Author Topic: Relationship/s  (Read 24381 times)

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #690 on: December 06, 2020, 12:37:34 PM »
Thanks, Tupp.

I think I have been going through a period of adjustment to the onset of winter isolation, and these dates have been a sort of last-ditch effort to connect or find some new something before the solo hibernation begins. In this instance I don't really regret it (save the scary virus risky moments which I hope don't add up to infection). Psychologically it's been okay. But rationally, after the next date, I'm suspending the cause until spring, when meeting anybody outdoors will be easy.

Meanwhile, I'm still enjoying semi-regular Zoom visits with friend Quirk, and M and I have shuffled into what for now feels like a fairly calm and (somewhat) comforting friendship. He's coming by at 4:00 today to sample the Bonfire (name of firepit model), as a friend will also arrive (she wears mask AND face shield) to borrow my mixer. I've simplified my attitude to M too. I care about him, and he only wants to talk about himself. If I don't do it often, I can enjoy listening to that now and then. He goes home happy and, with practice, I remain okay. (Letting go of fantasies about him "seeing the light" or "doing new T with Sikh" was essential and though it took me a long drawn-out fight inside myself to do that, I think I'm there. Y'all here helped me a lot, can't be more grateful!)

I don't need to freak out about dating or isolation. I'm looking forward to house and health stuff this winter and hopefully getting things clear enough domestically to begin writing again.

That's my story today and I'm sticking to it!

hugs
Hops
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Hopalong

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #691 on: December 20, 2020, 02:56:57 PM »
Oy. I'm kind of hunching. Pandemic isolation is a symphony in my head.

M and I have seen each other a couple/three times a month lately. The usual: dinner, or me camping out at his place once (only "pod" virus-safe space I've got) when the cleaner came. He came once for wine-and-bonfire and relaxed and loved sitting outdoors, talking and watching the flames. I loved seeing him be less Mr. Professor Dr. King M.

Result. Nothing is different about us as individuals or our personalities. He still is who he is, though his domineering behaviors haven't been on view; he's calmer and seems soberer lately, but doesn't share (ever) about his feelings. I'm still who I am, though less reactive since our connection changed (after I "broke up" with him). I still wish we had a deeper connection, which seems to me would be dependent on him exploring interior spaces that are just too scary (or tedious, in his view). I might be wrong. Either way, I have let go of that hope.

Other result. I'm dealing with the reality that he's adapted better to the "new definition" (compartmentalized friendship, dinners, occasional company, ally-in-emergency) than I am. So, my job is to grow the hell up, re-embrace reality.

Conundrum. My heart makes a loyal beagle look faithless. I told him during that final T session: "my heart will never change toward you." And it's true. I stayed over (he'd painted "my" room my favorite color meanwhile) when my power failed and my house was freezing, and I felt for good or ill: safe, familiar, belonging. At home. Not because of the house; because of him.

After that, I missed him even more actutely. (Due to cleaner visit followed by power failure, we saw each other recently more frequently than we had been.) I had dinner there two nights ago but haven't heard from him since. Hugged him fiercely when I left, maybe that *scared him.

So, I'm trying to acknowledge all of it. Not mad at him or at myself. Just sitting with how difficult it is to suppress and move past how I feel about him (never stopped loving him) to that pragmatic, detached reality-brain. I don't think things are "all better" so I could plunge back in. I do think the fact of love is a reality too.

(I continue to hear from spring-date--the bidnessman--and Quirk. Quirk and I have a lot in common but I dunno. I do not give up on the Big Dream --with someone-- or on hoping, it's just more complicated emotionally than I've wanted to admit.

So, shit.

Just wanted to get some of it out. In my safe space. Thanks for listening. He invited me for Xmas Eve and I've accepted.

hugs
Hops (con't below)

*I emailed I'd decided he was inspired with work, had had plenty of Hops/Pooch time lately and needed a break, or had been kidnapped by Bambis. He wrote back: "Never too much Hops or Pooch time" and was all on fire about some scholarship; joyful.

Bottom line is he feels complete when doing scholarship. That's his primary joy and satisfaction. So not being in touch meant nothing about us, it just meant he was complete. So he's coming over tomorrow for soup and chill. Eager to.

It's ME. I am the one who is more dependent, and more sensitive to all the subcurrents and fears. If he knows he is loved (I think he does) he is happy so goes into full-compartment-scholar mode and a "relationship" doesn't need tending, because he's immersed in the one that matters. I caution myself: remember how desperate each of his wives sounded at various dramatic moments (one moving out while emptying the house after having also tried an unannounced facelift, clearly to freak him out and get his attention; the second otherwise-saintly-by-description having abruptly cut off his access to the internet in frustration, which totally messed him up for days with the university and made him furious); and me, the night I begged him to hear me (Rokugate) and stop giving instructions, and he literally could not stop -- remember, remember.

Ai and yi.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2020, 03:16:35 PM by Hopalong »
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lighter

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #692 on: December 20, 2020, 08:15:11 PM »
(((Hops)))

I hope you enjoy good food and wine during visits with M.  He's not your dream, but he's safety and companionship in the moment.

Enjoy your fancy fire pit all winter long.  Fellowship by firefight.  Pooch by your side.
Yes.

Lighter


Hopalong

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #693 on: December 20, 2020, 11:27:19 PM »
Quote
He's not your dream, but he's safety and companionship in the moment.

Well, that's really it, Lighter. That simple.

I need my mind to be simpler.

Food and wine? Yegods. Yes, I do. Mussels the other night; stuffed salmon- something another night -- he always kindly does seafood for me. On his own he eats baby animals (baaaaa, mooooo, even suckling oink---I need to not think about it). He just loves cooking, so I'm happy to leave him to it. I've even learned that letting him recite a recipe at tedious length without losing patience is a courtesy and a kindness in return. When I can't handle one more microscopic instruction about something I never intend to do (you can see him shift into lecture mode) then I just change the subject, but kindly. After all, I am enjoying bounty. And that's the price of admission, I figure. I am drawing the line at days of excited emails where he lives through the step by step anticipation of the cooking.

In that regard, I'm not his dream either.

But if I can manage a simple lentil soup, I'm determined to do that tomorrow.

Thanks for reminding me I don't need future resolution right now. I need to get through pandemic winter (and so does he). We'll see what spring brings.

hugs
Hops

"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #694 on: December 21, 2020, 04:21:21 AM »
I think the feelings will natural lessen, Hopsie, once the pandemic's over and you've no need for a bolt hole while someone cleans the house or such a limited number of people you can spend time with.  It's an intense period and having to hunker down alone is hard.  But I think once it's over, the day to day risk has gone (or at least reduced to no more than all the other every day risks) and you're able to get out and about normally and meet people (old and new), then I think M will take up less space in your life.  I think Lighter's right - safety and companionship through this crazy, turbulent time.  One day at a time :) xx

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #695 on: December 22, 2020, 07:56:59 AM »
Hey Hops... take it easy on yourself, a minute. There is nothing wrong with trying to explore things from a different set of "rules of engagement" (military term, but also double entendre).

This is pondering season for me, as you know. And given that I'm also dealing with relationships right now too... I am pondering this "thing called love" and our ideas of it, along with the feelings, their origins, etc cerebral "disassembly, oiling the parts, and re-assembly". I don't claim to "know" anything definitively, 100% guaranteed, your money back... but in the what-if dept. or creative BS... whichever one prefers... [end preamble]

I think sometime our emotional intelligence develops & grows at a different rate than say, our perceptions and values and cognitive abilities. And when it comes around to our ideas about "love" and what that's supposed to feel like, and be in the day to day, real life manifestation... well, I think we reach back to some of our earliest "understandings" of what it's supposed to be & feel like. And there's some kind of "sanctity" (for me anyway) attached to that idea/understanding; something pure and unadulterated by changes in societal culture or anything external at all. But of course, I'm a romantic and idealist (if it needs a label)... and that conflicts quite often with my practical and pragmatic self.

One thing I became aware of in that long rip van winkle time after Mike died and I uprooted myself to go somewhere new - yet close to "home" - was that I felt it was time for me to update my ideas about love, should I ever be silly enough to entertain another relationship. What was a functional definition of that relationship when I was 16 just doesn't work for me, now that I'm 60-something. I wouldn't expect it to, either. But somehow - it hadn't seemed to have changed. I wanted to feel that thrill of butterflies... OMG, he LIKES ME... to be his "special person"... and listen to all my mental perambulations as I sorted my own self out. I wanted to look into his eyes and "get him"... and feel reasonably sure he saw and got me too. [sorry for the vague, fuzzy language - it's all I got for emotional stuff]

It kinda dawned on me, that this idea kinda matched up with what I understand enmeshment to be. At least - the FEELING - of it, if not the "rules of engagement/relationship". Simplistically,  my understanding of enmeshment = bad, but love = good caused a logical conflict here.... because in some precognitive sensory way... they both felt the same to me. (And this is leaving out the long analytical study of dysfunctional attachments from FOO) And off I went, down another rabbithole, with the dedication of a Jack Russell terrier...

So, some of the conflict is vocabulary. We just don't have a good descriptive vocabulary for emotions to draw on, I find. When Hol and I are in one of our deep conversations about this stuff - we end up making up words; smooshing things together; combining opposites even, to more accurately convey what we think we mean. The other thing going on, is that my idea of what the "ideal" love or relationship IS, hadn't grown, changed or matured over time. It was still stuck back in my youth. And since that idea came out of dysfunctional attachment - I kinda had to go back to the drawing board. Start from scratch. Redesign. That took TIME; experimentation; daydreaming; and of course, going back over my more significant historical relationships.

So, eventually - I was able to come up with some examples of things that seemed better suited to me now. And that necessitated a complete re-write of what my idea of relationship IS. What the "rules" are; what works/what doesn't - for me. What I like/don't like.

It sounds kinda like what you're into now with M, is the same sort of process - different; your own - but figuring it out. Whether we're conscious of it or not, our capacity for - our tolerance - of things changes as we mature. Things that used to drive us up a wall, maybe aren't such a big deal anymore. Or they're more intense even. I think it comes down to a choice of what we want to experience on a daily basis. Rules of engagement, in other words. The ideas of what your relationship consists of - has changed in some ways.

Why not let it be what it's going to be and simply discover how it feels along the way? Decisions often evolve out of circumstances; they don't necessarily need to be negotiated from the get-go. That helps smooth out the duality of ideas/perception and those seeds of pure emotion... lets things germinate more organically.

(I THINK; like stated in the preamble; I don't KNOW. I'm winging this, same way you are m'dear... this is just some of my pondering about things. Maybe there's something useful in it.)

ETA: edited the usual caffiene-fueled typos...
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 08:03:20 AM by sKePTiKal »
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Hopalong

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #696 on: December 22, 2020, 09:24:38 AM »
You're right, Amber. Very much so. Thank you.

I'd love to look into a loved one's eyes to know I'm "home." M avoids eye contact but less than he used to. He's always the first to break out of a (short) hug. Intimacy for me begins with a heart connection and that is built from risking sharing some vulnerability and listening.

He shares a ton of thinking about history and society. He doesn't share much feeling. He does act it out; when he said cooking is how he shows love, I believe him. So I'm getting more respectful about that. The overall thing that didn't work was, for me, his insulation from seeing me as as signficant as he was, shown in extreme difficulty in listening or showing interest in stories other than his own. His dismissiveness. His self-absorption may be involuntary. I feel more appreciative and more forgiving, though I still get anxious.

I was going to make soup for him yesterday. Got all focused on that, even made a bread I hadn't before, but as the day went on grew more tense about him coming (and to eat!) so I wound up feeling dizzy and weak, asthma kicked in, and I cancelled. What he doesn't know is the prospect of preparing food around him is miserable, because he focuses on it so intensely that I can't relax and enjoy it. Also, when I called to tell him I wasn't feeling well he listened for about a second and swiftly changed the subject to how HE was feeling, and a catalog of funny symptoms he'd just had. Sometimes it's not that he talks about himself, but the SPEED with which he yanks back the mic, that bothers me.

On my end, I'm having more trouble with loneliness, and that has probably fueled my recent burst of dependency. He talks to close family who adore him every day. I do have friends who care, but most are occupied with family. Most days one friend does call though. She is an extreme Type A who recites what she's doing or calls me to fill gaps when she's driving. It used to bug me that it seemed substance-less, but because of quarantining I've realized it isn't. There's a lot of comfort in loyalty and I've begun to express to her how grateful I am for that. All in all, though, this time of year brings out the alone-in-life feelings. I knew that. 2020 just highlighted it.

Oddly, Quirk is the one I seem to have a lot more in common with these days. We Zoom about every 8-10 days and I suggested we could do that on Christmas, even. He was pleased; he and his late wife were so involved and connected that he seems to not have many friends. He does listen beautifully. He made one joking reference to pooling our resources for a condo in Scandinavia for the warm months since we both admire their culture, and (privately) I've fantasized that maybe he is one who'd like to sell his own (much smaller) house and come build a little wing on mine, and Bob's yer uncle. I find him attractive but I'm more bourgeois than he.

Funny, that. M's waaaay too upper-class for my comfort and Q might be too on the edge!

Dunno about Bidnessman. He told me he made a pic of me his screen saver. Yikes!

I really appreciate your suggestion that I try to just let things happen and see what grows, or doesn't. That's an extremely important suggestion and when I flip it over, it also shows me the way back to living life more than worrying about life. I need to develop more inner resources and courage and strength.

I really need to do that. Live my own life, pay attention to it, care about it. I find that way too difficult. Nose in navel, mind circling. Body not feeling great. But I do know this can pass, I can get better, happier, stronger.

Having y'all to talk to when I'm wobbling is literally life saving. Thank you.

hugs,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #697 on: December 22, 2020, 12:43:38 PM »
Merry Christmas, Hopsie.

I think it's not just possible - but positively interesting - to be independently strong within oneself and still be in relationship with someone. Some of the fears of rejection, abandonment, "not being good enough" go away. Look at how long you've thrived on your own; the difficulties you've survived & overcome. You ARE strong within your SELF even on those days where cocooning is the only option.

You are strong enough to be you, to love, and to be in relationship with whomever you CHOOSE - designed as suits YOU - all at the same time. And yes, you reserve the right to make your choice any which you feel like. AND change your mind, if THAT feels necessary too. At this age, neither of us needs a home - we aren't raising children (I keep reminding myself) - we don't need that particular kind of security from a relationship anymore. DARE TO WEAR PURPLE POLKA-DOTS Hops. We really don't give two hoots about societal approval either, do we?

2021: Grannies gone wild...   LOLOLOL
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Pseudo Mouse

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #698 on: December 22, 2020, 04:03:46 PM »
Skep: "And off I went, down another rabbithole, with the dedication of a Jack Russell terrier..."  <  hehehehe

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #699 on: December 23, 2020, 03:28:40 PM »
THANKS, Amber!
Your expression of how one can be independently strong within oneself AND do that while in a good relationship, is exactly what I am aiming for. It fired me up with new courage as I read it.

I can differ only about this bit, because although "don't need a home" is true now, it's likely not so later on, as I couldn't afford a decent assisted living situation, and don't have enough savings to cover adequate in-home help should I become frail or ill. In that sense I might indeed "need a home."

What I CAN do something about is trusting and building on emotional independence and confidence, which will make whatever the future brings much more fulfilling.

Muchas gracias for the good reminders--
Big hugs and Feliz Navidad to you and yourn!

Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #700 on: December 23, 2020, 03:45:10 PM »
I would of course never be so shallow as to lurk in the Washington Post comments to see if anybody "liked" one of mine....so I just accidentally *happened* to see that 76 readers so far liked this one! (Diana Nyland wrote a lovely column about her sweet old dog.)

(And its my happiest relationship so belongs on this thread, yes it does! :)

My pooch (a shelter mix of corgi, beagle, chihuahua and question marks) is aging before my eyes. She makes me laugh every day. When she wants extra attention she stands beside me on the bed as I type away, staring at me with an urgency that burns holes in my retinas. She inches closer. Her expression is a cross between desperation, stalking wolf, and "this always works." It does. Rub-rub.

Many more ear scratches and sidestrokes to your sweet hound.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2020, 03:50:39 PM by Hopalong »
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sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #701 on: January 21, 2021, 06:47:06 AM »
How's the situation with M going Hops? Any new prospects?
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Hopalong

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #702 on: January 21, 2021, 10:19:55 AM »
Thanks for asking, Amber.

M and I have settled into a declared friendship. It includes love but my expectations and romantic hopes are removed. (I'd meant what I told him last summer; with him doing real therapy everything could change, without it my ability to commit as his life partner was over.) At moments it feels bittersweet, but mostly it feels peaceful and supportive and I'm grateful particularly now to have his company about once a week. We both acknowledge we take comfort from each other and have declared we will have each others' backs if hard times come. That's pretty much it. I figure when he becomes frail with age he'll move to California to be near his children.

Oddly, it's easier to feel the love without the pain now. He doesn't say it often but I know he loves me too. It's just too scary for him to explore why he was (during our build-a-dream days) so controlling and unable to listen. Being vulnerable to his lack of EQ was too scary to me to continue believing in a future life shared. He's more open now that there's no life change at risk (such as giving up his house to move with me). I still know that he's not where to turn when I'm in pain or vulnerable, so it's a friendship with one deep but narrow channel, and I turn elsewhere for emotional insight and understanding. Meanwhile, we still enjoy our time.

Had a good talk with my T yesterday, and identified that I want to be more intentional about the kinds of friendships I develop. I have good and loyal friends but only one who really understands me pretty deeply, and she'll be moving in a year. I tend to attract and be attracted to cerebral folks who love a lively talk about ideas, and that's wonderful -- but I also recognized that I sometimes avoid receiving love, even though it's what I yearn for. Easier to give it out than take it in. She thought that was a really important thing for us to keep talking about.

Man-wise, haven't heard more from the guy I saw before covid precautions took over, but doubt there's strong affinity there anyway. My Zoom-pal P is still faithfully turning up and we always enjoy each other. I think there's emotional affinity there, but his eccentricities are steel plated. No rush, no worry. Vaccinations and post-pandemic plans are all on hold. I check the dating site only about once and month and usually tell anybody who writes, let's see in summer.

All in all, a relief not to be involved in anything striving right now. I'm working on relationship with myself, mostly.

Invited M over to watch the inauguration and we both really appreciated having each other to comment and celebrate with. Made him a salmon salad sandwich, and my relationship with Pooch deepens with every dish she's invited to clean.

SHE is my soulmate, for fact. Delights me every single day. (Doesn't hurt to see M adoring her too and laughing at her amazing, expressive face. After you obediently scratch her chest a while and then stop, she aims her nose in the air and sits still as a sphinx. I have figured out what's she's thinking. It's either "Continue, Peasant" or possibly "Kneel!). So funny. Mostly she's a total cuddlebug.

I aspire to be the same for some lucky fella one day. Or another dog.

hugs,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #703 on: January 21, 2021, 12:00:15 PM »
I guess maybe some people learn to receive love, by loving ourselves wisely. But a thought popped into my head - what if instead of "releasing the outcome" -- we have to practice "releasing the INcoming" too?  Incoming love - or attempts at same, I mean.

I'm glad you've found a comfy spot with M now. It seemed like this was going to bug you until you found a way through. And it's good to hear you're making a life that's working out for you - despite the continued weirdness we experience in life these days.

I'm still in a "wait & see" mode around here - but have been getting a lot of "little things" taken care of, that will streamline B's entry when it finally happens. (Steady progress happening; but SLOW is the adjective.) Long postponed tasks that completely fell off the list around are getting done. Purging (both Hol & I) is now a major endeavor before spring gets here. When it's time to be outside - I don't want a lot of things INSIDE tugging at me.
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Hopalong

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Re: Relationship/s
« Reply #704 on: January 21, 2021, 02:56:06 PM »
Quote
we have to practice "releasing the INcoming" too?  Incoming love - or attempts at same

Hmm. This caught me up, Amber. In a thoughtful way. Do you mean release attempts to protect oneself? Let go of control?

M always defined love as letting him paternally control everything; you remember how fiercely I fought that.

I guess it's a balance: being aware of the quality of the incoming and calibrating one's inner gates accordingly. Maybe that's hard for me, but I can learn. Younger, I was happy to hurl myself into passionate attachments -- and over-attached. I had little sense of protecting myself and was drawn to All the Wrong Men. Now my pendulum is rusty and sticks and I'm just hoping it can learn to swing free again but in a wiser context.

Something's awry with me but I'm glad this T is hanging in, so maybe I'm getting closer to something important about releasing. I really hope so.

It's as though in spite of how often I preach "release the outcome" (and really do believe its wisdom) I'm not doing it half as well as I'd imagined. I think I've been more like "avoid the outcome entirely by not asking the universe confidently for what you want in the first place."

It's okay for me to want reciprocity, and communication, and a certain level of insight. I'm going to try on that thought for a while. I believe it, but haven't been comfortable asserting myself for my own sake. Oooo. A pattern. T thinks a big one.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."