I’ve let this post marinate in my drafts folder much too long…
Meeting with our marriage counselor on New Years Eve seemed ironically appropriate to me. While we were still 5+ weeks away from the 1-year anniversary of D-day, it felt much longer. A lifetime ago.
Amelia doesn’t really greet us when she comes to get us from the lobby, she never has. Instead, DH & I walk the corridor to her office and take our respective seats. Only then, when she’s taken her seat across from the couch, does she reveal her “tell”. She lowers her head just so, and then looks at us over her eyeglasses, pen in hand, held up to her mouth. “Hello IsMe, Hello DH and how have the last two weeks been?”
I almost always wait for DH to speak, conscious of the fact that I talk. A. Lot. And, I know, that DH tends to wait until we have a counseling session to bring something up that he wants to talk about and or when he isn’t sure how he wants to approach a topic. DH looks to me, then at Amelia and back at me before saying “Good. Fine. It’s been a relaxing holiday season. Deliberately low key. I needed the rest.” Amelia looks to me “It’s been quiet. Part of it is that I’ve been ill and some treatments aren’t going as well and I find I’m fatigued more than usual. So, luckily for the kids and DH, I’m not pushing to go and do holiday things. Instead, being home is just where I want to be.”
She took this in and nodded her head, as if talking to herself. And then she looks up. “It’s been 10-months since the two of you started coming to work on your relationship, as it’s almost a new year. How would you look back and describe your feelings and emotions over the course of the year to this point? DH, let’s start with you.” Silence. Stunned, awkward, uncomfortable silence. “DH I’m asking you to start because you and I know, that once IsMe gets started, she might not stop and I know you have something to say.” More. Silence. I finally tapped DH on the shoulder gently and whispered “Breathe BD, just take a breath.” He inhales deeply and exhales but says nothing.
My mind is racing, words tumbling about, wanting to word vomit everywhere. 50-minutes is not enough time to recap every damn emotion, feeling, nuance of the last 11-months, let alone the last 10 we’ve been in counseling. Not. Even. Close. I wait, hoping DH will find his voice. You see, he dances around topics and emotions. Feelings. He will make comments or statement based on assumptions, he will deflect, but I know this. She knows this. He knows this. “DH, you know we have to work through your feelings and emotions individually and together right? If you can’t begin to reflect on the last year in relation to your feelings and emotions, you can’t move forward.”…”I know. I don’t know that I can. Move forward. I just don’t understand how IsMe can’t just go back to the way things were before she went off the rails.” all of that rushes out of DH in one long exhale.
*Sigh* and so it goes. Amelia isn’t easily distracted and pushes DH to expand on his thoughts using feelings and emotions to restate his thoughts. And I drift. I can’t help it. Much of our sessions in the last three months has been the same. My attention is brought back to the here and now when Amelia sighs loudly “Ok, let me ask you a different question. Knowing everything you do, every experience you’ve had good and bad, why are you here? What are you hoping the end result of all this work is?” A deer in the headlights. Amelia turns to me with an even more audible sigh
“Right now, my hope is that DH and I can keep working through the feelings that are surfacing and address them. I don’t know that we can talk about the end game, until we face the past. I know I want us to be healthy, individually and as a couple. Even if we aren’t a married couple. As DH has always said, we’ll always be intertwined, we have the kidlets. Do I want to remain married if we don’t continue to work through our stuff? No. It’s not that I don’t want to. I can’t.”
And with that, our 50-minutes were up. Happy New Year.