I read an article the other day posted on “The Good Men Project” site written by a man whose wife left him, because she couldn’t trust him to be the partner she needed. Not because he cheated or hit her, but because he didn’t hear her, and he resented her for how she had changed toward him. The part of it that stuck me the most was this:
“…It was the little things. Often, it is the little things that scratch and claw and chip away at the integrity of a marriage until the union and its participants look nothing like they did when first formed.
She was a youthful, fun, vibrant, happy, joyful young woman.
She grew tired, weary, anxious, frightened, sad and angry.
I begged and pleaded for the girl I knew to come back once I stopped recognizing her. I grew sad and angry when she couldn’t or wouldn’t. I blamed her for not trying.
But I think maybe she wanted to. I think she wanted to feel like her old self again. But she simply couldn’t.
Because she couldn’t trust me.
So she kept her guard up.
Because she didn’t feel safe…”
Full article here: The Good Men Project
After reading that article, I realized just how early on my trust had begun to be eroded. It was long before affairs or DV. It wasn’t even the recurrent viewing of porn, while doing recovery work, that started it. It started with things like not placing value on having health insurance unless I had a job that offered it. We wanted to have a baby, and I wanted to stay home with the baby, and that required health insurance. But he didn’t seem to think that was important, or, something.
It was things like him buying a laptop to feed his addiction, while saying we didn’t have the money for health insurance, and starting a business with someone else, when we’d discussed as one of our goals as a married couple, starting and building a business, and quitting a job, spur of the moment, while not having a new job lined up, without talking to me about it, when we had just moved into a new house with higher rent. Or buying a ticket just for himself to visit his son, when both of us were supposed to go, but he was afraid I’d “make waves” with his son’s mother. It was things like not sending the retainer to the lawyer when his son’s mother was trying to take away his parental rights, and me having to be the one who made sure it was sent out at the last minute, so that didn’t happen. And going to Sedona with his mother instead of telling her no because that was THE place I’d been dying to show him, just he and I, romantic get away to my beloved Sedona. I stopped trusting him. Stopped trusting that “we” were the priority, and that my voice was being heard, and that I could rely on him to be my life partner, because of things like that.
I think I probably could have more “easily” dealt with the acting out associated with the addiction, if I trusted him in those ways. But I DID become guarded, and WANTED to not be, but I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel like his partner. I didn’t feel like his priority. So in turn I became the person HE couldn’t feel safe with. I stopped hearing HIM. He’d tell me how little things I did hurt his feelings, and I wouldn’t change them, because I didn’t feel safe. I know still today that some of the things he said I did that hurt his feelings were due to DEEP insecurity, and I could never make that all better for him, and I tried to impart that to him in as kind a way as possible. Walking on eggshells because someone has extremely low self esteem, courtesy of their parents, is hard as fuck to deal with. In particular when you see them putting more effort into mending bridges with their parents, which they didn’t break to begin with, than they put into mending the bridges with you, that they did break.
As I have been sitting here writing this I remind myself that if I were having a conversation with anyone, and gave them the full and honest accounting of things that occurred in our marriage, they would likely think I’m crazy for even feeling remorse for having not heard him. Because some of the things that went on were really big, and bad, and ugly, and while in an esoteric sense they are forgivable, in a real life sense, they are “get the fuck away from that person and don’t look back” things.
Considering that he now is claiming to be 100% not an addict, or a man with a history of DV that dates to before me as well, and that all of the problems were because he was married to ME, maybe I’m a little crazy to even be giving a fuck what I did wrong. Maybe since he just didn’t seem to give a fuck that I couldn’t trust him on so many levels, and hence was so guarded and reactionary, I shouldn’t care what I did wrong. But I do. It wouldn’t have made him not an addict because that was always his choice, but at least I wouldn’t have the regret.