In sickness and in health
20 years ago when I got together with an older man, I knew it would be "different." Back then it was people implying I wanted another 'daddy' figure in my life and more...like finances. News flash - I had more money than he did when we got together! I went for love not money.
So now here we are more than 20 years later. He's always been a pretty good guy, but now as he is getting older, he is a mean and acts more controlling. He is "never wrong," he doesn’t pick up after himself or do any housework like he used to. Quite frankly, I'm exhausted.
Respectfully, I also tell you that he is very forgetful, his hygiene is (apparently) not a huge priority anymore. He has a litany of medical problems, the ones regarding his memory are not glaring, so he thinks he is perfectly fine. I think he has a bit of organic brain syndrome (old age dementia), but he refuses to get it checked out.
So what do you think I should do? I love him so much, but should I stay here committed to the whole "in sickness and in health" thing or walk away and save myself?
A troubled email, I can only imagine the situation you are in and first let me say what a strong man you are. I can see the love deep down you have for your partner and maybe we can work on some reassurance to shine a brighter light on this situation.
Congrats on the 20+ years of a relationship, it’s admirable and upstanding in our community. This accomplishment in itself deserves recognition. So, ‘claps, claps, claps’ for you!
Now, on to the challenge. With every relationship come challenges, if that is two months or 20 years down the road, what we can all expect is a challenge. Relationships are hard work, take a lot of patience, selfless acts and sometimes just being able to let go and live. Have you ever asked yourself how you look at or accept challenges into your life?
For me, I look at challenges as another opportunity to learn about strength I might not know I have in me. I believe we all continue to learn and grow daily with everything in life, if that be personally, work, friends, etc. Everything that is presented to you in life is just another challenge to self-validate who you are and how strong you can be.
Almost ten years ago, I lost my partner to a brain aneurysm, and like many people I always said that “If something should happen to…I don’t know how I would get through it” type of comment. Around that time I was getting into Life Coaching events and before I knew it, I was pursuing the field and became a Life Coach. Some of tools I took away from my own personal experience not only supported this devastating grieving period, but I apply it to my everyday world. Two of the tools I use are very simple and though they might not seem like much, ultimately end up being much higher than you’d ever imagine.
First you need an inspirational quote. Research them, try and write one yourself, either way you need a mantra for life. Mine was, “I’m still learning.” What you do with this mantra is write it down, post it on notes, and place them in areas that you see every day. About five years ago I had it tattooed on my body, and I had it written backwards so when I am looking in the mirror, I can read it correctly. This was an extreme measure, and not telling you to get a tattoo rather explaining what I did and how I took it seriously.
The second tool I will share is called “listing.” What this is, and I know you’ve heard of this concept before is that you make a list except this time, do not write the negatives. Write a list of all the good qualities and the reasons why you fell in love with your partner to begin with. Also note your milestones or successes that have happened in your relationship. What this does is trigger those memories and emotions to help put you back on a positive track.
You might be thinking to yourself that these might not be the answers you were looking for, but as I read your email I reflected back to my hard times and it made me truly wish I had more time. Just one more day with him is all that I want.
We are all blessed in life, it’s just being able to count those blessings. (p.s. start counting) BOOM!
The Gayly – October 18, 2015 @ 9am.