In the interest of exploring truth, maintaining the utmost integrity of the work/exercise given by the counselor in our sessions, out of the respect I have for you — I want to put it all out there in the hopes that we can find some resolution.
I have begun to sense a malignancy growing within my thoughts concerning you; something of which I don’t want any part. This so-called malignancy I speak of is resentment.
Going back to the previously mentioned animation provided by Relationship Rules: I believe myself to be a real man. (Surely I didn’t need confirmation from that clip, but it did feel good to be aligned with a standard with which nearly nine million people seem to agree.) Furthermore, I don’t, nor have I ever, expected to be celebrated for being such (although, it seems as if men, especially in our community, hold such a rare attribute). However, I do feel as though I this is not fully realized by you, and I’m not sure why.
Although I am taking into consideration that at such times you were upset, I remember you stating to me that I was an “average” boyfriend (which, suffice to say, was a revelation to me, after having been together for several years at that point). You’ve also alluded to my lacking skills as a husband. And — although I haven’t yet outright heard it from your mouth — I have reason to believe that at most, I’m considered a “competent” father by you. (Ouch for all three, by the way…) Very recently, you indicated that I was the reason why you don’t have friends, although never have I demonstrated being in any way possessive. You feel as though you cannot freely express yourself, lest it “turns into something,” despite clearly and concisely stating to me many of the previous things free from the fear of it “turning into something” (unless you count the “something” as breaking my heart).
I have often wrestled with the concept of your understanding and utilization of the words you use, especially when it comes to me; because I, on the other hand, am all too cognizant. Which is why, even within the blinding depths of my frustration, I’ve never:
- made mention of your physical features that could in any way be even remotely construed as negative;
- made disparaging comments about your sometimes inattentiveness to the children (especially evident in light of the arrival our second child) or the housekeeping (which is to be desired); or
- made mention of your lack of spontaneity, initiative, motivation, or creativity within the bedroom.
This is, mind you, despite the fact that I — like a real man… your husband — have not only given out what I expected… what I am entitled to receive (elements that, more or less, amount to “maintaining a relationship”), I’ve otherwise accepted what you had to give that was furthermore compounded by the indictment of me not giving enough, if anything at all, to you.
Case in point: (*Disclaimer* The following is not meant to be a list of me “keeping score” of the things I’ve done, but rather a presentation of just a few factual [unrequited] examples you seem to have enjoyed, but otherwise forget about.)
- I’ve taken you to a concert (Marsha Ambrosius) with VIP tickets; but, according to you, that was “years ago.”
- I’ve taken you on a cruise to the Bahamas; but, according to you, we were budgetarily restricted from doing any extra stuff.
- I bought you a spa package for Mother’s Day one year; but, according to you, you didn’t have time to take advantage of it.
You have enjoyed the freedom of going back to school not once, but twice, while I set aside any of my aspirations as I served as sole breadwinner (which, in reality, I’m always okay with); but, according to you, that’s par for the course.
Most women don’t get to experience/enjoy the fundamentals in a relationship, let alone these much-welcomed treats. You have. Does this mean I should get a medal…? No. But, the feeling of appreciation shouldn’t ever have to be questioned; especially when considering that I often sacrificed, scraped together the resources, and planned (in secret) ways in which I made things [like that] happen.
Very recently, I flat out asked you what you needed me to do [about this relationship] and you gave the very ambiguous reply of, “Step up.” Well, I believe I have not only stepped up in times past — moving heaven and earth within my sometimes very limited means — but the resolve to get better with time hasn’t been diminished, even in light of this. More times that I’d like to remember, I’ve provided to you my heart in my hands; and, almost every time it seems, you’ve smacked my hands! Why…?
To Be Continued…