This is something that is most probably strange, but it explains some of my naughty behaviour, and insensitivity... the missus even told me herself that I bring out the "worst" in her but I don't know about that.
When I met my wife she was a simple, typical lady, polite, conservative and upright. But I saw in her eyes a spark and over time with my influence she became wilder and passionate. I encouraged her to be stronger, prouder, learning to forgive herself, and to value some of her certain "b--chy" attributes (like talking back)... which is in contrast with a lot of my mates at the time.
They prefer their ladies less hectic, but I get turned off without a challenge. So I encouraged her to bring out that bad girl that I saw in her. When I see her weak I don't always carry her, I pull her up to her feet so she can carry herself - or taunt her until she gets up. Hence, it is another reason why I'm rather insensitive.
I don't want my other half all needy and needing compliments for her self-esteem which in my opinion should come from within as it does with me. I know she ain't always strong, just like I'm not always strong (though I try my best to hide that from her), but I don't know...
I want her to be at my side as my equal, that's all... am I wrong to ask this from her? She has let her hair down since marriage but I don't know... this ties in with my gentleman thread.
Guess that's the big difference between me and her, I never had family to reassure me that things will be ok, or shoulders to lean on. I'm not saying she had a really supportive or close family either, but she never have had to be completely independent as a kid.
I learnt how to be completely self-reliant, and believe that if anyone can get away with something sinister - they would. When I was young I was pathetic, cried when I saw others with families, who cared for them, brought bread on the table for them, or the other kids who got pension help while I fell through the loophole.
People who took me in thought that would mean they would have a right to use me like a tool, I couldn't take it anymore. So I stopped crying, just snapped, became something else. Decided never again would I be so naive and pathetic. To this day I take anyone's word as an absolute, not even my wife. I trust her with some things but some things I just don't believe her.
You mentioned vulnerability, it's dangerous. I've learnt time and time again as a kid. Getting out from it, I see no difference between this world or the world I grew up in; same BS. And no, I don't trust her to respect me if I break down. I break down alone, as I always have. She's a woman, so I'm not THAT hard on her.
I've come a long way since my coldhearted ways in my childhood, and I'm not so hardened now - more human. But sometimes when she's fishing for silly compliments or waiting to hear me say something lovey dovey (I know EXACTLY what she wants to hear) but I don't tell her. She knows this, and have been trying for years to get me to be more vulnerable.
Still, I didn't marry her for a shoulder to cry on, nor to be her shoulder to cry on. But hell I didn't even want a joint account, or her to end up being a SAHM... shows what I know. Funny how things work out.
I just couldn't have your marriage. I would feel alone and would rather be single just for some peace. No offense, but it doesn't sound pleasant to me...but I guess it doesn't need to since it's not my marriage
There is strength in being vulnerable. And especially with those closest to us, as they're the ones that can also let us down/hurt us the most.
I sometimes need my H to boost me up when I'm having doubt and vice verse. But we'll also tell each other to suck it up when needed too. I think when you know someone intimately, and I don't mean sexually, I mean you know what they're capable of, you know their fears and their strengths, and they have trust and respect in you - and our thoughts for each other are known to be from a good place. Sometimes it hurts my ego if I feel I need to have softness and H doesn't give me that, and tells me I'm strong and to suck it up. BUT I know he has my best interests in mind. And at times that might be just what I need, to get the mojo back again.
I know at times it could sting his male pride to hear "You need to suck this up and get on with it, you can do this." I'll notice his cheeks flush slightly, I see him processing it, and he'll come back later saying he was grateful I said that. It's communicating that I believe in him and I'm being honest with him. He knows he can count on me to tell it like it is. Hubs didn't have that type of reassurance growing up either but the biggest compliment he ever gave me was that he knew I'd always be real with him. Of course a lot of the time I'm telling him how proud of him I am, which I truly am. I recognize how bloody awesome he is. But from time to time, I've said what's been needed and not necessarily what he wanted to hear.
To me, that is walking side by side. We're soft and nurturing with each other but if we think each other is capable and just needing a slight pep talk without sugarcoating, we'll do that too. We also seem to tell ourselves to "suck it up" and sometimes we remind each other to cut ourselves some slack. I guess we just look out for each other the best way we know.