Friday, October 20, 2006

Part I: W was a Bitter Middle-Aged Man

Emily made a comment on an earlier post of mine that has inspired me to expand on something that I only touched upon in that post.

I said in that post, “I will also always love W but just don’t like the angry old man that he has become.”

When we first met W had the makings of a man who could become an angry old man, but I ignored the signs. He was not, at that time, an angry old man, but he was a man who was bitter over a bad first marriage and bitter over some issues in his childhood that I won’t enumerate here. I knew of his bitterness. I understood that he had every right to be angry with his first wife and angry with himself for allowing it to go on for so long. I understood from the things he told me about his childhood how he could feel bitter about things that had made his childhood different and harder from other people’s childhoods. What I did not understand until later was that this bitterness would not lessen with time, would not mellow but become sharper and angrier as time went by.

What made me fall in love with W was the safety and security I felt around him. With him being so much older than me I felt that he was more solid than men my own age, that he would take care of me. He did many things that made me feel special. We shared secrets with one another that we shared with nobody else. He bent over backwards to make me happy, to do things that pleased me, to acquiesce to my desires over his. He put me on a pedestal. I considered him my best friend because I could tell him anything, and he wouldn’t judge me for it.

Looking back I see several red flags in that last paragraph. At the time, I pushed aside any discomfort I felt. For instance, my expectation that he would take care of me speaks more of a parent-child relationship than a marital relationship. The fact that he would completely disregard his desires in favor of mine is indicative of his all-or-nothing attitude. Either he would give up his way of doing something or insist that it must be done his way. There was never middle ground, never a compromise to be had. At the time I thought he was wonderful to let me “win” on so many things. Now I realize that it was only setting us up for years of building resentment on his part, and an expectation on my part that everything should be my way. He never should have had me on a pedestal for that too indicated a lopsided relationship not the partnership that two people in a loving relationship should have.

At that time, I liked W. I liked that he was fun, easygoing, easy to talk to, easy to walk all over (something I would later understand was not good for either him or me), enjoyed sex and was willing to experiment some in the bedroom. I liked that he wanted to spend 24/7 with me (something I would later hate, but in the early days it was comforting to me to have someone want to be with me every second of every day). I liked W’s character because it was flawed, and it made me feel better about my flawed character to be with someone who I also saw as flawed. He had had many affairs during his first marriage, making me feel more comfortable with my promiscuity with which I had been so uncomfortable. He lied to make himself sound better than he was, something I had also been known to do on occasion. He twisted stories to suit his purposes which was not something I did but something that I actually admired in him at that time thinking how wonderful it was how he could twist things around to his benefit. I was, I am sad to say, fairly misguided as a young adult woman.

When it comes right down to it the thing that I liked most about W back then was the fact that he accepted me just as I was, didn’t try to change me, didn’t tease me about things about which I was sensitive. With W, I was free to just be me, for the most part. As I said earlier, I felt very safe and secure with W.

So what changed? When and how did he (and I) change? Ah, I think this post is getting a bit long. I’ll address these questions in the next installment.

1 comment:

oldbear said...

Hi TS, thank you for sharing this so honestly and openly.

I am intersted to see wher yo go with this train of thought.

I am sad foryou that it all turned to SH*&!

I suppose we were ALL young and inexperienced about things at one time, dont be too hard on yourself, It wont help anyone, 'K?

Hoenst and rsolute to change what we can is ok, but self-beating up sucks, I know, I am an expert at it! :-) ROFLMAO_AM