A Vulnerable Moment in an Intimate Relationship

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I got into a uncomfortable place with my partner the other night. We were lying in bed together, and found ourselves in a familiar challenging spot in our dynamic where both of us feels unheard, unmet, and rejected.

I’ve tended to take things personally in this particular dynamic between us.

There are times when I feel strongly about a certain belief or philosophy that I live my life by, and he challenges or disagrees with it. When he challenges the belief, my default has been to feel attacked.

I’ve spent much of my life in a state of defense around my life choices. Knowing that I’ve chosen an unconventional path rooted in intuition, feeling, and magic.

My decisions are often not linear or logical to the external eye, and in the process of learning to trust my inner compass, and the way the Universe manifests reality, it’s been a growing process for me to trust the way I create my reality.

A large part of this insecurity is related to the fact that I am a woman. It’s taken a lot for me to unearth the realization that I’ve often invalidated my choices or impulses simply for the fact that I am a woman.

Having the past experience of being invalidated in my emotional experience by previous men in my younger years — being called crazy, overly emotional, or too sensitive — left an imprint on me, and what wound up happening was that I built strong walls to keep out any man’s perspective that might seek to threaten or invalidate the way I choose to live my life. It was my way to protect myself. And it worked.

However, I have been discovering, as I unearth the places in myself where I have felt weak or like a victim because of the fact that I am a woman, that it has created a double standard around me and the men in my life.

Last night, my partner and I got to a place where he felt shut down. He said he felt like no matter what he said, that he was going to lose, feel like the bad guy, and then spend the rest of the evening trying to figure out what he could have done to “do it better”.

I felt his pain in that moment. I felt such deep compassion for him. I felt the pain within myself of realizing that I’d been holding on so tightly to my own past feelings of rejections and judgment, that I had created an unconscious rule in our relationship that there are some places where my partner was not allowed to speak his truth.

Because of the way I would punish him by withdrawing love or playing the victim, it required him to shut down an aspect of himself because I placed him in the nearly unavoidable archetype of being the “bad guy” — he made the mistake, he’s the one who hurt my feelings, he’s the one who challenged my delicate Ego, and he’s the one who needed to make it better.

So here’s the thing:

1. I see how I’ve created this.

2. I see how I am asking him to silence himself in a way where if he asked that of me, I would throw a fucking fit.

3. I am using my own feelings of disempowerment as a way to shut him down.

4. I see how I’ve being using “being a woman” as an excuse to have more right to my voice than the man I’m bed with.

He is lying with his back to me. My back to him. I can feel how easy it would be to keep playing the wronged party, and punish him through my cold shoulder. Because of the belief that “the man is supposed to fix it”.

Fuck that. I love this man. I love his sensitivity. I love his love for me. And I am strong enough in myself to be vulnerable and be the one to make amends.

I am strong enough to hear his disagreements and challenges of my belief systems, because I trust myself, and my path.

“I am so sorry babe. I love you. I understand why you feel like you can’t win. I want to hear you. Please forgive me.”

His body relaxes. He softens. He opens his body to me, pulls me to his chest and wraps me up in his arms.

“Thank you”, he says.

We go to sleep. Me, more soft and present in myself with him than ever before.

I love you.

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