Fibromyalgia, parenting, love and loss

Archive for the ‘Relationships, Love, Reflections’ Category

Where Do We Go From Here?

sadness-tree

R and I are not doing well. We’ve always had an up and down relationship. We had a major blowout Christmas Eve, then managed to repair things for a week or so, and now that respite has been blown to bits once more. He says that I am not fulfilling him sexually. I changed anti-depressant medications because I noticed that once my dosage was upped, my sex drive all but vanished. I’m on a new medication and I’ve noticed some stirrings that weren’t there previously, so that is a positive. However, my lack of interest in sex also has to do with the issues between us. Lack of good communication, lack of trust. Why would I want to be intimate with someone who I don’t feel truly likes me/values me as a person? He will ask me to talk with him about my thoughts, but when I do it almost always ends in a fight. He becomes condescending and defensive. During our Christmas Eve blowout, he even called me a piece of shit. He said I’ve name-called him plenty during our relationship. I’ve called him an asshole from time to time, sure. I also have told him he’s condescending and arrogant (which he is when we’re arguing). There’s something about calling someone a piece of shit, though…
The constant up and downs, the lack of connection I feel at this moment-I’m drained on every level. I had never loved anyone as I’ve loved him, and when it’s good, it is so good. But when it’s bad, my God…it’s unbearable. So is the answer counseling? Is the solution to end it once and for all? Or do we keep hammering it out and try to fix it ourselves? Do I even have the energy to keep trying anymore? I really don’t know. I just want to crawl into my hole and stay there.

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Goodbye, friend

R told me that if he and I were going to work as a couple, I needed to end my friendship with the close friend with whom I had a one-time affair (see earlier posts). This was not just someone I slept with. He had been my best friend, someone who I feel encouraged my growth intellectually, spiritually and as a person in general. We work together, so we could talk about work frustrations and know where the other was coming from. My job is extremely stressful and draining in so many ways, and some days it is hard to make myself go to work. Having him there to talk with made the days brighter. I don’t connect with people often, so when I do I treasure those friends. I hoped that he and I could remain friends while R and I made our relationship work. However, R does not feel that’s possible given the intimacy we shared.
This week marks the first week of my friend and I not communicating at all unless it is about work. Due to our roles, we still have/need to interact, but when we do now it has to be only about work. No personal stories shared, no pondering the meaning of it all, nothing. I feel sort of lost here now, like my anchor has been stolen. I understand where R is coming from, but I also believe his demanding this is a decision based on fear. He believes the friendship is damaging to our relationship. Maybe he’s right, I don’t know. All I do know is that I’ve felt a certain sense of loneliness all my life, and with him I finally had someone who understood and appreciated me (and I him). Now that’s gone and I’m adrift.

I don’t have any profound answers today. I’m just sad; like there has been a death. I’m making R happy and of course I want to do that for him. I love him. I just know that in doing this for him, I’m losing one of the best friends I’ve ever been blessed enough to have.

Is Monogamy Even Possible?

I’ve been in my head lately (well, as usual) thinking about the past-R’s cheating, my having no clue at the time and trying to understand it all now. Like I’ve said before, sometimes I think I’ve moved on and healed from his cheating, and then other times it bites me in the ass all over again and I’m left sad and confused and ultimately angry. One thing I’ve considered is watching him actually be with another woman. Crazy idea? Quite possibly. But stay with me, folks. I have thought and thought about his being with other women-tried to picture it in my head and wondered what he did with them. Was it garden variety, or was it full-out crazy and passionate? What expressions did he have on his face? Maybe I need to just see it all in real life rather than what I’ve made up in my head. Then I would have some inkling as to what went down four years ago during his infidelities.

These thoughts led me to ask him about it, and his response was “no way.” He thought it was a terrible idea; that it would damage us. He said he would not in any way be comfortable with it. As we talked, I asked about our being together with another couple at the same time. He hated that thought, too. R would not want to watch another man touch me-he’d want to rip his head off and shove it down his throat.
This discussion might ordinarily lead to an argument since it revolved around his past infidelities, but I’m happy to say that it did not. It became a little heated at one point, but was quickly defused. As the conversation went on, I asked if he could have both-the relationship we have now as well as permission to be with others if he wanted, would he? He asked “if we could have what we have now-a healthy, stable, happy life together?” I replied “yes.” He said “Well, that would be hard to turn down.” So, there it is. He admitted that he’d like to have his cake and eat it, too and I suspect that the majority of men would admit to that if they were being completely honest. He acknowledged that if he could be with other women, but not damage his life with me, he would do it. The fact that he wants to be with another (or others) hurts me, sure. However, I have to look at myself and wonder if I feel the same way? If I could basically be unrestricted in my love life without causing damage to R, would I? Maybe…

For the bulk of our relationship, I’ve said and firmly felt that I would not want to be with another man. R has always been enough. Then last year, I had the affair when our relationship was at it lowest and in my mind, doomed to fail. I saw that what I felt for the other man was separate from what I felt for R. One did not diminish the other. So, maybe we each could agree to be open without causing damage. These are all just ponderings, mind you. None of this is even likely to happen; I’m just wondering about it all. Do I want to be with someone who in his heart of hearts would like to be free to be with another? Should I stifle that need? If I am being entirely honest, I do not believe humans are naturally monogamous. We force ourselves to be for innumerable reasons, but that doesn’t mean we are monogamous creatures by nature. If you love someone, should you restrict them? How is that healthy?

Having said all this, I must admit that just casually being intimate with someone has never been my thing. If love isn’t there, I’m not interested in sleeping together. Men are different, though. They can separate more easily. I would think that being with someone, especially the same person over and over again, would create feelings, intimacy and open up the possibility of falling in love with that person. That would obviously be detrimental to our relationship. So-how does one have lovers but not fall in love?

Where is she?

I consider myself a friendly person, and so I have many casual friends.  I work primarily with men, and I am quite close with two of them.  Strictly platonic on my part (they both would like more if I would offer it), and it’s nice to have people I can share my thoughts with, especially given the year I’ve had.  What’s the problem,then?  Well…all my life I have wanted a female best friend.  One I can always count on to be there, one who knows I would be there for her in a split second if ever she needed me, one who would love my children and be a source of guidance for them as they grow up.  Where is she?

I thought I found that friend seven or so years ago when I lived in a neighborhood in Maple Valley with my then husband and our three kids.  Sarah lived a couple doors down.  One day, I was at the neighborhood park literally right outside my front door, and she was there with her kids.  She asked me a question, I think it was “how are you?”  I started welling up because our dog had just died in my arms.  The dog, Chance, was a beloved family member. We knew he was dying, and so we recognized when the time had come.  It was both beautiful and awful at the same time, being there as he died.  I knew we needed to do that for him-offer him that comfort-as he passed into the next world.

That next day, emotions were raw.  Sarah showed up at just the right time, and we were close from that point on.  We had neighborhood barbecues and were friendly with a few other couples on the block, and it truly was idyllic.  I’ve never experienced anything like that before.  We went on a trip to Vancouver, BC together (we three couples), our kids played together.  God, I miss that.  We were renting that house even though it was newly built.  After living there two years, we had to make a decision to either buy it or move out.  For various reasons, we chose to move.  We settled in a town 30 minutes away from Maple Valley, and it was never the same again.  Sarah and I drifted apart.  I went through a divorce, depression, meeting Rich, and two pregnancies and she was not there for any of it.  I know now that she was having her own marital issues back then.  She and her husband were always fighting, but underneath the fighting there seemed to be love.  She was a hoarder and this fact made him crazy. He would gather up armfuls of clothing she had bought and never worn, and take them all to Goodwill. He was a salesman-full of shit to a large degree but a nice guy.

I guess these annoyances multiplied in the years she and I were out of touch ( we messaged on Facebook but we only saw each other once in a 5 year period).  Sarah, her twins, my 2-year-old and I got together at a children’s gymnastics place 5 months ago.  We talked as if no time had passed and it was great, but nothing changed.  She went back to her life and I went back to mine.  So, she obviously is not the “she” I have been looking for all my life.

I need a close female friend.  It would be so comforting to have that special person in my world.  I believe I would be a wonderful friend to her, too.  I’m the kind of person who offers guidance when asked, but otherwise just listens.  People seem to like that about me-the listening part, I mean.  So many of us are never really “heard.”  Lots of people listen, but few truly hear what we are saying.  I’ve prayed about finding my best friend, but she hasn’t made her appearance yet.  Wherever you are, I’m waiting with an open heart.Image

Where’s the happy ending?

I’ve been lost in my head again today, wading through my memories as well as old emails in search of something, anything that will explain why R cheated on me.  Myspace messages he sent years ago, poems he wrote for me, love he expressed….and all the while he was having sex with other women.  I feel so sad for the woman I was then.  I was so in love-consumed, really.  The wanting of him was palpable.  And still, even after all that has happened, I want him still.  Deeply.  Profoundly.  Desperately.

Yet the person I feel all those things for betrayed me.  We still move around the same house; we still make love.  Heck, we make love now more than we have in a long time.  The chemistry was always there, but with busy lives and a house full of children, as well as a recent pregnancy, we didn’t make the time we should have for intimacy.  So now we reach out to each other because we know we could lose this love we have, and it could all be lost not over who he is now, but who he was then.

I shut the bathroom door and wept a little bit ago-just overcome with sorrow over where we are now.  I honestly don’t know if I have it in me to get over this.  Sometimes you can’t find the door, so you remain locked in your room of misery forever.  I want so much to let go of this pain and move forward with our family and this shared life we’ve carved out.  How I’ll do this escapes me at the moment, though, and that absolutely breaks my heart.

Dealing with reality

It’s been three weeks since I found out about my boyfriend’s cheating.  He’s not just a boyfriend to me; we live together, have two children.  We’re a family and we’ve built this shared life.  I’m devastated.  There’s no other word for it.  I have my moments where I function and am okay.  I can even smile at times.  Then out of the blue, I’ll see an image in my head of him having sex with someone else, and I am filled with sadness and anger.  I just cannot wrap my mind around how he could have done that to me, given that he supposedly loved me so much at the time.

He has tried to explain where he was in his head years ago when the cheating happened.  He fell in love with me, but it was a relationship/commitment he was not ready for.  Rich is or was the wildest person with whom I had ever had a relationship.  His life was about running after pleasure, and I was coming from an ended marriage, motherhood, and the desire to have a close and monogamous relationship with him.  I loved him so deeply it literally hurt.  I could tell him anything; make myself completely vulnerable to him in a way I never had with any other man.  It was new and beautiful territory and I was captivated and afraid at the same time.  Rich and I worked together, but outside of work we saw each other sometimes every couple of weeks, sometimes more often, but never as often as I wanted.  I thought at the time that when he wasn’t with me, he was with his friends.  Now I know that some of the time, he was with other women.  Yes, plural.  He cheated on me throughout a two-year period, and he did so with a handful of women.  No, we weren’t living together then and the relationship certainly was not what I wanted, but he maintained at the time that he was being monogamous.  He told me “If I have those feelings for someone and am considering being with them, I’ll tell you because you deserve to know that.”  At first, I truly believed that he was being faithful.  Then when I was newly pregnant and he was now living with me, I discovered sexual emails with other (Craigslist) women.  He swore that it was an escape; that he had never met them in person.  I had my doubts, but believed him.  Still…in my gut I knew that at some point in our relationship, he had cheated.  It ate at me for years.  I looked at his email whenever I got the chance, searching desperately for clues.

A few weeks ago, I decided to charge an old cell phone of his.  I had known where it was for months, but did nothing.  I prayed to God, asking him to please let me see the truth once and for all.  Ask and ye shall receive.  I charged the phone and saw texts with a women that were sexual.  I used my phone to text her, and she told me he had been to her house over two years ago (right before he moved in with me).  I confronted him, and he told me that he had been with others.  We had a huge fight, and the next day, he was remorseful.  We emailed back and forth (we communicate better that way, as he’s a writer) and he tried to explain himself.  He pleaded for forgiveness and asked me to see how much he has changed since we’ve lived together.  R swore it would never happen again, that given the person he has become and the nature of our relationship now, he never could do that again.  These emails and in-person talks have continued over the weeks.  We even spent the weekend with his folks, and his dad tried to help us hash it out.

The reality of the fact that we could lose each other has made us reach out to each other sexually over these few weeks, oddly enough.  Funny how infidelity reignited our passion.  So here we are, living in the same house, reaching out to each other and alternately I move away from him in my sad moments.  I believe he is different now; I’ve seen his growth over the nearly three years we’ve lived together.  He is the best father I could hope for to our children.  I love him in a way I’ve never loved any man, and I hope we can move past this and share a life.  I just don’t know how I’m going to forgive.  Can I?  That’s the question, I suppose.  Will I ever be able to look at him and not see images of him sleeping with another (many others)?  Will or should I ever trust him again?  What reason has he given me to trust him?  And does the fact that he’s matured and is faithful now mean that I should forgive the fact that he was immature and unfaithful then?

You know the song “Marry Me?”

I hear that song on the radio on a regular basis, and it brings tears to my eyes every time. Now, I’m not a big sap (most of the time), but there’s something about it that moves me. I think of the man I love, and I know that I will never hear him say those words to me. “Marry me.” So simple. It’s just two words, but those two words represent so much, don’t they? Hope. Love. Promise. Commitment. Family.

He is my family; I know that. We have been together for four years now, through more ups and downs that I can recall at 8 o’clock on this rather chilly Seattle morning. R has told me numerous times that marrying me would in no way deepen or change the love he already feels for me. To him, marriage really is just paperwork, and he’s never been a big fan of paperwork! There’s no need for this declaration in his world, and I understand that. The fact that he’s not exactly traditional is one of the things I love most about him.

So, why does that song bring me to tears every time? It’s because I know that the man I love most doesn’t want to marry me. He’ll never say those words or sing that song to me. We will never share that moment in time. We will never have that day of vows and hopes and promises made. I’ll never take his last name, and while I sometimes refer to him as my husband (and he refers to me as his wife), we will never legally be that to each other. There’s a certain sadness in that realization.

I’ve been married, and part of me doesn’t really want that again. There’s a side to it that’s too traditional, too practical, and thus lacking in romance. Add to that the fact that he has many things in his past to clean up which would affect me credit-wise if I did marry him, and it makes perfect sense to not want to marry him. The timing is all-wrong. Yet, at some point, those things will get cleaned up and worked out and still, his views will remain the same. And even then, I’m sure I will see both sides of the marriage coin. I’ll agree with him that it’s unnecessary; that we love each other as deeply as we can and so having paperwork to underscore it isn’t something we need. Then I will hear that song on the radio and the tears will flow and the sense of loss will come once again…