~Thursday, April 01, 2010

Men are still people too

One of the reasons I rode out Christopher's unemployment with him is because we've done this before. I knew him back in 2006 when he had a great job and was working full-time. I remember laying in his bed and watching him get ready for work in the bathroom. He'd put gel in his hair and make the Zoolander Blue-Steel face while he distributed the product. Every morning this made me erupt in giggles and every morning he would respond by slamming the bathroom door shut. I knew he wasn't another couch-surfing boyfriend.

Work hasn't even begun yet and he's been mentally and emotionally and physically available. Actually he's been that way since he started calling again and I went on my trip to the mountains without him. We've gone from watching the Sex and the City movie last year when he told me to never tell him I loved him, to watching The Blind Side last weekend when he told me to never decorate our house like that when we buy one. His kisses have gone from puckered whisks to sloppy open mouthed greetings.

I've changed too. For the past few months I've been wanting to share feelings with Christopher more than I have. I've been wanting to talk about my therapy and share some of the S incidents (not anymore, but while they were still relevant) so I wouldn't feel like I'm going through everything alone. But I've been withholding and slowly resenting him for not feeling like I could come to him about those things. I think it stems back to when I originally told Christopher about the true nature of my relationship with my ex. I was just so disappointed in his initial response that I decided that Christopher could not handle the truth about my weaknesses. He doesn't view weakness as an opportunity for growth or change. Furthermore, he won't show his. The only time he will admit something embarrassing about himself is if I lead the way with my own inadequacies.

So I stopped. And so did he. I started to become resentful.

My therapist offered Christopher free service with one of her practitioners when he was really depressed. He refused, presumably because of the stigma of asking for help. I thought it was irrational because he knew I went to see one. I realized though he still felt the stigma because I never talked about it. I may have even perpetuated it.

I remembered a blog post I had written near the beginning of our relationship emphasizing the importance of truth, no matter how dirty or ugly it was. I gloated about its effect on our relationship. How my honesty made him honest. I haven't been living like that anymore.

So I picked up the phone one day and dialed Christopher. "I just got home from therapy," I announced.

"Oh yeah?" he asked, interested.

"Yeah. I'm kind of bummed out because we talked about my father." We talked about him too and his recent depression, but I decided not to lead with that. And Christopher listened while I talked about things that were unimportant to him. A few days later, he also listened when I brought up what she had said about his depression, including medical reasons for his physical exhaustion and recommended herbal supplements. He wasn't mad or pissed off that I had talked about him or his depression, and pretty soon he was asking me questions about it on his own.

The night I found out about my ex's arrest for domestic violence, I just told Christopher as if it was something we talked about more than the one time. He began going down the road of How could you subject yourself to that and I simply responded with I didn't tell him the latest news so he could come down on me about it; I just thought he would want to know.

He paused briefly. "Okay," he said. He said it positively, like he completely understood.

Christopher asked when was the last time S had tried to contact me. Honestly, I answered two weeks ago.

"But we were still together then," he whined.

I explained that he calls and leaves voicemails or texts or threats and I never return them. That it's not a big deal. But Christopher sounded like his boyfriend status was being threatened, like S might still have an impact with me. I can't imagine why he would think that way. Christopher was my dream guy that I wished and dreamed and prayed over. He has no reason to feel threatened.

It's been proven not once, but twice that honesty does amazing things for our relationship.


Breeza said...

That's so great. Honesty is always the way to go. He sounds so much better too!

TexInTheCity said...

Well I honestly think that you are the best blogger EVER! How's THAT for honesty :-)

Glad that you guys are back on track!

twononblondes said...

That's great that he is coming around. I can't believe this is the same guy from 3 years ago! Also his reaction to S is kind of understandable. Guys usually hate hearing about exes, and S is SO not a typical ex.

Brianne said...

honesty is definitely a relationship key. glad you two are communicating!

N said...

Yours, mine, and everyone else's. The worst trouble we've ever had in our relationship stemmed from lack of honesty. Well, that, or me being late, if I'm honest. :-D

As for the "being threatened by an ex who couldn't possibly be a threat because he's a nightmare and you're so awesome and by the way are you kidding???" thing, yeah, we've dealt with that too. If the ex was a (relatively) normal person who was still calling you, that'd be different. From your point of view, though, it's mind-boggling that your SO could even think that after all you went through. But no one else can never really get it, I think, unless you've been through it.

I think the best solution is ample reassurance that they're the Only One and Totally Awesome and etc.

And I used to be MamaBear, but then you changed your posting options.

Sarah said...

I knew you were MamaBear before you even said it. :)

Curvy Jones said...

TexIntheCity said: "Well I honestly think that you are the best blogger EVER! How's THAT for honesty :-)"


Naw, I'm just kidding.

Kind of.

YAY, for turning things around. He better keep this up, because... well because.

Hope said...

I am also a big advocate on honesty in relationships. But, I haven't met a man (friend or lover) that is comfortable with admitting weakness.

I do think though that the more honest we are, the more comfortable they do eventually become with it.

Langley said...

I usually find that the best conversations take place over the phone when you're tucked up in bed on a cold, windy night.

Just be honest, you can't go wrong with it.

Lpeg said...

It sounds like things are really coming around for you both, and I'm really happy to hear this! And I'm so glad he's got a job again!!

AmyB said...

You really sound so emotionally healthy! I am so proud of you for what you've endured and made it through, coming out the other side an even stronger person.

One thing: you said, "Christopher was my dream guy that I wished and dreamed and prayed over. He has no reason to feel threatened." Have you told HIM that? Now that would be a good kind of honesty! :o)

Bathwater said...

I believe in honesty also-- boy am I going to have to feed it out in little spoonfuls if I ever find someone.

DianaL said...

Okay...I agree that honesty does do amazing things in a relationship and everywhere else. But I also think (and am learning) honesty doesn't always give you the results you want but it's still worth it.

I'd rather be honest then hold things in for sure, especially in a relationship- well until guys can become mind readers :)
check out my blog when you get a chance :)

nuttycow said...

I don't believe you can have a relationship without honesty. Without that, there is no trust. Without trust, there is no relationship.

Delicieux said...

I'm guessing you did the sigh of happiness after you wrote this post. What a great place to be in. :)

Anonymous said...

I've read and re-read your post several times Sarah.

Just really very pleased for Christopher and for you. x

Aritza, Goddess of .. said...

It's not always an easy thing to do, especially when you're talking about an ex but honesty is a great and essential thing. I'm glad it's bringing you two closer :)

Miss Devylish said...

Everyone's already said the same thing I would.. Just know I'm rooting for you, sugar.. xo


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