I normally only comment when things are bad- to vent or commiserate with someone else suffering... However, there was a surprisingly hopeful development yesterday, which I want to post about!
I have been at the end of my proverbial rope for months now- but certainly in the last few weeks...
Even though I love my partner to death, I had reached the point where I thought separation was going to be the inevitable outcome (although I was prepared to wait until my husband was a little more stable to make such a big decision). The main reason I thought I would have to get out was because I had become convinced that the situation would never change. My husband had never acknowledged his behaviour or his role in our arguments. He refused to go to therapy and kept insisting that the entire problem was me. I stopped trying to convince him and have been trying to work on my own self and get back involved with my own interests... I was focusing on me and the kids...
We had a pretty typical weekend. It started okay- had some moderately awful moments and then reverted back to being okay (largely because I didn't engage or take the bait). We ended up playing a board game together on Monday night- which we used to do all the time, but haven't done in years... We both had a lot of fun. My husband kicked my ass- which is not usual for board games... which was awesome because it put him in a great mood. We were both laughing and enjoying time together. I can't remember when we last did that... sadly...
Anyway- Last night- after the kids were in bed- my husband initiated a relationship talk. Out of nowhere. Things were good- so there was no pressure on him... and I wasn't expecting it AT ALL. My husband had a few key points he wanted to convey to me. These words actually came, unsolicited, out of his mouth:
1. I am sorry for making you feel like you are walking on eggshells and I am always criticizing you.
2. that's not coming from nowhere. I know I make you feel like that.
3. I need to change. I am working on it.
4. I love you to death. You mean the world to me.
5. I want to get things back on track. I want you to feel loved and secure and not worried about my moods and my reactions to things.
6. I am responsible for a lot of our problems and I know that.
7. thanks for being there for me. I know I've been tough to deal with.
8. please be patient with me while I work on this. but continue to call me out. I may not respond well- but it's been helping me understand my own behaviour and your perspective.
9. this is not going to change over night. I know there are going to be more bad times- but please know I am aware of my role in this and I want to eliminate my shitty behaviour.
10. Did I mention how much I love and appreciate you and all your support over the past couple of years?
My mind was BLOWN. I resisted the urge to jump all over him and talk things to death. I hugged him hard for a long time and thanked him. I then admitted to him how I had been feeling- that I had been feeling like the writing was on the wall- primarily because he wouldn't own anything ever, and refused to even consider seeing a counsellor with me... and that I had therefore reluctantly concluded that he wasn't capable of change adn that the situation was therefore not going to change (need us both working on our behaviour to change dynamics). I admitted that I thought I was going to have to leave him, not for lack of love- but because the children simply can't grow up with this kind of tension playing out. He said he understood.
He took that in with an open spirit and didn't start blaming me for feeling like that. He just hugged me and kissed me and thanked me repeatedly for not giving up on him and on our family. He was the kind, open, vulnerable, sweet man that I met years ago. There was no wall and no pretense. There was accountability and affection and credit to me for my efforts to date. It was amazing. The best part was that he initiated this- seemingly out of nowhere. In my wildest dreams, I never thought he had this in him.
SO- I am feeling incredibly hopeful about our future today. I know talk is cheap and I know that this is not a solution to the problems we have been having. But I have been with this man for 14 years now and he has NEVER said those things. EVER. He has never admitted he is hard to deal with and picky. He has never acknowledged how difficult it is for me to deal with. This is a first in 14 years. So I have to be optimistic.
I know there are going to be more terrible moments on the road to improved dynamics... but this refilled my patience tank and I feel closer to my husband than I have in probably over 3 years... I told him that too.
Sharing this today in case it gives other people hope. :)