I was on the rebound from a witty, charming, commitment-phobe; intelligent, but slippery. I met someone who was not witty nor charming but was intelligent and, critically, appeared interested in me, my interests, and was - I can only put it - good.
He was fun to be with; we shared interests (as we still do) and he appeared to have a strong sense of what was right and wrong and no sense of wanting to exploit me. A lot of this is true, but I would add the word “consciously” before exploit. We married quickly. I then spent a lot of the next few years wondering if I was the typical over emotional demanding wife. Perhaps I was becoming unbalanced – and indeed I did become obsessive. Statements such as "But of course I love you. I shouldn’t need to say it. I married you" were common.
I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t understand why I might want to see my friends. Or give dinner parties – which sent him in to appalling stress. It wasn’t the normal bloke-ish refusal to get involved in a woman’s emotional world, it was a refusal to get in any world. He didn’t seem to have a concept of how to behave in public; he bored people (unless they shared the same interests) at parties; his sartorial sense was a joke. His mother, I discovered, had helped him buy all his clothes. He just didn’t notice.
There are advantages to being with someone who never notices anything: you can get away with a lot of spots, greasy hair, scruffy clothes etc. But it was insidiously undermining. It didn’t matter to him. And he seemed to expect me to take the place of his mother. I spent a lot of those first years screaming "I’m not your [insert word of choice] mother." Anonymous 2014