We received news yesterday that our bid on the house was not accepted. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I suppose in a way, I was even relieved since I have some anxiety about the financial implications and obligations associated with buying a house.

(On a side note, I realized this past weekend, while sharing my story, that the financial aspect is the only area from which I have not healed. I’m not sure if I can move past that part while I’m still paying for his lies. It’s better than it was, but money issues can still be a major trigger. Grrr.)

Almost immediately upon hearing the news, I let go of the house. We had already discussed that if our bid was not accepted, we would go back to casually keeping an eye on homes and continue to save. After all, we still have 5 months until the planned move date.

Brock didn’t take it quite so well. He was restless. Discontent. He started searching the data base of houses for sale in the area. He sent listings to me and called me in to look over his shoulder. Verbally, he agreed that it made sense to pause and that we had plenty of time, but his actions spoke to a deeper need.

We even drove to look at a house (it was really amazing yet had a 100+ foot drop off in the back going down to a river and needed too much work for its price). I sensed that he needed to feel like there was forward momentum. I get it. I am usually guilty of the same anxiety-driven restless energy.

I awoke this morning to a note by the coffeepot:

“I promise I will get you a house you can be proud of.”

Wow. This explained his energy the day before. He sees himself as the provider. He knows that our current home is a bit of a dump (what’s funny though is that I’ve adapted and even learned to appreciate not having a “nice” home). He is feeling responsible for making sure that I am in a place where I can be happy.

He is taking house hunting literally. I’m surprised he hasn’t armed himself with a spear yet:)

My response to him?

“I have a husband I am proud of. That’s what matters.”

It’s been interesting for me to learn how important the “provider” role is to him. I didn’t get it at first, especially because he was insistent that women that he dated had their own career/income (he fully supported an ex for awhile and hated that). On my side, I’ve never wanted a man to “take care of me.” I was very uncomfortable with one man that I dated who had this approach. I saw the responsibility as equal.

It is true that Brock carries the majority of the financial burden. I’m a teacher. He’s not. What I now understand, however, is that he carries all of the financial burden in his mind. He feels responsible for the material well-being of our family.

I am grateful that Brock can articulate this need. My ex couldn’t and I think it was the initial domino in his fall. From what I can gather, it seems as though my ex faced professional decline. He lost a job and couldn’t find one to replace the responsibility and income level that he had before. He opened his own business, yet I do not think it was successful. My gut tells me that the spending and stealing started to try to cover for the lack of income he was receiving from his company. I think he was ashamed that he could not be a provider. He felt diminished and depleted. Embarrassed, even. He hid these feelings from me just as he hid the financial concerns. As a child, he was taught to keep shame buried deep and to not ask for help. He learned that lesson well.

I have come to understand that the way Brock feels about his role has a greater impact than how I see it or how it actually is. His self-image is based on being able to protect and provide. My role is to help him feel supported and appreciated in those realms, regardless of the external circumstances.

(I know that I also have areas upon which I base my self-image, but for the life of me, I can’t pinpoint them. Hmmm…got me some thinking to do!)

So for now, the boxes will remain broken down on their stack in the basement and the books will remain on their shelves. We will continue to live and laugh and love in our run-down rental. And, when it is time and the right home appears, we will make the move.

Until then, we live. And look at copious quantities of real estate porn.

Thank you for sharing!

9 thoughts on “Provider

  1. I don’t believe life has delivered me a more-important lesson on the subject of human relationships than gender differences.

    People (too often, men) don’t respect the very real differences between male and female. And minus a marriage to fight for, I’m not sure I would have ever figured it out.

    “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” for those who haven’t read it, is more than just a clever title. It’s an introduction to why men sometimes think women are crazy, and why women sometimes feel unwanted and unloved by men who want and love them.

    Anyway, I loved how Brock instantly dug back in on the home search, and I love that you understood why.

    But mostly? I just love that you can still love.

    The perfect home will present itself. And we’ll smile when we read that you’ve found it.

    1. Gender is interesting, isn’t it? I used to shrug off supposed gender differences. My dad is a sensitive, quiet guy and I grew up with an extrovert single mom. I’ve always been independent and not very “girly.” My ex didn’t fit the gender stereotypes either. At least on the surface.

      It’s only more recently that I’m learning that there are some very real gender differences and that accepting them does not have to mean a power imbalance. Brock is much more obviously “male” (for lack of a better term:) ) than my ex. Yet, we still have balance and power equity within the home, it just sometimes looks different. I am also learning to embrace my more nurturing side (which I used to avoid and disown).

      Much like any label, gender does not tell the whole story. But, I think it can be helpful in trying to understand someone’s perspective and motivations.

      Brock the hunter seems determined to go out and find that perfect house rather than wait for it to come to us:)

      Thanks for sharing:)

Leave a ReplyCancel reply