Is this the state the bloody obvious game? No, but the season of love is upon us and I’m here to tell you that if you aren’t in a happy place it can be rough.
Everybody knows that couples fight, it’s perfectly normal to disagree, yada yada but when you’re going through a hard time when the rest of the world is sunshine and rainbows it can feel really lonely. This time last year we had just moved in to a new house with my parents and the gravity of what we’d decided to do had hit us like a truck. There were plenty of issues we’d anticipated that (even a year on) ended up not being a problem and tiny things we hadn’t that were a real sruggle. Moving your established little family in with your parents/in laws is not an easy move. We all had our reasons (that’s another post) and so we were kind of batting away the niggles ahead of time telling ourselves (and each other) that it would be fine but those early days? Yeesh!
With 4 totally different (though some would say my Dad and I are similar in temperament) adult personalities living under one roof it was quite the psychology lesson for this people watcher. I noticed our dynamic change considerably but also how each person dealt with their individual grievances. We weren’t communicating and so some would huff and puff, others would retreat, I would cry in the bathroom. It took a good 6 months (9 if I’m honest) before Lee and I really started talking through our problems. The living arrangement brought out major control issues for him that he’d previously managed to keep under wraps and it became obvious that my flippant, laid back vibe was masking some serious anxiety. Effectively, when he felt out of control he shut down and when I couldn’t fix the problems I smiled until my face hurt.. then cried some more.
What scared me the most was that after almost 10 years together there was so much I didn’t know about my husband. So many facets of his personality that I was still yet to see. What if this decision changed him beyond recognition. Worse still, what if I had? Can you see how I might have been anxious? I’m an overthinker, I would lay in bed, absolutely bereft for the future I thought I might not have and for a relationship I desperately wanted to hold on to that I wasn’t sure was still there.
The big problem was that we’d never really fought before. We fight in a very different way, he’s insular and will sulk (scorpio) whereas I want to argue (aquarius). So in the past things had fizzled out quickly and no issue was large enough to hang around. This time the issue wasn’t going away but we weren’t adept at conflict. We didn’t know how to argue effectively and so a resolution seemed absolutely impossible.
I’ve been through a divorce before and it was hard but it didn’t feel like this. I was conflicted because of the picture perfect family I’d imagined for myself but not about the relationship. This felt very different, divorce is easy when you want a divorce, we were fighting because neither of us wanted that. Once it came to a question of in or out the answer seemed simple, ‘choose happiness’.. only it’s not actually that easy.
Lee felt as though he was screaming in to the abyss because at every turn I’d stonewall him with ‘everything’s fine’ ‘positive vibes’ ‘negativity is toxic’ blah blah blah. In a bid to think myself happy I had basically become a pod person. I couldn’t handle real emotions so I became a human embodiment of those cringe-worthy instagram accounts that make you feel like you are not living your best life. I was angry that Lee wasn’t ‘trying’ but I wasn’t thinking about what he needed from me. He needed me to let him vent and be annoyed and I would evade (imagine wonder womans armoured cuffs) every negative comment with a positive one. That wasn’t a discussion, if anything it was a negotiation with zero give on either side.
It’s hard to be objective about your own relationship because you usually only see it from one side but something switched a few months ago and things started to get better. I’m not saying the entire year was terrible but we were under a pretty dark cloud for a while and it seems to be finally clearing.
I’m sharing this because 12 months ago things felt like the absolute worst. At a time when we were celebrating multiple ‘holidays’ (anniversary, birthday, valentines) and surrounded by vomit inducing displays of affection (thanks, social media – I look forward to joining that dark side again soon) I just felt so low. I know I’m not alone in my experience because what helped me more than anything was friends sharing their stories with me about less than loved up times with their significants others. It’s considerably more candid that I tend to be but if I can help someone feel like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel it will have been worth opening up.
Apologies in advance for your February 14th instagram feed but remember, they’re just pictures. They don’t show you what’s really going on and they should never make you feel ‘less than’