She knows how it feels to keep herself busy so as not to have time to wrap her brain around the idea that she’d made a mistake – maybe the biggest mistake ever.
She knows how it is to feel claustrophobic sitting in the car next to her husband as they drove to the west coast to hike on their honeymoon. As each mile brought them closer to the Olympic Peninsula, her palms felt clammier. She desperately needed to stop the car. She couldn’t breathe sitting next to him. Was this what it was like to have a panic attack?
She wanted to stand on the side of the road and look at him and say, “What have we done. We messed up! We shouldn’t have gotten married. What if this doesn’t get better? What if you never try to see me? What if I spend the rest of my life doing what you want, to keep the peace?”
Instead, she got angry.
They stopped for gas and she stomped to the restroom. She bought another crappy cup of roadside coffee and sat fuming in the passenger seat.
He tried to talk of hiking and camping. He had no clue how little she wanted to hike and camp on her honeymoon. How could he know that? She’d never told him. And even though it wasn’t his fault, she was pissed at him. She was pissed at him for not knowing that she didn’t want to camp on her honeymoon, for not helping her with the wedding, for not seeing her, for not being the guy she wanted him to be.
She didn’t want to camp with him. She didn’t want to hike with him. She didn’t want to give up her friends for him. She didn’t want to give up her dreams for him. She didn’t want to stop being herself for him.
At that moment, she didn’t want to do anything with him. But how could she tell him that? She’d just agreed to spend the rest of her life with him, and now she didn’t even want to be in the car with him.
Was this normal?
Do brides feel like this after saying yes?
Maybe it was the exhaustion from all the wedding prep and the nerves of that day. Maybe this was the same feeling some people have the day after Christmas. Or buyer’s remorse – that’s it! This feeling would pass, wouldn’t it?
And then she thought – because this was the natural conclusion to all these crises – “There’s something wrong with me. Normal people don’t feel this way after getting married. I am the problem here. I should want to go hiking and camping. I should want to be who he wants me to be.”
But then she heard a nagging voice with a backbone saying, “How does he not notice that you are miserable? How does he not see that you are not the blushing bride sitting next to her handsome husband? How can he be so unaware? How honest do you have to be with this guy? Do you have to come right out and say, ‘Look at me! I’m your wife! I’m not happy. What are we going to do about it?”
Was he oblivious because he’s a narcissist? (She didn’t even know about narcissism at that point in time.) Is it true that a man only knows what you tell him? Maybe she was just another disillusioned bride on an ill-planned honeymoon with a clueless husband.
The less he sensed her unease, the more pissed she got.
He was completely out of touch – just as he had been all along. This was who he was – a man who didn’t see her, or notice her mood shifts, or sense her distress.
And so she became angrier. She pouted in the car as they approached La Push. In an ugly passive-aggressive voice she said, “You expect me to honeymoon here?”
He looked at her as if he was seeing her for the first time. “But you said you were okay with hiking. You said you wanted to camp. This is the place we talked about.”
“This is the place YOU talked about. I just agreed – like I agree to everything. I went along because that’s what I do. For you. I go along for you.”
“And now you tell me you don’t want to camp and hike?”
She wanted to say, “But if I told you I didn’t want to hike and camp on our honeymoon you wouldn’t have married me. If I told you that I’m not the woman I’ve led you to believe that I am, you wouldn’t have married me. If I show you who I really am, you won’t like me. And then where would I be?”
But she didn’t say those words.
It was too late for honesty.
It wasn’t his fault.
She never told him.
She kept hoping he would see. She wanted so desperately for him to see. But when it came down to it, all he could see was that she had lied.
To be continued …