Communication is Hard!
I’ve been rather miserable. My conversation with Treun the other day was something that broke my heart. Thinking that he didn’t want to marry me brought up all kinds of nasty realizations about myself. First, I realized that I really do NOT know how to communicate in this relationship. I still have so much baggage from every other relationship that it makes me hold back from speaking what is on my mind. Second, I realized I’m rather insecure about the future. Lastly, I realized that what Bubba did to me still haunts me. I have so much to overcome and so much work to do.
My parents never taught me how to communicate. What Celia taught me was that if something hurt your feelings or made you mad, you didn’t say one word to that person about it and in a few days it would all blow over. I saw the resentment in her build over the years, however.
For example, my father kept the basement a chaotic mess. He never threw things away so there was a ton of rusted tools, pieces of broken equipment, stacks of papers, and various other “junk” strewn throughout most of the basement. Whenever they’d have a party, my mother had to work hard to get the basement company ready because the family spread out throughout the upstairs and downstairs. She would be so angry but she’d never express this to my father. And he knew she was angry but he never did anything about the mess. They never worked together to share their feelings or solve the problem. That is just one example of how my mother’s feelings would be hurt but she would not talk to my father about it.
When I married Bubba, I tried to break out of that pattern. I didn’t want to live like that. Only with Bubba, it wasn’t safe to express my inner most being because eventually, it would be turned against me. We made mutual decisions regarding family planning years ago that he threw in my face during the divorce and made it seem like I forced him to do things he didn’t want to do.
It was devastating to me to learn that decisions I’d thought we’d worked through together were really made to just shut me up and that he’d carried that resentment all those years. We began our family together but later I learned that he didn’t want kids when we started having them, even though he seemed in total agreement at the time. There were so many “mutual” decisions that we made together that he later threw in my face (not all of them were revealed during the divorce – many of them I knew years before that). It became unsafe to reveal my wants and longings to him because they would always be used against me at a later date.
For me, telling Treun, “I want to marry you; I don’t simply want to live with you.” seems downright terrifying. How do I communicate this to him when I’m used to these things being turned against me? Logically, I know this is Treun and he is NOTHING like Bubba. But the fear is still there.
When I talked to Endellion yesterday, I gave her a quick run-down of what had happened. I really wasn’t in the mood for a logic cannon so I switched topics. I just didn’t want to talk about Treun and how the conversation went. A couple hours later, Arcadia checked in with me to find out what was going on. I told her about the convo and she had a very good point…I can’t infer something from his tone and words if he didn’t outright say it. He never said he didn’t want to marry me, only that he would prefer living together. Arcadia suggested using, “I heard you say…” to start the conversation to get clarification of what he meant.
I was chatting with Arcadia while I got Shane to bed. As soon as he was asleep, I headed over to Treun’s house. I hadn’t planned to go back so he was pleasantly surprised when I texted and told him I was on my way. When I walked in the door, he took my hand and led me to the bedroom. He sat down and pulled me in to snuggle with him and said, “Why don’t you tell me what’s on your mind?”
I said, “Yesterday when we were talking, I heard you say that you didn’t want to marry me.” He says he thinks about marrying me but it’s complicated. He reminded me that he talks about life insurance and ways to make sure I’m taken care of if he dies first. Yes, I’ve heard him say that. I asked him if it is fair for us to put our lives on hold because of the kids and he said that he struggles with what is the right thing to do. I totally understand that because I do that with every decision I make.
I told him that I’m really bad at this communication thing and that I’m trying but I just don’t know what I’m doing. He said he struggles too.
I walked away from that conversation not feeling better about things. They are complicated and from everything we talked about, the kids are the main complication. I understand it. I do. In fact, I think he is a smart man for not wanting to jump into the step-dad role here. I think he is a smart man for not wanting us to take over his life.
We are a huge package and we are complicated.