Yesterday was his family birthday dinner. Tyler sent me a text mentioning it was for "all" the grandparents. That's at least seven grandparents. Five of those grandparents came, two were in Hawaii. That means - Alice (great-grandma), Scott and Ronda, Ex and his wife.
It's the first time we've been together without any other in-laws. And having us all in the same room has been worrisome for most of us; I think to some degree it's been tough on Jenna and Tyler and their spouses - how will their parents behave?
Why is that? It's been 14 years, life goes on, we're all adults, there is proper etiquette, etc. Nothing "bad" is going to happen; the worst thing that ever happened was the divorce. But that fear is still there - interesting how memories of the past can be actual physical triggers for the present. An upset stomach, shakes, sweats, headaches - all points of tension that can surface.
This happened to me yesterday, and I push through "for the sake of the children," and then, nine times out of ten, it's just fine. And it happens to the kids, and they bully through, not allowing their parents' issues to become theirs.
And yesterday was decent. We even laughed together, joked about the past, Ex even making a remark that had me laughing out loud, and Tyler breathing a sigh of relief, stating, "Ok, I think we can move forward now."
With the relief also comes some pain for me. Because as I'm listening to conversations, I thought of missed opportunities, mistakes, my anger, and the unrealized, or unmet expectations from that past life.
There were things I wanted, things I thought I needed in my first marriage, that didn't happen - for either of us, and with this came my anger, my frustration, my fears, my dread.
Why - in a relationship, is it that it's not necessarily money, sex, or in-laws that kill a marriage, but those expectations, that aren't even discussed, just assumed, that bring a marriage to its knees? My marriage dissolved because my needs weren't being met - or better yet, I claimed he wasn't meeting my expectations - over the years, not just over-night.
And this time around - I've had to make sure that my expectations for Scott and my expectations for me are clearly verbalized, all of the time, and that I analyze and parse out what it is that I need from myself - not just what he needs to give me. And when my expectations aren't being met - well, I have to look at myself, reign the future back into the moment, and move forward in reality.
This morning, upon perusing Facebook, a friend had posted this - "The Silent Killer of Relationships," and guess what - Expectations. And I found validation, and to a small extent, sadness. I try not to live in the past; I'm so happy with Scott and I, but I wonder . . .
Happy Day -