Battles Lost, Battles Won
So he always thought I should be more reserved. A long-standing complaint is that I am too approachable, too much of a party-animal, not selective enough about who I mix with etc...
When I would argue, he would listen. At least he would appear to. He would appear to put up with it.
Now he says he tried and tried but he just can't put up with it anymore, that I have to change, that he is out of patience. He even plays the motherhood card now, tells me I have to change certain things because am going to be a mother.
The true extent of what I am being asked to do is becoming clear. It's not just a question of not going to clubs without him or not getting photographed while I do it. It's deeper than that. It's teaching myself to think of his feelings as I interact with people when we're not together. Something I still struggle with. He may always be on my mind. I may think of him and talk about him a lot when he is not with me. But I behave pretty much the way I always have. When I am out in the world, I have this different persona. The extrovert, the life and soul of the party, the girl who is ready to be with anyone as long as she doesn't have to be alone for a moment.
That's what it's about. It's not having people in my life whose presence there I cannot explain to him. That's what he really hates. Not that I go to clubs but that he has no idea who I'm with when we're not together, because a lot of the time I don't know myself ahead of time who I'll end up spending an evening or an afternoon with. He hates that I am in pictures with guys whose names I don't know. He hates that we can go out in public and I can be greeted by guys and then when he asks, I can't remember how or when I might have met them. He hates that there are still people who know me but don't know I'm even married and don't know he's my husband. Not because I mean to hide it. Simply because I might have ever met them only once - for one outing - years and years ago. All leftovers from a lifetime of just hanging out with anybody and talking to anybody to avoid being alone.
It's always been a point of contention that he likes to surround himself with a small group of people he trusts while I just like to surround myself with people. Stability, familiarity matter to him. Even his wild friends - much as I dislike them - he's known them forever. He likes to get to know people one at a time so he can take his time and seize them up and figure out if he trusts them before they're allowed to become part of his life. And now I am part of his life and he can't keep track of the people around me.
In response to the latest clash, I can't find the usual sense of rebellion. I can't hear the voices inside me that used to tell me that I have to be myself, that I can't allow him to mold me into his image of the perfect wife, that he should accept me as I am. Or the other voices that say well he can never be there for me all the time. There will be times when he chooses to withdraw from my life - either physically or emotionally - because he has other priorities or because he is punishing me for something. And what do I do then? Am so used to not being alone. I have no idea what to do with myself when am alone. None of that is resonating this time. Not really.
And - because he knows me so well, he can sense that this time I am not up to much of a fight, so he won't stop pushing until he gets his own way, once and for all. He won't execute a tactical retreat like he used to do in the past when he could sense I wasn't ready to back down.
Another reason why he wants this resolved now is that we are about to start a new life. This is my city. The city where I grew up. The life I have had since before I even met him. But when we leave here, I will be on his turf instead of mine. And he wants to make sure that our new social life is established on premises he is more comfortable with.
I guess he wants what he wants more than I want the opposite. I don't want to be a social butterfly badly enough to withstand all the hassle. I don't want my freedom enough to pay for it by putting up with his disapproval, his lack of attention - especially not now.
And he clearly wants me to change enough to put us both through whatever it takes, for as long as it takes for me to back down.
So he wins.
I think I've already changed. Probably not in the healthiest way possible, which would have been out of true conviction that it is right thing to do. I've changed because the look on his face when he saw that picture - and some of the more memorable things he said to me over this and similar things in the past - are haunting me in a manner that is affecting the way I behave. I've changed because after the long separation, I need him to be with me 100% and he's shown that he's perfectly capable of being physically here and yet being so distant that I am as deprived as when he was away. I've changed because I am having his baby and it is an experience I don't want anything to keep us from sharing as much as we can. It is so sad that we were not talking the first time I felt the baby move, that the state of affairs between us forced me to use our baby as an emotional bribe to get his love and attention. The same way I've had to use my doctor's appointments, my scans etc.....
Our baby is worth more than that. My baby deserves more than to be a bargaining chip for anyone - especially me.