognize it ;)


thanks you for making a connection. all comments and feedback are like little sprinkles of starshine!

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