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99 days of change…

When I look back over the days since I moved from my home, I am proud of the progress that I have made in becoming the man I know I can be. At times it seemed like there was little or no progress being made. Taken over the span of my separation, it is easy to see the difference in my attitude, actions, and emotions. There are still times when I drop the ball and revert back to old habits, after all I am far from perfect. I have come to measure my progress by the decreasing frequency of these episodes. Here are four areas in which I see improvement…

Fear of being alone…

I have always been a social animal. It has been easy for me to strike up a conversation with anyone. I have often been the center of attention or the life of the party. Some have even called me charming. I love the attention, as well as the feeling of being wanted. I have not often been the outsider, but rather been the one to be invited in. Although these things may sound positive, and they are to some degree, you must consider the fear they had instilled in me. Rejection, disapproval, and being alone have always terrified me. I realize that most people feel uneasy about them, but I had always dreaded all of them. Since I have always been comfortable in social situations, I learned to be uneasy when alone. From the time I was young I identified myself with social interaction. I learned that I had value when around others, but I doubted my value when alone. I have been alone more in the last 99 days, than in the last 17 years. At first the struggle was tremendous. It felt like my world was ending. Over time I have actually become comfortable being alone. I still interact quite often, but I don’t use others as a crutch.

Loss of self identity…

For years I identified myself as a father and husband. I felt that I stopped being an individual when I was married. I don’t mean this in a bad way but rather I felt those roles were so important that I let Brian fade away. I lost touch with old friends, only thought in terms of “us”, and never had a boys night out. I meant well and wanted to give the family all I had. I lacked one of the most important elements of well being… balance. I was forced to be Brian again when I moved out. It was awkward at first, but I am finding that old groove again. Stephanie has told me that she also lost touch of her individuality. She felt like “only” a mother and a wife. I can see now just how unhealthy our relationship was. We never had any time to decompress and be ourselves, we were always fulfilling a role. In an attempt to strengthen our relationship, we never thought of ourselves; we felt that it would be selfish to do so. Ironically it would have been in our best interest to take the time to be an individual. I have learned the importance of the “self, couple, and family” trinity. I will never again lose touch or be unbalanced.

Paranoia, accusations, and spying…

This is a tough. Our marriage has been in jeopardy for quite some time because we didn’t nurture it. When I heard “I’m not in love with you anymore”, I didn’t understand. I thought there must be another explanation, there must be someone else. There are some private issues that I will not discuss here, but I can say with confidence that there has never been anyone else. I can say this now, but I clung to the idea that there was another love in her life. I could not accept losing her, “just because”. I searched for answers, answers that didn’t exist. I spied on her and invaded her privacy. When I “found” something I let my imagination run wild and accused her. This quest consumed me, it is probably the main reason she has no interest in reconciliation. I don’t blame her, I would feel violated if I were in her shoes. Anyone would. Slowly, I have been able to let go of the paranoia. I have been able to let go of the quest for proof. I must admit that I have had episodes of mistrust as recently as three weeks ago. I have let my imagination create situations. I am not perfect, but progressing. The fear of another no longer runs my life. The fear that I have driven her away is still strong.

Impatience and inability to give space…

My wife does not like to discuss problems, she does not like to open up. I am not sure why, but at times it seems to me that she does not want to feel vulnerable. I must say that she would have liked to have someone that would listen and I always wanted to talk. This may be one reason that she keeps things inside when it comes to us. Anyway, I am exactly the opposite. I want to talk, I want to fix, I’m not afraid to put it all out there. This is a delicate situation. When our problems came to light, I pushed her to talk. For months I would press her for a resolution between accusations. She needed space and time to think. I tried but a couple of days was not what she needed. I would get impatient and press for answers. I was not able to give her space as she needed it. Now I am much more patient. I am able to give her space, time, and room to grow. I still occasionally ask to talk, but I don’t press anywhere near as hard as I once did. As a matter of fact, I no longer “press” at all.

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Well many things have changed in my world in not only 99 days, but in the last 10 months. It looks like they have changed for the worse. I hope that they are merely a wake up call. I hope they are just a small step back to gain momentum for a huge leap forward. I know that I have realized the flaws that exist in myself and am moving forward as a person. I hope that Stephanie can recognize the improvements I have been able to make. I really love my wife and regret the poor choices I have habitually made. I do see that she has grown during our separation and should be proud of who she is. I have no idea what
she thinks of daily. I don’t know if she will ever forgive me. I would like to believe that these changes could be the basis of a great relationship between us. Many lesson have been learned, many issues have been raised, and many opportunities for growth have been presented. I would love to work on our issues together.

Time will tell.

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