I have been married now for very close to 15 years.
I still love my husband very much, but I have become slowly more aware that the marriage I have now is not the marriage I had then, and is not really the marriage that I want...
We are not as close as we once were. Some of this, I think, is normal. The insatiable hunger to be together, to touch, to commune, is somewhat satisfied over time. The relationship evolves, expands, and other things can take up time/space/attention - not neccessarily in a bad way, but kids and jobs and life can sort of get in the way.
But I realized something this morning that disturbed me a bit. I censor my conversations with him. I am afraid ... of offending him, of his reactions to some of my thoughts and feelings, of the possibly negative interactions that may follow if I say what I am thinking.
When did this happen??
I know there were times that I could not wait to tell him anything and everything that swirled through my brain. I know we had fights, but he also surprised me, reassured me, with how accepting he was of the private person I had never shared to that extent with anyone else before.
Now, all I can see is how touchy he has become. I compliment him daily, and thank him without reservation for all that he does and has done. He has done quite an amazing amount lately, taking up without complaint the lions share of the housekeeping, meal prep and childcare, as I have felt overall fairly crappy and incapable for several weeks. But it seems that if I only make a comment that may possibly be interpreted negatively he snaps at me and rants about constant criticism. I try not to take it personally, but it hurts, and it makes me less likely to say anything at all. If I am bothered or irritated by something he does, I am more likely to bottle it inside. I guess that is easier to bear than a giant argument over how critical I am??
And with that subtle barrier, I guess other barriers have grown. I no longer feel as comfortable, as open with him as I used to. I don't want to lay my burdens on him, if his own are growing larger. I don't want to bare my wounds to him, because I am no longer certain that he will offer salve instead of vinegar.
The two of us trudge along, side-by-side, each slowly crushed by the weight of our own baggage. It seems ironic that the loads may each be lightened by being shared, but instead we flinch away from the sharing.
Even recognizing the problem does not seem to do much to help it. I could reach out to him, ask about counselling, even just make the effort to talk to him frankly again. But I don't. If I know I am holding back, why don't I try harder to breach that wall and share? But it is so hard. And I don't know if I have the energy to deal with the consequences, good or bad, of that looming attempt.