three sides

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONS, MARRIAGE by Stephanie Klein

There are of course always three sides to every story. I vent here, painting one, very specific story: mine.  Stories of my life, not our life.   This isn’t a journalistic approach to truth; it’s a way for me to express what I’m feeling at a very specific time.   

Am I making excuses for the way he yells?  No.  It infuriates me that he handles his frustrations the way he does. That he is so loud, with everyone, not just me.  He’s a loud talker.  And when he’s frustrated it gets worse.  He doesn’t call me names or try to make me feel like shit.  Sometimes, though he’s oblivious and chooses his words poorly.  Telling me "no one gives a shit" is a perfect example.  It’s a mean thing to say, belittling I think.  He doesn’t realize it until I point it out.  He doesn’t apologize, but he does admit in a quiet conversation in the dark that they weren’t the most sensitive words.  It pisses me off that he never says those words, "I apologize," but at least he’s trying.  He’s working on not yelling.  He understands that all I can think when he yells is "why am I with someone who yells?"  It’s not an effective way to get his point across with me.  It’s his habit.  Habits are hard to change.  I never know how to respond when he begins to raise his voice.  I try ignoring him, telling him I won’t discuss it until he’s calmer, but when he’s calmer and we get into the details, he gets loud again.  It takes a lot of work to change.  I would know.  I hate having to change.  So yeah, he does shitty things sometimes but never with the intention of hurting me. 

I, on the other hand, do shitty things. I realized, just last night, that I withhold sex.  All I want is sex because sex makes me feel wanted and adored, yet when he initiates, I turn him away.  Pissed off.  Why?  Because when I initiate, he might not be in the mood.  And I hold onto that as rejection.  He NEVER does this to me, is always understanding.  He’s the bigger person.  He’s not selfish.  Ever.  I, on the other hand, am.   I’m selfish because I’m afraid of giving in.  I fear losing myself.  The more I give in to being "an us," I worry I’m steering off the path to being my most authentic self.  I struggle with compromise and power because I never want to lose the woman I became before meeting him.  I hold on to our detriment sometimes.  I am far from perfect; I am, however, aware.  And that’s the key, being aware of what you’re doing so you can do something about it.

I post that rant the day before Mother’s Day, a day he’s working so hard to make wonderful for me.  And he never complains about it, but was it shitty of me to vent like that so he’ll now associate my first Mother’s Day as the one where I shared with the world what a dick he can be?  Not the nicest thing for me to do.  Even if I waited a week, I’m not sure it would have been any better received.  Because what I do is vent, and then get comments about how abusive he is to me.  When I’m only showing my side of things, and I feel, other than this post, absolutely no reason to paint a broader picture.   It’s not my job.  I don’t owe it.  This is my story, the arena for me to vent.  Is it fair?  No.  Would I absolutely hate it if he were to have a blog?  Absolutely.  I’d cry.  I could never be as big as he is.  How he couldn’t care less what a clump of strangers think of him.  How he realizes that it’s only my side of things you’re seeing, and he doesn’t defend himself.  He doesn’t feel the need to.  To justify anything.  He is a huge fucking person when it comes down to this blog.  Granted, he did know what he was getting himself into, but still!  I’d never be able to deal with what he does.  I’m too sensitive, and yet, do I do onto others when it comes to this blog?  No.  Because this, this right here, this ability to write so honestly, cannot change just because a man has come into my life.  This blog, as trite as it seems, stands for something.  It’s me, the me I won’t give up.  The me who won’t change.  The me I fight for in a relationship full of power struggles.  I dig my heels in with this blog.  It’s something I don’t want to edit.  It’s something I want to continue to keep, for me.  However inappropriate and unfair.  And by doing this, it makes me selfish.  It’s not what you do in a partnership.  It asks hard things of my husband, of my family.  It’s selfish. I am selfish.  Because giving up the details of my life, the way I see it in a moment, isn’t the fair way, but it’s my way.  And I won’t give that part of me up. That’s where I won’t change.  Won’t stop being inappropriate, won’t begin to worry about who’ll read this.  Won’t stop writing as if no one else is reading.

And given all this, all the wrong I do all on my own, does not in any way excuse his behavior.  We both have work to do, but we’re doing it  together.  And while I’m far more able to admit when I’m wrong, I know, somewhere in there, that stubborn man of mine knows he has to change, too.  Look, no one is perfect, except maybe Lucas and Abigail.