I struggle with my feelings

I’ve always found it hard to talk about my feelings. I think that is somewhat down to my upbringing and especially my Mum’s attitude towards my boyfriends. I can understand that she was being protective of me and my virtue, but I wish, to some extent, that she had taken a step back and let me get just on with things. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly close to her and certainly don’t feel comfortable enough to talk about my marital struggles with her. I think this is because she was so critical in the past that I stopped talking to her or anyone about my deepest feelings.

She never approved of any of my boyfriends and could even be vitriolic in her disapproval. For example, there was Dean, who wasn’t my first boyfriend, but the first one I really fell for. Mum said he was “only after one thing” and “looks like he’s been around a bit”. She may have been right in the first respect as I’m sure he dumped me for not putting out and at the time I was devastated. I don’t think I told her for two days.

There was one guy who I’m sure I wouldn’t have dated half as long as I did if she had just said “well, I think you could do better, but if you like him that’s fine” or something like that. Instead, he was criticised from the start as he “didn’t come from the right part of town.” She said his hair “looked like it had been cut with a knife and fork”; that she cried every night because I was wasting my life with him; she even got my brother to tell me how upset I was making her. Looking back, I think it was my way of rebelling against her and I was automatically defensive of him from the start because of her comments. The funny thing is, he did the whole romantic, down on one knee marriage proposal and my gut reaction was “Shit, I don’t want to marry you”. Obviously I didn’t say that to his face, but it was as though a switch had been pressed in my head and I no longer wanted to be with him.

I don’t think Rob and I dated long enough for her to make a judgement. He had been to university which scored him a big plus, though he’s not the tallest of guys which got him a minus. He dumped me by letter which also got him a minus for being the cowardly option. This was of course in the days before mobile phones so now it would just be unanswered texts and calls!

I don’t think my parents really approved of Tom (and still don’t) as they felt he had too many hobbies to devote me the attention they thought I deserved. It’s true that he has had a variety of pastimes over the years, though they never last for long, with the exception of his drinking. He never proposed to me as such, rather he declared he was going to marry me. Apparently, before he met me, he was adamant that he would never get married. I think at the time, I was ready for settling down and chose to ignore the little things that I maybe didn’t really like, thinking that they would change, or didn’t matter. We are also complete opposites, which I think I’ve mentioned before. While it’s true that opposites attract, I wonder if we are too different to be compatible. I feel at times that all we do have in common is our son and pets.

One thing Mum has always said is that no relationship is ever equal, in that one always loves more than the other. She reckoned it was better to be the one more loved. I don’t know if this is entirely true, but I do think that, generally, Tom has loved me more than I have loved him. We did almost breakup before we got married and if he hadn’t called me, I don’t honestly think I would have called him. I was always strong like that, with a kind of “if he doesn’t want me, then I’ll not let him see that I’m bothered” attitude.

I wouldn’t change things in the past as that would mean being without my little boy now, but I can’t help wondering how my life would have turned out if things were different.

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3 thoughts on “I struggle with my feelings

  1. Maybe when you married Tom those little things you ignored really weren’t important to you, but after an affair unscrewed the emotion bottle it’s hard to ignore them anymore. From my experience it was the realization that I didn’t have to put up with it having seen the other side. Overriding everything seems to be your husband’s drinking. If you were able to take that away, would you still feel the same way?

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    1. I honestly don’t know. I’m not sure if I use his drinking as a reason to justify my affair or whether it is actually at the root of our problems. I do know that I no longer believe him when he says he’s going to reduce his drinking so maybe that’s it really. I no longer believe in him.

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  2. This sounds so similar to my story in so many aspects. My mom was never too judgemental but I guess I hardly dated anyone who wouldn’t check a few boxes. When I did she was vocal about it. She didn’t appreciate my freedom too much, like me going out and randomly pulling boys but I ignored it, classing as old fashioned.
    My husband never proposed properly. He drunkenly said we should get married. I ignored many signs of incompatibility and wishing different things. The ‘it’s not important’ was frequent.
    Also like you, I can’t completely regret being with him as I don’t see my life without my daughter.

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