I remember it started one night shortly after our engagement, this feeling that The Ex was a bit sensitive, maybe a little too sensitive.
We were on a trip to Boston where I was attending a work conference and in the evenings we were venturing out and seeing the sights. On the last day of the conference we attended a Red Sox game. We had a great time! Took photos, toured the stadium, ate all the ballpark junkfood we could find and then settled in to watch the Red Sox win their matchup that night. After the game, we took a few more photos and then headed out to the train/metro stop to head back to the hotel. After a 45 minute ride on the train and a 15 minute walk from the stop to the hotel, we were finally back in the room.
It was late. I had been up early to head to the conference, sat in meetings all day, taken the train back to the hotel to change and drop off a few things, hopped the train back into Boston for the game, experienced the game and the train ride back again to the hotel… needless to say, I was tired. It had been a wonderful, but very long day.
In the room, The Ex reached over to give me a hug. And while in hindsight I should have just accepted the hug and went on with life, I, in my exhaustion, pulled away and simply said, “not right now.” This was something I had never done to him before and I’m sure it caught him a little offguard. (By the way, I do feel that it should be acceptable if your partner sometimes just wants to be left alone. Everyone needs a moment alone here and there. And I also feel that there should be enough security in the relationship to be able to handle a minor rejection such as this.) Anyway, The Ex looked at me in an interesting way and I told him that I was sorry I was just tired and didn’t feel like cuddling then. For a short time, this seemed to suffice. He backed off and seemed to go on about his business of getting ready for bed.
After about 20 minutes, my “sweet” guy (see post) exploded and started yelling at me about how I didn’t want him in my life and asking how I could want a relationship if I didn’t even want someone touching me…
I was a little shocked because, first of all, I thought this small issue was settled and it wasn’t (that which became a recurring theme in our relationship, where I would think things were settled and his mind would have a different idea). Secondly, this startled me a little because this was a side of him I had not yet seen. Now I always operate in the mindset that a relationship is a learning process where you will always be learning new things about the other person, but this is not the type of things I wanted to have to learn. This side was not pleasant, not sweet, not kind and gentle… it was none of the things that I had said “yes” to the night we became engaged.
This sudden rage that seemed to come out of nothing, really upset me that night. What caused it? Where did it come from? Surely one slightly rejected hug couldn’t have set off this type of anger…
We still had a few days to go on the trip and so I tried to make peace with him that night so that we could enjoy the rest of the time we were there. He calmed down and we fell back into the “normal” couple we were and had a great time during the remaining days.
After I returned home though, I really thought about that night in the hotel. And though very unlike me, I decided I should put the responsibility of that night on myself. I really tried to put all the fault of his outburst and hurt feelings on my actions. I reasoned that I should be more open and loving toward him and that because I had been single so long that maybe I didn’t know how to be in a good relationship after all and that he was right to get angry. I convinced myself that because he was so “sweet” in so many other ways that certainly his outburst and cruel words meant nothing. That they were spoken in anger and that it would be what anyone who felt hurt would do. I let him win. Something I rarely let anyone do. My stubborness and hard-heartedness usually get the better of me and I typically don’t let anyone win. But I let him win. I took his feelings to heart and really started trying to counteract the urge to resist a hug or do or say anything else that might hurt his feelings from that point forward. I was more aware of myself and my actions. Which is not all bad certainly, but it’s not all good either. When it reaches the point of living in a constant state of second-guessing every action and every word that you say or do… that’s not good.
But he was so “sweet.” How could he be doing anything to cause me this internal anguish? It had to be me.
To be continued…