Whenever people say things like "oh, everything happens for a reason" or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" or whatever those adages are, I want to punch them in the teeth.
So I don't think that we got and then let go of Lincoln Jones for a reason, and I do still feel very bad about how things went with him. I will, however, say that he was a catalyst, and that without him, Nick and I would probably still have gone on living with a dynamic that was causing both of us more and more resentment.
I think it was ultimately the right choice not to keep him, but the way the decision was made - by Nick, firmly, without trying to persuade me to agree - sent me into a tremendous crisis.
Had I married my dad? And was I my mom? Was I just a cooperative party in a marriage like that of my parents, where my dad had all the power?
Am I just playing the role of cooperative wife - quirky and artsy and funny and attractive - but not an equal? A wife expected to go along?
Nick is more opinionated in many ways, and a lot of the time, the things he wants either accord with what I want, or it doesn't matter that much to me one way or the other. I'm strong, but he's stronger; I can be mean, but he can be meaner. He bulldozes when the need arises.
So last week I hit this crisis point, where I wondered about...everything. These big decisions and commitments I'd made. This life we'd built. Everything.
Finally, after days of anger - which I didn't initially realize was, in fact, anger - I said to Nick that we so clearly have this huge power disparity in our relationship. It's not equal. It's not anywhere near equal.
And Nick, to his credit, replied that no, it's not 50-50, but life is so much more nuanced than that. Look - we live in DC because I wanted to. He wanted to stay in Virginia. This was a huge decision, dictating so many things in our lives, and he deferred to me.
(At which point I was all, oh, well, yah, that was a big one.)
He tends to make more decisions, and the bigger decisions, and he decides quickly, and is always confident that he's made the right choice.
Whereas I can spent 15 minutes in the soda aisle, trying to figure out what I'd like to drink.
Because people are complex, and because relationships are so layered, there are so many more pieces to this story. And so many more details that I cannot delve into.
But we can admit that there are some fundamental things that each of us would change about the other if we could. But you cannot change the other person. You can only change how you react. And talk about how you feel. It helps to recognize that there's no malice in our actions.
But you don't begin to change yourself until you have a reason to.
We have a lot of work to do on our relationship. And we now both recognize it and are willing to work. This is a significant hurdle to get past.
And it turns out that I am funny and quirky and stuff, but not necessarily all that cooperative. So, you know, not so much in danger of being the wifey.