Regarding Small Satisfying Surprises, 's' commented
While you're at it, you might try putting the toothpaste on her toothbrush for her.
Actually, I did. And my beloved, who hates having stuff done for her, I think, replied, "No, I'll pick which toothpaste to use, so I'll do it myself." I'm trying to finesse this by reducing the toothpaste brands down to one in the bathroom (I was the person motivating the second brand - I can give that up - sheesh - is this too much information or what!) So maybe someday we can revisit this. But it won't be for a long time.
Things to look forward to.
And the pitiful part of it is, doing that stuff for her, putting out her vitamin, putting away her cell phone, etc - these are the high points of my day. Why? Because there's a part of me that wants to serve her that's been skulking around underground for about 40 years, and it's incredible that it can see the sunshine. The last couple of times out we got whacked pretty hard, with nights of crying on both of our parts and (mild) psychiatric drugs and therapy and it was so not fun. All of which probably improved the success potential of the current venture, but who knows by how much...
's' also commented on I'm Not Very Good At This, pointing out that when she does something that I thought I was supposed to do, the only appropriate answer is "Thank you." Or perhaps no comment at all - If I thanked her for plugging in her cell phone, I'm pretty sure she'd take it as nagging. For more general household stuff like the laundry, I might get away with it.
But it breaks my heart to see her do this. Because it's either "I'm not thinking about this arrangement, it doesn't exist for me" (which is what it probably is), or it's the passive-aggressive approach that Ms. Rika mentions in her comment on the same post. That comment is so so right on the mark that I want to figure out some way to share it with my beloved. (Which sort of makes me want to share the blog with her, but fortunately, my conscious mind forcefully reminds me what a bad idea that would be.)
When it comes to doing the kitchen counter (one of those things that just needs to be done occasionally), it would make my day (literally) if she'd just point that out rather than doing it. I realize that her just doing it is likely to make me better at anticipating her needs and wishes because it hurts so much to see her do it. But I do need the interaction too.
I think the danger is that we arrange this so we never have to interact about it - she never has to acknowledge what it is we're doing, so she can remain in denial because face it, it's uncomfortable for her. I've tried to present it in the most comfortable possible way - I what can I do to make your life easier - and it's still uncomfortable for her. Either she's going to work through that discomfort (and I'm willing to help in any way I can short of not doing this, which I think we've established I have to do), or I'm going to end up in either the "stealth submission mode" (which I'm pretty sure I don't have the intensity of imagination to keep up indefinitely), or we're going to stop and I'll go slowly nuts again.
Wow, I wasn't expecting to go there when I started writing. Maybe things will improve.