We're still here, and still flr. My knight is trying his best to overcome the depression and feelings of helplessness that accompany the situation with my step-son. Personally, I still believe my knight would benefit from medication to treat his depression, but he steadfastly refuses. He'd rather continue with the natural methods and protocols I have him on, and since there is a solid reason behind his reluctance to take depression meds, I have agreed.
His depression has been with us for years, and it's not likely to resolve anytime soon. Keeping to flr helps. I think it provides him with mental and emotional stability. No matter what is going on around us, or in his head, he knows that I have the situation under control, and will take care of things. Which is fine up until the point where I need him to handle something without me--- that's where things fall apart.
Recently, I went on a week-long trip without Knight. I took my younger kids to visit my adult children. We had a great visit. While I was gone I focused entirely on the kids. My knight and I talked several times a day while we were gone, and did a few video chats with the kids, but I wasn't "in control" while we were gone. I made suggestions, and reminded him that masturbation was strictly forbidden, but other than that, I left him to his own devices. It wasn't an oversight on my part, it was intentional.
And.. it was a mistake
In the week I was gone, a distance grew between us. While Knight was thrilled were were home, and obviously missed me, it was equally obvious that he had retreated behind his emotional walls. I left on my trip, and the constant reminders of his place in my life went with me.... or something like that. He's been unable to explain the feelings. But, over the last week, I've been intentionally more in charge, making sure to give specific instructions, and things have improved.
One problem I'm having is reconciling the flr with my other needs. Yes, I enjoy leading us, and frankly, I won't go back to 50/50. Thinking back, I don't know that I've ever had a relationship that wasn't flr in nature even though I thought of those relationships as traditional. I've always expected, even required my man to do things my way... I've always been a "my way or the highway" kind of person. That's not to say that I don't take other people's opinions under consideration, I do, but once I make a decision I expect my partner to follow along. But, sometimes I need a break.. sometimes I need my knight to take over, and take care of me without being told. I need him to see that I'm stressed, understand what I need, and do it. OR at the very least, see that I need *something*, and ask me what that need is. And this is where he and I are having problems.
Knight tends to be very definitive in his thinking, especially in areas where he's unsure. He sees his role in our marriage to be "make her happy, do what she wants." And, because of that, he's often unable to see that sometimes, in order to make me happy, he needs to think about what he knows about me, and do what he knows I need him to do. One good example is when I have an MS flare. I have herbal remedies that I use when the MS gets out of control. Sometimes I don't recognize what is going on, I just know that I feel rotten and want to sleep, or be left alone. But, it's obvious to my knight that it's an MS flare. Instead of suggesting I use an herbal remedy, he usually waits it out until I feel better, or until I realize what's going on and come to the conclusion myself. Another good example is when I'm overwhelmingly stressed. I tend to react to stress by isolating my self until I feel better. But, Knight and I know that there are things he can to to help relieve that stress. Instead of taking it upon himself to do those things, he waits for me to ask. At those times, I need him to step up, and DO what he knows I need from him, without directions. And he won't. The result is usually an argument. We've talked about it at length and all I get from him is "but you didn't ask." I can't get him to understand that at those times, what I expect from him, is for him to do what he knows I need from him. It's a vicious circle that we get stuck in.
I know why we get caught in this.. My knight is very, very bad at understanding the difference between when it's okay to do other than what I've asked, and when it's not. For example, he has been known to spend large amounts of money on something he knew I wanted AFTER being told not to spend any unnecessary money. As far as he was concerned, it was okay to go off budget because he believed the purchase would make me happy and he was very much confused when I made him take the item back. (it happened more than once, and for about 5 years I didn't allow him to carry a bank card at all.)
Another example occurs every weekend.. Knight knows he is expected to handle all cooking and dishes/kitchen clean up on the weekends. I don't want to have to think about it. And... I don't think about it, which means that at no point during the weekend do I tell my knight, "go do the dishes." I go on about my weekend with no concern for the dishes or cooking. I expect him to just handle it. Except.. I also like my knight to be with me, and do as I ask him all weekend. We go hiking, we go out, we go wander around our garden, he sits with me as I knit, he does the chores I ask of him... and then dishes don't get done because at no point will he say "Babe, I need to go do the dishes." For him the priority is what I say NOW, not what I said three hours or ago, or the established expectations.
What I need from him is BOTH. I am not about to worry about cooking or dishes on the weekends. That is his job. But, as far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly okay for him to say, "Babe, I need an hour to go wash dishes and clean the kitchen," or "I need to go start dinner at 5pm." And he won't do it because as he tells me he things of his place as by my side, doing exactly what I want him to do at the time.
So, my challenge.. the one thing that will make the biggest difference in our marriage is for me to find a way to get him to understand that while I expect, even require, him to do as I ask, there are times that it's okay for him to do what I need him to do, instead of what I *want* him to do, and he has to understand the difference.