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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Breaking Point

The circumstances of how things in my marriage came to a breaking point are irrelevant.  What is important is that in an emotional debate/argument about our marriage, I suddenly realized his gender identity issues had been pushed too far down and it was only making him frustrated.  I was also frustrated.  He couldn't deny it anymore, he hated the thought of testosterone in his body.  He didn't know what that meant, he didn't know if he could handle being the way he was anymore.  He couldn't give me the type of sexual fulfilment I desired.  He didn't think he could handle an open marriage, so where did that leave us?

I'd say that was one of the most pivotal points in my life so far.  I spent the whole night tossing and turning, didn't sleep much at all and cried.  And cried....and cried the whole next day.  I was crying at the thought of my marriage being unable to survive because I might need something different sexually.  I cried for the person I married, being so miserable.  I cried because if I really wanted this marriage to work, I was going to have to change myself.

I was going to have to get ready to face some really tough emotional challenges and I knew it was going to mean looking in the mirror.  Had it not been for the counseling a few years back, I wouldn't have had to learn that there are ways to do that.  I had already begun finding myself, but not wholeheartedly.  I was avoiding my inner emotions.  I started reading other blogs from other wives and started realizing that writing about this might help.  I started a journal that helped me get a handle on all the thoughts in my head.

I thought long and hard about the question of why I am with this person.  It had been asked in a blog by other wives so it got me to thinking about it really deep down.  I chose to go into the relationship knowing the confusion that was there.  I went into the marriage knowing we have different styles of sexuality.  I always knew there was a possibility that this could go further, but didn't really believe it would.  When that seemed like more of a reality, my rollercoaster of emotions seemed like it was only about him and our marriage but, like a slap in the face, I had the thought...wait, maybe these emotions are really about me!

What I came to realize is that my own deep fears and insecurities throughout my life drew me to connect with a person that also had those same issues.  I mask or avoid my emotions, because they become incredibly overwhelming.  I put up walls over the years to avoid getting hurt by being rejected or losing people.  I was finally able to admit to myself that what scared me most about all this is that he might not need me anymore.  If he is able to be who he or she is, why would this person need me anymore?   Sure, I know there are all the other fears of violence, rejection and losing our comfortable (but somewhat boring) existence, but losing my soulmate was the biggest fear.  I realized that this change would also mean that I had also put a wall up in my marriage that I have to tear down, and that is terrifying.

I couldn't have predicted what has changed in myself, just in the past few weeks.  I came to an understanding that I have to teach him/her what I need and be really open and honest about all the things I was feeling.  Reading about others really helped me articulate my feelings and accept that no matter what, the most important thing to me is being true to myself and helping my spouse be true to him/herself as well.  It is very difficult for me to be vulnerable in this way, to allow this path to be explored and be truly accepting of whatever comes our way, no matter how many emotions are attached to it.

What I would like to say to the wives/girlfriends out there is that we can choose to not only help our partners with their exploration or transformations, but to help them understand how we think.  I really believe that was the part that has helped us get to a completely different level in our relationship.
I was able to finally express that I have this dialogue in my head going on all the time that is like a battle.  The irrational fears, the rational fears, the crazy thoughts and the insecurity battles the logic and confidence all the time.  It's not just about our relationship, it's just what happens with me.  It makes me feel like I am crazy...until I talk to my closest friends and realize that I am not alone in that.  They help me by letting me get it out without judgement and just letting me work through it.  Then I had the realization that he feels that way too inside. It's such a stigma for men to express emotions, so it must feel terribly lonely.

An example of the cycle/duel in my head:
"I'm not an overly feminine woman, am I expected to all of a sudden change and like shopping and makeup when I don't do it for myself?  Don't be stupid, he knows who you are and has loved you all these for the way you are. You don't have to like it, but she needs support and you can do that for her.  I have very little fashion sense, how can I live up to trying to teach someone else about it? Get someone to help you dummy!  If I don't help with that and someone else does, is that going to create another bond that will make him realize that I am not the best person for him?  That's ridiculous, you are just being paranoid. He's allowed to bond with other people.  Am I the best person for him?  If he changes, is she going to view me as an inadequate woman? Shut up, you are who you are.  Is she the best person for me?  Yes, you have someone who is supportive, caring, empathetic and listens to you."
So many questions (and apparently answers to myself), but I feel like being able to simply express the full dialogue finally has freed me from those fears.  Before we opened up with our communication, he acted like I was blaming him for the feelings.  What I had to explain is that the feelings are just there and I need to just let them out.  It doesn't mean I need anyone to fix it, that I am placing blame or expecting a resolution, it is just there and I can't help what pops into my head.  Holding it in just makes it all snowball later.

And then we both just let go.  We admitted to ourselves and each other that we're ready for the next step and weren't going to let fear stand in our way anymore.  We had to let the walls down.  I really had to take a hard look at myself, my behavior, my fears, my love, and my core beliefs in order to accept what we were about to embark on. So did she.  Here goes nothing...

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