Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Morbid introspection

The Mister in in NY for a few days. I feel a sense of profound loneliness. Which is odd, because even when he is in town we don't interact very much during the day. Em is here, but she's absorbed in her world.

I am thinking about all of you woman who are alone through divorce. Does it get easier? In my own experience, when we were separated many years ago, it did get easier, but it took awhile, and came and went.

There is a difference in the house when he is here, but in another room, from when he is just not here.

The psychological scuttlebutt is that we tend to marry our more difficult parent. Not literally of course, there are laws against that. Plus, ewwww. I have never been able to see my mother in the Mister. But in some ways i can see it in me. As in i can see a few similarities between me and the Mister's father. That is a hard sentence to type as the Mister's dad was an ass. Not an intentional ass, but a thoughtless ass. His world view was not impinged upon by the opinions of others.

That is not the part that is like me, i was stalling. The part that is like me is that the Mister looks to me for approval. Which i, um, kind of parcel out miserishly.

It makes me uncomfortable when a person is obvious about seeking my approval. Picture me looking at the person as if they had just farted. I just realized that i consider it to be a social gaffe. It embarrasses me. The last thing i want to do is appear needy, and it makes me uncomfortable when someone else appears needy.

We are all needy. Some of us (me) are just better at hiding it.

Meno, trying to make sense of it all and instead making a bit of a muddle.


i want to thank you all for leaving your silly jokes. I had a great time reading them. Save up your good ones for next time.


TTQ said...

I travel with Mom a lot, before I married my husband I told him that it would continue, but I miss him so much when I'm away. And he really knows when I am gone. It kills him even though most nights he goes to bed at 8 and I stay up till 1. He has his moods like mine and he gets sad, so it makes it harder to leave him.

Oh yeah, about needy..I'm at the gym today and my mom comes in and before she starts her workout, she asks me if I'm losing any weight..that stung..I've lost weight and I work out pretty much everyday for up to 3 hours. Ouch as she gets older she has grown very blunt. does she want me to be a 17 year old weighing 103 lbs again? If so I better step up the workouts.

thailandchani said...

I'm not sure. You know, I've always been pretty good at being alone and actually found some relief when my ex would leave for a day or two. That's probably because I *am* one of those people who looks for approval, not overtly, but by always being rather compliant. When he would go away, I felt like I could relax a bit.

I came to the realization lately that if I was stinking rotten rich, I would really not want to get married into the typical marriage dynamic. I want to marry my best buddy. No romantic hoohah. I want familiar companionability ~ and that would allow both of us to relax.

As for marrying the most difficult parent, I'm not sure about most difficult exactly.. but perhaps the most challenging trait. My father was very cold and distant (as was my mother, although she was more overtly critical and nasty-natured). My father was indifferent where my mother was more controlling.

I admit to being rather distant at times and it's probably hard for a mate to understand. I'm also rather indifferent about the small stuff, don't want to be bothered, etc.

So I probably inherited some of my parents' worse traits ~ and then draw my mirror image in a mate.

Wow.. long comment. Sorry. :)



Elliot said...

I enjoy being alone a bit too much, I think, but that is only because I realize that we are always alone, even in a room full of people. I also, contradictorally, seek approval not because I need someone else to verify me, but that I need assurance that I haven't completely disappeared into myself.

ellie bee said...

I was miserably lonely while married, and after the divorce rejoiced in the feeling of being alone. I felt like it was better to be alone and lonely than to be lonely and with someone. I still feel that way, but I am beginning to feel and understand "lonliness" in a more normal sense. Being alone when the person you live with is repulsive to you is a relief...being alone when there is no one else in your life is...well, lonely. It is an interesting process, this divorced life.

Anonymous said...

you know, I always thought that theory about marrying your parent was a bunch of bull. however, since I married my daddy, I know there is some accuracy to it. thankfully, rich is not exactly like my daddy, but close enough to be very irritating.

the thing is, his mama is psychotic. he tells me that I'm nothing like her, but sometimes, when I let loose this nasty temper o'mine, I worry that I resemble her more than i want to.

gary rith said...

whooowheee, thank gawd my wife is nothing like my parents, and even if today's poetry discussion got a bit heated and opinonated around here, I wish she was around all the time

Lucia said...

This theory of marrying someone like the more difficult parent is interesting. I don't think I've ever heard that before, and, hmmm, for me it might be true. I want to mull this over a bit more.

Ack. Overt neediness. The net effect is that it makes me NOT want to give love and reassurance. That doesn't work very well for meeting anyone's needs.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that theory before. Or something similar but different - marrying someone who you think will meet the needs the parent did not, but in fact, marrying a person with the same traits and still not getting the need met. dirty trick, that.

I become needy at the same time I am at my most hormonally challenged (right, it's OK to say bitchy here). So I never get the reassurance I want when I want it.

Lynnea said...

Here's a really horrible fact about me I will admit. I really don't like when my husband is needy. It just seems so unmanly to me. Not that I want a caveman dragging me by the hair or anything. But, in marriage I have found myself more needy than I ever expected and that rankles me. I am needy but I hate that I am. I know it stems from the critical nature of my own mother and that I still don't have the belief in myself I should. Ramble ramble ramble.

Bob said...

It IS different when they are just through a door or two vs. out of town.

Laura was gone 3 months taking care of her mother last year. You get used to the absence, but the hole in your life doesn't fill in.

I travel occasionally for business. I feel lonely when the day's work is done and I have to eat by myself, then spend the evening by myself. I wind up either reading or watching a lot of crap TV.

I haven't heard the bit about marrying a parent. I wound up marrying myself, so to speak. During pre-marriage counseling Laura's pastor warned us that we were too much alike and that we would have problems because of it. He was right. But we've learned to deal with it.

Kellyology said...

Wow! I have the completely opposite reaction as you when my husband is gone (which he is this week). My reaction usually is, "YEAH BABY!!! I get the entire bed to myself. And I'm going to sleep GOOOOOOOOOD. No snoring to fight tonight. And I'm laying right in the middle!"

What? Bad reaction?

Kellyology said...

Oh and the parent thing. I don't know. Big D is fiercly independent and not needy. But that's the only trait he has of my difficult parent. Oh and he's a nag. But that's it. Oh and he's super critical. But that's it. Oh and he's super anal retentive about money. But that's it. Oh and you have to guess about what he wants from you. But that's it.

Hey wait...

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

I would never point this out to him, but it's apparent that X's late mother and I share many characteristics. However, X is not like my mother at all - she is definitely my more difficult parent (and I am like my father, which has made my relationship with my mother all the more painful. Sigh.)

I like to think that is why my marriage is so happy - that I managed to break some unhealthy cycles going on in my life. Can't say the same for X, though. It's obvious we bicker just as much as HIS parents did, for similar reasons. Odd, I know.

I loved the beginning about your husband being gone. X travels at least every other week and that is how I often feel. We are a Velcro Couple phone-wise and talk on the phone throughout the day, but often , the physical presense is lacking. Even when he IS home, we are often in separate rooms doing our own things - well, after the kid is in bed.

jaded said...

Free time eh? Missus Chica gets introspective when Mister Hombre is out of town too. It doesn't take long for marriage to lapse into a familiar seating arrangement. That's not say that we aren't connected to our spouses, it just means that aspects of the relationship become comfortable, and we find comfort in the familiarity whether we interact with it or not. Marriage has a different brand of loneliness than non-relationship status.

You're right about all of us being needy. Some of us hope for validation through our actions while others catalogue their actions, tell you about them and wait like children for you to praise them. We all need reassurance, regardless of whether we seek it actively or passively.

Lynn said...

My husbands parents died when he was still young...I hope I am not like them.

Julie Q. said...

Ick. I have serious issues with my mother in law. I will now be tormented by the whole "marry your more difficult parent" theory until I can banish it from my head forever - perhaps by eating lots of chocolate. Wait, that might be something SHE would do. Thanks a lot.

karmic said...

I know what you mean about loneliness, for me the first day is usually the hardest.
I dont see any of my parents in *A*

meno said...

ttq, the struggle to maintain independence and yet stay intimate is difficult. I am surprised that your mother would mention your weight. Taboo subject mom!

chani, i like the first night when the Mister is gone. I can have oatmeal for dinner and not brush my teeth if i don't feel like it, but after that i feel lonesome. Interesting that you felt you could relax w/your hubby gone. I like your long comments, please don't apologize.

jeremiah, i too seem to enjoy being alone more than the majority of people, but need the occasional interaction to keep myself sane.

ellie bee, You are right in describing it as a process. I am glad that you felt relief as a first step. Maybe the impending lonliness means you are moving to another step.

holly, i think like any theory, it can be true in some cases, and it can also be a pile of crap. But it's scary to look for those bits of truth in it.

gary, good for you for not repeating that relationship. Heated poetry discussion sounds like fun.

lucia, quite the thought isn't it? Overt neediness has that exact same effect on me. I want to be generous but only when i am not asked to be generous. Perverse.

de, it is a dirty trick. I wonder if it's an attempt to correct the relationship. An attempt which usually doesn't work.

maggie, i don't like it either. It seems....distasteful....somehow. I learned not to ask for approval from my own mother. More ramblings from me.

bob, i am smiling at the idea that you married yourself. I know what you mean, but it sounds funny. Glad that you learned to deal w/it.

kelly, not bad. I wish i could react that way. It's probably healthy. I like how Big D is nothing, nothing NOTHING like your parent. :)

cagey, no need to point it out to him if he doesn't realize it. No need to cause trouble. The bickering is odd. The Mister and i don't bicker much, but we can sure do silent resentment well. At least i can, the Mister can't stand it.

patches, that obvious huh? I definitely want my approval without asking. And i try to give approval when not asked too. But ask me for it and it becomes a power struggle. Why are we so weird?

lynn, i hope not too.

julie, i think you can feel free to discard that theory if it doesn't seem to fit. But if it does..... Sorry.

sanjay, she sounds like a keeper, from this and other things you've said.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think there may be some truth to that theory, and if we do marry someone who reminds us of our more difficult parent, we are hoping to get it right this time.

This would also explain why many people marry similar partners over and over.

There is also the fact that we take certain things for granted as children. If our parents are assholes, we are unaware of it and assume that they are normal, good parents. When we grow up and meet someone who is strikingly similar, we are so comfortable, even when we're being made miserable, that we assume we're in Love (with a capital "L") and even feel "at home" with this person.

It's really too bad that parents get us when we're so young, before we have any powers of discernment.

Bobealia... said...

I'm needy a lot. Especially with my friends. I pretty obvious about it because it feels like it's obvious anyway.
Sometimes I feel like we think the same things at the same time. Last night my husband was being my mother. He kept saying "what?" (four times) and I kept answering. I finally barged in to the bathroom and demanded to know why he couldn't hear me. "My head was underwater" he said. "Well why did you continue to say what???"
That's my mom. Right there. Pretending to listen, asking you to repeat yourself, forgetting to listen to the answer.

meno said...

hearts, i once had a therapist tell me that i either work it out in this relationship, or the next. Your statement about parents getting a hold of us young is so, so, so true. How they can casually hurt us because we have no defenses.

hi bo, where ya been? Such a true story abour your husband. Why not just say "just a minute?" Grrrr.

Anonymous said...

I much prefer to be the one leaving town. Having the boyos alone is tough.

I don't think O is like either of my parents, but I think I'm like his mother. Which makes me very sad. Ew.

I HATE being needy. So I get real quiet when I want something.

Anonymous said...

Bah. Don't worry about making a muddle of it all; trying to sort out one's inner workings is NEVER a straightforward job. You're doing well just to TRY it, by the way. Most people I see out in the world are so incredibly NOT self-aware that it's a wonder they can survive in human company.

Mother of Invention said...

I am the dependent one, quite needy, high maintenance as my sister says! My husband is needy at all. He loves being with me, but could also live almost the same life alone. I admire that in him, but accept that I just need more from others than he does. He is neither of my parents, in personality, but I guess he acts as the constant stable caretakers they once were.

lu said...

Absence because of divorce is a completely different thing.

There is no homecoming, the dream is dead and the bed is cold. The thing that's hard to explain is that the loneliness is absent of longing. It's just being alone. If you like yourself; trust yourself it’s cool. If not, you’re fucked until you do.

Josephine said...

The good and bad thing about me is that I'm lonely even when we're in the same room, and I'm lonely when we're in different towns. I'm just a lonely person, have been since I was about 5 years old. Don't know why.

And the neediness thing? I do exactly what you do, and I know I'm doing it, and I think it's cruel of me, and then I still do it.

amusing said...

"Many people have a hard time accepting the idea that they have searched for partners who resembled their caretakers. On a conscious level, they were looking for people with only positive traits -- people who were...kind, loving,good-looking, intelligent, and creative. In fact, if they had an unhappy childhood, they may have deliberately searched for people who were radically different from their caretakers. "I'l never marry a drunkard like my father," or "There's no way I'm gong to marry a tyrant like my mother." BUt no matter w hat thier conscious intentions, most people are attracted to mates who have their caretakers' positive AND negative traits, and, typically, the negative triats are more influential." from Getting the Love you Want by Harville Hendrix Ph.D. (recommended to me by my therapist) TO change the dynamic, you have to recognize what your unconscious is up to and identify what the issues are that you are trying to resolve with your partner that you couldn't/didn't with the parent/caretaker.

My ex is a terrible narcissist, and I now see that my mother has that same tendency, though I certainly never recognized it before starting therapy and having someone else help me sort through it all. I haven't resolved it with either of them, and never will. So I'll go out of my way to avoid it next time around.

QT said...

My BF acts like he doesn't need me until I am out of town -then everything falls apart for him and he needs me. So I can't ever be needed when I am actually around to fulfill the need....

meno said...

nancy, When it was me who traveled several times one year, the Mister came to realize how hard it is to be the one at home. Not that it's not hard to travel, but with a small child, it's tough to be home alone. I get quiet too.

mrs.chili, my mother, who's motto is: "The unexamined life is essential", is my primary impetus to try and think about it all.

moi, i wonder if he really could happily live alone. Perhaps just knowing you are near is enough.

lu, it is a different thing. I have been near to that. I was fucked, then.

josephine, sometimes i recognize the cruelty of it too. Sometimes i just don't feel like providing the approval mirror.

amusing, you have jostled my memory as to how the Mister resembles my mother. Narcissism. I have to say though, i have never seen anyone try harder to change than him. Which makes him a minor narcissist that he can even recognize it. Thank you for the excerpt.

qt, it's the old come here/go away dynamic. It doesn't feel very good.

Mother of Invention said...

I'll probably never know..he is quiet and introspective, but maybe he feels the same things and just doesn't express them as openly and easily as I do.

Andrea Frazer said...

Can I just say what Kelly said? Simply substitute "Rex" for "Big D." ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Big D is fiercly independent and not needy. But that's the only trait he has of my difficult parent. Oh and he's a nag. But that's it. Oh and he's super critical. But that's it. Oh and he's super anal retentive about money. But that's it. Oh and you have to guess about what he wants from you. But that's it.