Change is…good?

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 time passing

We all change over time don’t we? I mean, more than just our age, we change the way the think; what we like; how we view the world. It’s normal right? It happens to everyone and when it does, you roll with the punches and move on.

Or, you’re supposed to…

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The other night, CareerMom and I were lying in bed watching TV. I had the latest hardback copy of Jim Butcher’s “Turn Coat” in my hands and CareerMom was beside me flopping around like a floundering fish while alternately poking herself in the belly in the vain hopes of getting the baby to stop kicking her in the kidneys (secretly, I chuckled). But then the show Fringe” came on and I put my book aside. There are few entertainment choices I enjoy in this world as much as a paranormal mystery, and while Fringe just barely qualifies, it does have some fantastic actors, including the venerable John Noble, who played Denethor in “Lord of the Rings.”

Anyway, as the Fringe intro concluded, and with it, the creepy music and somewhat vague, if not promising threat of coming violence, CareerMom mumbled beside me, “I don’t think I’m going to like this.”

Now, let me pause for a moment and explain the significance of this statement.

When I met CareerMom, the X-Files was at the peak of its popularity. In fact, the two of us spent many an evening playing the X-Files video game together and it was SHE, who introduced me to Twin Peaks, a show that, until then, I had ignored. Suffice it to say that she has always been a fan of these types of shows.

But no longer apparently…

In response to her cathartic announcement, I responded with, “What happened to you? You used to love this stuff!”

She just grunted.

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Folks, I felt like a piece of me died right there in that bed. I mean, unless she was just completely snowing me when we were dating, she was into Sci-Fi–not hard core, but enough! Now, hell, I don’t know what kinds of shows she likes now. For all I know, my weekly diet of “Fringe,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Two and a Half Men” leaves her completely bored and in need of intellectual stimulation. But frankly, at 9 p.m., the LAST thing I need is MENTAL stimulation!

Can’t a guy just relax and lose himself in some otherworldy improbability for a while?

But more than that, it’s a sign of things to come and even things that have already happened, but which I’ve ignored. We’ve changed. Oh, we still love each other and our marriage is solid, but…do you remember when you first started dating? Do you remember hearing about couples who took separate vacations and do you remember looking over at your partner and saying, “Man that’s ridiculous! I would never go on vacation without you!” The people who did that, who went on vacations without the love of their life; well, they clearly had marital issues!

Yeah…um…give it ten years. Now, she wants to go to the beach, and I want to lose myself in the woods, preferably in a lake created by an asteroid crater somewhere high in the mountains–just me and my fishing pole (and maybe my MP3 collection and a shower, and an actual toilet…).

And it’s not just vacations, it’s lots of little things. Things that, taken individually, are minor. I mean, so what if she’s not as into new age classical music anymore. And, is it THAT big a deal if my Netflix selections rarely ever include a chick-flick or anything else with Mathew McConaughy in it? She’s a big girl. She can log on and make some selections.

It’s not one thing; it’s lots of little things. It’s lots of the little things that I’ve loved about her all this time. But hey, people change and I still love her and all that, but then, where do you draw the line? For how many vacations do you suck it up and keep your mouth shut until finally, you’re like, “Hey, I get that you’re not going to want to go hang out in a cabin with no cell phone service for a week while I sit in a little John boat and fish. So, why don’t you go to the beach with the kids, while I…don’t.”

I mean, is that possible? Or rather…is that possible without coming off looking like a complete douche? After nearly ten years together, the part of me that really WANTS to make that effort just thinks, “If she wants it badly enough, she’ll say something.” Seriously, a guy can’t spend his entire life trying to figure out what somebody wants. Sooner or later the other person has to speak up. And by the way, I could use that paintbrush on a WHOLE bunch of different life-canvases…if you know what I mean.

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7 thoughts on “Change is…good?

    David "Father of five" said:
    April 27, 2009 at 8:25 am

    It’s a game of give and take… It has to be to work out. Separate vacations? That’s not the answer.. (but wait… Now that I think abuot it, WE have had “separate” vacations for a couple of years now… I go to boy scout caamp with my boy scouts (they want a parent to attend to help chaperone) – and my wife… well, does not go anywhere… (I don’t tell her she can not…)

    We too have VERY different ideas on things… TV Shows, Books, Relaxing, and Ideal Vacations.

    Before being married – I would spend a week in the “Boundary Waters Canoe Area” – Minnesota / Canada Boarder… No cabins, no electricity, nothing. Tent camping, a fire grate, a moss box (a wooden above ground box with a hole in the top.. No privacy. I let you “guess” what that was for) and if your lucky (about 1/3 of the camp sites have ’em) a picnic table. Canoeing to your destination, while “portaging” (carrying) everything you bring with you between lakes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boundary_Waters_Canoe_Area_Wilderness

    I have yet to be back…

    But that has more to do with having young children.

    So, vacations have been mostly around visiting family. Illinois, Texas, and now it will be Georgia! (Each with a sister in Dallas – we could make one trip into two visits – now one of them is in Georgia!)

    So, here is my suggestion…. Instead of calling them “seperate vactaions”, you call it “time with the boys” – and take them up for an extended weekend (4 or 5 days) of all that wonderful “guy stuff”, then spend some time with the wife (and impending younger child)..

    Compromise..

    Now, I understand you were speaking more “globally” (and not just of vacations), but the bottom line is still the same…. It’s Compromise…

    Between us… Expect a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio though… (and yeah… We get the short end of the stick).. That’s ussually where I find it works itself out.

    fayezie said:
    April 27, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Hmmm… my views about this whole topic have changed after going through divorce hell, and then meeting my boyfriend whom I feel is the complimentary pair to all my bases, (LOL, too much time buried in the bio text). But, now that I’ve broken through to the other side of divorce, I know now that connection/compromise/communication certainly don’t follow a black/white line. It’s an organic, constantly shifting line of wanting to give even if you have an opposing want or opinion, you love the other person enough that giving to them is a pleasure in itself. My Ex and I clashed heads over everything, all the way down to the netflix list. and because I had turned my emotional self off to him, I never cared to give into him, and likewise I got the same treatment.

    yeah, we had separate vacations. or he did, a lot. and it was awful. he had season tickets to a particular college football team, and would leave every other weekend to party like a college boy, while I was home with 3 kids. respect? I think not. Though, our marriage was a beast and not one that can easily compare. But, I do feel in retrospect that many-a-vacation was in self-interest of being away from each other, not together, and that I can assure you will never plague any future relationship.

    Since meeting Mr. Man, the new and great one, if we have varying opinion as to where to eat, or what movie to watch, yadda yadda, I have been practicing making a conscientious decision to be open. He listens to country radio, and I grew up with a prejudice against country music. But, now, when we’re together, I just shrug my shoulders to myself and think about how wonderful HE is and that the music is so insignificant. It probably helps that he is so open too. The Ex wasn’t. Mr. Man, the new and great one, actually watches chick-flicks. I don’t seek them out, neither does he, but if one is on and I’m in the mood, he watches it just because he wants to be snuggled up with me. and Vice versa. Oh, so to answer the question, I personally open my mouth. It is a great feeling for me, coming from my past experience, to express a desire/want and be greeted with open compassion from him.

    Mr. Man and I live in different cities, so it is easy for us to have time away. obviously. but he occasionally has to take trips for work, or partake in sailing races. But in the overall scheme, his intentions and mine are to want to spend time together.

    I believe that you must maintain the connection. the intimate connection, where communicating need/want etc is welcome and you both are accepting of varying opinion but make efforts to come to a common ground.

    Maybe you should just open the conversation. You never know, she may be thinking something and not saying it. The more open you try to be to her, the more she will try to be open in return.

    (good lord, i’ve taken over your blog… i’m going to stop rambling now.)

      dobeman said:
      April 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

      RE: Are you kidding me? I LOVE these in-depth responses! I was surprised though, by the time you mentioned that you and ‘the great one’ live in different cities, to hear that considering the closeness you seem to share. That’s a rare thing in long-distance relationships and you’re blessed to have it!

      Keep the commentary coming!

    Dana said:
    April 27, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Well, unfortunately we all change, but hopefully that will not make us grow apart. We will always have to try and make a relationship work and unfortunately one person usually gives more than the other. I have always been that person. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here. I just hate controversary. Don’t like to fight. I myself came from a bad marriage and have found a new and wonderful person. Yes. It’s still new, but like Fayezie says above, we have so limited time together that if he’s watching something I don’t want to watch on TV I don’t say anything I just enjoy the fact that we are doing it together. At the same time though he does know my likes and dislikes. I’m lucky in the fact that we have so much in common and what we don’t we compliment each other with.

    I think in your wife’s case that maybe this is all hormonal. You’ve been through this before. Maybe this time it’s taken it’s toll on her in a different way. Talk to her. Don’t keep things bottled up until it really eats at you.

      dobeman said:
      April 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm

      RE: I didn’t mean to make this sound like it’s REALLY a big deal; more like, something I’ve noticed. And while it’s kinda sad that we’re not really into all the same things anymore, that’s life and you have to learn to adapt. I’m glad you still seem to be happy though. Any movement on a commitment?

      fayezie said:
      April 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm

      oooh, yeah, prego with numero 3… major factor. she probably feels like cr*p, tired, bloated, connective tissues loosening, full-time J-O-B, she may be plain old fatigued. You know, when you’re tired and hungry at the same time it’s hard to think about anything else but eat/sleep… similar to being pregnant third round, multiplied by 10. LOL…

    pamajama said:
    May 4, 2009 at 1:43 am

    I have to kind of giggle at the idea of comparing a “new” long-distance relationship with one of 10 years, like comparing a mountain lion and a hummingbird. I think it’s the commitment to the relationship that makes anything possible. If you know you’re truly committed to each other then what’s wrong with saying, “I want to have a week to myself ever year to fish. I need a breather. I’ll be a better father & husband if I have it.” Either you can skip the beach or you can go as a bargaining chip because she wants you there since it’s so tough to do the beach as one adult with three kids.

    The point about her being pregnant with 3 kids — right on. You can’t compare the person she is right now to her overall “self.” Actually, I think each kid eats up at least four years. Fortunately, since they’re close in age some of those years can be served concurrently:)

    I find that my relationship with my husband is very much like my relationship with my kids — there are ups and downs. Sometimes he is the greatest thing in my life and I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Sometimes he bores the shit out of me and I want to jump out of my skin. We do a lot separately & a lot together — probably more together than most couples.

    The other comment about one person usually always giving in is so true — it’s not me. There is always a trade-off. When I start noticing what’s wrong with him I force myself to take a look at me and remember all the shit he puts up with:)

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