I spent some time this weekend writing, reflecting, praying, reading, thinking…
You know what I realized?
In four months on the job, the people in this office – the men in this office – know me better than the man I was married to for 20 years did.
A year-and-a-half at a new church and people -the women, men, students – know every shade of my moods, my days, my weeks.
Total sucker punch to the gut.
I am ecstatic that I am with people who know me so well that my moods, my thoughts are to them like a billboard. (Apparently my inner Vulcan is broken.)
But, in 20 years of marriage, the man who was to have been my best friend never noticed if my clothes were decades old, if I was wearing makeup or not, if I had long hair or short, if I cooked or fed him takeout. He never noticed if it was a day my back hurt (unless I told him it was). He never noticed if something had happened to make me upset. (And he didn’t care to hear about it if I told him there was.) He didn’t care if I was having a good day. (And didn’t care to hear about it if I was.) He didn’t care about my needs. He didn’t care about my wants, my likes, my dreams or my goals. He didn’t care about anything except what we were having for dinner and if he had clean socks and underwear.
Actually, that’s not true. Sometimes he didn’t care about that stuff either.
It sounds cliché to say I didn’t have a husband, I had only a roommate. But, truth is truth.
Well…. the real truth is that I had less than a roommate. A roommate would laugh with you, watch movies, giggle and argue over dishes in the sink. I had surly, pouty, moody, grandiose, space-needy, stand-offish and uncommunicative.
I lived with a man who would giggle as he belched from the couch and shouted a disclaimer to whatever room I was in, “When it comes from that end, it means I love you.”
I had an ‘everything is a power struggle’ husband who was deeply offended when he was asked to take out the garbage and do dishes once a week.
When I was packing up his things, I found one of his counseling bills. Inside was a printout explaining Borderline Personality Disorder and another printout explaining Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
He had been going to a counselor in addition to a 12-step program to work on his pornography and sex addiction. Unfortunately, a few months into it, he stopped going to his therapist. A few more months in and he also stopped going to his 12-step program. These things greatly contributed to his departure but… it doesn’t really matter.
Well, it matters but… not for my purposes today.
Today, what matters is that I was married to someone who cared less about me than strangers I meet in the grocery store. So, to presume that he would be able to, should be able to discern the shades of my moods? Unfathomable.
I had never even considered that it was possible or desired.
I knew he shouldn’t be using 900 lines, dating services and pornography. I knew he shouldn’t be coming home with condoms in his bow case. I knew he shouldn’t be sitting on the roof of our apartment building with a pair of binoculars ‘star-gazing’ into the 3rd floor window of a 19-year-old girl. I knew he shouldn’t be asking to go on trips and sharing hotel rooms with female coworkers. However, I was so focused on what he should not be doing, what was unhealthy for him, I never, ever – not once – considered what was not healthy for me. I never once thought about what I did not have or what I should have.
Oh, I guess that every once in a while I did but then I beat myself up over it.
“Why do I care if he notices me? My value doesn’t come from him.”
“He loves me or he wouldn’t be here, living with me in this house, married to me.”
“What is wrong with me that I am so needy, so materialistic, that I am disappointed that he didn’t notice my hair went from waist length to just below my ear lobes two weeks ago. Why am I being so materialistic that it matters?”
But now, in my new apartment with my new job, actively involved in my new church, confronted with the reality of having someone care, having someone know you, having someone see you for who you really truly are (lots of someone’s actually)….
It blows my mind.
It makes me beyond happy. (Is it wrong that people I work with and the people I worship with make me feel so special, so important, so valued?)
And that gulf that lies between what I have with co-workers, the people I’ve been worshipping with for a short time and a husband of 20 years….
It makes me happy but it also kind of makes my eyes leak.
And I have that here at my new job and my new church. ❤