Hello, and welcome to my Crisis.

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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.

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8 responses »

  1. I’m not one to give advice on relationships but the factor that most men are bastards and maybe you won’t find another one is not a reason to stay in a relationship.

    If you were in a shoe shop, would you buy the only pair of shoes that fit? Or would you hold out for the shoes that make you swoon?

    Only you can know when you can work harder to make things right and when you should walk away.

  2. One of the greatest books I’ve ever read is Thomas Moore’s “Care of the Soul” – he talks a lot about how we take care of our own soul, and has lots of examples about how that impacts people’s relationships. The most important thing I think I ever got out of this book (and I revisit it often) is that life is not binary – you don’t have to choose one thing or the other. Life is a spectrum and you shouldn’t lock yourself into the idea that it is one way or the other. You might give it a try if you need a good read – http://www.amazon.com/Care-Soul-Cultivating-Sacredness-Everyday/dp/0060922249/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-9291173-0378041?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191300992&sr=8-1. (I’ve read a couple of his other books, but haven’t read “Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life’s Ordeals ” yet. It’s on my list though…)

  3. There is a book which you may find very helpful – Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirschenbaum (sp?).

  4. okay, my 2c. 19 years old is very young (as you’ve probably figured out by now) to commit to something so huge. I had my mid-life crisis at 32, when I realised that I didn’t actually need a man in my life to make it complete. I wasn’t scared of being alone any more (and let me tell you, I was more lonely *in* the relationship than I was out of it), and while it’s fun to have a man around, it’s not *necessary* for me.

    You have to do whatever is right for YOU. This is your life, not your mother’s or your MIL’s. The man will survive (he’ll probably pick up some 20yo chick that puts up with his crap), and you will as well.

    And we’re all here in the cloud with best wishes and virtual hugs. 🙂

  5. The older I get the more marriages I see breaking up. My best mate has just spent 2 years going through it, would go on holiday on her own, come back, shit was still there, another holiday and so on. Now it’s done and she is starting over.

    Make the decision and make it early, don’t drag it out, it’s heartbreaking for both parties.

  6. Hey Doc -WOW
    I feel your pain but I think you need to refrain from generalising; yes there are bastards (men) out there but conversely I’d suggest an equal number of bitches (women). Yes young men think with their dicks but isn’t the initial attraction with the opposite sex generally of a sexual nature? Aren’t women interested in good looks, intelligence, personality and money (in no particular order) Go for dinner/drinks a show/concert feeling the “buzz” of feeling in love and bang, you end up in bed – is that so bad? You want a platonic relationship? Sometimes you need to kiss a few frogs to find the prince!

    Kathryn makes a very valid point although I would add to it by saying that if you have to keep badgering someone to do something then I think you either have a communication break down or the wrong partner (both)

    You question yourself about being in charge or bossy and putting your foot down earlier – again if it’s not two people working together in a relationship they’re probably working apart.

    Lastly you ask if there’s such a thing as soul mates – not quite sure what that means but anyone will tell who’s still in love after 15-20 year relationship is that it’s because they understand their partners faults which are heavily outweighed the positives. Personally if asked why our relationship works so well, I normally answer that it’s “easy”, we don’t have to work too hard at it and our love seems grow by the day.

    You need to do what’s best for you – don’t worry about letting other people down.

    Doc, whichever path you choose, I wish you great happiness even if that means being alone for a period of time.

  7. Hi, I just found your blog, and read this post. I would like to talk to you more about this, but not in such a public forum. Can you email me??

    Amanda.

  8. I have been only dipping in and out of people’s blogs, so I missed this post at the time. Sorry to hear about your crisis. Nobody can ever really understand your connection to another person and the different things that support and enforce that connection or alternatively batter and injure it. May your path through this crisis be one of respect and consideration, both for yourself and for your partner.

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