I was reaaaaally hoping I had misinterpreted My Bride’s recent distancing. Last weekend saw astonishing progress in our relationship. Enjoyable conversations, joking and really intimate encounters (relatively speaking). Sunday evening saw a significant drop off. We had discussed it, acknowledged it and dealt with it.
We established that there was too much contact over the weekend. That led to our instituting the no physical/visual contact M-F. That new boundary was broken immediately the next morning. It was shattered today.
My Bride had gone to her parent’s house last night to watch a basketball game. This is a 15 minute drive from our home which is not a real inconvenience. What was inconvenient was she left her phone there. This device is her alarm clock and the only way we communicate during the day. Prior to our separation we would text one another frequently. Not as much now, but enough to let each other know we’re there and thinking of each other. Since I’m across town from her parent’s house, I volunteered to get her phone.
I grabbed her phone and took it to her school. Her class room was empty. I had to trundle to the main entrance and actually follow the rules and check in. I decided to just put it in her room and slip away. “Are you going to catch her at the talent show” asked the nurse. “Uh, yeah.” The thought of actually seeing her was intoxicating.
I waddled over to the gym and peeked in. There she sat, 7 rows up, right next to the entrance and sitting with her partner teacher. My heart fluttered and the butterflies were released, flying crazy patterns throughout my belly.
The act was quite good for a 4th grader. It was an Indian folk dance and I was very impressed. I’m a musician which, apparently, makes me the toughest fine art critic ever. Generally, I would watch something like that and pick out the flaws. I didn’t critique the dance at all, I watched and allowed myself to enjoy the performance.
The dance was over so I popped in and say beside her. We greeted each other. I think I tried to put my arm around her but was given a “I don’t think so” signal. As we watched a group dance, I tried to put my hand on her leg. I got a vibe that I should not do that. When the song was over I said bye and split. I don’t know why, but I strolled to her room. I was in a kind of daze, like I was on a mission. I sat at her desk, opened her laptop and composed a poem. Yes, I’m THAT guy. I finished, left the lap too open, I wanted her to see it ASAP and split.
This all occurred in the middle of the day. I left her room at 2:00. I pick our son up at 3:45, so I grabbed a delicious beverage and parked at his school. I opened my Bible and did my Celebrate Recovery homework. Next thing I know, Son3 gets in the car. Time to run him to his friend’s house.
Friend wasn’t there yet do we waited. I sent a text to My Bride asking if I can run by and see her. I immediately realized my mistake and apologized for asking. 2 minutes later she answered. Sure, come on by. I could use your help packing (she’s leaving this school to join the admin team at another district). “Oh ok, I’ll be right there.” This was our third time to break our boundary this week, twice in one day.
We worked for awhile and loaded her car. Being too full, we had to put one of her tables in my car. It’s a Nissan Versa.
We call it the Nissan Choad. After my meeting I run the table to our house. Feeling the need to utterly crush our boundary I went on in to see her.
Since tomorrow is her last day, she needs me to help her clean her junk off her computer. This was cool because it provided me a legitimate reason for being there.
My Bride is a very tender soul. She showed me a card her students made her. She pointed out 2 places where kids wrote something very special to her. She immediately began crying. She told me how there were no problems getting the kids ushered out. Well, she didn’t completely loose it. When the last kid left she said she just lost it. Crying, boo-hoo’s, snot bubbles; the whole melt down. She heard something and turned around to find 2 parents waiting in her. Both their kids had been through her class. The ladies cried together and had a nice talk.
Hearing her stories touched my heart. Seeing her cry pulled at it as well. Everything in me screamed to hug her. I reached over to give her the hug. She jumped up and went to the bathroom. My mind told me she was being smooth so my feelings would t get hurt. I forced myself to dismiss that thought. “She obviously had to go to the bathroom. The timing was just a coincidence. Chill out.”
When she came back, she sat next to me again and showed me a card a lady have her. She cried again. I felt I needed to comfort her again. I reached over to hug her. This time there was no doubting what was happening. Please don’t. I quickly pulled away. That brings the smothering feign to me. Last Sunday you did something like that and I was overwhelmed with being smothered. I was shocked.
She thinks that anytime we kiss or hug I feel line it should be just as good, if not better, than those intimate moments. I just think that’s what you expect every time. I don’t and I told her so. I even apologized for smothering her. “I had no idea. Why didn’t you tell me!” I just did. Fair enough, I guess, but I wish I knew that crap in advance.
As I was leaving, I told her that she can tell me these things. “I know past experience tells you there’s a need to worry about hurting my feelings. I’m not in the same place anymore. I’ve acquired some skills…” I stopped and looked to the side in a weird way. We both cracked up at that. Apparently I had said I’ve acquired skillz. “Yeah baby, I can take it strong to the hole now.” That brought another good laugh. I was able to pull it together and finish my plea. “I’ve acquired new tools for dealing with that stuff. I need time to chill out, but it works.”
I don’t know if she believes me or if she thinks it’s even possible. I think she’s probably cautiously optimistic again. That’s reasonable and I respect that.
There are many, many, MANY things I must learn. There are a ton of things My Bride has to learn too. We both have to relearn how to interact with each other. What does the other want and need? How do we communicate our fears, pains or upsetedness without being hurtful to one another? How do we (I) disagree without being injurious to each other?
I have provided My Bride with many, many memories of me being hurtful to her. I’ve given her 2 or 3 I stances that demonstrate my new ability to treat her, and others, with love and respect. She says that she is cautiously optimistic frequently. I look forward to her being able to drop the “cautiously” from that statement.
Intimacy was but up last weekend. She demonstrated the desire AND ability to be intimate. I demonstrated the desire and ability to act with love and respect. While this week was pretty tough, it was still successful. If for no other reason, we didn’t experience any negativity. In fact, everything was neutral to positive.
Sometimes progress comes in giant leaps. I think that forward motion generally comes in very small increments. I’m grateful for our progress. I’m even more grateful for the patience and skills I’m learning.
I found out that I had not misinterpreted her distancing. She’s still in self-protection mode and will likely be there for quite awhile. I know she loves me. I know she desires intimacy. I know she desires reconciliation.
Small Baby Steps
Baby Baby Steps