I hesitated to put this up, and yet I think it’s essential to know what healthy communication looks like. At least, what I’d like to believe is healthy. At any rate, here is D’s response….
I understand your fears and why you feel the way you do. I have some similar fears, and I think the biggest difference for us is the way we respond to these fears. I’m afraid that the same problems I had with X will re-appear. That I won’t get any credit for what I do, or that if I do something a different way than you would have, it will be criticized. That you will start “keeping score” and never count any points for me only against me. That it will become “okay” to treat me badly because there will be some other justification for it. That is what I just dealt with, and so returning to a domestic union conjures all that. Those fears aren’t really based upon the way you’ve treated me, they’re about the way I’ve been treated in the past.
I’m both excited and a worried about the change. Not so much from my perspective, because I think I adapt to change fairly well, but to a degree for my daughter and to a degree for you. I think it is going to be hard on you. I think it is already hard on you. When we talk about the house, from the start, I’ve gotten mixed messages of commit, let’s do this, let’s do it now, versus all the fears that you just laid out in your email to me. I get that, although I think maybe sometimes I go more into “business” mode because I’m not sure which reaction I’m going to get from you. Does that make sense? And maybe it’s just the nature of it too. There is a basic “transactional” nature to it. I want to make you feel that I am being more than fair and protective of you, because I know how much you identify your house with your independence.
I know that we both want this, but I don’t think we are both going to feel 100% comfortable through the whole process. If we did, we’d be like 20 year olds doing it for the first time, and that is not who we are. I hope that we continue to be understanding of our respective baggage and help each other with it.
As for the kids and responsibilities, I am very prideful of taking care of my kids. We have talked about this before. I’m not perfect at it, and I may not do things exactly as you would (and vice versa), but I have done and will do a very good job of taking care of my kids whether we live at X Street, Y Street, or in a van down by the river (okay maybe that wouldn’t present such a high level of care). The point is that I don’t really want you to get involved in the day to day care of the kids beyond the occasional things we do to help each other out already. I don’t want you barefoot in the kitchen. And I certainly don’t want you pregnant. I never took that approach before, and I view us as even more independent of each other than my prior relationships.
I know you are going to stress during this process. I expect it. I know that will result in times where you need to crash, to be alone to re-generate, etc. And I will do my best to preserve and assist in you getting that time and those opportunities. I don’t want to do anything to hurt you or make you feel like you’ve got new responsibilities. If anything, I hope you feel I’m lifting some of your responsibilities. I’m sure it won’t go completely smoothly, but I do ask that you talk to me during it if you have concerns. Just keep in mind that I am a sensitive person, so if you speak negatively to me, I will get defensive and I will feel attacked. That’s my nature and it’s probably not going to change.
At any rate, I’m excited and scared, and the ratio of those two changes, but I tend to exist and express myself in the center. Despite my love of furniture and design, House Hunters International, and clothes, I’m a guy. But those emotions are there, and I appreciate that they are there for you too.
I do love you baby, and I want you to be happy and fulfilled and to feel loved. I don’t want to feel like you expect me to be perfect, and I don’t expect the same from you.
Okay, I feel like I’m starting to talk in circles now, so I’m going to stop…