Changing Tides

I know it’s the 4th of July, and I should be out around town, doing interesting things, but feelings don’t wait for the right time to interrupt life’s events. They interrupt whenever they wish, and I feel it’s important to write them down.

Last night, as with most nights, I went to bed by myself while my husband stayed up. He does this often because he doesn’t fall asleep easily, and suffers from ADD and all of the side effects associated with his medication to treat it. He also loves to sleep on the floor near windows, so most mornings I wake up to find him not in the bed, but on the floor near my dresser, lying on his stomach.

Most days it doesn’t bother me, especially if I feel I’ve received enough attention from him, but for someone with ADD and mild Asperger’s, providing enough attention to their chronically anxious and depressed spouse is a tall order.

I think about our relationship and wonder how in the hell we have stayed together so long, just based on this mix of mental illnesses alone! I know there are relationship traits like dependability, communication, friendship, consistency, and shared principles that assist in our process, but when examining the parts of our personalities that are like oil and water, I wonder sometimes if we were really meant to be “forever”.

Whatever that means. In Mormonism it meant something, because of emphasis on the eternities, but now, as a doomed heathen, it doesn’t mean as much.

I would like to believe that partners can be together for life. I know I’ve seen it in both sets of my grandparents, but it hardly signifies to me that it’s the best option. Witnessing the marriage between my father’s parents was rewarding, but the majority of other marriages I’ve witnessed or heard horror stories about outweigh any exception to the rule.

Besides, my relationship has been tumultuous from the start, and while it has become healthier in recent years, it is difficult to pinpoint the emotional reason why I have stayed.

Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a terrific man, and our friendship is solid, but I’m not sure being married to a best friend is always ideal. Should it be a part of any good marriage? Yes, but it can’t be expected to be the glue that keeps a marriage intact. There are other elements that must be present to make it thrive.

These elements vary based on both parties and what their wants and needs are. If wants and needs are opposing, it makes for an extremely difficult, lonely and alienating experience. One or both parties could change and adapt as needed, but as the old saying goes “you can’t make a person change”, and even if you could would you really want to if they just resented you for it?

Believe me, I’m introspective enough to know and be willing to admit that I have some pretty critical flaws when it comes to relationships. Not the least of which is a catastrophising, non-trusting nature that probably cannot be reassured enough. Maybe over time and as I continue my recovery process these tendencies will lessen, but for now they are a very real force to be reckoned with. So much so, that I often contemplate that it may be easier to be alone and fight my inner battles, than to try to fight them in the context of a marriage.

Either way, my husband is supportive and knows every waking thought that goes through my head, so at the very minimum he never expects surprises. Maybe that is part of what keeps our relationship going, is my brutal honesty, and though I know he can be hurt by it at times, it keeps the doors open for communication and change on both of our parts.

I think if I became silent, then we would really have a problem, because then I will know I have given up.

Any insight those who take the time to read this have is always appreciated. I would especially like to hear the perspectives of anyone in a relationship where one or both of you suffer with mental health.

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