That’s not a typo. I did mean “irrative.” You’ll have to read this post to find out why. Of course, you can scroll right down to the last section if you don’t care to submit yourself to my ramblings.
Picking up where I left off on the last post. Why do I submit?
Again, you can read many posts about my views on submission and happiness by going to my Shortcuts and choosing from my favorite posts on this topic.
I tried to do my best not to repeat my former ramblings and give you all fresh new ramblings, but I think most of this post turned out to be a re-hash of things I’ve previously opined. It may take me one more post to get to some newer, fresher, thoughts on my submission.
BOYS TO MEN
I will start going back to my formative years of youth and how I approached my relationship with boys and eventually with men, including why I was attracted to Mike. As shared before, I met and dated Mike in high school where we dated off on and for several years. We had a different group of friends which made it difficult, but we always remained on friendly terms even when not dating each other. We reconnected shortly after high school – and the rest is history.
What attracted me to Mike, even in high school, was that he always seemed to want nothing more than to make ME happy. I never felt like I had anything to prove to him. Contrast that with other boys I dated who clearly wanted me to make them happy. I say “clearly” but as I look back on it, it was less about them and more about my own perceptions. For some reason most boys made me FEEL like it was my job to make them happy. As I look back, I can say it was more about my own perceptions than anything they overtly did.
Maybe it was “societal norms” influencing my perceptions. Whatever the case, being in charge of a adolescent male’s happiness is a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone an adolescent female. It leads to a lot of self doubt and worry about whether you are being a “good girlfriend.” Feelings that are pretty normal even without any added pressures. But for some reason, I just never felt that way around Mike.
I “DIDN’T CARE” ABOUT MIKE
I think I was a better girlfriend and a better person to Mike because I never cared how he saw me. I know that sounds strange. I mean, I wanted him to like me, and later love me and marry me. But I could be more myself around him versus anyone else. I think that raised my self esteem and made me more attractive to him. And funny thing, he says the same about me. He said he always felt more confident around me, less insecure, more himself. I guess that’s why we clicked!
I strongly believe we attract those who like the vibe we put off. If you are negative, nagging, anxious, insecure, you attract men who like and thrive on that. Yes, there are plenty of men who seek that in a woman. When you truly embrace your feelings, go from needy and anxious to relaxed and sensuous, your vibe attracts an entirely different person. And yes, some men are intimidated and repelled by that.
I always felt deliriously safe with Mike. I believe it was because I didn’t feel compelled to focus on him, and could focus on me. A good man wants to make you happy. When you’re happy, he’s happy, when he’s happy, you’re happy, and the happiness just feeds on itself.
HAPPINESS CAN BE A FOUR LETTER WORD
The challenge is, figuring out what truly makes you happy. The trick is, it’s really hard to know what truly makes you happy. You might be pursuing some idealized version of “happiness” that leaves you very empty, yet you continue your pursuit of it. That type of happiness is a four letter word.
For a long time I thought happiness had to be the “do-it-all-wife.” Work, kids, the whole works. As a parent, I had to be the super-parent, taking on any and everything without asking Mike for help. Why was I so reluctant to involve Mike? I think I figured that out, but will get to that later. For now, let’s soak in my attitude at that time.
I doubled down on my efforts once I became a stay-at-home-mom. My thinking was that if I am not working, I had to take even more parenting and household stuff off of Mike’s plate. Then when our youngest was born and had special needs, I made a conscious effort to take on even more to help minimize the impact our son’s needs had on Mike.
You’re probably saying, “where was Mike during all this.” Oh, he was there, but I was doing my best to keep him at a distance. Over time I pushed him out of a lot of things, even interacting with our kids. At least he had the gumption to insert himself, despite my protests, else he would have missed out on many experiences.
For instance, I would be happy to take the kids on an outing on the weekend to give Mike a free day off of work to relax. He had to practically beg to come along to an outing as I insisted he relax. While my motives were well intended, I eventually learned they made him feel unwelcome in joining his own family on outings . Ouch!
I was not happy, and neither was Mike. No need to re-hash my first few posts about my life pre-DD. You can read them starting here.
In summary, I was doing what I thought made me happy and I thought Mike needed. And Mike, being who he is, was giving me a lot of latitude in doing those things as he wanted to make me happy. But in doing so I was wearing myself down, shutting him out of a lot of things, and not feeling fulfilled by all the things I was doing. And instead of changing, I would just double down even further at what I was already doing. I had this attitude that if was I was doing wasn’t making me happy, maybe if I did it even harder I would be happy.
Doh! Easy to see the error in that thinking now, but at that time, there was no telling me otherwise. Thus, this small shred of mutual resentment appeared. It then started to get larger over time. Then along came DD and our world and marriage and life changed for the better!
BUT WHY WAS I DRAWN TO SUBMISSION?
DD forced me to think about what made me happy. I realized that the happiness I thought I had was false. Post 30. I Found My Thrill sums it up the best, so I won’t rehash it here.
Well, this post has dragged on and on with no real resolution as to what may be behind the tremendous fulfillment I get from serving my husband. Hey, getting to the bottom of such things can be an iterative process, but I will there. It just may take another post or two.
Ha. I made a typo when I first wrote this and typed “irrative” process” instead of iterative. Maybe a Freudian slip! Irrative isn’t a word, but it should be! It’s quite irritating to me to not understand what is at the root of things I think and feel. Hence the reason I started my blog as it helps me to do so.
Anyways, maybe I’ll just have to torture you with one more post about me rambling on about myself. I know you’d rather hear about something sexy or raunchy. Sorry, but if you’re a long time reader, you know you have to suffer the occasional slings and arrows of my outrageous ramblings before you’re rewarded with the “good” stuff. Hey, who just said, “Since when has anything Jen posted been good?” Stop that!