...even if it is just a tiny bit of it.
This evening my H and I had the closest to what I would call a real "heart-to-heart". A discussion where we weren't always just reacting to each other's tones, tempers and slight of words. Where, if any of those things did pop up, we'd recognize them, and immediately remedy them. For the first time in a while, I can say, this really does feel like progress. Over the past two weeks I've had the ability to open up to people, others, friends, family members, in ways I've never imagined, and I've really felt comfortable in what I can say, and how to say it. As though, yes, this is ME talking. And look, I don't have to hide behind any thick mask either!
This weekend was probably the most difficult test of faith and strength for both me and H. I came pretty close to running away from everything, taking the whole mess with me and not allowing him another step toward reparations, not allowing him any more participation in my emotional life. Whether that meant physically removing myself from our home, or emotionally demolishing our bond through self-destructive sabotage, I was just about ready to pluck the life out of this failing marriage. But I knew that my desire to run away was a knee-jerk reaction and that any decisions I made on my own, without his acknowlegment or acceptance would be a clean and final blow to our relationship.
Yesterday, I began being honest with H about my deepest dissatisfactions in our relationship, and about where I am right now. All the things I said to him were so obviously painful and hurtful, that I hated myself for causing him such pain. I realized today that all these things that added up to my unhappiness were the very result of my own insecurities, my tendencies to hide annoyances, to hide dissatisfactions, to hide minor desires, because of the fear of conflict and the fear of disappointment/disapproval. The very desire to please others (namely H) is the root cause of my own stifling of Self. This is a battle over Self that I have been knee-deep in for all 5 years of our relationship. And it slowly built up enough steam that I began acting out in ways I never imagined. In fact, in the midst of it all, I couldn't get a grip over my behavior, and I just couldn't understand where the fuck I was coming from. What has come over me? Why am I so driven to behave in such a rebellious manner? Am I just having fun? There's just so much confusion over what I want, and that's what needs to get sorted out before anything else can move forward.
Today, H and I talked and this time the honesty was good -- still painful -- but good. It wasn't coming from a place of rebellion. It wasn't camoflauged in niceties. It was honesty on a level that is secure and true to my own individual person connecting with H's own individual person. For the first time since all of this began, I actually feel safe. What's ironic is that the decisions we've made leave many questions unanswered. Yet, we were still able to talk about specific points of action (or inaction in our case) clearly and frankly with one another. I felt good for the first time in a long while about giving anything to my H; that is, giving slack, giving leeway, compromising. I've generally always been somewhat reluctant in compromising with him and didn't quite like that fact about myself. But tonight, I gave something freely, and that felt remarkable.
Basically, he agreed that I need a "time-out", from lots of things, but mainly from him. It's not exactly feasible for me to move out of our house quite yet, so we talked about what this extra space entails, and how we can achieve that while living under the same roof. We also talked about what he needs from me in order to give me this space. (More on this in another post, probably.) This buffer-cushion is a temporary zone of individual development, in order for me to work through what I need to work through -- whatever that includes. Primary in my mind is deciding once and for all if having an open marriage is something that I can not live without. And the flip-side of that is deciding if I'm willing to sacrifice H for this unknown lifestyle. Also issues of importance: personal behavioral patterns that are harmful to my core, through repetitive action; interpersonal behavior that gets in the way of true intimacy with others; establishment of boundaries; finding the courage and strength to demand personal time for individual growth and development. There's a lot of shit here to work on. I hope that the time apart from each other will allow me the opportunity to really establish what it is I really want. I'm just a bit emotionally exhausted right now in the midst of it all.
Thank you to my commentors for your honest feelings and regards. Thank you particularly, HankMoody for your very in-depth note. All of your responses have helped me think about what it is I need to do, and where I need to go. I hope that where we all end up is, at the very least, a better place than where we started.