One step forward, two steps back: the great tango of life

So, since I last wrote here, much has happened, while at the same time it didn’t.

I am still with my partner. I hopped back in that pendulum as it came swinging past me and retreated into the fear of the unknown. As is goes with the whole swinging back and forth, I suddenly became panicked that I hadn’t been trying enough; hadn’t given it my all yet.

I wrote him a letter, telling him my fears about our relationship; that we needed to take action orseparate. I told him what I needed from him, and that I needed to know what he needed from me. I put it inside his closed laptop so that he would see it the next time he sat down for one of his evening web-browsing-whilst-watching-tv sessions.

We agreed to take a proper holiday – something we’ve never really done. I thought maybe planning this together would be something that would bring us closer.

I had to cancel my next session with my counsellor (in about October, I think). And then I never went back.

My prescription for my antidepressants ran out and I was too busy to get to the doctor fora new script. So I cold turkeyed it. Which was partly responsible, I think, for the next point…

I went on a bender for a couple of weeks. I got to a point where everything seemed just so much of “same shit, different day”, that I ended up tninking why the fuck not. I’ve stopped now, because drinking doesn’t help me get my shit together.

Anyway, coming of the medication has been both a boon and a curse. You know how some people say how their antidepressants make them feel nothing? Well, that’s kind of true. After I finished with the headspins and crying jags, I sat down and realised all my shit was still there, not dealt with. I just didn’t care while I was medicated.

Including my relationship.

That letter I wrote him? He didn’t mention it. I asked him if he’d read it. He said he had but needed some time to process the things I’d said, which was good with me. He never brought it up again. A few days later, I was tidying the loungeroom and found it discarded on the side table where he keeps his laptop. Any of the kids could have found it. Somehow I don’t think he gave it much consideration at all.

The holiday? I’ve planned and organised the whole thing. I’ve tried to get him interested but … I dunno. I guess he has better things to worry about. So he’ll just be coming along for the ride.

So we continue on with our usual routine. He watches tv while cruising the internet, I sit in my room reading or seeking relationship advice on the internet.

I’m wondering now if he’s just waiting for me to make the first move. Maybe when I started drinking again I crossed the line for him. I occasionally contemplate ways to drive him away, such as becoming religious or spiritual – maybe drinking was an unconscious attempt to do that. His lack of action is pretty typical of him thouh. I mean, I’ve asked many times over the years for some kind of skerrick of affection, the way I need it and he hasn’t done it. Too distracted with other things.

This post is so rambling I can hardly make sense of it.

Long story short: I’m unhappy and this relationship’s days are numbered.

Written off

Today has been a write-off for me.

Fortunately my youngest decided she was sick this morning and so I didn’t have to trek to and from school with her, because I’m not sure I would have had the emotional energy

I’m grieving. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, it’s different this time. I’ve experienced a shift in my little cosmos. In time gone by whenever I’ve thought about separating from my partner, it’s always accompanied with a sense of nervous, almost hysterical, energy.

This time, it’s just a leaden, almost stupefying, sadness. At one point today I just lay on my bed for a while, staring and thinking, and when I finally forced myself to get up and do a few household chores, an hour had passed.

I just feel exhausted. I guess because in the past couple of weeks I have invested so much mental and emotional energy into this thought process, and now I have reached my conclusion and I have nothing more to give.

The end.

Four seasons in one day

In the past 24 hours I’ve been through sadness, doubt, hope, and bitterness.

Even though I’m preparing myself mentally to take on the responsibility for choosing to separate, I’ve found myself wondering whether there was something I could have done, somewhere along the line, to make it work.

I can’t pinpoint a time when things went bad. I’m not sure I can even pinpoint a time when things were ever good. It’s seemed like a struggle for such a long time. I think we tried our best, given our personalities and lack of fit and connection.

But there’s a part of my brain that feels resentful towards him. That he hasn’t really wanted the parts of me that matter most – to me, anyway. For leaving me to struggle alone with my depression and alcoholism. For not paying me a compliment in I can’t even remember how many years. For not trying for more than a couple of days when I’ve asked.

And I’m scared. Mostly by financial worries, but also because the chances are very good that I will be alone for the rest of my life. I mean, a chubby, middle-aged woman with 3 kids and not much money is not the most attractive of prospects, right? And while “finding someone new” is very low on my list of priorities in my future life, there’s still that worry. That it will always be just me.

I’m worried about the impact this will have on the kids. I mean, I can imagine a workable arrangement for custody etc, but I am factoring in a cooperative ex-partner, and chances are good he will be an arsehole about some things, if not all.

Still. I’m becoming more at peace with the idea that separation is the right choice.

Over the past few days, with my partner away, I’ve read through ‘Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay’ by Mira Kirschenbaum. Sadly, I first picked up this book before my second child was born, more than 12 years ago now. That’s how long I’ve been in a state of ambivalence about this relationship, or, as Ms Kirschenbaum puts it in the book, married to my ambivalence.

The very first diagnostic question indicated that I will be happier to leave. As did numbers 4, 9, 11, 12, 13, 21, 26, 27, 33, 34, 35 and 36. I would say that’s pretty comprehensive list.

My plan at the moment is to get prepared. I need a higher paying job to support me and my kids, is the main thing. That means a discussion at work about moving to full time work. I’m going to need a whole houseful of furniture. And I’m going to need a support network.

The funny thing about the latter is that a few years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed about reaching out to anyone, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve thought I would just put a call out on Facebook and ask for help/friends. I know there are people who will care enough about me to want to help.

This will take some planning, but it’s doable.

Gear change

Today I feel as though a cog that has been spinning aimlessly has finally found purchase, and something has clicked over in my head. Things are moving on; I’m not the same person I was yesterday.

The strange things is that I don’t have that hysterical sense of urgency that I have felt in the past when I’ve thought about separation. There’s no desperate feeling that this MUST END RIGHT NOW!!! Instead it’s just a calm acceptance that one chapter of my life is finishing, and that one day soon I will turn the page and the next part of the story will begin.

It seems so clear to me, now, why my partner and I have been unable to formulate any kind of joint plans or goals over the past several years. Imean, we’ve talked about how we should do x, y or z, but that is as far as we’ve ever made it. We’ve never, ever put any kind of concrete plans into action, and the fact that we’ve managed to have children and buy a house have come about by lucky accident. On the other hand, this morning I put the first part of my plan for my solo life into action and have already figured out the next 2 steps and how to go about them.

I’m excited about the plans I’m making for my kids and me.

Coming out

Earlier this year, I had mentioned to my friend that I was thinking of separating from my partner. I explained how 2015 was to be my year of decision, and I was going to spend this year to making a choice, once and for all.  She was sad for me, but said that she was not surprised, because she feels like I’ve been unhappy for so long.

Of course, I’ve wavered on those sentiments so many times since then. It’s funny the way the mind works, especially when you’re an escape artist like me. I think it’s probably “avoidant personality” or somesuch; I shy away from any kind of conflict. So when I’m faced with the conflict of a bad relationship, I want to run away. But then when I think about separating, at first this seems joyously right, but then I factor in the conflict of having to face my partner, having to cause pain to him and my kids, and the uncertainty of being alone, and my escape artist brain desperately retreats. And I figure if the only person currently suffering in all of this is me, then what right to I have to turn everyone’s lives upside down. Or everything seems so “normal” that I wonder what the fuss is all about. I’m just creating a drama in my head for the sake of wanting some kind of excitement in my life.

And I convince myself that it’s all in my head; that everything is fine. I just need to learn gratitude, be happy for the things I’ve got. And I am. I have a fortunate life; I know that. So then I feel guilty for feeling unhappy when, really, what the hell have I got to feel unhappy about??

I said to my therapist the other day that I just need to accept my relationship for what it is. And I finally do, only what it is is not enough for me.

It’s funny that the incident I talked about on here the other day, when he casually told me that he was going away sailing for 3 days seemed to crystallize everything for me. When I told him that it was news to me (which it was), he claimed he’d tlld me a couple of months ago. And you know, he probably did. But I happen to think that when you are leaving your partner to go away sailing for 3 days, meaning she will have to deal with things at home by herself for that period, it is just common courtesy to remind her of that fact. Or put it in the family calendar or something. Especially when, as I know, that sailing trips away require much coordination and discussion; there should be some point when you share some of that information with your spouse. And the fact that he didn’t tells me that I am not even remotely on his radar as a priority. I couldn’t get angry about this, though. I just thought to myself, “It will always be like this.”

The other aspect of this conversation that made things clear for me is the fact that I felt relief in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to deal with him for 3 whole days. His presence casts a shadow over my mood, and it’s not his fault, but at the same time I can’t help it. It’s a combination of guilt, annoyance and resentment.

Having come to the realisation that the best choice for me is to leave, last night I confided this in another friend. She’s never met my partner, but I’ve known her for about 5 years. Naturally she was supportive and sympathetic. I’m thinking next I might ask my sister too. Of everyone who knows us both, she is probably best placed to give an outsider’s perspective, knowing us both quite well.

Another thing that I had sort of acknowledged, but I’ve finally, this evening, really accepted is that as much as I can list his flaws and behavours that have led me to this place, ultimately this choice is about me. I can point and blame as much as I want, and maybe with justification, but he’s not going to see it that way. I am taking responsibility for this choice.

So I’m coming out as an Unhappily Married person. And knowing things are not going to change, I need to prepare myself to move on.

And funnily enough, snippets of answers to my therapists other question, “What does that look like to you?” have been coming to me this afternoon. I see myself struggling financially, but maybe I’ll move somewhere cheaper. Maybe taking a “Home Handyperson” course at the community college, so I can learn to do those repairs for myself. I see myself growing in strength , instead of stagnating the way I am now. Of laughing and dancing with the kids.

I know it will be hard. But, I think, necessary.