Author Topic: "she makes me a better man"  (Read 1588 times)

Mizpah

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"she makes me a better man"
« on: July 11, 2016, 02:09:50 PM »
I hear this a lot in the old list of common public compliments a man gives his woman.  (Maybe others do, but I haven't heard it as much in a gender-opposite way.... which is a whole other potential thought tangent to explore.)

As many of you know, I've struggled a lot in my first real post-death relationship.  A lot of it was circumstantial and not necessarily about us inherently, about who we are.  Challenges included his very new widow(er)hood, an unexpected pregnancy (no - not unwanted, everyone calm down! hehehe - referring to a former thread that got a bit crazy), a big move for me from urban to rural and from big social life to no social life, very difficult behavior from his son, financial worries, losses of freedom to a baby, and 16 months of interrupted sleep (baby).  We dealt with our strains and challenges - and each other most of all - in a less than graceful fashion, both of us.  I chalked it up to his damage from childhood and widow(er)hood and thought of him as emotionally abusive (and at the worst moments of our conflicts, he absolutely was).  But I refused to look at my part in (destroying) things.   

Finally, I became so unhappy that my life as I was living it felt untenable.  I started with a new therapist.  She listened to me and basically said, "Well, you're not going to change him and you're not going to leave him right now, so you need a plan to be happier and to be closer to the person you want to be, because you've lost your identity and you're acting and thinking like a victim."  Whoa. 

And what I've been realizing is that DH didn't make me a better woman.  He made me a happier woman.  So so happy.  Obsessively in love, and so adored, treated like a queen.  And I worshipped him.  But a better woman?  No.  He thought it was adorable when I was in a bad mood, even when I was nasty about it (confessions!).  He loved and accepted everything about me, even things no person should have accepted (I'm not horrible, but we all have issues, so I'm confessing *mine* - I can be a bit intense, wanting everything to be beautiful and perfect NOW).  Widower BabyDaddy doesn't think it's adorable to be negative or angry - cuz it's not.  DH was so confident and good-natured, nothing got to him, nothing ruffled him, he was so forgiving and accepting of everyone he loved.  I used to accuse BabyDaddy of giving only conditional love, or of being cruel in withdrawing love/affection to basically discipline me.  But you know what?  It wasn't that.  He just doesn't want to bear the brunt of my frustrations.  I wouldn't want to either.  And - call me crazy - I wouldn't feel like smothering someone in cuddles when they were consumed by rage toward me. 

In the past few months, things have changed a lot.  BabyDaddy has been so much more patient, so much quicker to get over anger, has dealt with me with much more humor and sweetness.  It's given me the room to examine my own behavior without feeling like I'm trading my self-respect (I felt too angry at his treatment of me to take any responsibility).  And I've been able to see how my own behaviors bring about a certain dynamic.  I thought I was so self-aware, I thought he was so much in denial about himself and people and emotions and relationships.  And he is in many ways.  But I was wrong about me.  I wasn't innocent.  My dissatisfaction wasn't wrong, but the way I dealt with it (and him - the alleged source of my dissatisfaction) was. 

We just had a really busy, hectic, stressful family weekend, and perhaps for the first time ever, we didn't turn against each other - not even for one quick second, not at all, not one tiny bit.  (That whole "you can't change him thing" turned out to not be so correct.  By being more patient with me, he changed my reactions.  And by changing my attitude toward him and blaming him less, he got sweeter.  We changed ourselves AND each other - we changed the dynamic.)  And I find myself in love with him in a way I never expected.  Not infatuation.  Not "everything's perfect and you make me feel like the only person on earth" (like I had with DH and like I believed was the only true happiness), but in a deep appreciation for what we share - with our significant individual and relationship flaws, because we easily could have given up, and I'm so so glad that neither of us did.  And I can honestly say that, against my will, he is making me a better woman. 

(He'd never admit it, but I'm also making him a better man.  ;)  )
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 02:21:54 PM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Taurus

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Re: "she makes me a better man"
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2016, 02:45:35 PM »
"..to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish..."

And then there's the make-up sex of course  :o

serpico

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Re: "she makes me a better man"
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2016, 02:52:50 PM »
It's a rare thing in life - and especially on this board, IMO - for someone to take such critical look at oneself and be open to the possibility that maybe things aren't always entirely someone else's fault.  I applaud your willingness to do that, because I know it's not a simple thing.

It could've been...not 'easy', I guess, but at least maybe more convenient to cut your losses and move on than to stay and do the dirty work you've done.  And now you, your daughter, and Widow Baby Daddy all get to reap the benefits.  What a great story!
'I think I got some of your pickle'

mmg19

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Re: "she makes me a better man"
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2016, 08:20:03 AM »
Hugs to you, Widower Baby Daddy, and daughter.  Thank you for sharing.  I believe the goal of all relationships(partner, spouse, family, friends) is to make us a better person. 

Sending good wishes to you. 

TooSoon

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Re: "she makes me a better man"
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2016, 09:18:25 AM »
Thank you for posting this.  I have always believed that the point of a marriage and a family is to help one another be our best selves, whatever that might be or mean at a given time as partners and as individuals. And also that love takes many different forms, means many different things, especially over time.  Hugs to you. 

Trying

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Re: "she makes me a better man"
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2016, 06:25:33 AM »
Thank you for sharing.  Relationships are always a 2 way street and it is much harder to look critically at our own behavior than our partner's.  I will try to take inspiration from you and do a little more of that in my own relationship. 
You will forever be my always.

BrocktonDave

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Re: "she makes me a better man"
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2016, 08:42:31 AM »
Wow...

SemperFidelis

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Re: "she makes me a better man"
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2016, 05:19:00 PM »
You are awesome. What an encouraging story.