1/3 of the Way through #shift2love90
It’s not going at all as planned. I’ve managed to keep up the pace and have only missed a day here and there, which I’ve made up when I realized that I’d gotten off-pace. My husband, on the other hand, has posted once or twice each week, and only when I call him out on it, despite our agreement to do this together.
My posts go onto my Facebook feed and are not viewable by the general public and I won’t share them all here. I will share this, which I added to my daily praise of my husband. I have several FB friends who are participating in this #shift2love90 and many of them have shared frustration early on. I wanted to let them know that I’m feeling it, too. Here is what I wrote, followed by something I added in the comments: “I want to add here that this is incredibly frustrating. He agreed to do this every day, too, and he doesn’t. He doesn’t do it when he is traveling. He doesn’t do it when he is at home. He doesn’t do it when he’s pissed off…or when he’s happy. I am the one doing it. Every day. And some days it is HARD. Especially when I know that I am not being met. He is just absorbing everything as an ego boost and not honoring our agreement to do this as a way to rewire our brains to think positively about one another, rather than negatively. I’m still trying and overall, I’d say it is helping, but knowing that I’m in this alone? It’s not so good. It’s like knowing that I’m doing most of our marriage, most of our relationship, alone. He’s just there, not really showing up but also not leaving and calling that good enough.
I’m still here and I’m still in but I really want to share the reality of how this is for me.”
Added in the comments after several people, some of whom subsequently deleted their responses, offered me advise on how I should let him out of it because men aren’t capable of being dependable or of showing admiration in a public forum or <insert excuse based on possession of a penis here>, is this: “I never post things like this to seek advice nor to gain the sympathies of anyone. I posted to share with the other people who are doing this #shift2love90 so that they know that I, too, feel frustrated sometimes.
FB is a weird environment. If we are nice all of the time and only share positive things, we are ‘Vaguebooking’, but if we share something real, something a little dark or more difficult, in rolls the advice or commentary on how it’s not in alignment with a proper spiritual life or whatever, which does’t interest me at all.
I give my husband credit where it’s due, folks. When I read most of the above comments, what I see are a long line of gray-bearded, white, Inner Patriarchs telling me that a slack effort on the part of a *man* is good enough because he is making some effort, sometimes. (I want to add a note here: A few people deleted their comments in response to my posting this, so if you comment is still up there I’m probably not talking about you.)
We had an agreement and the are times when we both stumble or fail, we are human. Sometimes though, someone just isn’t participating or isn’t living up to her or his end of the agreement and that is what’s happening here. The simple fact that it might be difficult or the fact that he’s man, have no bearing on it.“
I’ve had myriad responses to my sharing of this experience and find them odd, offensive and very much mired in a Patriarchal mindset. I hesitate to say that I’ve found some of the comments infuriating but my consciousness does linger on the edges of that. To think that people who know me, know me so little! Mostly, I find it baffling.
I would like to add that the *entire reason for this blog post* is that it has been difficult for me, too! We are married and we get into fights. Conflict is sometimes the order of the day. You know what I do on those days? I post something nice anyway. You know what I do on the days when he has not only not posted his #shift2love90 post, but has been an utter asshat all day long? I post something nice anyway. Because that is what adult people who have made an agreement do. We honor our agreements. Men are not exempt from this.
So, I’m here to say that on today, day 34 of 90 days, I’m still hanging in there. I’m still posting something kind about my husband every day. Is it having the desired effect of making me think more positively about him? No. In fact, it’s having the opposite effect of making me feel even more like I’m in this marriage with a half-partner. With someone who is there physically but who is holding all of his deep, rich emotion to himself.
Why am I still doing it?
Because maybe something will change in the next 56 days. Maybe he will actually DO what he has agreed to do. You don’t just quit a 16 year marriage because your husband checks out for a month. So, I keep going, and for now I’m only doing it because I started it and because I said I would and my word is my bond. I’m doing it out of respect for myself and if my integrity is all I have in the end, then I guess that’s more than some people have. But so far, it’s not having the desired effect of causing me to see my husband as a glowing representation of honorable manhood. Not at all.
Here are some of the comments and private messages I’ve received. Some are edited due to length.
>”I think the “doing it publicly” might be playing a bigger part (in sabotaging the effort) than you imagined when you were considering starting this. It’s adding to his ego boost. When he misses doing it, your friends hop in and subtly shame/guilt him into participating, making him resentful. Men aren’t kind to each other regarding non-physical PDAs. If he were to grab your ass or kiss you, his male friends would be cool with that. Verbally(text) professing his love for you – they rag on each other about that. Words like “pussywhipped” come into play.”
>”Is he happy In Your Company? Does he hug you completely? Maybe the hug could substitute the prayer or you could say it together while hugging. You can be the one initiating the hug!”
>”I would like to ask if any commentors here have a partner who would participate in something like this for even one day? I sure don’t, and quite frankly I have one of the best. You do too. So perhaps let’s all lighten up with it, shall we?”
>”Men think differently.”
To briefly respond to all of this, he agreed to do this and he is a grown man. If his concern is that his friends will laugh at him because he said something nice about his wife on Facebook every day for 90 days, who the fuck are his friends and why does he call them that?
It is *not okay* for him to grab my ass *ever* without permission before he does it.
I’m supposed to just let him HUG ME???? Rather than following through, I’m just supposed to hug him. Um. No.
And comparing my husband to everyone else’s husband? No again. If he’d said, “No, honey. I see your point but I can’t agree to do that. It is just too terrifying.” Then we would be in a completely different place.
And being told to lighten up? Oh my.
All of this, *all* of it, is societal programming at its darkest. This whole excusing the man while calling a woman out for saying something like this out loud? It’s the ‘stand still, look pretty,’ program at its ugliest.