Thursday, September 08, 2011

Not My Best Friend

We've been married almost 6 years. And we're parents.

They've been the most eventful years of my life, hands down.

And we have been through a lot - more than any other couple we know who've been together around the same time we have.

As we approach our 6th anniversary, I am sitting across the room from you - typing on my laptop with cold, sweaty hands, buying time because very soon I have to tell you something I am not sure you will like - and I really want you to.

To practice for telling you I have discussed it with others and it was easy - because I wanted them to like it but not as much I want YOU to.

It is always harder with you because it counts more. You count more.

After 6 years, I know I probably will always have this same sensitivity to everything you say and do and think. I know that you do love that - how responsive and reactive I am to you - but that it gets too much for you sometimes. And that you manage me by creating space around yourself and barriers between us sometimes to tone things down and maintain life at a pace that you find tolerable.

After 6 years, I know when to respect your space and your barriers, how to fight the seemingly endless need for more closeness & be less demanding - for a while. I have learnt to let myself be managed and handled by you and for you. But I am always nervous when faced with something that may create new distance.

After 6 years, I am more or less resigned to the fact that I will never have a husband who is a best friend. Never. My best friends will always be other people. You will never be a witness in my life, the outside observer, the friendly listener. You are much too much the center of it, too often part of the very issue I am grappling with and need to talk about.

After 6 years, I know you're destined to reside on the emotional and intellectual extremes of my being. I know that someone can make you feel so fundamentally fulfilled at a certain moment that when it's over you can't believe it actually happened or was possible. But then you find they can do it again. You get to a point where you realize that no matter what happens in between those moments, you can't bear to miss a single one of them. That is us. The curve of our life will always have extreme lows and extreme highs. The lows will come from disappointment/resentment at coming down from the highs and longing/impatience for the next high.

After 6 years, I know who you are and who I am well enough to accept that we really are opposites, that this will never be a comfortable or predictable situation and that it will always take work and be stressful at times. I know this because people don't really change. They may adjust but they don't really change.