Today was beautiful. After two days of pouring rain, the sun shone again.
We went for a drive. We drove way too far for a breakfast biscuit. Then we ate them on the way to an open house. With which I fell in love.
The house was a ranch-style home. Three bedrooms. Two bathrooms. A massive fireplace in a living room opened up to the kitchen and dining area. A pool sat out back with a bar and a pool house. There was a barn. Fruit trees. And a massive garage with an apartment on top.
It felt cozy and comfortable. It was still deeply stuck in the seventies and smelled like old people, and it felt like home. Or what could be home.
It brought back memories of the home my ex-husband and I renovated–the one his grandfather built. Did I love this house because of that? Or was it something else?
This house was the kind of house you grow old in. And there is something nice about that. Buying a house is never about the house itself, it’s about the lifestyle. And that house was easy to fall in love with because it represented the kind of life I hope to have. Settled down–married–for the long haul. A house to entertain in. A house to grow old in with someone to grow old with.
I read a chapter in Codependent No More this morning about becoming undependent. Essentially, “getting a life” not financially or emotionally dependent on another.
Too much dependency, the author stressed, can kill love. Relationships based on insecurity and need don’t work. They smother. They’re self-destructive. They’re scary and drive other people away.
I don’t remember being that needy in my marriage. Fearful of abandonment? Yes. I remember a time when I was dating my now ex-husband that he left me at his apartment to go watch a basketball game with a friend. He was gone later than expected and as I sat in his apartment waiting, I convinced myself he wasn’t returning. Ever. I got anxious and worked up so that when he finally did get home, I felt like an emotional wreck.
Maybe I was more needy than I realized.
I seem to have become exponentially needy since my divorce. I left my marriage to be with him and I’ve clung to him like a life raft. I wanted to spend every waking moment with him, text him while apart, and lived and died by every affectionate word, touch, or gesture.
When I felt I was losing him, I interrogated him. I checked his phone. I checked his email. I scanned the receipts in his pockets when I was doing laundry. I got jealous of everyone and everything that took his attention away from me. Because, in this unmanageable life I’d created, if he wasn’t paying attention to me, he didn’t care.
So I was going to make him care, by causing crises. Getting upset about something he did or didn’t do and then blowing up his phone, demanding attention, affection, or another “right” to a “wrong.” And then he pulled away. For real.
Since starting my recovery, since starting to work through the steps of CoDA, and after nearly 10 months of counseling, I find these recent weeks more peaceful. Less needy. Less chaotic. I’m being “selfish” and focusing on controlling me, not him. And though I do have moments of anxiety and fear, I’m finding it incrementally easier to recognize them, stop it, and redirect.
And somehow it’s working.
And somehow, I feel closer to him.
And somehow, I feel closer to me.