How Grief Hijacked My Marriage
It is hard to be a Therapist, especially when my own words reverberate in my head.
“Grief, especially when associated with a sudden tragedy, can tend to highlight the parts of your relationship that weren’t functioning well before it happened.”
F###, you got that right.
How many times have I said this to my clients? Hundreds, I’m sure. I just didn’t think it would apply to ME.
I love my husband, very much. We have been together for twelve years, and I have often marvelled at how much I do love him after all of these years. Well, at least I used to. Now there are times when I can’t stand him, when I wish I were alone.
Why in the world did I get remarried? (seventeen years the first time) What was I thinking? I could be on my own now instead of putting up with someone who doesn’t know how to support me, someone who can’t give me what I need…[ranting inside voice]…
I was not prepared for how the sudden death of someone close to me would affect me. It has been four months, and I am still largely unrecognizable. On the outside, I may still look like me — aside from the associated weight gain. But on the inside, I am lost. I cry easily, and I am overly sensitive. And don’t you dare disappoint me or piss me off, because I am either likely to tell you off — or cut you off. I can’t handle it. My work is important to me, so I save most of what I have for the office. The rest goes to my good friends who lost their son, and my kids. That’s all there is to give. Hmmm, someone is missing. Yup, it would be my husband.
I had this fantasy that because I was so in love and connected with my partner, that surely he would be my number one. My best friend who would completely understand, support me in ways that he never had before, and that he would always be there to lean on. Nope. Dream bubble has popped. He is, by in large, who he has always been, which is not those things. This alone doesn’t make him a bad person, as he does have many gifts, talents and assets. Empathy, however, is not high on his radar. And if I’m really honest, it never has been. I just really didn’t notice before. Or at least it didn’t directly impact me.
So now that it has, I am trying not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I have no interest in being divorced again. If I step back, of course I still love my husband deeply. I just need to readjust my expectations of him, and get what I need in those areas elsewhere.
If grief has hijacked your marriage, or any of your significant relationships, think twice about writing them off. It is not their fault that you have lost someone close to you, and they certainly are not having the same experience as you. They can’t. We all process these things differently.