Marrying a man who was a doormat has been an interesting experience…
In the past I was a doormat as well. I allowed people to walk all over me, use me, take advantage of my generous nature, and even abuse me. Then one day, I had enough. I wanted to be better. I wanted to feel better about myself. I knew I deserved more than I was allowing myself to have. So I sought help. I went to therapy, worked on my self-esteem and anxiety issues, applied those skills to my real life, and started standing up for myself. My newfound boundaries and ability to tell people no lost me some friends, but afterall, they weren’t real friends anyway. They were just users, and I didn’t have room for that nonsense in my life.
Now I’m married to a man who had the same sort of background. Jarrod was used by MANY people in his life, and after many years of being used, his friends and family came to expect a certain attitude and behavior from him, naturally. But then he got together with me, and I saw his struggle. I saw him feel run down and defeated by giving in to everyone’s demands of him, even though he didn’t want to give in. He often gave in to avoid confrontation because he just didn’t want the drama and conflict. He and I had conversations about it, and I assured him that he deserved better. That he deserved the respect of his loved ones. That he deserved to be able to stand up and say no to the demands and even to simple requests if he so desired to say no. I encouraged him to defend his boundaries, and make decisions that he wanted to make rather than what everyone else wanted.
At first everyone thought I started being the one bossing him around, pulling at his puppet strings and making all his decisions for him. I’d like to say over time they all came to realize that he does, in fact, have a mind of his own, with is own opinions and desires, and his own ability to make decisions. And I was absolutely not making all his decisions for him. But as of yet, they still haven’t figured it out. I’m still getting the “blame” for his changed behavior. When all I’m really doing is just telling him that it’s up to him, and supporting his decisions. I’m building him up, making sure he knows he’s important and what he wants matters. It’s frustrating to me that no one gives him the credit for being in charge of his own life, and that I’m pretty well disliked because they still think I’m controlling him. But most days I know I just can’t let it get to me. If his loved ones actually love and care about him, they will someday come to realize that he is his own man, and can say and do whatever the hell he damn well pleases without anyone telling him what to do.
As far as decisions that affect the both of us, or our whole family (us and our children), our decisions are 50/50. Always. We talk to each other, discuss the pros, cons and options, and come up with a decision we are both satisfied with. For everything! From little stuff like chores and household rules, to appointment times and dates, all the way up through family vacation ideas and living arrangements.
So, am I sorry? HELL NO! I have nothing to be sorry for. I love Jarrod, and I’m doing everything I can to make his self-esteem better, and his own needs and desires met. He does the same for me. We’re soulmates, and that’s what we do for each other. And if anyone has a problem with all of this…. keep it to yourself.