Secret Lives

C and I keep secrets from each other. Well, they’re not really “secrets” so much as they are simply things that are never expressed. I know it’s confusing, so let me explain.

A secret is something that you do in private, afterwards covering up any evidence that the deed was ever done. With C and me, what is done in private is never covered up per say, but never exposed either. It just sort of lays there. Noticed if looked for, unnoticed if not. How do I know? Well, I look for it, of course! Yes, I have the “wonderful” attribute of not being able to trust anyone fully at any time. A family trait I place firmly upon the shoulders of one – and only one – relative (thanks mom!). True, I am a child no longer, and responsible now for my own hang-ups, hiccups and snafu’s, but still I wanted to at least acknowledge the fact that my issue is much more imported than homegrown. Much more nurtured than natured.

I’m not sure where C gets her “issue” from. But for her part, she has this drive – this undeniable and unrelenting force – to be her own woman. Her own person. No matter how close she will ever be to anyone, that anyone will do well to understand that there will always need to be at least a small little mental room that is all her own. Sort of like an attic with a hidden door, and a window for only her to look out of – and in through. I know that as her husband, I should be that anyone, and I should heed my own advice. But the little old paranoid Polish woman takes over my mental steering wheel far too often and drives me – us – smack dab into yet another wall of marital suffering and strife. I’m working on it, but it quite often feels like C’s patience (not to mention my own) is wearing thin on this bit, and I can almost see the suitcases being prepped for the packing of a one way trip out.

“So what types of ‘secrets’ are we talking about here then?”, questions the therapist who may happen to be reading this, while stroking their chin in a majestic, yet intelligent fashion. Well, take for instance this very blog. C knows of it, and has even been “invited” to peruse if she’d like. But she’s never actually been given the web address. No, she’d have to access it through my phone app, I suppose, in order to actually read the damned thing. And similarly, C too has various social medias that she makes use of. I only know that because of my tendency to “look”. Which equates to my sneaking about and digging through any number of apps and histories for some sort of sign. One that proves that the one who I love the most is most assuredly getting ready to high-tail it outta here. Or to begin carrying on with another. One who is richer, better looking, nicer, better with gardening… you get the point. So, while she never told me about these creative outlets, I “found” them. And when she found out that I had done so, the cat was out of the bag – and not-so nicely slammed up against yet another wall – little old paranoid Polish woman-style. As a result, much like my offer to her, she made it clear that I am free to sift through any of the rooms in her online world, but I can only enter through the front door that her phone provides as well. And while it’s most likely obvious, it should be noted still, both of our invitations to each other were presented in a spirit very similar to that of how a five year old would normally “apologize” when they realize that desert will not be forthcoming without first a mention of regret. With very much a “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry” flavor to boot.

“Now, hold on just a flip t, what gives with C not being able to have secrets, but you’re being able to?” I’m glad you asked. Because that was the very question that gave birth to this post. Why IS that? Why are my secrets-that-aren’t-secret totally harmless, but her secrets-that-aren’t-secret surely to be the cause of our demise? Why are the things I do but don’t make mention of quite fine and/or dandy while her activities must be called into question and monitored ceaselessly? I suppose if I had to answer that, I would first look downward and shuffle my feet while sheepishly making some sort of excuse about how my actions (which are no different from hers) were somehow inconsequential because they were only first and foremost in reaction to hers. And besides, I don’t mean any harm by them. I would then inch slowly backwards and hope to get clear out of the room before your dropped jaw worked again, and you rebutted with the obvious fact that her actions most likely don’t mean any harm either.

But there is another little twist as well, and it might serve to at least salvage a bit of the reputation that I pretty much just cut off at the kneecaps with this post. Part of me doesn’t trust. Anyone. It’s true. It’s ugly. It’s the second biggest thing I hate it about me, and I would wish anything in the world to be able to be rid of it, if I could (and I just might be able to, some day). But another part of me is jealous. Jealous of that attic. That attic that needs to be there for C, for her well being and her mental health. That attic that I need to respect and acknowledge, but never access. That damned attic that will go to the grave holding a piece of C that I will never be able to know about. To experience. To touch. To love.

I’m pretty sure I might have a similar room myself. But I suppose I see mine as more of a basement than an attic. More littered with trash than adorned with treasure. And I suppose maybe that is the REAL problem in all this. Maybe it’s not just C’s attic I’m jealous of, maybe it’s C herself, for having her attic. For having her self. And maybe if I want to stop slamming us (not to mention innocent cats) up against walls of marital suffering and strife, I need to recognize that. I need to let C be free to have her secret life. Just as she allows me to have mine.

8 thoughts on “Secret Lives

  1. It’s really hard, though, isn’t it? I hate secrets, HATE them, and made it clear early in my marriage that I expect full disclosure on the condition of loss of trust. And I didn’t realize how crazy that was, until I started to get really busy with work or school or looking after kids and just sort of forgot to fully disclose to my husband every single thing going on in my life at any given time. You know what I mean? And then all of a sudden our positions were reversed and we had an (ahem) emphatic conversation about trust and disclosure and ultimately realized that what each of us was demanding of the other was practically impossible. I mean, who wants a debriefing session after dinner every day? And how much do I really care about his (distant relative’s) hangnail issues? So, I have my secrets, and he has his and I just have to trust that his are as harmless as mine are. We’re getting there :-)

    • I’m glad you are, and I’d like to think we are as well =)

      The problem stems from the fact that she NEEDS that attic, and I NEED to not have any attics. But my NEED is not good, pure or healthy. My NEED is a cancer. And as such, I need to cut it out.

  2. My wife and I have a blended family. She’s been married twice before, me once. We decided to tell EVERYTHING about each otehr and not having any secrets to avoid making the same mistakes in our previous relationships.

    I kind of miss having some mystery to my significant other and vice versa. I’m not saying I want a strip club account or some wild hobby. But there freedom in one;s indepedence.

    All that being said secrets have a way of turning into lies. So, I like my transparency with my wife. It works for us.

    • What you say is very true. Secrets can destroy. But “space” is needed to, and too much transperancy can also lead to a ruined marriage (just ask my first wife). Or a crippling co-dependancy (just ask my parents. But don’t really ask them, as they don’t see it).

  3. I came back to read your latest post and came back to this can of worms for a re-read. Secrets is a mighty big word to define, the key being both people defining it very similarly, if not the same. If secrets teeter on the edge of becoming lies, you’re venturing into a very marshy swamp. Some folks get lost in there. Full disclosure of every nuance of emotion or thought a person has isn’t necessary, or necessarily good, mainly because those fool things can change rather quickly and sometimes it’s good to wait and see if they do. Having stuck my nose in here, may I offer a bit more of our pal Mark Twain (you’re right, he really should have become a writer): “If you tell the truth you never have to remember anything.” Is that apropos? Maybe not, but it’s still really good advice, I think.

    • In hindsight, I suppose my use of the word “secret” was a bit misleading. The “secret” I was thinking of was much more in the vein of “places unknown to others” than it was “things done under the cover of night”. The secret I was thinking of wasn’t so much “secretive”, as it was simply private.

      And yes, I see that Twain is sticking it to me once more – much more of this, and I may very well have to brutally pluck his brow…

  4. I am giggling, why not notice it for want of control and of possession?!?!?! I think that to possess another one loses them entirely, makes them only what you view of them and how you need to maintain that view. I would probably enjoy waving all of the me that I am in whatever breeze of expression that strikes me while you look flabbergastedly on :P

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