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…
13. Apologies were often so hard to come by.
When we got divorced, I could count on one hand the number of times she had apologized to me about anything. For some reason I think she felt like apologizing meant admitting that I was completely right and that she was completely wrong, and even worse, that apologizing meant she wasn’t as good, or as smart, or as right as she ought to be. But the truth was, a simple apology would have meant the world to me and reset everything way more often than not. Apologies for me are often all that is needed for immediate forgiveness.
IF I HAD IT TO DO OVER: I’d make sure she knew that I knew that apologizing didn’t mean I felt I was right or that I had won. I’d offer her more of a safe place to apologize so that we could both let it go.
BONUS! When you apologize, I think you’re awesome. And I don’t say that lightly.
14. I just wanted her to understand my love language and try to speak it.
My love language is not touch. In fact, touch is way down the list. At the top of my list are verbal affirmation and acts of service, and no matter how much we talked about love languages, it seemed that she always felt touch was how we would get over or past anything, when really all it did was drive me further away because my real love languages were being ignored.
IF I HAD IT TO DO OVER: I would sit down with her and find some way to make speaking in each other’s love languages a fun game or contest. Something to keep it fresh in our minds because love languages are so easy to forget when they’re different.
BONUS! When you speak to me in my love language, I feel loved. When I feel loved, it makes me want to make you feel love. When you feel love, we then want to make each other feel loved. And when two people want to make each other feel loved… well, let’s just say nothing bad is going to happen.
15. I just wanted to feel hurt when she was mean to me.
When she was mean to me (as we all sometimes are to our spouses for whatever reason), she wouldn’t want me to feel hurt by it. She would want me to suck it up and “be a man” and get over it and tell her that it wasn’t that mean or bad. But I’m a human being and if she hurt me I just wanted to feel that hurt. I think that’s okay because if I would have just let myself feel it, I would have dealt with it so much better and so much sooner.
IF I HAD IT TO DO OVER: I’d buy a hoodie sweatshirt and paint it like a turtle shell, and when I had those moments in which I needed to pull away and feel hurt, I would put it on, pull the hood over my face, cinch the drawstrings, and tell her I’d come out of my shell when I was ready. I’d call it my brooding hoodie.
BONUS! When you let me feel hurt, you also let me forgive you.
16. Please make an effort to stay young with me.
For some reason, we stopped being young. We stopped going out to concerts, and parties, and everything else we did when we were first dating. We stopped blowing unnecessary money on much of anything. We stopped so many of the things we did as young people, and life got boring with each other in a hurry.
IF I HAD IT TO DO OVER: I’d make it a point to do fun things, and stupid things, and exciting things, and crazy things, and high-energy things no matter how long we were together or how old we got. It really is true that you’re only as old as you let yourself feel.
BONUS! You make all of your old friends on Facebook so effing jealous of all your fun and adventures together when you’re having them. And isn’t that what Facebook is really all about?
Whew. That wasn’t the easiest thing to write.
If you missed my list of my shortcoming and my part in our failed marriage, please read The 31 Ways I Blew My Marriage.
I would love your comments on today’s posts. What do you agree/disagree with? What advice would you give for handling some of those dynamics?
Dan Pearce, The Single Dad Laughing Blog