Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Tale of Two Emilys

You know, I have a whole lot of stuff to say about all the good things that happened on our holiday, great memories, etc etc. And I will say them. But firstly, I need to get something off my chest.

Have you ever had a lot of thoughts, a lot of churning going on down deep, a lot of semi-urgent things to share with your partner which somehow never got shared?

I have so much going on within me right now. So many thoughts - about love and intimacy and sex and family and trauma and faith, and they are all the kinds of things that should be shared with my Big Dude. That's why we got together, right? Because we were each other's best friend. Because we could confide in each other. Because we could tell each other anything. Because we felt understood.

And tonight, I wanted to tell him all about those things. To cuddle up and talk through at least some of them. Because some of them are sitting so heavily on my chest that I feel like I can hardly breathe.

And what do we end up talking about?

Our petty irritations of the day. Our thoughts on the Little Dude and how he is going. Updates on the Big Dude's illnesses and how sick or othewise he feels. The things we need to get through in the next few days. Plans for the move. Worries about money. Then a whole series of irrelevant meanderings about current events and politics and an even more irrelevant digression onto poetry.

Why? I don't know. Everything tells us that a good relationship is about good communication. I would honestly say that both the Big Dude and I are good communicators in general. We are articulate. We can say what we mean. We genuinely attempt to listen to each other. We love each other and we really do try.

So, why do I spend so much of this relationship feeling like there are two Emilys? One of them goes to work, takes care of the Little Dude and carries on sensible and semi-rational conversations with her partner. The other is talking to herself in a sound-proofed room. Silently telling the real story where the man she loves cannot hear her.


Blogger aphron said...

Unfortunately, that can be a side-effect of being in love with someone. That person's opinion means so much more than it did before that opening up becomes harder. At least it seems that way to me. Seems kind of silly.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

"Silently telling the real story where the man she loves cannot hear her."

And I ask: Why?

Are you so afraid of his reaction? Are you so worried that you will lose him? Are you just so afraid for no good reason? Tell him Emily! All of what you tell us. If you love him then you have to trust in him and be totally honest in your feelings with him. No excuses lady!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Fiona said...

Sometimes the hardest thing is starting the conversations we want to start.

Points to what rob said....tell him Emily. Start that conversation.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Confused Husband said...

I know exactly what you are talking about. There are two CH's as well. For me it has to do with not wanting to rock the boat and staying in the comfort zone.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Well, I think a lot of it is the difficulty of starting that conversation, especially the whole caring so much about what he thinks (good point, Aphron) and the rocking the boat issue (CH). It is also difficult for either of us to have the time, at the same time, to give that kind of conversation the time and space it deserves. And sometimes when things run very deep, it is very hard to start.

But writing this post has made me wonder if my (inexplicable at the time) holding back was actually good intuition. Because there is another big issue which is that I am quite uncertain about how much of that conversation the BD could really stand to have at the moment.

Picture this: You are almost always sick. You know that there is probably not enough sex or emotional intimacy in your relationship to satisfy your partner but you (mostly) are doing your best, within those limitations. You have had a particularly hard year and are currently depressed to the point that you are now seeing a psychiatrist and have gone on anti-depressants for the first tmie ever despite your hatred of all drugs, doctors, the whole thing. At your last session, the psychiatrist said he was not going to delve too deep into your psyche at this point, because you "seem very fragile".

How ready are you to hear about your partner's issues about how all this affects HER? How able are you going to be to address those issues? And are you going to be willing to be more emotionally intimate and vulnerable with a person whose key issues are your inability to hold up your end as a partner, even if that inability is not your fault?

See what I mean? Its tricky. It might be helpful to be honest and open. But equally, it might be quite destructive.

I did sort of make a start tonight by telling the BD that I am planning to see a counsellor and admitting that I am feeling quite down and that I think his difficulties this year are affecting me. My counsellor should have a lot of background in veterans and trauma and all the rest of it, and maybe she would be a good sounding board for how to handle these issues.

12:30 AM  
Blogger F2 said...

It took me three weeks to "mention" to the Hubs that I made an appointment with a counsellor.

I know exactly what you mean, Emily.

7:49 AM  
Blogger O272 said...

Maybe talking to a counselor will be a better idea than talking to BD right now. Get your feelings sorted out first.

3:59 PM  
Blogger O272 said...

Or just get some of that Advanced Gain Pro stuff. I hear that works wonders. :P~

5:19 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Ok Em, I've read more of what you say about your situation with your guy and I'm changing my advice (a tad) to you. I agree with O, go see a counselor, get an informed opinion first about yourself as well as how to best relate to your BD. You can't deal with all this complexity on your own. You owe it to both of you not to delay a moment longer. Trust me.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

FWIW, I'm with O and Rob. . . Just getting your own thoughts and feelings sorted out is essential for moving forward. . .

6:55 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I do agree that talking to the therapist is a good idea, but yet at the same time, everything you said in your comment is still just worry about how he is going to react to what you have to say.

You obviously know the situation better than I, but I just have trouble imagining him being so fragile that he falls apart completely just because you open up and communicate honestly with him.

Your relationship doesn't go away just because he's sick.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Cat said...

And I have to agree with FTN. I think we all have to work at getting what is inside our head to the person most important to us. I think the therapist will be a good move for you. But I also think there is a good chance once you have that place to air your thoughts and concerns it will be even more difficult to talk to BD.

6:28 PM  
Blogger oldbear said...

Dear Emily, discretion IS the better part of valor!, in this case.

As your reply in the middle of the comments puts it so well!

This is not an abstraction. This is single llivng breathign caring man with lots of SHI_ in his life, and just the two of you on th eplus side , is that right?

If any Vietname Veterans who had or are having toubles with dealing with life or thier dear friends are lurking or posting, I would be curiosu to find out what they think of this.

For those of you who are not either one of the struggling Vets or their close friend or famiuly, I dont think you can really understand how tough this can be on SOME of the guys.

No smack on those who dont agree with me, but as a Man who loves and cherishes his wife, the despondance I would feel over finding out I was pushing her to the breaking point with my failings would be like the dreariest winter weather chilling my happiness and self-esteem.

i am glad you are getting help, please consider following the paths of kindness and discetion you have started on so far.

PAX and LOVE to you, may you find the strength you need and the solace you deserve.

Your concerned Yank amigo, oldbear.

Feliz Navidad, mi Dama estimada !

8:16 PM  

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