Unspeakable holiday

Once again I find myself in a place of wanting to share as the holiday comes to call.

Each and every year has been different. Some are harder than others. Some years have an extra bit of hope dashed or a nostalgic tinge for trying.

This year hurts, leading up to, as I always do, but with a new kind of pain. One of starting a new life, of the faintest of possibilities giving me a hope I don’t think I can afford to feel. Almost like I could entertain a brief flicker of hope, but knowing it could cause a spiral so fast and hard I won’t see the ground coming.

I miss my mother, I know that she feels very isolated on Mother’s Day now with my brother and I out of town.  My sister has two children and always feels disappointed on this day, and while she reaches out to me to vent, my protective instinct takes over as I reassure her briefly and then tell her I’m busy.

There are more women in my life expecting them there have been over the last few Mother’s Days and that always makes it harder. Spring and the whiff of new baby is a powerful drug I can’t allow myself to notice too much.

My plan for tomorrow is to stay at home, treat myself to an indulgent brunch, enjoy the day without putting myself at much more risk of harm. Call my mom, quickly. Text my sister and hide out for the remainder.

I remind myself that preservation is important, and that knowing my limit is smart. I don’t need to place additional pressure on myself to get over it.  If after all these years, I still grieve, I’m probably never completely getting over it.

stream of consciousness

I read my words, and they’re all the same words; weeks of the same words. I pace and retread over the same steps as I try to figure out my plan. The percentages vary, for most days, I want to leave, while there’s a portion of me that thinks I should, and also wants to stay. 60/40; 80/20; 50/50. My indecisiveness at an all time high – both leaving and staying present issues. Sharing snippets with anonymous acquaintances, trying to gather together my own thoughts. Talking to my brother about some of it, trying to not be so isolated, but feeling that way anyhow.

If I stay, what if nothing changes, and this round and round continues for years? If he keeps expecting me to let him down, I may as well leave. What’s the point of forever proving and trying to redeem myself? Is there any potential for long-term contentment? More happiness? Does stasis present its own form of happiness when change is difficult? Can moments of shared history be enough? Maybe I’m not capable of more. Maybe he’s not.

If I leave? Hurting him is painful, but an end gives you something to grieve and move on from. Since he’s still hurt from things I’ve done at the beginning of our relationship, I can’t imagine him every getting past any of it. I’ve put myself in a position where leaving is more frightening than usual because of finances and jobs and location. Still, it’s the only way to know if I have potential for more, better, different.

We opened our relationship, and that aspect alone makes me wonder if there’s a way to repair damage and go forward. I probably have to lose everything.

I’ve been asked several times why I’m staying, and none of my answers sound good enough. But, they’re practical and logistical. Then there’s the fact that he’s not always here. I can’t leave without some planning. It feels wrong to tell him in a text or a call while he’s out. Planning to make an exit without telling him feels deceitful, but how long could I stay once I announce I’m going?

He says we can fix things, that there is some resolution, but when I ask him what, he says he needs me to help figure that out, that I have input as much as he does. Except, I don’t have that faith. I’m not sure I believe there’s something I can do, or say, or continue to do to make things better. So, I try, I talk, but I cry and get upset and then he feels that he can’t communicate with me when I’m emotional. Which is funny, because before, I wasn’t less emotional, or sensitive, I just didn’t let it out as often, because we didn’t do that.

I love him, very much. I am just learning that our life together isn’t what I thought it was. So, I wonder if I stay because working it out means I didn’t just waste the last several years with someone who resented me as much as he loved me.

Is he capable? His upbringing is so different from mine. He feels like he’s never been anyone’s first choice. He doesn’t understand love the same way I do. Finally getting him into therapy again after years of pushing, but we don’t go together, which was probably a mistake. I can’t mend all that damage. We’ve both changed so much since the beginning, more so in the last year.

Why can’t I just make a decision and pull the trigger? Why do I still feel I owe him more trying, after what feels like years of trying?

He bombarded me the other day. Asking me why things are so unfair; saying there needs to be more equality in our relationship. Is it ever equal and fair? Life isn’t. I’m younger and female, he’s older and male. We each have our advantages and disadvantages. He believes I expect more out of him than he does of me, but I think for years, he felt lucky to have me, and didn’t ask as much of me in some ways. People sometimes take their partner for granted. We both did it. I guess he thinks I didn’t make concessions and accommodations, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to bring them all up now. Some are long forgotten, though he hasn’t forgotten any of his grudges.

I feel like I still need to sort through so many things in my head. The more I try to talk to him, the more I need to think. Do I want to move out here? Why would I stay here? I stayed here for him. My job is fine, but not enough to stay here for, and signing a lease is more than I would want to commit to in Utah. Going home seems a scary endeavor, as jobs there are harder to come by and I worry that I’ll just end up with my parents too dependent on me, having me there as a solo single person. My brother has offered for me to stay with him for a little while, but I don’t know if I want that either. Do I go elsewhere and start over like I did before?

Deciding what I want to do, where I want to go and what I really want out of life and relationships, that is the hardest part of all of this.

There is so much more to explain than I feel I can do justice to in a post. Over the course of the last several years, I’ve wondered what I’m doing here more than once. This time is much more severe, and I’m not willing to let myself quickly decide not to decide anything.

I’m weighing out whether I stay or go for another time in my adult life. Only, the going? That’s complex. It’s not just yes or no, it’s also where and how.

We’ve had the fight, the discussion. 7 years worth in the last 7 months or so. Made it up until that point without much of one.

I was accused of being the bully in our relationship. It’s probably a fair point, but if you admit that you went along with whatever I wanted because you didn’t think your opinion mattered enough to share, I don’t sit alone with that culpability.

I walked into an airport Tuesday evening, to fly back home, and I was filled with such dread, such anxiety. My head, my gut and my heart still hurt, days later. Just a few days before that, I spent a birthday without speaking to the man I share a home with, and not by my choice.

We made conversation Tuesday night, briefly before going to bed in silence, neither of us sleeping. Lights on as alarms clatter, he brusquely mentioned things he has been apparently hanging onto for years. Grudges I was not aware of, as examples of my lack of follow through. I was then told that these rights needed to be wronged soon, before I made any more travel plans. As the door clicked shut, I stood there in a t-shirt in my kitchen, clinging to the counter through panicked sobs.

I cried the entire way to work. I cried on the ride back home.

Who is this man? Is he simply so angry now, for everything that’s come before? Is it a realization, thanks to therapy,that he can finally stand up for himself?

I waited for him to arrive home, not sleeping that next night either, anticipating a continuance Wednesday night when he returned. We did talk. Several hours worth of talking, standing in the kitchen, refusing to get comfortable, or talk in the more relaxing areas, for fear I soften.

He speaks now, in text, of a fresh start.

I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t think he does either. I asked him to make a list, to write down what he wanted from me, from the future and this relationship. I filled six pages of a legal pad with thoughts and notes. He has two thoughts down.

And he talks of love, that same love-conquers-all kind of belief I passed over years ago, as I walked away from a previous life. Love cannot conquer deep-rooted resentments. Love doesn’t automatically remove hurt, distrust, fear. It can’t beat down significant differences in desires, in goals, in hopes. It isn’t the salve some people need it to be.

He has asked me not to give up on him, on us. I am trying to look at it more as a matter of choosing us, as separate entities. If I give up, one of the options for doing so is a resignation to the way things are. Just keeping it going, the way it has been.

The pattern is easy enough to keep up. Struggle a little, regain some balance and keep going until something else disrupts the quiet. When I fuck up again, as I invariably do, he’ll be ready to again bring up all his hurt.

There’s other factors I’m not even counting here. Ones that both give him, in his mind, every right to react the way he does; and me in mine, every reason to consider walking away.

lost

The country is recovering from news that disappoints many, but I can only seem to keep myself afloat in my own crushing disillusionment.

Returning home last night from another out-of-town trip, I woke this morning to a litany of rights I needed to wrong before I take another trip south. My faults, slights and fuck-ups, both real and perceived, thrown in my face as I try to pick up the pieces of my heart.

I’ve questioned before, and continue to, what we’re still doing together.

I wonder if I should just call it, pack up and move out, and once again try to start over.  I feel sick even considering it. It’s so much more than moving out, it’s all the practical things to think about as well.

When the other party is still hanging on to hurts from 7 years ago, can they ever be forgotten and forgiven? He still holds grudges against family and friends for hurting him, and those are much further in the past.

Much of what’s going on now is my fault, but given our circumstances over the last year, I’ve accepted so much without fail because I knew I was more than somewhat in the wrong. I’ve been essentially called a bully, while being told I was isolating him from friends and his family. I’ve questioned if I have been emotionally abusive.

We have been at precarious points. When I first heard he’ll no longer go back to see my family with me; when I felt alone in September as I sat in my father’s ICU room.

Our current status was a mutual decision, but one based on theory and conversations. Neither of us knew what reality would be like, and reality has not necessarily been so kind. But, you can’t use your time machine to go back to before this was all painful and pretend it never happened.

He says it won’t be like it was, he says we can start something new. I have to figure out if that’s a good idea. I have to decide if I want to.

He asked me to please not give up on him, but I’m losing hope, faster than I care to admit.

Down to believing

I have felt as if I have come to a turning point more than once in my relationship with D. Some more significant than others, as I look back and reflect.

This may be the first time in my history with him that I truly feel as if I am making one of the most important decisions of my life.

Early 2015, I was reexamining my relationship with him, what I wanted from our life, from my life, from the future. I spoke with a few friends over meals about struggling with still wanting a family, wanting to have that sense of one, even if that didn’t mean children.

One friend in particular reminded me that perhaps D and I weren’t meant to be together forever, and that perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing. That maybe God had something else in store for me and I should pray on it. I was a touch insulted, and at the same time intrigued. Wasn’t it too late to still be thinking about a new life, one with a husband and possible children gotten by whatever means the universe would lead me to? It seemed painful to even think about it, honestly. You want people to root for your relationship. I think she recognized that D and I are / were quite different in many ways.

Determining what one wants from life is the everlasting twist. It changes and evolves until you barely remember where you were where you started. Or maybe, until you come around full circle.

Months later, I feel as if I’m standing on a precipice. I have a few options. We have more than a few choices to make. Conversations to cry through, decisions to hash out. That all seems so complicated and overwhelming.

D says we love each other and that we’ve always been able to talk through everything, but it isn’t just us anymore.

With the kind of irony that life enjoys thrusting upon you sometimes, we have reached other places in our relationship as well. As D continues with a therapist online, he has found his legs a bit. Able to speak up where he felt stifled, we are arguing when we rarely did before. He felt his feelings didn’t matter for a very long time, and so he went with whatever I wanted. Now that they do, it’s difficult to realize you may have been the bully in your relationship.

We still want very different things. We want fewer overlapping.

Walking away from M, years ago, I knew he could find happiness elsewhere, and as delusional as this sounds, I thought I was keeping him from it. Without me dragging him down, I thought he’d find someone better suited to his personality, his needs. It’s easier to consider yourself noble than to walk away because you believe you could be happier, not because you think you’re doing someone a favor.

Leaving D, I don’t honestly believe he’d move into a relationship without a lot of struggle. I believe he would feel proven right – that everyone leaves and he doesn’t deserve love and happiness. Though that burden seems like a poor reason to stay.

I’ve put in time, and history, and it seems a waste to have nothing left of what we made. But, in looking, whatever was that time?  Companionable at times, perhaps. Kind, loving, but certainly not happy. Knowing happiness is the ultimate con, is the lack of connection enough reason to consider walking away?

Can it be restored, reignited, especially given the distance and hurdles we’ve chosen to give it?

If one wants to get through day-to-day, and another is envisioning a future, where’s the balance? While opposites attract, can they serve as glue? One needing intimacy, both from a relationship standpoint and the small social / familial circle, one preferring the company of just you two. One wanting to adventure the world, the other choosing to never move from a place they call home.

It is frightening and frustrating.

Our relationship has changed drastically since those conversations with those friends. Much has happened, in both the little ways things unfold and in the unsettling faults left from arguments lasting days and miles. There are more crucial elements, more complications and more concern that these two people remaining are remarkably different from the two that came together years ago.

 

The intensity with which I miss him surprises me, much like so many other pieces of whatever this is.

Confusing and overwhelming, I am unable to explain it all, and have somewhat given up on trying. I can focus on the twelve hundred miles between us. I can think of possibilities, both good and bad.

Last night, he said that in ten years, the memory of our first morning together would still be one of the predominant memories of his life. I didn’t know how to take that. I’m elated that he might think of me just as fondly in ten years. I wonder if he thinks of some future version of us, or if that day is just imprinted. I worry that the only part of him I’ll have that many years from now are the memories.

 

I didn’t write a post last year on the holiday. It was a painful one, but I felt like I’ve said everything I have to say until I’m blue in the face.

Last year was my sister’s first. This year, she has a second child. It’s also a rough day for her, it seems, as she adjusts to life with two little ones.

I am trying not to feel sorry for myself. I try to remember there will come a year when I’m grieving my mother and think of those who’ve lost theirs, recently or otherwise. I try to remember those I know who are mothers but who happen to be  having a tough year. There are also those still in the thick of hoping motherhood is only eluding them temporarily.

I am grateful for the friends who think of me. I am happy to get to talk to my mother. I am relieved that I’m not having to hide my oversensitivity.