May 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
I would like to say that Adam and I are at something of an impasse, though this is not quite accurate. An impasse suggests that two parties are involved a disagreement or conflict of some sort and have thus far been unable to negotiate a resolution, though not for lack of trying. This is not the case for me as I suspect only I am the only party aware of such a disagreement or conflict.
For some time I have been trying, in my maniacal control-freak way, to pinpoint the precursor to our current environment. Of course no such “ringing of the bells” moment exists; instead I suspect it is a combination of several things such as me losing my job, being unemployed for three months with an increasing amount of pressure to find employment, starting a new job which makes me miserable and no longer sharing a workplace with my husband. All these events and processes, whilst appearing reasonably innocuous, bring with them a subtle kind of emotional stress.
I am finding that I completely underestimated the impact of leaving my job. I was in no way ready for how this would change me as a person. It turns out my job formed a massive part of my identity in two ways: (1) as an experienced professional whose advice was valued and whose work was trusted; and (2) as the wife and partner of Adam, another experienced professional whose advice was valued and whose work was trusted.
I have never been shy when it comes to self-congratulations about my work or my job. I know I was good at it, I know I achieved good things, I know I was respected by my peers. I know that some people probably disliked me or disagreed with my attitude or approach at times, but I was completely okay with this. It turns out that without having a job, my self-worth and measure of success has plummeted. This is surprising but something I can get my head around.
What I have been shy about, however, is my dependence on any one person – let alone a man. Adam and I never really worked together as such (well, once, and it was a disaster, let me tell you) but we have always worked together. We have been together, more than most other couples I know, for the vast majority of the last nine years. And yet because of my blinkers when it comes to my ideal versus actual reality of my own independence, I find myself flailing around like a fish out of water when I am forcibly separated from the man who I now call my husband. Gone are the shared car rides and the shared calendars, the impromptu lunch dates and impromptu crossing of paths, the six daily internal phone calls and the sixteen daily internal emails. When I sit and really think about it, I have lost a massive part of my relationship with my husband and more so than that – with my friend, my best friend of nine years. I have lost a part of our relationship that was so commonplace to us that we never had to work at it, never thought to speak about it or stop to cherish its value. Like many of the most treasured things in life, it was something that you don’t realise you treasure until it’s gone. And it might seem silly to people that have never worked with their partner, or have worked with them and never enjoyed it, or to anyone who isn’t us. But it was something we shared together for a long time and now we don’t. This is harder for me to get my head around.
I say “dependence” because a very good friend of mine once made a remark (which I suspect was off-the-cuff for her but has stuck with me for some weird reason) about the uncanny amount of time I spend with Adam, delivered in a way that made it sound like a bad thing. Like we could use more time apart. I found this incredibly curious at the time, partly because I didn’t realise we spent a lot of time together, let alone enough to make people actually notice and comment on it, but also in large part because I knew she didn’t particularly like spending time with her partner at the time (or at least it was always made to look that way). On reflection I thought that perhaps Adam and I spent and still do spend a lot of time together but, again, it was commonplace for us and so I never thought anything odd of it until her comment. That night when I was mulling over the conversation again I suddenly had a moment of “Ugggghhhh! Does that mean I’m co-dependent??” Anyone who know me will know how much I value my perceived independence and how repellant the ideas of reliance, dependence or neediness are to me. Shortly after that epiphany I pulled myself together and told myself that CLEARLY I wasn’t co-dependent because I would NEVER in my right mind allow myself to enter such a state.
But the psyche has funny, secret ways of evolving itself – such as making you believe that you are actually a completely solid, self-functioning, independent woman when really you are actually surrendering more and more to this idea of trust and true intimacy and togetherness (but don’t actually say the words out loud in case she hears which would be chaos!). When I explain to my friends that I have really been struggling because I don’t work with Adam anymore, every single one of them looks at me like I’m a crazy person. A crazy dependent person.