Friday, August 1, 2008

Tick-Tock Goes the Clock

After pondering what I need versus what I want, I've come to the conclusion that while yes, there are basic needs and yes, there are many wants that are not needs, the two often interlink.  For example, from my husband, I want time.  I want good quality time, time when we enjoy each other's company and show our appreciation for one another.  In order for our partnership to work, this also becomes a need.  This is a need of the relationship. 

Not only do I want quality time, I also need time to discuss issues and feelings and general life views.  While communication time can also be quality time, sometimes it does not fit into the category of quality time because if the discussions are tense and the issues are not resolved, then the need for quality time was not fulfilled due to the topic of conversation and the abundance of overwhelming emotion. 

Sometimes time has to be set aside as quality time, especially when one or both of us are dealing with an issue.  If time has to be set aside to simply enjoy each other's company, then the issues have to be tabled until after the need for quality time has been satisfied.  If all our time is spent discussing issues, then the need for quality time gets neglected.  When our quality time need is neglected and we are not making sure the other person knows they're appreciated, then the communication attempts suffer and thus, the relationship suffers.

Sometimes quality time can be spent with other people, but it is also important to have quality time alone as well.  As parents, our alone time is already limited to times when either our child is asleep or in someone else's care.  As active and social individuals, and as an active and social couple, this limits our alone time even more. 

I often feel time is not on my side and feel overwhelmed by my list of things I need to do and the list of things I want to do.  Time is one of my most difficult hurdles to overcome because I perceive it as very finite.  I end up sacrificing sleep and other needs in order to fulfill my time needs with DTTF, both quality time and communication time.

When the usage of time is beyond my control, I feel the urge to try to control it.  I try to develop a schedule.  Even when looking over the next day or week or month, I try to know what's coming and be prepared, especially if I am having difficulty with internal issues.  Dealing with difficult internal issues increases my need for quality, reassuring time.  When I am feeling a strong desire to spend quality time and I am unable to see a time when we can have more than an hour alone and together without sacrificing all other needs, I feel anxious.  I feel helpless.  I feel alone.

For years, DTTF and I did almost everything together.  I knew that the time when we weren't working would most often be spent together.  While he's always had the freedom to do other things with his time besides spend it alone with me or together as a couple, he usually chose to spend his time with me.   Now things have changed.  Many things have changed.

Having a child changed how we spend a lot of our time.  Because Tree Faerie is unable to provide for herself, one if not both of us have to provide for her needs, except for those occasional times when she is in someone else's care.  Therefore, there are often social events that we cannot attend together because one of us has to stay home with our daughter.  Also, having a child makes it difficult to stay up all night talking or playing games because our daughter insists that I get up in the morning.  I know things won't always be this way, however this is the way things are right now.

Because our social needs are also changing and becoming more apparent, this affects our alone time in that we don't get as much alone time..  We get more social time.  Because of my feelings of being overwhelmed often cause me to not want to be social as often as DTTF, I end up spending time alone instead of alone with him.  Even when a friend or few come over to our house as opposed to DTTF going out, when I'm not feeling the desire to be social even with close and intimate friends, I usually extract myself.  If I don't extract myself, I often react in a curt and irritable manner.  Removing myself from the situation is safer for all involved, especially when we would like the friendship to continue.

Occasionally we get wonderful quality time together, as we did last weekend.  One would think this would be enough, but this is one of those needs that constantly must be replenished.  Sometimes the satisfaction lasts longer than others.  During difficult times, however, the satisfaction of the need being fulfilled does not last very long.

I hate asking for more quality alone time, especially when I think or know he would prefer to be during a time I am wanting to be alone.  I often feel that I am too needy and ask for too much.  I get into a downward spiral of self-destruction because I don't want to ask for what I think I need or what I want, especially if I am afraid of disappointing him because I am needy.  I also hate asking for quality alone time because I know he has other commitments to fulfill – mundanely, spiritually, and socially.  I don't want his other commitments to suffer.

I was hoping that typing this out would help me process it and find a solution to change the way I'm feeling without having to ask for more.  I am stuck, though.  I don't know where to go from here, so instead I'll leave you with a few quotes about growth:

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots. – Frank A. Clark

"Growth demands a temporary surrender of security." – Gail Sheehy

"All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work." – Calvin Coolidge

"In studying the history of the human mind one is impressed again and again by the fact that the growth of the mind is the widening of the range of consciousness, and that each step forward has been a most painful and laborious achievement. One could almost say that nothing is more hateful to man than to give up even a particle of his unconsciousness. Ask those who have tried to introduce a new idea!" – Carl Jung

"There is a wide world out there, my friend, full of pain, but filled with joy as well. The former keeps you on the path of growth, and the latter makes the journey tolerable." – R. A. Salvatore, Sojourn

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." – Edward Abbey



Not Afraid to Use It said...

I find that the more time I get alone with my husband (or a rare dinner out with a girlfriend) only leaves me craving more and realizing how much I miss it. That I need it more often. Kinda shitty, but that's where it's at for me. That the house feels even emptier when they are gone.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

That kinda makes my head spin just reading it. I can understand the need and want issues, I think we all have them. Finding the balance is the trick to the happiness we seek. Stolen moments here and there become more precious. Good luck, my friend!