The David and I have been seeing a couples counselor once a week for about 7 months.
We’ve been together going on 4 years now and still aren’t really sure about some of the big questions… are you the one? do we want to get married? or have kids? how do we reconcile you giving off the heat of a thousand suns with my charming propensity to get sweaty in my sleep?
Counseling is supposed to help with all that.
But me being me, it mostly feels like a medieval device engineered specifically to drive me to the highest levels of torment. There’s a lot of “Can you make space for David’s trigger points?” and “How does it make you feel to hear Maggie share something like that?” Her master plan is that if there’s oodles of communication, then there will be closeness and it will be “yummy.”
In all fairness, The David seems to like it. He’s much more sensitive than I am, so he really gets into having these opportunities to open up. But I’m wired differently; I will share information and I’m pretty straightforward and honest, but I don’t need to talk about feelings so much.
Last night was our last session before The David leaves for his month-long trip to Argentina and she wanted to talk about how we felt about this pending separation.
And it went a bit like this:
Maggie: I feel sad about it.
Counselor: What does that sadness feel like? Do you feel it in your body somewhere?
Maggie: Mostly in my eyeballs. Like I want to cry.
Counselor: Why don’t you cry then?
Maggie: It’s silly to cry about something that hasn’t even happened yet.
Counselor: Isn’t it judgmental to call your feelings silly? You should be allowed to cry. Why don’t you zero in on these feelings?
I try to zero in on feeling sad. Sadness ensues. A few leaky tears escape.
And then I don’t even know. Something like:
Counselor: You feel sad? How sad? Really sad? Are you really *feeling* the sadness? Breath into it! Look at David! Let him feel your sadness! Really really sad?
Until I am full on sobbing. And snotting up a storm. Wadded up tissues are piling up ridiculously. No matter how much I toot and squirt, I can’t breath through my nose. So I am mouth breathing. I can’t talk without gasping and squeaking. My nose is on fire from the scratchy sub par tissues. My eyeballs feel about 3 sizes too large for their sockets and I’ve got a low thrumming headache.
I am tapping on David’s hand in a far fetched wish that I knew Morse code, that David knew Morse code, and that I could beg him to get me out of there.
And she is telling us how beautiful this is and how much love she is seeing.
Love is not the thing I am feeling.
But The David is feeling touched by just how sad I am that he’s leaving and protective that I’ve been all vulnerable. And he didn’t have to talk about feeling sad about anything, so it’s all fine over there. I’m the only one on Planet Insanadoo.
I guess I was supposed to feel better after having a good cry. It should be cathartic? And I feel all connected because I exposed my sad, sad underbelly?
Instead, I am exhausted and defeated and should clearly be lying quietly in the dark somewhere with chilled pads on my eyes.
And realizing that a month long separation from The David comes with a wonderful gift: a month off from couples counseling.