I was on holiday at a beautiful BC ski hill, sitting in front of the fire, watching the snow trickle down, curled up in my most comfy pajamas, watching my favorite movie after a fantastic day of skiing. And I was miserable. I was sure I had to leave my marriage.
I felt guarded and resentful and I had a million messages swirling around my head about why I needed to pack up my suitcase and head for the road. What I didn’t realize until a little later was that this is the same place I always find myself in when I am in a relationship, only in the past I believed the million swirling messages and would steel myself to prepare to leave the relationship.
I caught myself saying to myself, “He’s just not enough this or that and he’s too much this or that and we have nothing in common and I have made THE biggest mistake of my life!”
As far as I was concerned in that moment, my marriage was all over but the crying. Now how was I going to tell my husband?
Luckily, before I opened my sometimes unedited mouth, I did something different than normal. I didn’t get out my suitcase. I sat back, took a deep breath and questioned what I was thinking. First, I asked myself, “What do I really want? Do I really want to leave this marriage? How do I feel when I am so convinced that he’s an ogre and I need to leave?”
What had been happening for me in the relationship was that I really wasn’t feeling connected anymore. The loving feelings were mostly gone and we were just hanging out like roommates. My husband, Eddie wasn’t responding to me the way he used to, so I was convinced he must secretly want to leave, despite that he was telling me he loved me. I noticed that this is the same thing I thought at the end of every other relationship I had run away from. I was starting to see a pattern and that was what made me realize that this was about me and not about him. As we all know, following a pattern is going to get you what you’ve always gotten, so I really had to take a good, hard look to see if running away to single hood again was what I really wanted.
After a good night’s sleep, some meditating, journaling and some deep soul searching, I found I really didn’t want to leave the marriage. What I really wanted was a relationship where I felt connected. I also knew Eddie really isn’t an ogre. He’s actually a sweet guy who loves me a lot.
I decided I was going to spend the next day NOT entertaining all of the things my mind was telling me. I knew that when I thought those things I felt bad and I didn’t want to spend another day feeling bad. Whenever I noticed one of those thoughts coming up, I would let it go and make a decision not to feel bad, just for today. I decided I was going to spend the day with a feeling of connectedness, which is a bit of a soft, mushy feeling in my heart.
What I found was I instinctively acted the way I used to act with Eddie. I was kissing him more, in fact we play a game where we demand kisses of each other, and I started to be much more demanding. I was scared he would push me away, or that I would look into his eyes to see them shut down, with no love inside, but the exact opposite was true. He welcomed my demanding kisses and my affection and there was a love in his eyes that I realized had always been there, I just hadn’t been able to see it from my own state of disconnect. I realized that it had been me, all along, that was acting the way that my mind was accusing him of acting. Disconnected, critical, downright cold. I was acting out of my fear rather than tuning into the feeling of what I wanted and acting from there.
The rest of that day we were very affectionate with each other and that night we slept, for the first time in months, wrapped in each other’s arms.
The best part is my suitcase is still in storage, empty and I now know that when I hear myself saying all of the usual things about HIM that aren’t right, that it’s really me doing what I always do. But this time I know what it takes to do something different, so instead of combing the classifieds for a place to live, I get to end up wrapped in my husband’s arms for the night. It feels like freedom.
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