Sunday, December 30, 2012
Pouting and pushing away
I made a promise to Katie prior to marrying her that I would always obey her. Not only did I make that promise but I also told her that I would ‘embrace’ her decisions, even if they were not mine. All I can say is that talk is cheap. The truth of a promise comes when it is tested and I failed miserably on mine. Here’s my story.
As background, both Katie and I are products of previous marriages. We both have adult children. A week before we were to marry, Katie’s children told her that they worry for her. Their worry is in the statistics of second marriages – that there is a higher divorce rate than with first time marriages. They feared that if our marriage failed she could lose her home and encouraged her to do a pre-nup in which we agreed that should we divorce the house would be her.
Katie told me a day or so later about this conversation. I felt sick when she told me. It was as if we were planning for an end rather than looking forward to a new beginning. Katie felt that this was a non-issue since we weren’t going to divorce so there was no problem doing it in her mine. I felt hurt. I felt pissed that her kids felt like they had the right to intrude into our marriage. I wanted them to sign similar contracts with their spouses that would guarantee that the woman would get the house should they divorce. I wanted them to do that just so they would feel the same sense of hurt and awkwardness that I felt. In short, I pouted.
I shut down. I didn’t want to hold her hand. I wanted space. Those feelings of closeness with her vanished. But I got over it in a few hours. Then a few days later while lying in bed she told me that she needed to get this thing done tomorrow. The same feelings returned. I pulled away, just like I did before. I didn’t want to snuggle up to her. I didn’t want to hold her as I usually do. I wanted to punish her while I pouted once more. And I did. I turned away and fell asleep. Six hours later I woke and used the bathroom and then lay in bed for the next hour just stewing before sleep took hold of me.
Later that morning Katie wrote the agreement and signed it. I didn’t read it but I signed it. I guess she is going to give it to one of her kids to hold on to. I got over it once more an hour or so later. We talked. I told her about my feelings. I told her how I don’t fully understand why it is that I shut down when these kind of things happen and how I felt she needs to take control in not letting me get away with it.
As to my promise to obey and embrace….. well it didn’t happen as I know it should have. I did obey but only after acting like a 10 year old brat and I surely didn’t embrace. Just thinking about what I signed, even now, makes me sick. I don’t like what I did, but I did obey. I also understood what Katie was saying – that the document is a non issue since we aren’t going to ‘go there’. We aren’t going to divorce – and even if we did, I wouldn’t want the house anyway. I didn’t want the last house I left and know I’d feel the same way should we ever have a complete failure of our marriage. Yet I didn’t want to do what she told me to do – not this time.
The issue here as I reflect on this is not the document but my resistance to trusting her. The issue here is also my response. I pushed the one I love most away. For a time I didn’t want to be with her. I didn’t want to love her. I didn’t want to work through my feelings with her. I just wanted to push her away and punish her in the process.
As you can see, I have baggage. I’m not perfect. We don’t have a perfect – stress free – relationship. I sure hope that I understand the reason for the way I react so next time I don’t repeat the same unacceptable behavior. I know it has something to do with feelings of rejection but beyond that I am not sure how to deal with them to avoid subsequent screw ups.