I want to preface this by saying that this only applies to me and my ex. If you have a perfect home without a spot of dust or even the slightest imperfection, I am not implying that you are a bad person. I also wanted to put this here rather than NB because this is the board where we're embarking on our new lives, and while we do celebrate victories, we are often sharing our struggles. I'm not quite at meh, and I'm sure I'll post something that annoys me about my ex in the near future, but tonight, I want to post something happy.
I was cleaning my house today (it's almost Easter, after all, the season of miracles), and as I was cleaning, I was noticing all of my home's imperfections. My bedroom door has a crack in it. My daughter's room has tiny droplets of paint on the rug in a corner from when my parents painted it. There's a section of flooring in my kitchen where the cupboards were moved, and it's discolored.
However, rather than be troubled by these details, I actually started thinking about how much I don't care about them. I love my home. I feel peace and tranquility here. I feel blessed that I have a roof over my head in a neighborhood and community that I love. When I look at these little blights, I am grateful that I feel zero urge to fix them. The house is old. It has character. I'd rather save my money for necessary repairs like when I'll have to have the roof replaced or the plumbing fixed.
As I was thinking about this, I realized how much my ex would never have liked any of those things. The painting had to be perfect; he would have balked at how my parents and I repainted the bedrooms! The bedroom door would have to be replaced. The kitchen flooring would have to be redone. That's how every home we lived in, minus the apartment we shared at the very beginning of our marriage, was dealt with. There was never an, "Oh, the rug isn't that bad" moment for him. If he didn't like the rug, despite the fact that it was a perfectly decent rug that wasn't outdated or a heinous color, it went. No home was ever good enough. Something always had to be added or fixed.
This led me to think about how he and I deal with relationships, and I thought about how it was exactly like the way we view our homes. I'm okay with imperfections (not cheating-- that's like being okay with a giant hole in the roof-- I'm talking more about a corner where the paint is chipped off, like when he'd leave his clothes on the floor). I will still love you even if you aren't perfect. I won't get involved with you because I'm up for a "project," and I'm anticipating how I can change you in a radical way so that you suit me. I'm not saying that I'll settle for "good enough"; I'm saying that I will accept you for who you are.
He, on the other hand, is not and never will be satisfied. Every home will be too small, every paint color will need changing, every rug will need replacing, and there may never be a "just right" for him. Despite the fact that I was a damn good partner, I wasn't enough for him. I know for a fact that he was hoping I'd change in several ways, and I sometimes wonder if he had the A because he thought it would force me to change; I would beg him to stay, accept that the A was my fault, and do whatever it was that he wanted in order to "win" him back. That doesn't hurt me or offend me because now I know it's not me. That feeling of not being enough is inside of him, and he thinks that he can fill it by receiving external validation from people, house remodels, etc. When I no longer filled the hole inside of him, he sought out someone desperate and immoral enough who would.
That's the kind of love that Shakespeare wrote about: "Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove," and it will never find peace. He will never enjoy that stillness that comes with being content-- he will always have that nagging feeling that something needs to change. What he doesn't realize is that HE needs to change. Unfortunately for my kids, he will never admit to that and seek help for it. He'll just gut another room, find another lover, throw himself headfirst into another hobby that he'll later ditch. Right now, he's enjoying the validation provided to him by his blended family; he's likely patting himself on the back for what he feels is success (yay, I made my own Brady Bunch!) born from strife (created by me, of course). Who knows how long that phase will last.
I, on the other hand, will take my quiet life with its minor dings and smudges, and I will be grateful for what I have. And I hope that, if I get the chance to love again some day, that I will love with my eyes wide open, but I'll still be okay with a little uneven flooring or a worn place on the stair.
ETA: Fixing a typo.