I wanted to share with you a letter I wrote D, about our impending move in together.
I am starting out defensive:
I am deathly afraid that when you guys move in a huge burden will fall upon me to take care of three extra people.
Understand this: My ex husband (R) was a nightmare. He was only one individual and yet, I have flashbacks of those horrifying years. It’s not that he was overly messy (as long as he kept his junk in his office) but because his “job” and his computer were so much more a priority than anything else, it forced me to cook, clean the house, do the laundry, take care of two babies singlehandedly, do the bills, the entertaining, take care of the outside of the house, and maintain damn near everything else. I resented him horribly for this, and yet, it prepared me for a life on my own where I ended up having to do all this anyway. And I guess because I do all this anyway (include work two jobs now too), I don’t feel as though I can take on one more single new burden. I am already maxed out.
If you were living on your own, you would have no choice but to take care of all this stuff alone, despite your job. And in my mind, I hope that you continue to feel as though you are “living on your own.” At least until I am able to feel safe that I won’t be run into the ground. I am sorry to ask this of you, but I beg you to understand how important it is for me.
Perhaps you think I’m being pessimistic, and maybe I am. But I have good reason. I am coming from a very bad marriage where no man ever helped me and because of that I may have an unnatural fear of unions. I don’t always see us as a beautiful family coming together to share a life together in peace and bliss. I sometimes see a threatening landscape of piles of laundry, screaming, unmanageable kids, food wars, fights and a deeply corrosive loss of privacy and personal space. I am also coming from nearly seven years of aloneness. I sometimes feel like a wild dog that no longer remembers its domesticated life.
Switching to insecure:
In that sense, I do not always have the best ways of dealing with things. I am unable to place boundaries around myself sometimes and then I end up paying a price for not meeting my needs (i.e. time alone). Remember too, that as it stands now, my house IS my boundary. I oftentimes feel like the only way to solve anything is by running away, escaping, hiding, digging a hole in the sand and sticking my head in. As far as I have come, I fear I have not come far enough. I’m sometimes afraid I am not up to the task of coming together. Sometimes I think we should not move in together– it’s too dangerous a risk, I’m too immature, I’m not ready, I’m no longer “able” to live with someone. I am afraid you will finally see me exposed, for who and what I really am. You will see my daily routine and think, this isn’t the girl I met two years ago. You will see me ugly, in pain, BORING, night after night. All my beauty will be stripped of me. I will not be able to hide ANY of my flaws, my stomach issues, my periodic fits of sadness, my anger for R, the kids, my laziness, my addiction to the computer, the TV, coffee, whatever!
I feel like I will hugely let you down.
There is, of course, the flip side to all this…the feeling that I am doing the most natural and perfect thing I should be doing. I have found the only man who I truly love and get along with and respect. I feel that us coming together is the next step and that it needs to be taken, lest we remain eternally “dating.” I want to take the risk, I want to see for myself if I am strong enough. I want us to come together. I am thrilled to embark on all these new and exhilarating plans– I love change to the house, redoing rooms, clearing out the old, making way for the new. I like the possibilities of a redesign or a move to a new house. I like that you will come “home” every night, to me. I like that I can offer you this house and offer your kids a community, I like the idea that FINALLY there will another girl around here 🙂 and that your kids will bring their own little adventures and idiosyncrasies to our lives.
But remember, as far as I have come in my life, I have never come this far. I have never reached this point. When we first met, I didn’t trust you. I believed all men were liars. You said you didn’t lie. I thought that was a lie. And yet, little by little, day by day, you convinced me otherwise, and I was transformed. You helped me believe something new– that there are men in this world that are honest. And I love you for that and I want you to work your magic again, here and now, with this move. We are once again at the precipice of having my fears confirmed or relinquished. I am a girl who has never seen a pretty red balloon that didn’t pop in her face. I only have my faulty, dysfunctional, miserable past to compare this to.
So, it’s not that I am asking you to do anything different or be anyone different than you already are– well with the obvious exception of being the absolute most perfect roommate in the world (OK, I know that won’t happen, and trust me, I don’t expect it). But I am simply hoping that by virtue of your good and kind nature, you prove me completely wrong and squash my fears. Until then……..I beg you, be patient with me, D. Be understanding. I do get very self-centered and egocentric when I think I need to be in “survival mode.” I think we all do. Burdens placed upon any of us will do that.