The not so tragic but messy and dramatic demise of my marriage has brought me to a mental space where I have re-evaluated much of my life.
I have had more relationships and dates than I care to count. And only a few of them have left me with anything resembling a broken heart. “Good riddance” and “God speed” have been far more typical reactions.
Half the reason for this is healthy and positive, after a few dates I saw deal breakers and never returned his last call.
The other half of the reason is that I have often run from vulnerability. I have taken sometimes great lengths to maintain my independence and freedom. This was the fatal flaw in my first relationship with DD. I blocked him out, pushed him away. I had my reasons at the time. But I was wrong. He would have been there all along if I had let him.
We are now at a place where we have, block by block over the years, torn down those walls and learned to really trust each other, to let our hearts be open books.
I really saw this last night. We had made love and were snuggled up for bed. He told me how it is that even after nearly ten years he still sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night and thinks he’s in a hole in the sand in Iraq. And that having me there makes it less frequent, easier to know where he is.
He and I have both experience trauma that should leave normal people with deep scars and fear. We get each other in this, what it is to have faced down death, to have survived when we shouldn’t have. But we never could talk about it before. We tried to be tough, to push it away.
We are building an intimacy that I can barely comprehend. So this is what it feels like to really care and to really be cared about. Wow. My heart is an open book in his hands. And I am content to let him have it. There is no urge to snatch it back and shut it up. Just as he trusts me with his darkest spaces and greatest weaknesses I know he can handle mine.
And there is a huge difference between this intimacy and honesty and the dark horror of my ex-husband’s needy, infantile codependency. We can have those awkward challenging conversations.