Sunday, December 14, 2014

Being An Easygoing Wife Helped Destroy My Marriage

“She’s really… easy.”

Yoshi, Meredith, and I were at happy hour, asking our friend Connor about his trip to Asia. Connor and his girlfriend had spent two weeks hopping planes and filling their passports with stamps. I wanted to know how that was, that kind of 24 hours a day time with his significant other while traversing foreign lands?

“Easy” was the word that Connor chose to describe his girlfriend. He meant it as a compliment – his girlfriend has a relaxed, welcoming way about her that conveniently translates into any language.

My mind wandered to my defunct marriage. I scribbled, “Is it good to be easy????” on my cocktail napkin.

Would Max have ever used that word to describe me? 

You should know that no one would ever call me a pushover or lacking in opinions. I have always stood up for myself. But it might surprise you to know that I'm conflict avoidant. What can I say, I’m a middle child who likes to keep the peace!

I sure did try to be what I thought was an easy girlfriend, then fiancée, then spouse. (Hell, I even tried to be an easy ex-wife in our months of forced cohabitation.)

In my marriage, my quest to be an easy spouse translated into avoiding arguments with Max at all costs. FYI, this is a really dumb tactic. 

Examples of Kat the Easy Wife:
  • I said little when I felt our apartment needed to be cleaned more often. Instead, I finally hired a cleaning service, which helped lessen my resentment of Max's lack of participation in housework. I was still pissed off that he never scrubbed a toilet.

  • Sometimes on Friday nights, I would go to happy hour with friends until Max got home. When he texted that he was close to home, I would head home for the night, whether I was ready to leave or not. We’d spend the evening the way he liked it – chilling on the couch, maybe watching a movie. Of course I enjoyed spending time with him… but, well, I was often sort of bored. I’d wish he would have come met me out. Not like I asked him to do that though.

  • In 2011, I wanted to go on vacation just the two of us, but when Max’s buddy wanted to get a beach house, I went along with it. Nevermind that we were renting a house with two couples that each had two children under the age of 5. Nevermind that we hadn’t been away alone since our honeymoon. I didn’t want to disappoint Max or be an unaccommodating wife by saying no. So we went to the beach for an unmemorable, orgasm-free week of stepping on Cheerios and tripping over beach toys. (This ended up being our last vacation together.)

My version of trying to be an easy spouse meant keeping quiet and ultimately losing parts of myself to this rather dull – but easy! – version of Max’s wife.

The way that I finally stopped being easy was in dealing with our fading sex life.

I tolerated our disappearing intimacy for two years before I got Max to a doctor who recommended therapy. Then, after some progress had been made, we backslid, so I again demanded we get help. As scary as it was to push Max to address his issues – and try to save our fledgling marriage – it was the one area where I just couldn’t back down. I was not on his case 24 hours a day, because I did give him some space to figure himself out. But the issue was always in the air.

By 2011, I was not easy anymore. I refused to go with the nonexistent flow of our sex life. I had to have the courage to allow conflict to happen. It was scary as hell. In my heart, I knew that not being the easy spouse would likely lead us to divorce. I was right.

So, whenever I get into a relationship again, do I want to be described as "easy"? I want to be laidback where I can be. I want to be open to trying things that my significant other wants me to experience. I want to be that girlfriend who you can bring into pretty much any situation and she’ll be able to hang.

But if being easy means ignoring the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship for the sake of avoiding conflict, no thank you.

(And speaking of not easy, I do still have on my leg brace as I recover from my broken kneecap. 61 days and counting…)

What are you like in relationships? Do you strive to be easy? Do you let arguments happen? Do you think it's a compliment to be described as easy?

10 comments:

  1. I am a peacekeeper, too..and I have compromised myself in order to keep the peace..I am finding, though, as I get older, I am way less willing to do that. It's not always easy, but I feel better about myself.

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  2. Agreed. Picking your battles is smart, but not to the point of compromising yourself.

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  3. Marriage has to be based solely on honesty- and open communication, no matter how hard it gets to actually do just that! Your insight seems spot on. I love your last line: But if being easy means ignoring the warning signs of an unhealthy
    relationship for the sake of avoiding conflict, no thank you.

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  4. I've discovered that if you can't be your true self in your marriage, then it's not the right marriage. Find someone who lets you be you Kat. It will come.

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  5. I agree Chris. I take responsibility for not being more open about my needs. Thank you for reading!

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  6. Yes, and that is probably why I'm still single. I'm picky and that is definitely a good thing! As always, thank you for reading. :)

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  7. Great post, Kat! I can relate to this. It's a great reminder to women to maintain their own self in a marriage or a relationship. Be selfish! In a good way. :)

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  8. I'm a libra and I try so hard to play the peacekeeper in life and I usually end up miserable and feeling let down trying to keep everyone else happy. This is a great reminder to stand up for yourself even if it seems "selfish."

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  9. Cheers to that!

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