Friday, 2 November 2012

Nowhere to hide

You won't be all that surprised to hear that one of the main things that drew Jake and I together was our shared values; I suppose the best description would be that we are both sort of old fashioned liberals.

Fairness, doing the right thing, thoughtfulness, modesty and mutual respect set the tone for our relationship and, having gone through a fairly unhealthy, self-destructive period in my twenties, finding an old fashioned gentleman like Jake was like steering my ship through a raging storm into a safe harbour.

We would often visit other people in their homes and I would find myself thinking 'thank God Jake's not like that' as partners belched their way through a meal, left the bathroom door open when they were relieving themselves or were openly rude or dismissive to their partner. I'm sure some of you are reading this and thinking 'what an old woman, I have no problem with that', but my Dad and Step Dad are both old fashioned gentleman, so it's not that surprising that I would look for this in a partner.

I realise now that I drew our relationship and Jake's respectful, unconditional love around me like a comforting armour that would keep me safe and all those who would intrude or harm me (including myself) at bay.

You can imagine then how challenging I am finding facing alone the completely intrusive, exposing nature of our current situation. In the last week I have had to discuss specifics of our sex life with four different people. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude, I just don't feel all that comfortable sharing the intimate mechanics and detail of this most private element of our marriage.

However, this is not the only area of intrusion and exposure; our finances, aspirations, plans for a family, where we will live, how I will work, when we're 'allowed' to be together, how my husband's treatment and rehab is managed, where we can go on our own and pretty much anything else you can think of are all open for scrutiny and comment from, it seems, all and any party that claims or expresses an interest.

This feeling of exposure and being out of control is compounded by the continuing uncertainty of both the criminal and civil cases, where faceless people are making life changing decisions without having even met us.

Ronald Reagan once said "the most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help".

Well, I know that all these parties, whether official or personal in their connection, have a good intent, genuinely want to help and also that in many cases we need and have sought out that help; but sometimes I feel so exposed and raw that it seems as though nowhere and nothing is private anymore and I can't navigate back to that safe harbour because he is facing his own storm.

At those times I would like them all to bugger off and mind their own business, or at least give a little more thought to their impact!

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