Putting her needs first

So apparently there’s anger flowing through my words. Well sure. If I wasn’t angry after this I would be made of stone. It’s not always there, but it remains, it’s anger and pain that floods each moment of my existence.

And daily things I see in life remind me, of the experiences I lived, that made me who I am today. Like for example when one of my married facebook friends posts this link. http://popchassid.com/didnt-love-wife/

About a religious man who thought he loved his wife from the first date, but didn’t truly realize what love was until much later in their marriage. The article is insightful, written in good faith and with positive intentions. But from where I stand, it only breeds frustration. It’s nothing against the loving author, but when I come across it, my brain automatically goes into a line of thinking like this:

So hold up buddy, you told your wife you loved her on the second date, you were engaged two months later and married after three. And only at a later time did you realize that love is not just that emotional desire you possess inside, that it’s about helping out, and it’s about putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own!? Wow, you’re a regular genius, aren’t you? What the hell do you know about putting someone else’s needs first? Cause no matter what, this person was there with you, sharing your home and your bed, and she was present, and available for both of you to work out your needs together. And even though it’s challenging, at least you had the proper conditions in place to face that challenge together, make progress, and succeed.

And here is me looking at this, a person who fell in love, not all of a sudden, but slowly. And then was given conditions that demanded that I work endlessly, without any visible progress, and without the opportunity to succeed. The person I loved told me she needs me to wait for her, to sleep alone at night indefinitely. She never moved in with me, not after two months, not after two years, not after ten. You felt what real love is when you helped your wife with the dishes, and saw how she appreciates your gesture!? My partner was not there; not to do dishes, cook, do laundry, or sleep beside me. And I had to work at maintaining that love, and maintaining that bond, in this fruitless environment. What her needs were, was for me to remain committed while at a distance, and give her time and space, to build a career. I loved her, and those were the needs I put first. And I continued, to be selfless and loving as best I could. Keeping her needs in mind every night, while my needs remained ignored. Had we shared a home during that time, I would’ve gladly taken care of any household tasks required, so that she could have the time she desired, to look after her valuable career. I was never even afforded the opportunity.

It’s easy to talk about putting someone else’s needs first, when they are there for you, and at the end of the day, your needs are also addressed. But try doing it, without ever having that returned to you, just based on a promise, and trust. Just based on pure, unadulterated love. And try doing it, year after year for a lifetime, while having to come home to sleep inside an empty bed each night! Then you’ll find out what it really means, to put another’s needs first. And then you may change your ideas about love once more.

Well realistically, no one should ever know what that feels like, cause that’s not right, it’s not normal, and no one should be asked to go through that. But for me it’s a little late, as I’ve already gone though it, and now I feel pain and frustration daily, at any mention of normal human interaction. Anytime I run across examples of love, sex,¬†marriage, relationship successes or troubles, or a person trying to be conscious of the needs of another, it hurts me. Automatically, it causes me pain, and burns like a hot stove. Just the mention of a loving bond. Because I am still completely torn from my experience. And I still have no clue, why everything I was asked to go through was so complicated and difficult, when it should’ve always been so simple.

And although she’d like to make me think otherwise, I know that the person who asked me to do it isn’t stupid. And it makes it worse.¬†

The anger I have, it’s not my predominant emotion. It’s not even close. It’s so very very small, compared to the sadness and resignation. The anger reminds me, of who I used to be, of how I felt alive, had dreams, goals and aspirations. My living ego is angry because that was taken away. But it doesn’t come up often, and it happens less and less. Mostly I’m just sad, and later on indifferent. And the sadness, it slowly takes over the parts that used to be alive, and could feel anger or joy. It washes through them, like a river of nightmares, and turns them barren. And after, it leaves an empty desert void of emotion. And I am witness of this; the way all emotion, motivation and life, is slowly purged from my body, to leave just an indifferent shell.

Putting someone else’s needs first. To the point of ignoring your own. In hope and trust that what you invest will be returned. Is that what love is? I don’t think so. How many thousand nights I did give. How many more, until I breathe no more. Does she even know, what each of those nights meant to me. It will never matter. Except to me, deep down inside. And still every night.

And to answer my own question. Although sometimes people like to put it that way, love is not really about putting someone else’s needs first. Because if you do, then that person can just keep asking for more, and using you, while relegating your needs to the background. Love is about compromise, understanding, and learning to synchronize your needs with those of another, so as to be able to live in harmony, while both of your needs are met in a mutually acceptable way. Yes, sometimes that will involve you taking care of them before yourself, but that should always come back to you. Otherwise it’s not love, it’s exploitation. And to simply say that love is about putting another’s needs above your own, is just too simplistic, and shallow, to truly capture the complex dynamic of a healthy loving bond.

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