Thank god for TherapistsPosted: January 12, 2016
The Wifey has finally decided to go to therapy. I sincerely hope it helps, though part of me is afraid she will present a skewed view of things. Her boyfriend suggested it, which is great, because Papa Bear knew if he suggested it she’d bite his head off while digging in her heels. I believe she starts next week, and Papa Bear meets his therapist for the first time tomorrow.
Their relationship at the moment is…undefined? She told him awhile ago that she couldn’t have a romantic relationship with him right now because she can’t keep waiting for him to prioritize her, and then getting disappointed when he doesn’t. He is understandably frustrated by this, not because of her desire to take a break and live as domestic partners only, but because he knows he has prioritized her, over and over, but she only seems to see the times he doesn’t. It’s painful to hear about, because I have personally been hurt by her demanding to get her way, so many times, and Papa Bear has been hurt immeasurably as well, but her perspective doesn’t seem to register those times at all.
Anyway. I am just trying to tell myself that it is not my problem. I cannot control either of them. 6 months ago this situation would have had me sobbing on the floor, banging my fists, but now I just kind of nod sadly. Waiting to see what will happen. Waiting to see if professional intervention will help. Waiting to see if this situation has any future at all.
I think we are all scared, but I know I can’t imagine how scared either of them must be. Losing a relationship with someone you love is devastating, but its not the same as losing your home and your family and your shared history and any idea of what the future might look like.
I have seriously considered breaking it off–just removing myself from the situation entirely–but Papa Bear assures me that isn’t going to fix them. I have to say I agree with him. These problems–the issues of control and poor communication and not knowing where one person ends and another begins–they have been there all along. And that, I am certain, is one of the reasons The Wifey is not coping at all. Papa Bear told her last year that he had always just gone along with what she wanted, and she had said that wasn’t good and he should speak up. But I don’t think she was prepared for how she’d feel when he did, because whenever he makes a case for what he wants, she becomes angry and defensive and refuses to see his point. She just says, over and over, that he doesn’t care about her, or that her feelings are just as valid as his. And the logical conclusion, from her point of view, is that if her feelings are equally valid then they must be the only feelings that are honored.
He recently told her, after the whole Movie Night Fiasco of 2015, just how subjugated and controlled he always felt. That his opinion was completely invalidated, at all times, throughout their entire marriage. That “they” made major decisions that he did not want to make, because she refused to see his point of view, or to compromise with him. And this conversation didn’t go over well. She said it was his fault, and she hoped he could change. And I agree to a certain extent that it is not good to cave to someone over and over and over, until suddenly you are standing in the middle of a life in a house you didn’t want, with a cat you didn’t want, driving a car you can’t afford, living in a city you didn’t want to live in. But her main takeaway, is that their entire relationship, and whole life, has been a lie.
He assures her he never lied about loving her, or how he felt about their family, or wanting to be with her. But I can see how she would feel like their foundation is cracking when she realizes that she has no idea if the major pieces of their life are things that he ever wanted in the first place.
Yet. It’s not like he never voiced his opinion. He did, and he does. It’s just that when she argues back with all of the reasons why he is wrong an his opinion is illogical or not valid, he becomes exhausted, and it’s just easier to agree with her. How could any self-aware, empathetic person not realize what was happening? How could you not understand that badgering someone into submission didn’t necessarily mean they agreed with you?
The Husband is the same way. He has always put other peoples’ needs and wants first. And it was a major struggle to get him to voice his true opinion about things, because he believes he does not matter. I have spent years coaxing him into just telling me what he wants, what he really thinks, how he really feels. I do not shout and him and tell him he’s not communicating, and then tell him his ideas are “dumb” or that he’s “an idiot”, when he is honest with me. I tell him I really need to know his opinion, and then when he gives it to me, I consider it. I do not become angry precisely because his feelings are just as valid as mine.
Papa Bear has thanked me over and over again for being kind to him. For being so patient. For being willing to put up with this. The fact is, I do it because he is patient and kind with me. It makes me so sad that he views kindness as a special favor–something he does not deserve. He tells me that he knows on a logical level that he matters, but because of the way he is treated in his marriage, he doesn’t really believe that he does.
I don’t know what is going to happen. Sometimes there is a reasonable hope that things will get better. Other times I am 99% sure they will close their marriage and leave me out in the cold. Other times I’m really not sure they will last–or if they even want to. I do know for sure that if something important doesn’t change in the next few months, I won’t be able to manage.
Lately we have just been arranging it so that I’m not around when she’s home. It has actually been really peaceful for me. Sometimes when I make plans to be at Papa Bear’s house and she is going to be there, she will go sleep over with her boyfriend instead. Sometimes when we know she is going to be home we just plan dinner and a movie, with blankets in the back of the car in case we need to screw!
The Wifey told him that obviously, the way they have conducted their marriage in the past isn’t working, so if they want to stay together, they need to approach it from a different place. Papa Bear agrees, and so do I.
I think that assertion–that they need to tear it apart, so they can rebuild, is the one thing that makes me believe that everything could work out.
Here’s hoping, and thank god for therapists.