Here's what I'm noticing as I begin to build a life with someone since Dave died. I'm struggling to let myself be helped.
I fight against the idea of my boyfriend doing things for me. I'm torn between the desire to let myself be a part of a couple again and split the work up - You do the finances because you love it and I'm terrible at it. I do the gardening because I have the green thumb. You do the litter boxes because you always remember to and I leave them for weeks before I remember- and continuing to learn to do it all by myself.
Being with Dave for almost half my life meant that I got away without doing certain things. I never had to learn to a whole host of tasks that he took care of. Just like he never had to learn to do certain things too. He took care of his stuff, I took care of mine. All those tasks he did, I'm learning to do now. From scratch.
When my boyfriend does one of them for me now, I panic a little as my mind and heart fight it out. My mind says to do it myself so I learn to. Never be dependent again so that if I find myself suddenly abandoned again, I'll be prepared. My heart says to let him help because he wants to, it makes him feel good, and it's part of being in an intimate relationship. In fact, it's one of the parts I appreciated most about being coupled up.
I still do appreciate it. But, something in me is fighting it. Something in me is saying that I'd better learn it ALL so I can be prepared to be alone again. I've had almost three years to learn things on my own, but there's so much more to learn. It's just going to take a balanced approach. I'm going to do as many tasks as I can, let him do the rest when he wants to or when we split up the work that way, and figure out the rest later.
If the worst happened and I was on my own again, it wouldn't be the end of me. I'd take over where I'd left off. I'd learn as I go. I'd get help. I'd muddle through.
It's good to be independent and self-sufficient, but it's also healthy to share the tasks. I can feel the fear that I'll be facing widowhood again, but I don't have to live in that fear, or let it direct my actions.
Maybe I'm being too black and white, too. I realize I'm lumping independent with strong and depending on others with weakness. It's not that simple. There's courage in letting yourself depend on someone else. And it's not necessarily brave to eschew all help.
I will try to allow him to help and I will continue to learn to do things on my own. They're not mutually exclusive.