Love Lingers Here: Enduring Intimate Relationships IV: The New Self and Founding Story
What about Terrell’s ghosts from the past? Did he bid them farewell when he married Bev? No. When Terrell moved into Bev’s house, Terrell discovered that Bev’s teenage son was making her life a living hell for her by not abiding by any of her rules. When Terrell moved in, he “rescued” her by forcing her son to move to his father’s house, much as Terrell did when his own parents divorced (though he moved in with his mother, rather than father, after teenage conflicts with his brother, rather than father). Furthermore, Terrell seems to be once again trying to help a woman with domestic problems. Throughout the interview, Terrell presented himself as someone who is in charge, who women are inevitably drawn to, who can live lightly in life, coming to the rescue of damsels in distress.
Yet, the world has now changed for Terrell. His arterioscleroses requires that he become more dependent on Bev. She claims that he became progressively more “bitchy” after their marriage. When they were first married, Terrell and Bev did many physical activities together, riding bicycles, picking blueberries, hiking, camping and fishing. Now his “health problems” prevent him from being this active. Approximately one year after their marriage, Bev had to rush Terrell to the hospital with what seemed to be a heart attack. It wasn’t actually a heart attack, but warning signs which led to tests determining that he needed a quadruple coronary bypass because his arteries were blocked. Over the past eleven years, according to Bev, Terrell became increasingly aloof and sedentary. She believes that his health problems have caused his emotional problems. Bev indicates that “at least he doesn’t beat me.” She doesn’t seem to recognize his emotional abuse.
This is not a very happy story and certainly does not exemplify the quality of a successful, enduring relationship. Rather, Terrell and Bev seem to be wrapped up in reliving, at the very least, Terrell’s early life experiences and previous failed relationships. We don’t even know the other side of the story. Perhaps, Bev is living out old family histories: serving as the abused servant to a. cold and punishing male. We do know that Bev is fearful that Terrell will leave her and that Terrell uses threats of divorce as a weapon when they are in conflict. Bev’s first husband surprised her with just such a request which sent her life into a tailspin.
Terrell appears to be living in a world that cannot be trusted, given that his mother left him, his brother became his enemy rather than his friend, his first wife supposedly “ran out” on him, and he did “a favor” for another woman who promptly turned around and abandoned him (as has every other woman in his life). Terrell seems to defend himself against other women leaving him by taking on a carefree attitude and appearing to always be in charge. He wants to be sure that he leaves the woman rather than the other way around the next time around. This carefree, in-charge appearance attracted at least one woman to Terrell, namely, Bev.