Author Topic: Relationship/s  (Read 15320 times)

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #540 on: July 15, 2020, 04:53:12 PM »
No kidding, Tupp! Lighter, that's the MOST satisfying pun I've read in ages. So great I may send it to the Sikh! I agree with you that it wasn't a benign message. M disowns anger, ever, so unfortunately he won't admit to the punitive quality of those remarks either. But that's on him, I'm letting it go (caveat at end).

Tupp, your list of indignant questions was very affirming. Thank you very much for letting those rip! Yup. Even if a man can't/won't bother with tuning into empathy for how women can feel, that was a beautiful display of clear and righteous indignation. I'm grateful it was on my behalf, I needed to hear it.

Your advice too is well taken (although see caveat at end...oof).

Amber, I don't know. I think I've expressed soooo much frustration about disregarded boundaries that M isn't likely to go on a campaign to overtly ignore them now. I think in fact he probably believes he's lost me for good (which he has, barring miraculous insight plus self-confrontation on his part that I'm not expecting). The inner-boy part of him is in pain and full of woe. The Nish side produced an oh-so-omniscient lashing out at my chance for future happiness. The "price." Subtle, but he can't get by my writing-radar. (And he can't demean me to anybody but the medieval historians who've met me, or his family, but if we're well and truly OVER, it's moot. I will not accept direct demeaning anyway.)

CB, I hope your predictions of him introducing classic rejected-N sequences now are wrong, but I've asked him to not contact me until early October, when we each can decide whether to do a friend-picnic. I have zero f***s left to give to defending new bulldozed boundaries, so if he chose to take the dozer out for a spin over one, even a friendship possibility would be closed off then, for me.

The caveat: I read the first few responses here that WISELY said "set it down now" or "nope nope we're done" or the equivalent, and I still caved to my own compulsion to let him know exactly how I read that message, and it turned into a long "explanation" of how I felt two things: Dismissed when he'd repeatedly disregard boundaries he'd agreed to respect, and in specific about that message, Hurt.

Then I closed asking him not to contact me until October, and I intend to discipline myself likewise (wanting to avoid the email tunnel). I think he'll respect it. No idea how he'll be weeks from now.

Meanwhile I need to internalize all-a y'all's advice, because it's golden.

Sometimes here I feel as though this Board has, for years, filled a longing I always had for a sister. Thank you so much, I feel I have quite a few!

hugs
Hops

« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 05:54:32 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

CB123

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #541 on: July 15, 2020, 07:10:39 PM »
A nice thought, Hops, to have a sister!

We don't often think of it, because we are so used to giving away our power--but you could also tell him that YOU will contact HIM when you are ready, and that it will likely be October before you are. No need to ask him to respect your timetable when you already know he won't. 

Anyway, its weird going through that--you are closing doors that neither of you is completely comfortable closing. So its awkward.

Love,
CB
When they are older and telling their own children about their grandmother, they will be able to say that she stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way -- and it surely has not -- she adjusted her sails.  Elizabeth Edwards 2010

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #542 on: July 15, 2020, 10:12:11 PM »
Awkward as hell.
I spewed a couple more interminable emails (trying to explain feeeeeeeelings and self-discovery, self-compassion, on and on--plus more clearly how awful I'd felt during Rokugate, doubting I'd ever be respected and how discouraging that was).

He'd written earlier a few lines asking if I realized I constantly judge him and it's almost a "compulsion." Fair enough, but consider Mr. OCD....

Anyway, my last (finally short) one was just honest. I have trouble letting go and STOPPING when in this situation, and email sucks for this but I was breaking my own boundary by continuing, and he'd be doing me a real favor not to respond.

And he hasn't, bless 'im. So nuts. So miserable. So exhausting.

I THINK I'm free of obsessing about this until early October. Whew.

Thank you thank you...
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #543 on: July 16, 2020, 06:16:48 AM »
Well compulsions are understandable, Hops, but if he does contact you again I hope you'll be able to just ignore/delete/block or whatever's most appropriate.  I think CB's spot on with you deciding whether you want to see him in October and you contacting him if you do.  I don't expect you'll be thinking about a new man just now but by October - well you could well be having a great time getting to know someone online or via the phone (people are doing Zoom dates!  lol).  Or just be feeling very happy and content with yourself, your friends and Pooch, and not feel the need to add M back in to the mix.  So I hope in the meantime you can rest, recuperate, take Pooch for long walks, chit chat to people and if he pops up, just put him back in his box for the time being - in a contactless manner :) xx

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #544 on: July 16, 2020, 06:29:28 AM »
That's a very good plan, Tupp.
I'm not too worried about who calls whom in October, and in fact I was the one to "slip" and email him last...he's backed off. He's not stalky, really. I need to let it go too. Despite all my upset about him, real attachment is still there and it'll take time.

I do need the time and space to just see where I am later. (It would be astonishing if we met in October and he'd gone to see someone about the raging ADHD, had taken some Rx, and all of a sudden he was in control of himself and more able to focus outward, listen, and things go well....blah blah.) That's exactly how I can spin off into fantasizing and I'm not going to let myself.

Meanwhile, still thinking of him a lot.

I think for now I'll do myself more good if I stay focused on home, garden, exercise, decluttering, those Zoom times with friends (not new men yet, though I'd like to know how one finds Zoom dating), and even...writing. It'll be very good for me.

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

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #545 on: July 16, 2020, 09:13:39 AM »
That's a very good plan, Tupp.
I'm not too worried about who calls whom in October, and in fact I was the one to "slip" and email him last...he's backed off. He's not stalky, really. I need to let it go too. Despite all my upset about him, real attachment is still there and it'll take time.

I do need the time and space to just see where I am later. (It would be astonishing if we met in October and he'd gone to see someone about the raging ADHD, had taken some Rx, and all of a sudden he was in control of himself and more able to focus outward, listen, and things go well....blah blah.) That's exactly how I can spin off into fantasizing and I'm not going to let myself.

Meanwhile, still thinking of him a lot.

I think for now I'll do myself more good if I stay focused on home, garden, exercise, decluttering, those Zoom times with friends (not new men yet, though I'd like to know how one finds Zoom dating), and even...writing. It'll be very good for me.

hugs
Hops

I think all of those things are great things to focus on, Hops, and yep, feelings don't just vanish.  Which makes it hard!  But it gets easier over time, I think.

I read about a couple who did a first date over Zoom - apparently they both cooked the same meal, did wine and candles and got all dressed up and then sat and ate together via their laptops :)  Sounded a bit too techno for me but needs must and all that - I'd probably be more up for it if I were younger and had less of a 'can't be arsed' attitude.  Maybe the situation with M will inspire some more fabulous poetry from you :) xx

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #546 on: July 16, 2020, 12:38:49 PM »
I think you have a good plan there Hops. Yeah, it's hard to break habits - even ones you know will prolong the "agony". Time to reinforce Hops' life - and what she wants it to be - and absorb the joy and care/comfort you derive from it.

Famous advice, from the most famous Femme Movie-N-Fatale of all time: There's plenty of time to think about this tomorrow.... tho' your cottage is likely warmer & more cozy than Tara.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #547 on: July 16, 2020, 11:39:17 PM »
It's rough and I feel a little crazed. I had gotten so accustomed to our rituals, but began to realize that in some undefined way I was letting myself drain away and just adapting to M's needs. He has such a strong tendency to build rituals (and OCDish personality) and I have had a strong capacity to adapt to others' preferences for those things (from Nmom, and the old folks) that I was daily bothered by things I didn't enjoy but not asserting myself calmly about them.

Silly example, but it would get under my skin because it is N-ish and to me, too childlike. He'd send me emails that said nothing except a little trumpet blast about himself: I'm leaving for my walk! I did this and this and this and this today! Lots of exclamation points!!!! I hate the overuse of exclamation points!!!!! It feels juvenile on the page!!!!!! And he so rarely imagined my day or asked a question about me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I also got less and less energetic myself the more he sent me his manic reports about his own (extreme) productivity. Just began building a sense that domestic life with him wouldn't feel good. He'd be driven to lead it and organize it and manage it, and I'd numbly turn back into Cinderella. A lazy Cinderella and resentful one.

Not mature on my part, either. But I just think that's how our energies and styles would wind up grinding me down. Nothing wicked about the way he is, but I don't think it'd be a good fit for me. I think he needs a much more traditional woman who is bright, loves everything he loves, and just goes along happily.

Sigh. I still miss him. Believe it or not, he's also fun and sweet and for a long time, felt comforting. Security is a dream, too. But I think the complications of his Nish stuff and ego and all that bigness, would do me in. And my sensitivity and stubbornness wouldn't be fun for him, either.

I want a PEACEFUL, shared old age. And an empathetic connection we never could build.

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

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #548 on: July 17, 2020, 02:24:33 AM »
I think a lot of things are to do with context and compatibility, Hopsie.  I know couples who text each other constantly through the day - everything they're doing, who they're with, pictures of what they're having for lunch.  It would drive me nuts.  A lot of women I know like receiving lots of contacts - it makes them feel wanted.  I just feel irritated - I want to get on with my day and then yes, let's have a conversation tonight and catch up on each other's news (what do people talk about when they always know what the other one is doing anyway?  Too much for my little brain to compute).  I think there's such a difference between someone contacting you to tell you what they're doing (I'm going out for a walk !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and someone taking a picture of a tree or a bird they know you'd like whilst out walking, and then sending it to you.  I do think the first says "I'm thinking about me!!!!!!!!!!" while the second says, "I'm thinking about you". 

And it's so easy to find you're the one making most of the accommodations.  I think we all start relationships happy to be flexible, try new things, be open to new experiences.  But it's easy to suddenly find that you're doing everything on someone else's terms and that you've got lost in there somewhere.  And it's also perfectly possible to be sweet and kind and funny (as M is) and still have traits that just make being together very difficult.  It's okay to miss him xx

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #549 on: July 17, 2020, 02:58:13 AM »
You're SO right, Tupp. Thanks.

I loved this. You often come out with a summary sentence that just nails the heart of an issue. With his frequent emails, this was exactly it:

Quote
the first says "I'm thinking about me!!!!!!!!!!" while the second says, "I'm thinking about you"

We never texted, thank god, since I hate texting physically, hate cell phones socially, and mostly ignore mine. The exception I did love was pix of his baby granddaughter. Sigh. And I'd send him a few of Pooch, whom he loves. Sigh again.

I have to admit something odd, though. I woke up from a nap (I can crash in the early evening for several hours and then be awake half the night) -- and suddenly felt happy. I am still sad but I'm ALSO happy, because I just sensed a lot of emotional pressure is gone.

I got a sudden realization that M is all the complicated stuff he is, that would make him an impossible life partner...but I think IF I decide to see him for a picnic in the fall, I won't be likely to fall back down the rabbit hole. What I was imagining instead was offering him compassion and friendship if that feels wise then.. On my own terms. (Oddly, I think reading the book about D. Trump's family gave me a sense that though M always sanitized his parents, I think he was missing something important early in his development, too. He's no Trump--loathes the man--but I'm starting to understand that he is still in some similar ways a child desperate for attention.)

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

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #550 on: July 17, 2020, 05:16:57 AM »
You are a wise and sensible woman, Hops, so if you get to a point where you and M could share a meal from time to time and swap pics of cute babies and Pooch looking adorable then you will and you will notice if it starts to become troublesome, as well.  I think many of us are damaged by our early experiences, in many different ways, and a lot of us manage to avoid dealing with it by getting lucky with a partner early on or doing well in our carers.  I think for people like you (and all of us on here, I think), the need to dig and figure things out can be a blessing and a curse.  We get to know ourselves better and heal a lot of hurt, I think.  But it also sets the bar higher and I know I have a hard time with people now because I kind of need them to be at a certain level of self awareness not to find them exhausting really quickly and that makes it harder.  Sometimes I look back on my younger days when I could happily sit with just about anyone and cushion myself with booze or drugs and just have a nice time.  I need the connection to be real and authentic now and that's so much harder to come by.  I think it's probably true for all of us.  I'm glad to read that you felt that happiness, with that emotional pressure releasing.  That's good to know. xx

CB123

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #551 on: July 17, 2020, 10:30:57 AM »
Having shared happy moments is bound to produce a stab of pain, Hops, especially when it's all so fresh. My younger kids had relationships with my M and they will occasionally bring up something sweet that he did, or something that was particularly meaningful to them. I always feel a rush of confused emotion, even now, and I feel momentarily disoriented with my feelings.

I have to sit with those feelings for a bit, even now, and let myself enjoy the sweetness of those memories with nothing either good or bad attached to them. He was a very important part of our lives, and we had thought that we would be together for much longer. After this amount of time, I can't imagine what our lives would have looked like since both of us are doing exactly what we want to do, as it should be, but we are in no way living compatible lives. And, at this point, I genuinely have no desire to have a different outcome. I think that you will be able to do that with time. The only snafu might be what is at the base of his reaction. I was never able to do that with my ex, even though I attempted it, because he was very punishing forever after. Hopefully, your M will not do that once he is over his initial reactions. You both will need to get to the point where you are content with the decision, and for it not be so raw to see if his reactions now are just initial hurt or if they are something that he can't rise above.

That's a long time coming though and you are at the beginning of that journey. I love that you woke up with that feeling of joy--I really get that, I've felt that. In spite of all you love about him, there is an amazing joy when you feel the rightness of your decision. It feels like endless possibilities in front of you and the freedom to make your own choices about those. I hope that you can be friends in the future, but just know that that takes time. All told I'll bet that after 7 years of being together, it took my M and I another 3 or 4 to get to a comfortable place.

M and I are friends now the way old old friends are. We don't speak often, only very occasionally go out for coffee--probably a couple of times a year. But we know that if anything should happen to his or mine, everything would be dropped--as a matter of fact, most of our interaction has been along those lines in recent years. I think you and your M could be that way--you will probably have to avoid dinner at his house since that will probably always be a hot button. I can picture you having drinks in a piano bar in an old hotel instead.

Thinking of you, Hops. I know this is hard.

Love
CB
When they are older and telling their own children about their grandmother, they will be able to say that she stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way -- and it surely has not -- she adjusted her sails.  Elizabeth Edwards 2010

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #552 on: July 17, 2020, 11:30:05 AM »
Thanks, ((((CB))))--

I am so glad you and your M were able to get to the healthy, well-boundaried friendship that you have today. And that you have each other's backs still, if there were a crisis. (I am thinking of offering that support to M as well. He has twice said to me since I ended the romantic lifelong commitment part, let me know if you need anything, and I believe he meant it.)

I don't know if he would be punitive. I had a strong reaction to his comment about "paying a price" because I chose "'total' independence" -- and do think that was unconsciously punitive. But it was also his hurt speaking, I'm sure. Time will tell whether that punitive impulse was transient for him, or if it'll harden into a general attitude of blame or payback. If that happened, I wouldn't be interested in friendship anyway.

I did notice that he went swiftly back to formality in his emails "Do let me know if you have a change of heart" and that during the T session, he slammed the lid on his feelings. I think he'll mask all that. If he hadn't, had said truthful emotional things such as, "I'm feeling devastated, is there anything I can do to change your mind?" I'd have had more hope for us. He only said something about his feelings after I'd poured out mine: "I am hurting. I miss you. I have fears of living alone for the rest of my life, I have security fears as well, , etc." He just wrote back, I don't want to be alone in old age either. You are unique and you are the best." But it wasn't ... I don't know what. Revealing anything more, I guess.

One of the things that makes intimacy possible is both people willing to risk vulnerability with the other. I think both of us have had problems with that. I'm leery of letting down my guard because I arrive with my men-baggage and because he's so controlling, even if he often means well by his compulsion to "take over and fix this" -- it doesn't feel like empathy. And though he's fairly freely shared his neediness when he was in its grip, he came across like a frantic child rather than a vulnerable adult, sharing. Although I've been kind to that whirlwind child, I haven't felt warm about soothing him. Instead, I withdraw, which isn't the same as honestly saying in the moment, "I feel swamped and overwhelmed by your demands for attention."

On balance, I think his attachment to his mask of competence is very strong. And my fear of being dominated (a fairly realistic one, imo) is very strong too. Somehow, we have missed the boat on equal sharing of what's inside. In therapy, I'd pour out descriptions of how I was feeling or how I reacted inside to various incidents. M would mostly argue or defend himself with an alternative narrative. He never got to "empathic listening" but I think he never learned it. I also believe he may have the classic "protect the inner self from feeling shame at all costs" reactions. I've been learning that's why it's so hard for some people to genuinely apologize -- to admit ANY mistake is to risk internal meltdown, because the sense of self is so fragile. Those are SO hard to dislodge, and if he's a total-N, which so far I haven't wanted to believe, it would be nearly impossible for him, unless he threw his heart into deep therapy, which is basically what I've conveyed to him.

It would be amazing if he did, but I believe it's extremely, extremely unlikely. That would be one thing I'd listen for in October. Willingness to say something about whether he's continued, whether he chose the Sikh or remained with the less-insightful young MSW, and whether he is willing to be vulnerable enough to tell me anything vulnerable about what he was learning/unearthing. Without that, going forward or renewing anything would be very unwise on my part.

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

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #553 on: July 17, 2020, 04:28:17 PM »
Hmmmmmmm.....(I love Carolyn Hax):

Quote
Q: Is there really always another bus?
I am 65 and would probably dump my boyfriend except for my belief that the chances of ever replacing him are slim to none. I was online for many years (with no good results) before we rekindled an old romance. I reached out to him on Facebook. I hadn't seen him in 30 years. We had lived together for one year back in '83-'84. For the most part he's a good boyfriend (affectionate, very helpful, generous, great sex partner, cooperative, funny) but when he's angry, he becomes verbally explosive and abusive. The things he says suggest he really doesn't like me, deep down. I'm very middle class, white collar, professional, highly educated. He has a high school diploma and is in construction. We have value differences that I believe make it hard to get along at times. That being said, as wonderful as I think I am, I don't believe I would find someone else at this age, as I've tried and it didn't happen. If I leave him, I'd give up a good sex life, a help mate, someone who "has my back." Essentially, I'd be alone. Which typically is OK with me, but as I get older I think it might be of benefit to have someone in my corner. (And yes, I know people die.) We tried couples therapy and he walked out during session 6. He's now in individual therapy. I've had a therapist most of my life. As I write this, it seems like I need to ask myself, can I tolerate his tantrums on occasion to compensate for the all the benefits of the relationship. And did I say, he's very handsome and I enjoy just looking at him? Too good to leave? Too bad to stay?

A: Carolyn Hax
There's an icky film that wants acknowledging--he's verbally abusive but, gosh, so hot?--and now that I've done that, I'm going to talk about something else.

Any time you're telling yourself to take a bad relationship because it's the best you can do, you're killing your soul a little.

Since you used the bus metaphor, I'll say where the bus metaphor is useful: voting. Take the bus (candidate) that gets you as close as possible to where you want to be, knowing perfection is not an option.

But when it comes to your companionship, commit to living your best life. That means asking yourself: Are you better for having this person in your life, or worse? Do you like yourself with this person, or not? It's about the value of what you have, in its own right, not its value relative to something else. It's the latter that brings the ick.

— JUL 17, 2020 12:57 EDT
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

CB123

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #554 on: July 17, 2020, 06:06:30 PM »
What she said.
And as a P.S.: There are helluva a lot of things worse than living alone, and that relationship sounds like one of them.
When they are older and telling their own children about their grandmother, they will be able to say that she stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way -- and it surely has not -- she adjusted her sails.  Elizabeth Edwards 2010