When people cross the line, we generally know what that means to us. Either you’re not very smart or I’m getting to know you in an entirely different light. So what happens when the person who is testing you knows how to draw within the lines. They use their knowledge of you to guide every conversation towards them being the authority on a subject. You are left in a defensive position and if you speak on it, you will be considered the person who is making it impossible for the two of you to move forward, beyond the same argument.
This reminds me of the film industry right now, vying for the dollars of its patrons but forever doubting their requests for representation and a sharing of power. So, the patron has decided to use their wallet wisely and support business and creative projects that clearly benefit them directly. This is the wake up call the complacent partner needs. If you don’t realize they are ready for change in a way that misses your definition of change then perhaps you are in need of an amicable separation.
It’s too difficult for one person in a relationship to carry he weight of the entire partnership. In fact, it might not even be a partnership, but a long term arrangement no one is defining but by the terms of a hetero-normative society.
Labels or no labels, there are agreements people make to help them determine their compatibility and ongoing growth. Some open their boundaries and some define their boundaries. Some even break the contracts they set years ago and forgot about.
It is more important to listen to the difficult information your partner has to share than determine you can create a reality they never poke holes through.
You’re not strong enough, skilled enough to create and uphold a world that is selfish and unreal. One that is incompatible with the very person you are trying to keep, to impress upon them that you’ve changed or are worth the investment of intelligence and emotions. No one is guaranteed the privilege of keeping their best lover. Things happen and get in the way. The best we can do is learn from the small criticisms, whether true or not. The more gaslighting your partner participates in, the more you know they are afraid of being an authentic person, vulnerable to ideas that may call then to the table.