Please wipe your feet at the door and make yourself comfortable.
Oh, what a time. I do not think I have ever, ever been so confused in my life. I am not a great fan of airing the dirty laundry on the internet, but this is real emotional stuff and it helps me to write about it. It might help somebody else out there, too.
Here I have in front of me a great (mortgaged) house in a great suburb. A beautiful dog. A great job and an exciting research project. A personal trainer who is helping me achieve my fitness goals.
Recently, I realise I have youth. I am shedding the bodily self-loathing. For the first time in my life, I feel attractive. Glowingly so.
I no longer feel the need to eat to manage stress.
Yet, there is one part of my life that has been niggling at me for a long, long time – my relationship.
I got together with him at 19. I always felt lucky to have him. He is a lovely, clever man who loves me dearly and wants to have babies with me, sooner rather than later. He does not hit me, like my dad hit my mum. Sure, the conversation was always a bit difficult, and I got frustrated that I felt unable to communicate him, but hey, he is a lovely guy. We were affectionate, lots of pecks and cuddles.
So this is why I felt so very bad and guilty when I started to hear the alarm bells ringing. I stuffed them down. Probably covered them with a bit of chocolate, too.
We were civil, but I felt like a mother scolding her child. I would say: Don’t worry so much about your job! It’s just a job! Get your nose hairs cut. Get your hair cut. Buy some new shoes, the old ones have worn out. Here, eat your vegetables. Do some exercise – come running with me. Do pilates with me – it’ll help your back pain. Call your mum, for crying out loud. Most of them were argued with or flatly refused (particularly with regard to the exercise).
But otherwise, the relationship was fine. FIIIINE.
Recently, I set about developing my second bout of depression. I clawed myself out of it, mostly with the help of Gayrocco and Littlesare. Clawed. I started a job with a team I really liked. I started my PhD, writing a $600,000 grant application, an ethics approval and submitting papers to international conferences (Malaga, here I come). For a few months, everything was on the up-and-up. I felt so very proud of myself.
Then, about a month ago – CRRRAAAAASSSSH.
A few things happened.
I had some family members from the other side of my family come back out of the blue. That brought back a lot of anger from the loneliness and rejection I felt in my teenage years.
I started feeling jealous of my friends relationships. Eeeek! That’s terrible. Get off facebook! You don’t need it in your face!
Then the alarm bells regarding my relationship turned into air-raid sirens.
A few fricking great pennies dropped.
He had been so consumed with his work, and his computing, that there was nothing for me. The conversation waned severely. So many little things I had just ignored over the years had turned into a big dark angry bomb. Like the unreturned phone calls or texts (big one, that). The general lack of contribution to social/holiday occasions. The fact that, on holidays, he was always anxious to get home to work. The fact that I had to plead with him to come to bed with me. The fact that he had rarely made me dinner and when he did, there was just a big fat song and dance about it. That he had never made me a cup of coffee. That I had to always tell him to do his share housework (hey, he has eyes, right?).
You can make your own conclusions about the intimacy. I felt so very guilty for not wanting to go there with him. All that superficial stuff about taking care of your appearance that I felt so guilty about? Hey, man, that matters in this resepct.
(Hey, man, I was not perfect. I probably should have been less in-charge and bossy and independent. Put my foot down a bit more. Put my foot down earlier. I don’t know – any other suggestions? I am open, here!)
So, just after I had booked us in for a romantic holiday in Penang, I. CRACKED. THE. SHITS. Hell hath no fury etc etc.
I cancelled the holiday to Penang and booked myself one. I felt sad and guilty when I did this, but hell, I did it.
Oh, he was contrite. Very contrite. Things started happening.
I thought: hey, this holiday will give me a chance to miss him.
So I went on the holiday. We kissed goodbye at the airport, our first proper grown up kiss in some time (actually cannot remember).
I had an amazing time (see last post, I feel the need to rub it in no further). The world shone. It opened its arms to me and I gave it a big fat bear hug in return. I did some things I had never done before. I felt alive, never more so, and free.
And I did not miss him.
I am back. I am so confused that I barely know which way is up. Reality has hit and the lustre of the holiday has worn off, like (I would imagine) an hallucinogenic drug trip.
Sooooo many mixed messages. Some of them really frightening.
“Oh, but of course you didn’t miss him, you were too busy having fun? What if you were in Ballarat?”
“Oh, but he is a lovely man!” (yeah, but the one for me??? Is there such a thing as a soul-mate?)
“If you leave him, there are lots of bastards out there, all Men think with their dicks, you will get hurt or be lonely, or be alone for the rest of your life”.
“Oh, but men are clueless, you have to expect that” (sorry, blokes).
These are well intentioned, to be sure. But horribly, horribly frightening.
Then there is this chestnut: “oh, but you should go to counselling. Work on it”.
Well, really, I don’t know if I feel like that. My heart, right now, is not in it.
See, I realised that I feel like I have been flogging a dead horse for some time, and it has been killing me slowly, inside. I have alternated between guilt and resentment and anger for a while now. It felt good just to do some things that…felt good.
I face more guilt/resentment/fear now, whichever way I go. I am scared of disappointing my mum and mother in law. More difficult decisions. I just wish it would all go away.
That is where I am at now, thankyou for reading.