I used to be the girl that scoffed at Mills & Boon romances, enjoyed the modern twist on fairy tales - in which Snow White pursues an aggressive feminist agenda among other things egregious. I used to also believe that a woman's sense of self is worth a lot more than anything a man can give her - and to that end it was worth fighting for to the bitter end.
In my first marriage, I found myself turning dangerously enamored of the myth of the "perfect" union. We had to read each others' minds and anticipate needs that were unspoken. That union was the fatal mix of unrelentingly perfect and dangerously flawed. My sense of self took a beating that required the better part of a decade to recover.
At the time of meeting DB, the facade had come together quite nicely. I looked (and even felt) together and confident - qualities that DB found very attractive. I had no reason to know that the facade was merely a veneer. Nothing and nobody had quite tested its resilience.
That was the petri dish of romance and then there is the cauldron of marriage. Inside it the facade is peeling, crumbling, falling apart so uncontrollably that I sometimes have to wonder how it came to be that I changed this much in less than a year. It is easy to blame what is new in the mix of things - marriage and DB. To say that he is confused would be understating it.
The wounds underneath are raw and tender - it takes very little provocation to make them hurt hellishly - together, poised and confident are not words one would associate with that frame of mind. I am coming to realize that I had spent my life in denial of my true inclinations - maybe I am sucker for the saccharine romance after all. I am looking for the man in my life to be the answer to everything. DB is placed in the position where he is required to do everything and more and still find that it is not quite enough.
Then there is the business of "sense of self" - that thing that was worth waging war over. That has not changed too much. I am over-sensitive to the point of being paranoid. There is nothing that DB can say to me without me wondering if this would be the beginning of a covert campaign to hijack who I am and replace that with who he would like me to be. I bristle at the very idea, kick scream and protest with so much passion that he cannot correlate cause and effect.
If there is light at the end of this tunnel, it is hard to see it from where I am now.