Okay. I promised a comment and I am not one to break a promise. But close friends, even bacon man (boo hiss, and yet, I miss the sizzle), will tell you that my comments are thought over, information is digested before a response can be spat out.
So here I am, slowly drinking the final half of merlot, ready to write in response to your story.
And my thoughts run thus: isn't that always the way. We learn from those we love. We think, hope, that the lessons will only cover the good, but it isn't so. Trees that grow into each other become entwined, warped, twisted. Roots tangle. Branches rub and chafe.
For our part, I have learned husband's reticence and inhibition. Lock the door, shut out the world. Obviously, leaving my life behind has done nothing to hinder this. Gradually the world gets shut out. To be honest, I think the pupils outpace the teacher and so, over time, we become caricatures - extreme versions, roughly drawn - of the loved one. It's safer, more reassuring that way.
I've also learned depression and suicidal impulses - making the loved one complicit in one's own death wish.
On the plus side, I've learned the value of myself and intimacy - sex is not to be squandered for physical gain. And the husband? He has loosened. Considerably.
I think pain can easily be read as caring - caring enough to hurt. The extreme is what passes for passion. God knows I crave it, push for it, but have chosen a man who is always in a profound state of lock down. There is no provoking him, no matter how hard I try.
Push-pull; push-pull. For me that equals safety and love. The warm blanket, wrapped around the flailing arms. The straight-jacket of compassion: keep me upright, keep me sane, stop me from harming myself. It takes a vast amount of self-love to choose what will mend over what will break - and I stumbled recently. Or, rather, I felt so deadened and repressed by circumstance I wanted to take any out available.
Perhaps those from safe and loving homes sometimes crave the reverse?
We learn our lover's language until we speak it like a native. If they change tongue what are we supposed to do?