This weekend my gentle man and I are going to have a talk. The kind where we are both adult and have some decisions to make about ... crikey well about everything really. Things have never been quite this bad I guess . Or more accurately, we've never been in a place where we both acknowledge this fact.
Two weeks ago Trevor told me that he thought "everything" was falling apart. My initial response was not helpful. I said "Jeezusssss, you only just noticed?" ... or words to that effect. I'm not proud of my reaction. It's characteristic of what happens when I feel suddenly and unexpectedly under threat when already feeling up to my eyeballs stress-wise. I snap out an attacking phrase instead of pausing for thought.
After months and months of hardly talking about anything at all, here at last was an opening. I wasted that chance. But having said what he did, he couldn't unsay it. Sometimes that works to our advantage don't you find?
He didn't want to talk about it at that point and to be honest neither did I. I was shaken by him finally coming out with something I guess we've both been feeling for quite some time now. Not only that but he'd been drinking quite a bit so things said from that point on would not necessarily reflect the truth of his feelings.
Drinking magnifies the bad stuff and can often end up escalating small grievances into major meltdowns. Something about drinking frees the inner drama queen in us all I guess.
Why don't we talk more? Sometimes I think it's that we feel secure enough that we don't need to so much. A complacency sets in. I could prevaricate as an olympic sport, really I could.
We get scared. Both of us. Mostly the reason we don't talk is because of this. I used to think that it was solely my fear and that I was projecting it onto Trev. Years on I can see that really we are both quite child-like in the emotional sphere. It comforts me in some ways that I am not alone in this.
It's seems strange because in so many ways I trust Trev, and yet in some fundamental way I don't feel safe with him. This is not because of any failing on his part and I know this.
Neither wants to be the one to hurt the other and yet we are neither of us happy.
What to do.
Talk, that's what we have to do.
We put it off for a couple of weeks as he was on the cusp of a trip away. He's home later on today and then will be away again for the next couple of weeks. We have two days together this weekend before his next trip. Once this trip is out of the way he will be home again for the foreseeable future.
Sometimes we have to do the things we are most scared of. For me it is breaking out from this self-imposed protective shell of mine to tell the truth. In order to do that I have to find out what the truth is. This itself scares me.
I am scared of saying the wrong thing. Of causing needless damage and hurt by being careless ... saying things when I'm not entirely sure of my own feelings. Saying things is hard because it's irretrievable. It's a risk.
And there's this. Sometimes I only say things in response to what's said to me. In this way I abdicate my responsibility to be an equal partner in our relationship. I find it hard to put myself and my needs equal to his.
I find it hard to recognise what my own needs are for that matter.
I know at the root of this is a feeling of un-deservedness. And I know that recognising this is only the start point for addressing it. Another process to be gotten under way at some point.
I'm scared of discovering the source of my unhappiness. The nature of it. What if I can do something about it? You see, I can live with this unhappiness ... I'm used to it. I've had a lot of practice. It's safe in a funny sort of way. The status quo. But change, even change for the better is more than a little unsettling.
What if I have to go through a phase of enormous upheaval .... possibly causing deep hurt to someone I love more than I can describe. And what if it doesn't work? Is it worth the risk I wonder.
How many times have we started to break these barriers down only to revert to silence again when it gets too hard? How many false dawns do we endure before concluding that the effort is more than we can bear.
Maybe he's right. That it is all falling apart. That we have spent all these years simply building a house of cards. All facade and no substance. No weight. No depth or ballast to keep us stable. Happy.
Can we build something more sustainable? Does he want to? Do I? If not, what then?
Sometimes we build things up too much. We carry a weight of expectation that far exceeds anything that can be achieved by simply talking.
But we have to anyway.