How To Have Healthy Romantic Relationships
Going through old emails, I found interesting things. I was in the middle of my "Boy of the Week/Cursed Vagina" phase. I fought for every single one of those boys when that week was up and they decided to end things (with the exception of Irish Guy since I was the one that ended that - with good reason). I remember fighting with The Genius because his reason for ending things was that his friends didn't like the fact that I had kids.
Looking back, it was probably stupid of me to fight them over it. Maybe it was the fact that I was jumping in with both feet every time that was driving them away. Or maybe I was just waiting for the guy who knew that the jumping in, the giving so much away, was a misdirection to keep them from seeing the parts of me that I didn't want anyone to see.
I've found that man, the one that stuck with me through that and who I have stuck with through hard times.
But here's a window into my past.
Below is the email I wrote to one particular boy who was the best of the Boys of the Week. He didn't get a nickname because I liked him enough to call him by his own. I wasn't honest with him at the time because I wasn't honest with myself, but the uncomfortable twistings I felt myself doing when he asked questions that went to the center of my problems started me on the path to being who I am right now, to admitting the reality of things and accepting them.
This post is a little bit apology and a little bit gratitude to that boy three years ago. He was only in my life for a week but he changed my life for the better.
So here's the explanation, my argument for being in your life.
Assume that if you got involved with me you'd be rebounding, as you have decided that you are. I think only you can make that decision since I am a believer that strong positive emotions know no time frame and can coexist with strong negative ones, can ride them out and that compatibility will exert itself regardless. You either don't believe that or you don't feel this to be the situation. If the latter, please stop reading right now because it is all a moot point.
Could riding out the rebound and finding out that we're no good together be any worse than what's happening right now? Well, I suppose that assumes that I can fathom how you feel about what's happening right now - which I can't - or that you know the depth of my affection for you (one of the reasons I like you so much).
I don't understand you. You render me incapable of playing games and make me want to know myself. I suppose that's a way of saying that I want you for selfish reasons, the way you make me feel about the world and myself, though I want you for more than that. It's the sum of you that makes me feel that way; those are the symptoms of the persistent intoxication/happiness and you are the cause.
I want to give you answers. I know that you wanted to find through all the questions that I am different than your exes. My answers didn't provide that reassurance. I don't know your exes well enough to tell you that I'm not like them, but I can tell you that I think you're wonderful and I have no intentions of deceiving you.
So part one of this argument is that I believe that the kind of relationship I seek, and which I see the possibility of, would outlast rebounding. If it does not, I would rather know and in the meantime create a hundred new moments that can be separated from whatever comes after.
For example, I have in my head this moment where we were making out up against my bedroom wall. I wanted you so bad that my muscles had a prescience. They felt the moment and I lived the moment, but I could feel the next, too, even though that next moment didn't come right then. My waist could feel your hands sliding down to my butt and my thighs could feel the weight of you between them. I can separate that moment from every other one. It's one of my favorites to relive.
The second part of my argument is that, assuming that the stars align such that it becomes an issue that you leave, aren't those moments in between worth more than the aftermath?
I'm a believer that we give too much weight to the bad moments. In my own life I'm learning to let the bad wash over me, experience it, forgive it but not forget it, learn from it but let the happy moments outweigh the bad ones. Even if this gets an icy reception, I have a dozen or more moments where I'm happy to have met you and been in your life for the exceptionally short time of one week.
Alcoholism can completely change a loved one's personality and put stress on the entire family as a result.
This is her story.
Life's not fair, I know that. I don't expect fairness from the world at large. But I feel like - and maybe this is me being a spoiled only child - we should try to be fair to those we supposedly love.
He's an alcoholic, I know that too. He tells me so all the time, whenever I complain about his behavior or his attitude. Or whenever he feels bad. He's trying to fight his demons, he says.
But I'm angry. I'm supposed to be the bigger person and I am so fucking angry.
We made a decision about today's schedule last night. Last night when he was perfectly sober, I must add. Today I followed that schedule and it turns out he is mad that I did. He feels like I left him out, even though that's what we decided last night.
But I'm the bitch. I'm starting the fight, because I wanted to know why he'd called me so angry. He is mad that his family wasn't there when he woke up.
The decision wasn't even 12 hours old, but he changed his mind and is resentful that I didn't know that, that I didn't follow his new wishes.
I fucking hate that. I hate not being able to make plans, not even 12 hours in advance, because he doesn't know what kind of mood he'll be in. He might change his mind and he will be a resentful fucking child if he's committed to something and then changed his mind about it. Or he'll be mad at us if we've gone somewhere without him, because he told me he wanted to sleep late.
I don't feel like I have a partner, I feel like I'm being bossed around by a petulant child.
I know that he is hurting. I know that he is trying to get better. I know that in a few hours, he will be my real husband for a while - the one who doesn't act like a petulant child. But then nighttime will come, he will have his five drinks after the kids go to bed - and he will be perfectly nice at that time too - and then in the morning he will be an asshole.
It's like I live with two people and one of them is a total dick. We can't afford counseling, rehab, or to live apart, really. I don't even know what's actually wrong with us. Are other men so resentful if they don't get to wake up whenever they choose? I know he has insomnia, which is his reason for drinking, but it just seems weird for someone in his thirties.
He gets resentful if I'm not available for sex whenever he wakes up, but he's also resentful if I wake him up early to have sex before I have stuff to do. He's resentful whenever I'm on the computer, but that's a big source of our income right now.
It's like he doesn't know how to be a grownup anymore.
We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser.
Letters where actual contact is just not possible.
Do you have a letter you can't send?
Why not send it to The Band?
Because of recent events, you are back in my life.
Not physically, but you occupy my brain and I feel angry. I was just starting to move on and there you are. Just like every time I leave. This time is different, though. I no longer want what we had, but I am still very angry. And hurt. And angry because I'm still hurt.
On some days, I wonder if it will make me feel better if I sent you something. Maybe start me down the road of finally forgetting you. Moving on to a life I so deserve. But I know that you still think that it was my decision and if I had only stayed, things would have gotten better.
But I know.
I know nothing would have changed. For 3 years, nothing changed. The empty promises never changed. The looks of disgust you reserved solely for me never changed. The venom you spat never changed. The repetitive but half-hearted apologies never changed.
We never changed.
I hate that I have to live with the guilt of walking away when it was your decision to not take your medication that drove us apart. I hate that five months later, my heart hurts as much as it did the day I finally said good-bye to you - to us. I hate you for loving yourself more than you loved us. Your selfishness is plain to me now. I never was going to win. And that is what breaks my heart.
You finally got me to admit that I loved you. Told me I had nothing to worry about. That what we had was special. Forever. That I no longer needed to be strong, because you would always be there to comfort me and be my protector. I no longer had to run from love but succumb to it, so I opened my heart. Wide the fuck open. But I knew. I wanted to deny it but I knew.
A part of me wept for the day I knew would come. The day you would finally tell me that you didn't really love me. You say that you didn't mean it when you said it. That you only said it because you knew it would hurt me, but you were wrong. It didn't hurt me. It destroyed me.
So here I am.
Broken. Hurt. Lonely. Angry. Alone. Longing for love, and it hurts. I hate that you awakened something that you were incapable of caring for. I hope to my core for nothing but good things for your life, but I also really wish I could tell you just how much you hurt me.
So here is my letter to you that I will never send. Maybe now I will begin to find some peace.
God, I hope so.
One of the best feelings is knowing you can be sure of something.
Last August, my boyfriend and I moved into a tiny apartment in a new part of town. A few weeks later we got a dog.
Because we are young and our finances are still crazy, we accepted a lot of hand me down furniture and whatnot. We had one of those bed frames on wheels that collapses. My father picked it up for about $10. My boyfriend kept his clothes in a Rubbermaid storage container.
Although I was really happy to be living with someone I love completely, my whole life seemed ready to be picked up and moved at any given moment.
That feeling no longer exists.
After recovering from a couple of really big and unfortunate expenses, I finally went out and bought a real bed frame. No more wheels for us! I also got my boyfriend a dresser so he doesn't have to snap his clothes into a box anymore. It opened up a bunch of under the bed storage, so now we can free up some more space where we need it. Honestly, this took care of a lot of anxiety I had been feeling.
We don't live in the biggest or best apartment but it's ours for now, and I want it to feel that way. This was both a tiny and huge step forward for us. A bed frame and dresser doesn't seem like a huge deal, and in the grand scheme of things it's not. But it is a more permanent solution. It recognizes that we're here and we're happy. It even inspired my boyfriend to be more willing to put money into fixing up what we have.
I've never been one to believe that money fixed everything, but in this case it allowed me to feel secure and comfortable. It was a way for me to say that we're here to stay.
And this is all I've ever wanted.
I live by parameters.
My mother drilled into me two fears; the fear of not being productive enough and the fear of repercussion.
Always being obedient, always being highly productive, always caring what people think about me is the main source of my anxiety. I MUST achieve. I MUST fear what will happen if I don't, if I'm not good enough, if I'm coloring outside the lines.
I don't know where the parameters came from that I once decided I have to live by. I just know they are there and if I dare to step outside them, I will be "in trouble."
I am a 31 year old woman, and I find myself thinking this, even saying this: I don't want to get into trouble.
Today my daycare provider, a friend of mine, texted me to ask if my daughter was coming today. She was concerned that I might keep her home because we were struck by an ice storm. Immediately, my heart began to race. These, my thoughts: "Does she want my daughter to come today? Does she need the money? Does she want her to stay home? Will her kids be off school and maybe she wants a day alone with them?"
I can't make a decision based on what I want because I'm afraid of how it affects everyone else. I wanted my daughter to go to daycare, but while trying to predict what the daycare provider wanted, I decided it was more likely she wanted her to stay home. So, that's what I did.
This is just an example of what I do to myself.
My main anxiety stems from the fear of getting in trouble because I fell in love.
I am recently divorced. It's been a year since my husband moved out and we officially divorced in July. I fell in love with someone else before my husband and I separated, and even though it was absolutely the best thing for everyone that we parted, the guilt burdens me.
As it should, right? Because I deserve to feel guilty. Because even though my husband abused me and controlled me, I shouldn't have fallen in love before we divorced.
So, now, my love has asked me to marry him. I happily accepted - I have never been so encouraged or supported by anyone, and I am joyous that we found each other. It feels like a rebirth, a second chance at the healthy life everyone wants.
And, yet... it doesn't fit into my parameters.
I'm uncomfortable telling other people, because I fear they judge me for finding love so soon.
I'm terrified that I will "get in trouble" for following my heart and for not following how "it's supposed to be."
I honestly would be more comfortable if I had stayed with my mean husband. Not happy, no. I'm very happy now. But I'm uncomfortable because of how it may look to everyone else.
I try to tell myself it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. But it does. I live in a small town. I'm in a sort of prominent position. People know me. Reputations matter here.
Does anyone understand this or have something wise to advise?
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