I’m sitting across from my spouse, dripping with pent up emotion that I can’t even begin to articulate. Man this sucks. We’ve been feeling off with each other for a bit, although we’ve both been so busy with our own things that we haven’t taken the time to sort through this mess that’s popped up between us – even though we know better! Neither of us can really see the real core of what’s bothering us – it feels veiled and mysterious.
And now the time has come to sift through the hurt feelings, the disappointments, the requests for change, the hidden accusations (even though we both know they’re not true) that the other is to blame. I’m curled sitting up on the couch, trying to protect my feelings by crossing my arms and hiding behind my little shield. It doesn’t work of course. The time to talk has come, and with it the reality that no matter what I say or do it’s going to lead to a tidal wave of emotion. The relationship coach side of me knows that this is what we have to go through in order to get back to the fun and joy of being connected, but that doesn’t make going through it any easier.
I don’t know how long we’ve been sitting here now, but she’s cried a lot and I’m feeling even more tense than before. It feels like we’re starting to get closer to the core of what’s really going on here, even though we still can’t put our finger on it.
Geez, and now the puppy needs to go outside. Time to put my hurt feelings aside – again – and be a responsible adult. Hold that thought dear, while our doggie does her thing…
I walk back inside and approach the couch again, feeling like I’m walking in for round two of a fight. We never yell at each other, our voices aren’t even raised. Yet my body is ready for combat that I don’t want to engage in. It would be so much easier, in a way, to just not engage.
More talking. It feels like we’re not getting anywhere, but I’m growing more and more uncomfortable, and that coach part of me knows that means progress. In fact, that little coach voice is trying to tell me stuff about this situation, about how to help it. But I don’t want to listen, because I’m busy feeling all of these heavy emotions, each of which hits me like a sledgehammer.
We start to give in, both of us. Maybe now is not the time to work on this stuff. Maybe we just need to both go do our own thing for a bit and come back later. Maybe we should not finish talking about this and find something to do together that will help us feel a little bit closer, which might make this conversation easier. No, no, and no. Damn.
And finally, a breakthrough. She asks if I love her, even when she does that thing that annoys me so much. Of course I do, but when you do it, I don’t feel loved by you. BINGO! Now we’ve gotten to the core. I want her to succeed, want her to have the things she wants, want to be able to encourage her and support her in pursuing her dreams, but whenever I do she unknowingly does something that hurts me, and I don’t like that feeling.
Feeling better. Also feeling VERY vulnerable right now. Exposed. Unsafe, unsure whether I can let my guard down, peek out from behind my wall. Making eye contact with her is still hard for me. She moves closer, reaches over, touches my arm. I start to cry. I’ve been holding onto this for a long time. Time to let it go. Time to figure out how we can do things differently. Time to reconnect and remember that our love is our priority.
And from there, the rest is easy. Well, easier than this anyway.