Lying in Bed Before the Day Begins

This is my time, even if it’s spent with the one I love. Wait. I’m not sure that came out right. I meant that this is my time because it’s with the one I love. It’s just kinda curious to phrase it that way, since my time implies “by myself.” I didn’t say “our time” which would…

I’m assuming sarcasm, Dickmoji.

Ok, ok. Point taken. I was kinda rambling wasn’t I? I just didn’t want my beautiful wife to misinterpret, to think that I was having a good time, despite spending it with her. ‘Cause that would be ridiculous. That would…

I know, I know. Just bear with me, Dickmoji. Please? A final clarification: “My” time is time I spend doing exactly what I want. Not what anyone else wants, and not obligations or responsibilities. But solely doing exactly what I want to do. And usually, that means spending it with the one I love. Sure, I have moments of going to the gym and playing guitar or whatever else. But honestly, I’m happiest when I’m next to this one:

Whether it’s lying in bed to start the day, taking a stroll with our dog Charlie, or just being in her presence. In that moment, it’s exactly where I want to be. Whatever the scenario, being with her is my time.

But is that always the healthiest? Are we always to be attached to each other’s hips? Regardless of our desires, I’m not exactly sure that’s for the best. I know—on occasion—we stumble, because we want to be with one another. Case in point? The fucking tv.

Here’s how the routine goes:

  1. Nikki asks if I mind if she watches her show. (Now this step in itself is progress, as before she’d watch whatever she wanted, without asking for any sort of feedback. This isn’t to imply she was being malicious. It’s just that she didn’t really think it was an issue. Because I didn’t communicate my concerns, she didn’t know. She’s not a mind reader, after all. Anyway, when this happened in the past, I’d be left feeling as if she didn’t care about what I wanted to do. When my emotions got the best of me, I’d get upset and it would turn into a confrontation: me wanting to feel as if my opinion mattered; and Nikki feeling as if I were trying to control her. We’ve come a long way together, baby😘.).
  2. Typically the tv show is a Real Housewives of Wherever, which for me, is like fingernails on chalkboard, sending shivers down my soul. I give this point it’s own numbered item on this list simply to highlight the annoyance I feel, when I let it.
  3. 99% of the time, the tv isn’t an issue. Why? Because I simply don’t care. But then there’s that 1%, when I’m predisposed to stress or when I just need some quality time with my baby. During those moments, I get irritated. And it’s usually a build up. I’ll say I don’t mind (Which maybe in actuality I do, a tad. But more likely, I truly don’t care. Either case can be a problem—it’s just a matter of how quickly my irritation rises.). Since I don’t communicate any concerns, Nikki proceeds to watch what she wants. And then, because she’s a binge watcher, she continues to watch show after show, without any further discussion. And right there is another problem. On those occasions where I’m prone to ruminating, I get my feelings hurt. Lying in bed next to her, but not connected, I feel rejected.
  4. I don’t communicate how I’m feeling. The emotions rise and I’m visibly upset. And then I shut down. I retract further inside my head, leaving Nikki to guess what’s wrong.
  5. Eventually, I realize that she would never intentionally hurt me. I realize that she does care about my feelings and that she’s simply in veg mode, escaping into her reality tv. But, if I’m really spiraling, I can take me hours to get to that realization.
  6. Finally, my emotions under control, I’m able to talk. And we do. We figure out what got of there, and we make plans to avoid that same scenario in the future. We plan. But do we act? Hmm. We’re better, certainly. But we still stumble.

And that’s the thing: we still stumble. Why is that, I wonder? Some of it is that we are going to have perpetual, recurring arguments. We just are. We’re different people, with different ideas, and different values. We look at things differently. We see things differently based upon our different life experiences. I just learned the concept of these unresolvable, repeat arguments recently, already a few years into my 50’s. A little late in life, certainly. But profound, nonetheless. To know that we’ve been down this road before and that it’s ok. Rather than try to change your partner, practice acceptance. So fucking empowering. To learn more, check out The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Working, by John Gottman. Excellent read, excellent tidbits.

And while you’re there, throw my book into your cart as well. Help a brother out.

Whatever. I’ve gots to eat. I’m on disability, remember?

Yeah, maybe (But still, buy my book, Dear Reader. Pretty please.🙏). Moving on:

So what was I rambling about? Oh, yeah: recurring arguments; tv; my book (still shameless); and lying in bed with my Queen, all rolled into one.

So how does snuggling correlate with recurring arguments? Because in this case, I wonder if we’re setting ourselves up for failure. You see, because Nikki and I love spending time together—including in bed—it’s difficult to pull away. It’s difficult to go to the gym when I’m in a spoon-bliss. It’s difficult to leave the room and play guitar when I’d rather have my love’s head resting on my chest. And it’s difficult to leave her side, despite the chalkboard-scratching tv.

We’ve talked about this tv thing numerous times, because…it’s a perpetual conflict, remember? We’ll always disagree, so it’s how we cope with it, how we manage it. And one of the things we’ve attempted is for me to go do my own thing while Nikki binges on her shows. But although we’ve talked about it, we haven’t really enforced it. Why? Neither of us wants to be separated from one another. So we’re right back where we were.

So what do we do now? For me, the answer is simple: communication. Simple answer, but difficult to execute. I know it shouldn’t be that hard, but I have baggage from my past. I was brought up in an emotionless environment, one where we didn’t really talk about…anything. Not entirely true, because there was stuff like, “What’s for dinner,” and “How’s the weather today,” kinda stuff. But any real substantial stuff? That was left bottled up inside. The result of that rearing is that I still struggle to open up that bottle today, even if it is simply about a tv.

You’re right, Dickmoji. It’s not just the tv. That’s the scenario that can tend to cause disagreement, but the issues are about feeling rejected, feeling as if my partner doesn’t care, and control. But even with that, this shit isn’t rocket science. It’s simply a matter of talking. Like, “Hey Nikki, do you mind if we watch something else together after this one?” I mean, that simple sentence alone would go a long way. Because honestly, how is my love gonna respond? I know it’s not gonna be, “Fuck you, Mark. I’m watching what I want. Leave me the hell alone!” More likely it’ll be, “Would it be ok if I watch one more?” And even more likely it’ll be, “Sure, babe. Whatcha wanna watch?” And I’ve gotta be fine with the first answer. If I’m not? Communicate about that too. Like, “I’m sorry babe, I’d rather not be here for another show. Mind if I go do something else for a bit?” None of this seems like rocket science to me. So why is it still so hard. Just open your mouth and let those feelings out.

It’s not fair for me to let my love guess what’s going on inside my head. And it’s not fair to me, either. What am I afraid of, I wonder? The answer didn’t take long to pop in my head:. It’s rejection. I’m afraid she won’t love me any more. I’m afraid of losing her…over a freaking tv. I think I need to be a little bit more secure, don’t I? I’m still carrying that baggage around from my childhood. Let it go, brah. Let it go.

I’m getting better. I know I am. I’m starting to become the man I was meant to be, to chase my dreams and passions, and to be the best version of me that I can be. But it requires a shit-ton of work. Therapy and mediation and journaling and affirmations and and and…The list goes on and the process is slow. But I’m better today than yesterday. And I’ll be better tomorrow. And isn’t that enough?

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