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9. I really struggled when I was compared to other men, past or present.
I was often compared to other men. Her father. My father. Brothers. Exes. Husbands of sisters. And more. So often I felt like she looked at the 10% of what she liked in everyone else (that I didn’t have) and completely overlooked the 90% of what made me awesome, all while pressuring me to be more (or less) like someone else. All this usually did was make me feel unappreciated and resentful toward her, and toward others who didn’t deserve it. It definitely didn’t motivate me.
IF I HAD IT TO DO-OVER: Every time I was compared to someone else in an unhealthy way, I would tell her how much I appreciate how much she always appreciates the good parts of me until she actually started doing it.
BONUS! When you don’t compare me to your dad, I won’t compare you to my mom, and World War III won’t break out.
10. I felt like church and certain beliefs were never my choice.
This may seem silly being that I was a grown-ass man and could make any decision I wanted, but it wasn’t that simple. I didn’t believe in the religion, I didn’t want to be part of it, and I also wasn’t free to feel the way I did. If I voiced doubts, or tried to skip church, I was made to feel guilt and pressure for it. It would cause all sorts of problems in our marriage, and this just led to me always making up sicknesses or bogus reasons just to get out of it.
IF I HAD IT TO DO-OVER: I wouldn’t get married at all until I had worked out my own life, my own beliefs, and my own path ahead, and I would make sure that it was with someone who could respect that beliefs are ever-changing and ever-evolving. If I had it to do over with her, I’d be that grown-ass man and just put my foot down. Private misery, I’ve learned, is far worse than someone being mad at you for living an authentic life.
BONUS! When you let me do what I feel is right, I feel like my life is actually my own. When I feel like my life is my own, I feel like I can share more of it with you. Funny how that works.
11. I never understood making me jealous
I’m not generally a jealous person. But for some reason, she always thought it was funny to do or say things to try and make me feel jealous. If I didn’t respond, she’d hit me even harder and stronger until I got there. But the truth is, while she may have felt some sort of security and satisfaction in bringing jealousy out of me, all it did was push me away hard and fast because she sometimes did it in such hurtful and unhealthy ways.
IF I HAD IT TO DO-OVER: I would understand the healthy need to see small amounts of jealousy from your spouse sometimes, and we’d have more fun with it. We’d give each other funny challenges before parties that would purposefully induce jealousy, and then we’d laugh about it all the way home.
BONUS! When we trust each other’s attraction and commitment fully, we are able to focus on more fun things like making other shoppers feel super awkward as we “handle” and inspect produce together.
12. I often was told everything I couldn’t Achieve.
I’m a dreamer. I like to believe big things can happen for me and the person I’m with and then I like to work for them. And for some reason she always felt the need to be the “realist” and tell me why my dreams wouldn’t work, why I should aim smaller, or why I should give up on the dreams altogether. She would tell me I couldn’t do it. And you know what, it was easier to say okay to her than to fight about it, and very few dreams ever became realities until we were finally apart.
IF I HAD IT TO DO-OVER: Every time she told me it couldn’t be done (or shouldn’t be done), I’d start doing a ridiculous tap dance and tell her, “if I can do this, I bet I can do that!”
BONUS! Dreams being reached usually mean a better life and more money, so let’s start with that…
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