We have a dynamic I'm trying to shift. He gets anxious quickly over things, and I can't always predict what does it. Last night we had a debate over astrology, and then we had a snack in bed. Our conversation during the snack was pretty normal. He went to put the food back, and when he returned I had my legs in his way playfully. He moved them without comment. He will be playful with the children but rarely with me even though I've told him how much I appreciate the levity. We had a stressful evening the previous day so I was hoping to create some playfulness, and there was nothing. Then he starts to poke me, but I was feeling rejected, so I say sweetly, no, don't be mean, be sweet. And he just stops all effort to connect nonverbally.
Then I tell him, that I didn't want him to stop completely. He does nothing. I say, okay fine then, and roll over. He begins the pattern of deep sighs. I wait, because I'm tired of escalating conflicts over these issues. He finally tells me that he's scared of me because we had been fighting. Since when??? I explained that I had no idea that he saw our debate as a fight, and would have handled everything else differently if he'd made that clear to me. And I added, that it hurts when I tell him all he needs to do is hold me and he doesn't do it. And he still did nothing.
I'm making progress.... I refused to fall asleep upset. I'm still refusing to feel negative feelings over so many cycles of abandonment. He likes to go to sleep at odds, and then wake up the next day and apologize. That doesn't work for me.
Typing this out, I can see how he was manipulating me. He knew full well what I wanted and needed, and withheld it for reasons I don't understand. He says he was scared, but you can put your arms around someone when you're scared. I don't get it. But at least I'm not letting this situation control me. When he apologized this morning I said thank you, and also added that I don't feel that I can be emotionally open to him right now, because this has happened so much. I told him I don't really feel anything. And I don't feel safe to be in my heart with him. So it was all rather cold and formal. Which, ideally, he would have hugged me and apologized for doing this to me so many times, where we separate and leave things unfinished or unresolved, and then he comes back later trying to act like nothing happened and doesn't want to talk it through. But that isn't how he wants to play it.
Rather than apologize for the impact of his coping style, he walked away this morning (abandoning me again). He wants to have an anxious withdrawal and see me unmoved, but doesn't understand that if he ever really achieves that, it will be because I'm no longer invested in him emotionally.
After so many instances of conflict occuring, and then he disappears physically or emotionally, and when I explain in clear and simple terms what could remedy the situation, and he still doesn't do it, what does he expect.
If anyone can relate, or has any insight into these types of dynamics, I would appreciate any additional clarity. It is my intention to change this pattern. I feel a bit like he withdraws to punish me for having an expectation of affection, or wanting him to respond to me a certain way. It's like a weird power struggle, and I feel like maybe it's because he wants to be taken care of, and doesn't want to take care of me, so any time I'm asking him to be in the caretaking space emotionally, he causes a problem. But it's not fair or right to expect me to caretake all the time.