You know, you would think after twenty-six years – the first twenty-one of which seemed to be pretty smooth, like we could communicate – and two and a half years of different types of therapy, that two people would be much better at communicating and avoiding conflict.
Well. Apparently not. Apparently you get worse.
Our middle child, our son, finished high school this week. He still has exams to go, but it is another milestone passed. We had his leavers’ dinner on Thursday. I actually really enjoyed it. When our eldest finished, I endured that dinner. He has a bunch of great kids, talented kids, as classmates. They are a tight-knit group, as my final year at high school was, also. Interestingly, I felt a little more emotional about this one than I did his older sister, four years ago. I think it is about the fact that this means my full-on parenting years are drawing to a close. Next year I will have just one child left at home. And for half of the year, she will be on foreign exchange. The four head students all performed, the head girl, a self composed song, the other three a lovely little musical number – all awesome kids, academic, sporting and cultural stars. And damn nice humans with it. My boy’s year lost a delightful girl this year, just a couple of months ago, to a terrible car crash. The deputy head girl – a talented speaker and actress – made mention of her in her very eloquent, very entertaining, very hilarious speech. Our lips all wobbled badly. Then she recovered well and we all carried on. The speaker after her was the Dean of their year, a truly lovely woman, dedicated teacher and total mother hen – the kids have loved her. She delivered some motivational words, words for the kids to take forward with them. I loved them, and I recalled my own leavers’ dinner, and thought how there may well have been similar words delivered, but I can’t recall them. Youth, not only is it wasted on the young, but inspirational words often are, also! Amongst her beautiful words was a moment about how to treat others, with respect, and to respect yourself. Always. At least, that was the part that resonated most with me.
Rog knew I had heard them, had no doubt reacted emotionally to them. I didn’t show anything on the outside, but inside I was dying. Did he acknowledge this when we got home? The next day?
Nope. Just bury your head in the sand and forget you heard/saw any of that. I know why. He is sick of my emotions after five and a half years of them. I don’t really blame him for that. But I brought it up this morning. We had no kids home, and I thought we could talk. I just said I was disappointed he didn’t acknowledge some great words, that he must have known would affect me, trigger me. He replied that he felt awful when hearing them, yes, he is an arsehole, but he can’t change what he did. I replied that I wasn’t asking him to do anything but say, “wow, Mrs W’s words were pretty great, they really affected me, I know they must have affected you.” He got a bit angry, saying that he hates bringing any of it up, because I am still so upset. I said I was mostly upset because after all this time, I am frustrated that it still hurts so much, but I can no longer talk about it often, as it is yesterday’s news, and I have made little progress, and he seems to ignore my feelings, hoping they don’t exist. He agreed, and said that he knows that I am constantly triggered and upset at “life” and that he knows that I have been far more damaged than he ever imagined I ever could be when he lost his mind and felt an affair would solve the problems he wouldn’t share with me. And he can’t fix it. He is a fixer. He then asked, “should we separate now?” I answered that I still don’t believe that will make my life better, and I feel we can mostly do a good job of getting on well enough to launch these teens. But that I always feel like my feelings are ignored. And I talked about lying, both to your face, and by omission, and how the whole of our time together I thought he was 100% honest, but he has lied throughout. He looked at me and said, “I don’t think I lied to your face, until the affair, when I discovered, to both my relief, and horror, that I am a damn good liar.” I didn’t go there, but I know he has lied to my face. Not often, not well, usually. But he lied about fucking a prostitute when I asked him, he talked it down to a drunken hand job. That was an outright lie. He lied by omission a whole lot more. I feel like I don’t know how to take anyone at their word anymore, and I can’t seem to take that much needed leap of faith, to start to trust humans again.
Staying together the way we have lately, as flatmates would be fine, but he still wants to be able to cuddle, to be close to me physically. I can’t. I can’t do that without some emotional support. I told him this. I can’t stay here, and be his “teddy bear” for the physical comfort he so desperately needs, without him providing emotional support for me.
He understood. Apologised.
We are just both so damn frustrated with this non-recovery.