Feeling saddened by the strained relationship with my eleven year old once again, I couldn’t help but ponder why there’s always strain with one of my relationships at any one time. Is this because my love will only stretch so far?
Prior to this, it has been the relationship with my partner that has suffered. David works away a lot and so it is easy to feel disconnected. Something in my head told me to keep pushing him away which meant I made excuses why he should return from camp. Even to the point of convincing himself that he was too busy and tired to drive. There’s no explanation why I felt this way. Only that deep down I perhaps felt a little resentment that David was away whilst I was bringing up our new born, and my other son. But I don’t think this was it. I was happy with our little boy. He was the apple of my eye, even more so now he was smiling and cooing. But that was probably just it. All my attention, energy and love was centred around our little bundle. Making sure he was happy. And the rest was distributed to my eleven year old who was hard work to say the least. He is definitely showing teenage behaviour. I don’t think I had anymore love to give. I’m not one of those people who find it easy to show affection as it is, which comes from losing someone close. It’s like a defence mechanism that shuts down emotions in the quest to never be hurt again. So maybe my nurturing instinct to love this baby was consuming all that I had to give? They do say that men feel pushed out once there’s a new arrival.
I recognised I was in the wrong and gave myself a big talking to yesterday which is something you can do when you reach your wise old thirties. And I made sure I gave David the attention he needed (having a partner is a bit like having another child). He responded well, I could tell by the Emojis. I felt like I had to reprogram the way I reacted to his gestures. I know this will sound like a scene from a hippie farm but I had to turn all the negative thoughts into positives. But it’s like a juggling act, now it looks like things are going wrong with my son.
I wonder if you can train yourself to broaden your capacity to love? The only godsend is, it’s the relationships who can cope with the strain, are where it falters. Another natural coping mechanism perhaps? The baby always bags the unconditional love. Even after waking you up all through the night and being incredibly needy. Things will get better, sometimes we need to be kinder to ourselves and give ourselves a break.