He greeted me at the door with flowers – swoon – for our ‘almost’ 8 months [insert mush alert!] – and was busily creating a delicious meal (low fat turkey meatballs made with ground turkey breast. Side note – he has begun cooking more towards me lately, less oil, less fat, it’s really quite wonderful…not that the meals he created before weren’t delish or like, super fattening, but he has a heavy hand with that olive oil!). He seemed in good spirits until I asked how his day was.
Then his mood shifted a bit and he was tense. And I knew. He had another bad day and didn’t want to talk about it. I tried every which way to get him to open up. I’d ask in different ways. For example, his boss called him after dinner (M was on call last night, and sometimes his boss will call to check in) and I used that to ask, covertly ‘your boss called? what about?’ (*sneaky* so I thought). Fail. All attempts to get him to open up failed. He just plain didn’t want to talk about it. I started getting really frustrated and it was making me sad because I am a fixer, I wanted to fixfixfix and make him feel better, make the bad day vibes go away.
But I couldn’t.
But I wanted to.
And I was fixated on it, even though I tried NOT to be.
Later that night, when laying in bed, I tried to bring it up again, but gently. He apologized for being out of sorts part of the night and said that sometimes he just ‘gets down on himself.’ I told him that I wished he would talk to me and share what he is feeling and I just want to help. That’s all I want. I want him to be happy and know he can vent and not internalize so much. He told me that he would talk to me if he needed to, but that I already do so much for him and his life and have made him feel like the luckiest man in the world. (swoon) As much as I love hearing him say those things and know how much he means them, his opening up to me would mean so much.I told him that I felt like he was putting up a wall when he doesn’t talk to me when something is bothering him (that is bothering him unrelated to us, that is).
He told me he isn’t putting up a wall. I told him that it’s not that I think he is really putting up a wall but that’s how it comes across. I just wanted him to know, from my standpoint, what that felt like.
Why do I feel like I need him to tell me what’s bothering him? If it’s clear that he needs to decompress and figure his own shit out by himself, why do I keep pushing this? What works for me (sharing and fixing) doesn’t work for everyone. Nor is my way the *right* way necessarily, either.
I’m finding that I’m really not good at allowing him to have these feelings…these unknown feelings to me, these feelings that I just want to know and help fix.
Truth is, I can’t fix what is bothering him, nor should I feel like I have to.
It’s just part of who I am. I am a fixer. I do these things because it makes me feel like I’m helping. Like I’m being supportive. I fixfixfix.
But by constantly asking and re-asking and nudging him to open up isn’t going to make him open up. It’s not supporting him in his desire to figure his own shit out.
As T aptly said to me today. I need to ALLOW and DETACH WITH LOVE.
That is an entirely foreign concept to me.
I simply do not know how to do that.
I don’t know how to let him be to figure it out. To detach.
But loving him is worth learning how. Because he is worth learning how.
I think we’re entering another phase of our relationship, and while I know it will have some challenges and frustrations, it will be worth it. I am learning so much about myself, him, what our relationship is and stands for.
I will allow this. And detach…with love.
(Thank you T for such an inspiring g-chat conversation the last couple of days. Really couldn’t have come at a better time).