Mostly I like to disagree with my therapist so I can continue my quest to stay un-evolved and victimized by bad therapy but this time, HE GOT ME. "You don't like to have any needs in a relationship, do you?" He's right. So I threw a $20 bill at him and walked out. CURED. And by that I mean I got teary eyed and nodded my head in agreement.
I never wanted to be like some of my friends who would be outraged at their boyfriends because, instead putting the roses in a vase LIKE A HUMAN, they had simply laid the roses -- still in their wrapper -- on the table and said "I got you some flowers".
"Is that the end of the story?" I'd have to ask them. "Are you sure you didn't skip the part where he spit on you and made you eat the flowers?"
Acting un-needy has been, for most of my nine-year relationship with David, a grand "act AS IF" or "fake it until you make it" attempt at trying to will myself into being unconcerned over tiny, unimportant things.
But there is one area of NEED that I don't have to fake and that I am totally at peace with. I do not need for my husband to tell me that I'm the love of his life. Which sounds like some dirty hippy swinger talk. But it's not. It's being married to a widower talk.
My husband's first wife, Hannah, died over 12 years ago. She was beautiful, kind and talented. And I'm not just saying that because you can't say things like "she was bearded, mean and caustic" about the deceased. (Though I'm sure there will be a few of my closest friends summing me up with, "She did go on and on... and my GOD the anger" after I'm gone.) Hannah was an amazing woman and her and David were together for over 10 years and had a son.
When I first moved in with David and his son, I spent most of my free time wandering around the apartment comparing myself with Hannah. Which was tough because that woman was not capable of taking a bad photo. Even her goofy pictures looked like a gorgeous woman putting on a goofy face. All my photos looked to me like a goofy woman putting on a gorgeous face.
These memories of David and my early years together -- and my snooping and obsessing and trying to smash my body into Hannah's tiny pants that I dug up in storage -- are not my proudest moments.
But it was the moment my obsession reached its pinnacle that it finally ended. It happened on a day where I'd been wandering the streets of Santa Monica thinking about how getting married and having a baby and being a family was something you had to work hard to avoid, yet (unless you're gay and living in America but that's another blog) I'd chosen the one situation where I was never going to be allowed IN.
The words "WIFE" and "MOTHER" were off limits to me. They were TAKEN. And it's not David's fault because I had aggressively advertised myself as a woman who wanted no promises. I'd gone through a divorce and I hated promises. The Fed Ex guy couldn't even tell me that my package would arrive by 4pm without me pleading... "Please... no. Don't say that. What happens happens. Let's just be okay with the mystery." But I was living with David and Jack and I was a part of their daily lives. I wanted to know where David placed me in his heart.
So I cornered him the bedroom one day while he was putting away his socks. His back was to me as I casually asked him, "Isn't it odd that if we end up staying together that you'll go down in history as the love of my life?" He stopped putting his socks away and turned around and stared at me with what looked like sadness in his eyes and said "Awwww. That's so nice". He had said it to me like he pitied me. Like he'd turned around and found a little baby bird with hearing aids lying on his bed. At that moment I realized that he couldn't say it back to me and I was devastated. It took me months to stop telling every friend and taxi driver how I was with a man who would never be able to tell me that I'm the love of his life.
That was over five years ago and now I can see how complicated and unfair that question was. I don't want or need to be NUMBER ONE wife. Unless I'm in a polygamous marriage, and even then the whole ranking thing would stress me.
How did I end up marrying a man that I knew would never be able to tell me that I'm the love of his life? Because we were two very messed up, untrusting folks easing our way back into the idea of making a family when both of our ideas of FAMILY had been destroyed. And it took us years and years of battling it through, but now it simply is. Without dramatic fights or teary promises... we are with each other. And we trust each other. Even though as I wrote that last sentence I thought "What the hell am I talking about -- watch us break-up by the end of the month". Who knows. But for me, I'm willing to just do like the alcoholics and drink a shit load of coffee while we take day by day.