I’ve had this idea for three years, “Planting the Seeds of Love” and I haven’t yet figured it out. I’ve gone so far to reserve the domain name and create a Facebook page for it but I haven’t quite figured out WHAT it’s going to be. So while I was writing about some possible ideas, I started writing about my former husband, Mark and this woman, Bernadette I’ve been in an on again, off again relationship with. It was interesting contrasting the two.
When I had said the words out loud to Mark that I wasn’t happy back on Christmas night 2010, I had immediately wished I could have taken them back. It was a huge argument in which it ended that he had me convinced things weren’t THAT bad. But now looking back for the umpteenth time at that time, I realized I was afraid of him.
He and I never had the type of relationship we could talk about anything. I called it a “surface relationship”; there wasn’t any real depth to our conversations. I had felt inferior and felt my opinions didn’t really matter to him. Whenever I spoke about my feelings I felt like I was shot down, not heard, not understood and at times made to feel wrong for what I felt. So I stopped sharing them. My sister, Ann talks about her partner “having her heart” (similar to having her back but instead she always has her heart in her best interest). I never felt that way with Mark.
And yet here I was today contrasting how Mark and I vs. Bernadette and I communicate. Bernadette and I have had our share of misunderstandings and ups and downs but I always knew everything would be ok with time. She needed time to process and work through whatever issue had come up. Once she did, we would talk through what had happened and we understood each other better and grew from the experience as a result. I’ve always said the best thing about our relationship is we have fantastic, open communication. We can talk about anything without fear because we’ve created that safe environment to be vulnerable…and that goes for whether we are in a romantic relationship or just friends.
And then I contrast that with Mark, I always felt like I didn’t have a “receiver” that could hear what I was saying and work together through whatever we were dealing with. He had a temper and I didn’t know how to deal with that so whenever it came out, I shut down. He would say he felt like I was criticizing him but I was just trying to have an open conversation. Many times when living with him I remember feeling like I was walking on eggshells not knowing if something I said was going to be taken the wrong way. So I learned to be afraid of his temper and would tiptoe around subjects I knew were going to bring it out. I also realize now he had never allowed himself to be vulnerable with me and when I tried to be with him, I believe he didn’t know what to do with it and shut me down.
The good news is I’m not afraid of him or anyone any longer. I continue to try to have open conversation with him but it’s tough when I still don’t have a receiver. I will continue to hold the space that one day we will be able to have an open dialogue. In the meantime, I will just continue to plant those seeds of love for him, especially for him.