/*amazon_ad_exclude = "christian"*/ The Skin I Am In: June 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Delightful Dave

Dave hadn't always been a complete dunce to Diane. Obviously she had seen some redeeming qualities in him at one point for them to marry and have children together. In fact, once upon a time she had been very much in love with Dave.

By Diane's own admission, it isn't that Dave is a bad person (albeit careless and oblivious), rather she surmises it's a case of outgrowing one another. The traits that attracted her to him in the first place are either now obsolete, or simply qualities that her current, grown-up self no longer needs. As you may have imagined by now, Diane is a more dramatic and emotionally-charged individual than the quieter, "keep-the-peace-at-all-costs" Dave. And naturally in her youth she was more so than ever. Dave was her anchor, ever so patient and reliable. Add his sensitivity and compassion to the list--traits that Diane had found to be very rare in a man--and she felt very lucky indeed.

In fact, there were only a couple of red flags both of which, in her youthful naivety, Diane wrongfully assumed would resolve over time. The first, his excessive drinking at social events, she barely gave a second thought about effecting the future because at that stage in their lives it was relatively normal. She herself was often guilty of overindulging at parties or get-togethers. Yet as the years would show, she slowly learned the art of pacing herself, while Dave continues to drink like a teenager who is out for the very first time, still painfully ignorant to the ill-effects of massive alcohol consumption. What to this day seems like a non-issue to Dave, is a worrisome and infuriating habit to Diane.

The second annoyance was one that began upsetting her very early on, although she could not have conceived of it's magnitude until it was too late: the contemptible in-laws. She now knows (ain't hindsight something else!?) that it was because of the extraordinary dysfunction and emotional abuse which caused Dave to minimize their inappropriate and hateful behavior. So early in their relationship and therefore only having Dave's word to take on the matter, Diane did her best to grin and bear it. She also foolishly expected, should they cross the line, that his love for her would not stand for it and that he would defend her against them. After all, Dave and Diane were building a life together. Yes, his parents were his past. But she was his future.

Boy! If only it worked that way! It has become painfully obvious, not only in observing him, but in dealing with her own perceptions about the world, how unshakable our childhood conditioning is. For this reason, Dave learned to build his existence around the premise of not rocking the boat. Dave is not interested in living life, as Diane so often puts it, but surviving it. What he fails to realize is that what you don't know (or refuse to see) can hurt you. Turning a blind eye when your wife desperately reaches out to you or when she tells you she's not happy or when she tells you to wake up or get out, is not going to make the issues disappear. As Dave is learning the hard way, unattended problems don't vanish, they simply fester.

And now, after all these months of Diane goading Dave and Dave finally realizing that something must be done, it is possibly too late. Thanks to Dave's procrastination, Diane had a great many months to think and reflect. There have recently been times when she feels a spark of hope, that maybe, just maybe if he could continue like this and she could change her frame of mind....but, alas, he quickly reminds her how many things are wrong. I suppose after standing over the cliff for so long like Diane did, it doesn't take much to push you right back. Plus, with all that time to think, Diane has realized that even when Dave is on his best behavior, he doesn't necessarily provide her with the things she longs to share with a partner. It's true, no body is perfect, nor are any two people 100% compatible; however, Diane can't help but think there must be closer than this.