I went to my final session of Acceptance and Commitment therapy this week. It’s been quite a journey. As I reflect on what the sessions have taught me, I’ve been reminded of what I value most in romantic relationships. One of those things is communication. I think I have an anxious attachment style according to one of the books my therapist recommended. This means that if I feel insecure I need reassurance. I think a lot of the time the insecurities I feel stem from a changeable childhood.
During the past year, I’ve felt insecure whilst our house has been invaded by workmen. Life has literally been somewhat upside down. Added to that, my daughter has been settling into school. It’s not just a transition for her- it is for all three of us. Things have certainly changed since I was at school! There seem to be a barrage of school emails on a near daily basis. On top of that, party invitations are coming through thick and fast. It’s as if parents want to compete with each other to throw the most fun and inclusive party ever!
Anyhow, this diverges from what this post is actually about; love letters. In the early days of mine and Mr Bunny’s romantic relationship, we lived apart. We would send each other cards with love letters of sorts written in them. They were sometimes about our hopes for the future. I remember one card Mr Bunny wrote me where he was saying how he wished to go to Africa with me on safari. That didn’t happen per se, but we came close to it; by going to a nature reserve on our honeymoon in Mauritius. I have a photo of us with a lioness and a pair of cheetahs. A memento of that thrilling but equally scary as hell encounter!
I used to feel excited getting these love letters. I would find a card that I thought he’d like and write my reply. Now we are in our 18th year as a couple, and we have busier lives. The romance has faded over the years, but we display acts of love. He’ll rub some cream onto areas of dry skin that I can’t easily reach. I’ve bought steak for our dinner on Valentine’s Day since I know he loves a bit of rump. 😉
There are occasions where one of us finds it hard to express how we’re feeling verbally. At those times, we’ll write a letter and leave it for the other to read. It means we don’t necessarily feel so pressurised to give a response straight away. Nor do we feel ‘backed into a corner’ if there’s a contentious issue under discussion. One of the things I took away from therapy was that sometimes when he tells me not to ‘worry about something,’ I can sometimes hear “I don’t care.” That’s not to say he doesn’t, because obviously he does or else we wouldn’t still be together!
He wants to reassure me, in the way he’s learnt how, which I feel can sometimes be avoidance on his part. Conflict is hard. I get on his case at times, though I’ve learnt to try and not nag. I’m learning to accept that you can’t force things. However, compromise doesn’t always give the peace either of you’d wished for; on some things you have to stand your ground.
At the end of the day, as long as we communicate, that’s what matters most. Sometimes the writing is all over our face – be it a smile of gratitude, or furrowed brow of frustration.
Do you write or receive love letters? Please share in the comments section 🙂
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The featured image is one I’ve shown before, but it’s a throwback. The post it was originally created for is here.
See my other photos from this year’s February PhotoFest here.