Author Topic: Relationship  (Read 887 times)

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #90 on: June 11, 2019, 11:12:50 AM »
Aw Hops... I just lost a huge long rambling post thanks to kitty & puppy dumping coffee. Dammit.

But, my main point was that fear of loss always starts from a recognition of something external to oneself that creates a sense of wholeness in the person; something that they can't or don't know how to supply for themselves. There is usually an ego-wound wrapped up in that fear somewhere too. That drives the clinginess, the anxiety, and the protestations that they'll just curl up and die without you. Been there, done that myself... and stopped doing it. (for now)

That's a hell of a lot shorter and sans the reminiscences of Mike's bio and our relationship than what was written before. Probably a lot more digestible too. LOL.

Having gone through my own loss of Mike and sharing with and supporting other widows... realize that the process each person goes through is based on their basic emotional make up. One woman insisted she wanted to die, for months. Despite bringing up all the ways she hated her hubby. Others are mostly withdrawn and private, only occasionally seeking out the connection of understanding & support from others. One in particular, moved into high gear "doing" immediately after her hubs' passing and didn't stop to breathe for at least a year. All of them, including moi, have come through all those wacky phases without attempting to replace the attachment object that was lost. (to speak clinically about it)

M's only in year 1 of adjusting. His manifestions are partly due to his loss, and finding that you and he are incredibly compatible in a lot of ways is fueling hope for replacement - even though rationally, he's probably aware that you are a different person altogether. The emotional & rational in him, at the moment, aren't exactly the same stream of energy. Maybe he does have attachment issues, or some emotional neediness that he hasn't acknowledged and brought into his rational brain yet. Counseling, therapy of course, helps with that. But in a convoluted way - this is ALSO a form of grieving and trying to make himself whole again. IMO, the only thing that makes a person whole again is time - and mostly time spent making peace with the loss and finding one's self again - the whole self.

But that's hindsight talking; I'm coming up on the 4th year of my loss. I know that early on, I simply could not explain my behavior or actions to anyone - not even Hol. She kinda understood intuitively since we've always been close and because we've spent so much time together now, she gets it. She's been monitoring me and the progress going on. And she's impatient as hell, for me to just let go of the past patterns and habits and move the F on, to put it her vernacular. LOL. I'm just trying to give myself the luxury of thoroughness and creating the new comfort-zone of being able to trust my SELF, without relying so much on externals - mostly other people - for that sense of well-being. Given my past history you can see how that makes sense. For ME.

Other people need different things; have different ways through. So, maybe one thing you and M can start to talk about, is whether this manifestion of neediness is really who he is... or if it's new, and a reaction to loss and trying to find his way through that. There isn't any weakness or shame involved in getting help with the process. In my most confused times... my big brothers and all you Amazons were there shining some light on what I couldn't see then. Holly too. We DO tend to come out the other side of grieving loss knowing ourselves better and stronger emotionally, if we give ourselves the opportunity to go through the labyrinth.

You are right to be wary of being the band-aid in this situation. But you don't know enough yet, to determine if this behavior is engrained in his personality and therefore a red flag, or if it's related to grieving. Bandaids don't fix or heal anything; they just protect the ego from the agony of the labyrinth. Time apart is the common sense way to get some perspective on the situation. Counseling will likely provide the answers you need, and I agree with your T - it shouldn't take long. Remember, "bargaining" is one of the steps in the grieving process... and gifts to an attractive replacement can be seen as bargaining, can't it?

OK, I'm getting wordy again and off in the weeds. Good place to stop before I go completely off the rails again. LOL.
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Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #91 on: June 12, 2019, 11:24:49 AM »
Thank you, Amber.
I think you're spot on that it's grief unfinished, or at least partially that.

He greeted me last night with another question, expressed with trembling intensity:
"Do we love each other?" I asked back, "Why are you asking this?" (I could tell it was a "trick" question -- not manipulative tricky, but sort of desperate trick to reassure himself.) I said yes, I love you. And he is staring and says (for the umpteenth time) that he loves me, "deeply." And then he says, "Then that's it! All is well! Because that's the baseline, everything will be fine!"

And, because my hobby is peeing on people's dreams, I said, but these words are not magic. Love is not enough. Love is real but it's not magic and doesn't fix everything.

Still, we had a more peaceful evening. He talked a lot about his panic and paranoia, and more about the physical vulnerability he feels, and more and MORE about how much he desires me wants to caress me how important touch is (for the umpteenth time). I tried to express how when something is constantly verbalized it may dampen the chances that it (meaning reciprocal desire) can arise organically in a present moment.

I said it better than that. What I meant was, yes I am attracted, but the constant talk ABOUT touching makes it less natural to touch or let it happen naturally. (I think I meant, you don't give me a chance to touch you before you verbalize it; it's as though as you're in a relationship with yourself and just sharing the thoughtstream). He just narrates everything, even while it's happening. I can hold him and he'll take it in for a nanosecond and then start: "Yes? See? I like this! See how nice this is! It feels so good to be close to you...and on and on and ON."

Maybe part of it is professoritis. He literally talks his way through life and though I sure am a talker too, I think my T had an insight when she suggested that his nonstop narration might be a way of making a wall of words.

Rather than bringing us closer, sometimes his talking allows nothing in. It's a stream of illustrations and instructions sometimes. It's too fast for him to take much in. Though I do notice he comes back later and refers to something I said once. He's brilliant IQ, and struggling EQ.

We went for a walk after dinner and I think that calms him down. He does have a lot of the "H" in ADHD, I think. His life has been almost nonstop cerebral for decades.

Whew, tiring just to write about. But for me, we stepped down the intensity a notch, and he also acknowledged that although he fell deeply, completely in love with me--the timing might have been too soon in terms of grief. And I was glad to hear him say it. For him to recognize that these things could be overlapping was good, and gets to the heart of what you were saying, about replacement.

He does see me as an individual. But he was trying to make his last chapter "over and done" and grief doesn't work that way. It flows in and out for a long time. That loss will come and go even once he's in my arms the morning after. That is natural.

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

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #92 on: June 12, 2019, 11:33:12 AM »
I think, from reading that, Hops, that it makes sense that the speed and intensity he's showing at the minute with your relationship is a way for him to stop or avoid feeling the loss of his wife, or that there's guilt in there somewhere (because he's fallen in love again) and he's trying to block it out.  And I don't mean by that that he's using you as a distraction and his feelings aren't real, just more that his feelings for you are probably (must be) triggering feelings for his late wife and the pain of losing her - and possibly pain from that first marriage that perhaps is still lurking in there somewhere.  We all know how keeping busy stops us from dealing with painful feelings.  Hopefully his therapy sessions will start helping him to make headway with that somewhere (and maybe offloading to a therapist will slow down what he talks to you about as well).  He's very lucky to have you as a port in the storm at the moment; I suspect someone less self assured and focused would have either thrown in the towel by now or rushed along to keep up with him - neither of which I think would be very sensible.  I hope things settle a bit for you and he starts seeing his T soon xx

lighter

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #93 on: June 12, 2019, 11:27:30 PM »
Oh Lordy, Hops:

If this T, and you can't find a way to get M calmed down.... I don't know how long you can remain steady.

It's impossible to know if this very need state is M's constant, or if it's a temporary way of being.

If this is how he was during both marriages... he's unlikely to change, IME.

I'm up to my elbows in gators right now, but will come back and post more tomorrow.  I hope.

Sorry things are slipping sideways, Hops.  I'm hoping this is just a bobble.

Lighter

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #94 on: June 13, 2019, 09:32:22 AM »
Tupp, I'm starting to think you have the best natural ability of all of us here, to be able to counsel others. Your intuition about him feeling guilty or trying to make amends for something in the past could be spot on. It IS something that people who've lost a spouse experience and it manifests in different ways.

Hops, that belief in the magic of those 3 words to make everything OK, in all situations unequivocably is something I've known too in Mike. Sometimes, it does work. But more often, I think women prefer being SHOWN that love in actions and behaviors... than simply another reiteration of the promised commitment. Words are just words, after all. And since we all lie to ourselves at one time or another - or indulge in pretending - the incantation is always less than satisfying to our different ways of knowing the world. But, in my experience with guys and their foibles, I think many times the incantation is made in hopes of being shown that love to themselves... as much as wanting the opportunity to proceed showing it to you. (It's a more concrete transaction that way for them - or some of them. And no, I don't have the words right yet about this.)

I have seen a pattern in people who demonstrate their anxiety with a tsunami of words (wonder how I caught on to that... LOL). Variations about the reasons why are sure to exist. But what Lighter said about the wall of words is a bullseye. People around the talker, get caught up in the stream... feedback and interaction from the audience, reassures the talker that they're worthy of attention and having an impact; that they are "real"... even as the wall of words hides their feelings of insecurity about their self-worth. They're good at talking; they're less good just being quiet and still feeling comfortable in their own skin. The motivation is to prove... worthiness. IE, worthiness is conditional and dependent on being able to express themselves, be understood, and even praised... by external sources. It's a form of lack of self-confidence. Professor-itis, indeed. As many faculty as I've known over the years, as the relationships endured and deepened, this was something that many of them had in common. Part of my job was helping them feel confident in their abilities to manage technology.

So, that's identifying a possible problem. Solutions or Rx's... are to reassure the person that it's perfectly safe to relax with you. Maybe choose a time to "practice" just being together silently. Start with short time frames, or the antsyness will get unbearable... LOL. While it's important to communicate your boundaries and need for time alone, it's also necessary to emphasize the wish to share time together. Above & beyond, what you normally would do perhaps. This might help dampen any fears of abandonment. (and it doesn't always help; in this case, I don't think M knows any other way to manage his feelings, and perhaps hasn't even untangled them yet; when he's shown how I'm sure he'll try his best to master it before he realizes that isn't even totally necessary all the time)

Maybe set aside some time during the week to play a little game. Something to occupy monkey-mind, like checkers or cards... while just being together. That might reveal some new information. And it also gives you both practice not being focused so much on each other but still being very much together.

And.... I'm getting way too far out in the weeds again. Be patient, Hops. Your sense of things is strong and wise. You're a little ahead of M, in the process of getting to know each other - the warts & all phase. And if he's going to devote some time to inner work on his own, he'll need the privacy to deal with it. It's temporary, as we know. But I have a feeling he's going to need a lot of the same kind of compassionate support and intuition that we practice around here, too. For awhile. You both will see the relationship from a new perspective, down the road a ways. And you can't predict that perspective from where you are now - travelling together. Hang in there; M will appreciate that later.
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lighter

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #95 on: June 14, 2019, 10:40:15 AM »
So much wise input....Amber, and Tupp. Wow.

I wanted to touch on finding a safe way to express and receive comfort/physical attention that could help calm things down.

Maybe set up a playdate in jammies with soothing touch....inner arms, backs of knees, where more trust, and comfort are exchanged.

If you initiate, Hops, it could flip things for both of you, IME.  There would be important rules in place, and agreed to.

You can consider it, or dismiss the idea as you've handled this well as can be expected.  You'll continue making sound decisions.

Lighter

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #96 on: June 21, 2019, 01:53:44 PM »
Whew. I want to apologize in advance for not replying to each post discretely, but just yammering. Recent things you have each observed or offered have had a hugely helpful impact on my thinking recently. But if this time, I take the time to tease out individual observations and respond to each properly I'll never get through it.

The whole ante just upped a lot for me, and it's got many layers. So please forgive me for not responding properly individually, so I can just get most of it out.

I nearly broke up with M. We're at a pivot point. I think he knows it but what matters is that I know it. Reasons:

--He got an automated update from my D's online fundraiser. He danced around but told me about it. AND, he characterized it as "I got an email from X [D's friend who runs the site for her]." My instant fear and pain was what it always is. He had made a previous donation, adding a note about "from someone who loves someone who loves you very much" (which was intrusive, behind my back, and not okay. He was inserting himself to make me the source.) But my first thought was, oh no, her friend doesn't have my contact info so wrote to him (because his email shows his name). Is my D dead? What has happened?

The truth? It WASN'T a personal contact, it was a routine auto email from the site hosts (it mentioned friend's name in subject line but was clearly an auto-thing). And he didn't make that clear.

Long story shorter, it turned into a lot of excruciating back and forth where he toyed with what or how he was going to strategize his donations to her (because "he really wants to help."). And my heart is torn because damn, he COULD change her life if he wanted. BUT...it's all under the umbrella of him having a paternalistic sense of himself, and I know about his previous driving interest in her ("the daughter I never had", and his obsessive returning and returning to pry about her earlier...and I do not want her to become one of his f*ing PROJECTS). Then...I learned that his second donation (which he didn't ask me about, despite having agreed that he would do NOTHING in her direction ever, without my explicit permission) was a piddling amount. It won't do anything real for her and it was not worth dragging me through the anguish I go through every single time he finds a way to bring her up.

Anyway, later he sent me an email that, in my view, was arrogant (he sees his motives as purely altruistic--I believe he's willing to bring up my D, casting himself in a hero's light, in order to get my attention yanked back to him) and included phrases like "I have not yet decided what I'll do" and "I will let you know what I do" and "I will let you know when..." etc. All of his remarks in that email were the opposite of keeping his earlier promise to never interfere, never question my judgement about my D, and never make a single move in her direction unless he has my explicit permission. And the fact that early on, I knew I needed to spell this out should have been a warning.

Anyway, I am not giving that permission. Something about his triangulating over this, fantasizing about "I'll have to find another channel to reach her" (what? a private investigator? is he kidding?), inserting his power as an uninvited father figure when he does not know her and does not comprehend mental illness, made me feel he was basically disturbing the status quo as much for his own gratification---a hero fantasy---as for her. And with absolutely no regard for what all this stirred up for me. Agony. Again.

I just lost it with his "another channel" remark, because he's proceeding with a rescue fantasy separate from me and it's not his place! I get him. I get that he sees himself as the kindly pater familias, and has fantasies of incorporating her into his "firelight." BUT AFTER FOUR MONTHS IN MY LIFE HE IS NOT WELCOME TO DO THAT. He is too into control and pressure and getting what he wants and creating goals that involve wearing me down...and if he inserts himself between me and my D, not only will I NEVER see her again but I would never forgive him for that invasion of MY parental space, empty though it is. He doesn't have at stake what I do, and he must respect my wishes. Period.

I basically blew up in writing, ranted at him about the boundary I'd set and felt he blew past, and told him I didn't feel safe with him emotionally.

He was devastated and said I mischaracterized everything, and he simply wants to help. Maybe he does. He is sensitive. But also has so much unrecognized male privilege and power that he can play around with another person's deepest life, just because he is wealthy. I am SO sensitive to this, and for him to busy himself in my greatest wound "just because he can" makes me crazy. So we fought on the phone, I pulled back, and then he had another panicky meltdown.

(My long stories never get shorter, sorry.) Finally, I told him I do NOT want to talk about it, but if he wants to donate this and only this is what he has my permission to do:

1) Donate ONE amount through that fundraiser, ONE time more. Up to him, but whatever he is comfortable with. (Iow, don't give one hundred and then another hundred months later. If he REALLY wants to "rescue" her, then do something that will make a difference.) I said, take the money you're spending on taking me to Paris and give her that. It would be a much better use of that amount. (He's told me he wins or loses that much on the stock market in a day, or maybe it was a week, can't remember. I don't care, but he's not going to send me into the emotional pits over an unserious amount. If he really is yearning to help her, then help her. In a real way. Or shut up about it.) I really do believe it was about getting my attention back. He comes up with pretext after pretext any time I withdraw.

2) Do it anonymously, and unsubscribe from further updates. I cannot cope with ongoing hints, reminders, mentions of emails, etc.

I also said, do it without hinting, expecting thanks, asking for credit, or turning it into a fantasy of becoming directly involved. He replied, "I understand" and I hope he does.

I didn't want to see him for days and couldn't sleep and felt awful. Because of course I want her to be helped!!!! But not if he's "taking over" and going at it like Professor Superior. I left him a message after calming down, telling him I care about his heart too, but he does not grasp the "ferocity of pain" I have around this issue, that I know things about her approach to life that he does not, and the next time I saw him we didn't talk about my D again.

So I really mean it. If he's motivated solely by empathy but also respects me, then he should give her a significant sum that could actually change her situation. Or nothing. I'm not letting a millionaire play with my pain just because he can purchase "credit" for that because he has that economic ability.

He doesn't see any of this (the power and privilege stuff) or worry about it. But I see it, and I do.

Next, there was his complete freakout that I was backing away. I considered not going to Paris and really hesitated. So the next time we got together he was trembling, put his head on my shoulder like a child, and was clearly devastated. I was unnerved by his emotional collapse.

So there's a whole LOT to unpack, in therapy and in our relationship, if it's going to survive. He says he's looking forward to his first T appointment. My sense of him is that his approach will be completely intellectual and it will be many months before he faces what drives him at the core. A huge insecurity, despite his career.

What I'm contemplating is being a loving friend to him (I do love him) and backing way off the romance. I'm romanticism-averse anyway, and his romantic hyperbole was entertaining and flattering at first, but I realize (not for the first time in my life) that it leads to delusions unless a person keeps a tight grip on the difference between fantasy love (he's a medievalist and on his 18th book grounded in the 15th century) and reality-based love.

I told a friend this week that I want two things in a relationship: love and freedom. And if I'm ever backed into a corner and forced to choose, I will choose freedom.

So there it is. I still love the man, haven't completely abandoned the dream of a happy future together (we enjoyed ourselves a lot on a recent outing, talked as enthusiastically as ever). But for my pace, we're way too early to be talking about permanence and racing into commitment or major changes (me moving, etc.).

I hope therapy and travel both add good layers and we can grow together, still. But if we can't...I choose freedom. (Even old-age poverty doesn't scare me as much as losing that. I do commit and sacrifice, but it's voluntary. I won't be pried out of a parental role, or wedged into any other kind of presumed role, without consent.)

Thanks much for listening, alla y'all. Thoughts very welcome as always, and next time I'll appreciate them one person at a time.

Love you much!
xxxooo
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #97 on: June 21, 2019, 03:40:04 PM »
Oh Hops.  I will speak bluntly and from my gut and I will apologise now because it will probably sound too blunt and I don't mean or want to add to what you are dealing with at the moment but I found reading what he's done with regards to your D horrendously painful, horribly, horribly controlling, utterly dismissive of your terribly broken heart where your D is concerned - and then he manipulated the whole thing back round so that he was the terribly wounded party crying on your shoulder because he was 'only trying to help'.

I won't lecture you on what you should and shouldn't do; you are a wise woman, you've weathered these storms many times before and we all know you won't end up trapped in a bad place.  But I can see nothing but control and manipulation in everything you described there.  Sitting down with you, discussing D's fundraiser, asking what you think about him donating, if so how much, etc etc, would all have been appropriate.  Giving you time to think, feel, wonder and then respecting your decision, whatever it was, all good.

But donating, talking about email updates, claiming he'll contact her in other ways, he hasn't decided what he'll do yet - what the f?  No, Hopsie, this is very bad, these are not misguided attempts to help, this is controlling behaviour and through your D as well - that terribly painful and tenuous relationship that you've tried so desperately to avoid severing completely without allowing yourself to be destroyed in the process.  Such a huge job you've had to do with that and he treats it like a game?  And doesn't even give you the grace of knowing her medical bills are paid (which I know would be a huge weight off your mind) but instead donates a small amount that will make no difference.

My worry (for you) is that this has changed so dramatically and so hugely in such a short space of time.  I am reminded of a previous boyfriend of mine who was, initially, so charming and funny and I enjoyed being with him so much.  We fell head over heels so quickly, moved in together and literally within weeks I was living with a completely different person - whiny, clingy, didn't like me going out without him, used to turn up if I did go out and leave him at home, called me throughout the day which initially I took as a sign he really liked me but I eventually realised was just him getting his 'mommy' fix from me.  This doesn't feel like the slow unpacking of a relationship were you gradually learn more about one another; it feels more like a facade initially and this is the reality.

I understand completely you loving him.  Love doesn't vanish overnight in the same way it isn't there overnight but please do be careful not to work too hard at understanding where he's coming from in all of this, Hops.  You're not his therapist and you shouldn't have to wait months?  years? to see if the therapy is making any difference.  If he'd been like this when you first met him you'd have run a mile.  So please do just take care to guard your heart and keep your time for you, your self care, your health and your own peace of mind.

You don't need to worry about replies or apologise for not replying; we all know what it's like when things boil over like this.  But he needs to sort himself out pronto; I will not be happy if I have to come over there and kick his arse!!

Please do take care of you and I'm sorry for sounding harsh and abrupt but this is troubling me and I don't want you getting hurt xx

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #98 on: June 21, 2019, 05:10:52 PM »
Thank you, Tupp.
I think your warnings are realistic and completely reasonable.
That's why I've hit the brakes.
Not (so far) to end the relationship, but to pull back enough that I get a chance to see if he's learning fast or not at all.

I agree with you that he was being manipulative but am also thinking that's driven by huge anxiety. Reflexive, but not his true character (hopefully, and it remains to come clear).

His carelessness or lack of recognition of what it'd trigger in me is blindness rather than cruelty, I think. Even though he does have a very tender heart (dogs, kids, I can see it clearly) ... I think it's impossible to show true empathy when:

--one is beside oneself with anxiety and dependent need (I was exactly like this in a relationship some years ago), and

--due to personality, anxiety and insecurity, one cannot listen enough to feel fully developed empathy. One might WISH to, but anxiety can be like a forest fire. (I told him grief hurts terribly, but anxiety terrifies.)

I truly am curious about his response to therapy. Enough to want to remain in his life -- at least for now. But with substantial changes. I'm stepping back and planning to tell him I think we either slow it way back and reboot back to getting to know each other through traditional talking (not life fusing so fast). Or we stop.

Your concern is very well reasoned and well taken. I'm listening.

And so grateful.
love,
Hops

PS--And if it turns out he does need a good old-fashioned Tupp-Whupping (arse kicking), I'll buy your plane ticket!  xxxooo
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 05:39:52 PM by Hopalong »
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sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #99 on: June 21, 2019, 05:53:38 PM »
Oh (((((((((HOPS))))))))). How horrible for you.

Yes, he definitely exposed his ulterior motives breaking through that boundary. Completely agree with your assessment - and I feel your upset is justified. You explained how this was very painful for you up front, to the best of your ability -- and he thinks he can fix this, get back in your good graces by using D? WHATever he thought -- I think you've clearly seen through that. Talk about jeopardizing trust.

:shakes head:

Tell ya what, while I was going through that feet 6 in off the ground phase myself, part of the reason I kept babbling about it, was because I KNOW it's not good for me to stick in that phase too long. I needed to see how I was getting the cart before the horse. As it is, it wore off in 72 hours and I was grounded again. STILL just as happy, but a lot more sane. Having more time in between seeing my guy is a GOOD thing, IMO.

The silly things I entertained in my head that first 24 hrs after he left anyway... make me rightfully blush. I KNOW BETTER, by now. And I may return to those giddy, googly-eyed feelings again... but they can't be ALL I'm thinking/feeling about him. Real life, has a whole different set of requirements.

Now, I guess you've got a chance to see how he responds to you being angry with him. See if he can apologize and understand what he did wrong and why that made you angry - after specific instructions not to interfere, because it would cause you pain. See if he understands that anger in one partner doesn't HAVE to mean the end of the relationship (although sometimes it does) and if he can do what is needed to repair what he broke INSTEAD OF what (believing he knew better) he tried to "fix".

I think you're the one who's taken on the "project" Hops. More power (and patience) to ya... I think you're gonna need it. That's the kind of thing I'd have been angry about too. It's like going behind your back to assert his "greater powers" to make things OK... when all he's done is made them worse than they were previously. I don't think I'd have been as kind and compassionate to him as you were.

PS - might be a good night to sip some bourbon with a girlfriend.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 05:57:03 PM by sKePTiKal »
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Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #100 on: June 21, 2019, 07:17:23 PM »
Thanks, hon.

I should've added that he did, profusely, express remorse that he triggered my renewed anguish over her. He still didn't understand how his executive-management wording offended me, but unpacking unconscious patriarchal stuff isn't going to come quick. (And he believes he's a grand wordsmith so I doubt he'd see that somewhat-pompous tone the way I do.) So he remained convinced his effort was misunderstood but I believed him that he was also truly sorry he had caused pain. Particularly over his careless description of the "auto" email he'd gotten as "an email from her friend." He swore he understood ALL my instructions if he did donate, and not mention her again otherwise.

In addition to devastated at the near-breakup, he looked truly remorseful when I saw him, and has since backed way off the hyperbolic-romantic incessant reminders of how he feels and what he wants (perhaps he DID hear my explanation that they were backfiring, not leaving me oxygen or space to cross toward him voluntarily).

So...I dunno. I imagine a relationship with anyone with a lifetime's baggage at my age will mean work. I'm backing off to a caring but safe emotional distance to be damn sure it's not going to be consuming, pointless effort. If it's an endless struggle I will end it. I think traveling together for a week (with my own room to retreat to) may be a good chance to observe some additional stuff.

I don't mind adjusting, learning, and also challenging myself in therapy (why do I freak out about sex?). So if he is doing the same and showing signs of insight, mebbe we'll make it. (He even said he didn't care, he wants me enough as his lifelong companion that he'd commit to me even without it.) Hmmm. I just know I have to feel completely safe and not overpowered and not pressured in order to enjoy it. B, the previous "boyfriend" -- pissed me off in the same way. I think part of M's pressure is his post-surgery anxiety to check out whether he's still able. He was two years ago, but is also panicking about age and mortality since losing her.

One whiff of entitlement to my body before I offer it and I'm outta there. My last "fun only" lover -- decade and a half ago! -- responded to MY invitation. Hmmm.

But it's not only all that. It's the "fusion" he's been trying to create with me. Belatedly, despite many years of craving that myself before oodles of therapy taught me how unhealthy it was, and how I had to learn to love myself and not look, as you mentioned, to external sources to make me okay...I have caught on that he's in just the same place I was back then.

My hope (not expectation) is that as brilliant as he is, he might perhaps respond to therapy with insight. Worth a little time, I think.

Thanks much Amber...y'all have no idea what your support and insight means!

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

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #101 on: June 21, 2019, 07:37:53 PM »
While it's important to communicate your boundaries and need for time alone, it's also necessary to emphasize the wish to share time together. Above & beyond, what you normally would do perhaps.

Problem with that is, after 15+ lonely but independent years alone...adjusting to seeing him 3 times/week is already a challenge for me. And otherwise, I worry that this kind of approach puts me in a transference-a-la-therapist position, and I vastly do not care to do that. Or take that role. At all. Happy to share with him various insights I've picked up from decades of therapy, but not as his instructor.

Good news on the same curve. I think partly in response to his own freakouts, he decided to "un-retire." He wants to keep teaching, professorizing, until he falls over. And I feel relieved, as does he. I think all that mental energy was going into me, after 50 years of having a LOT of other things to think about. (He recently returned the proofs for his latest book, so he still has an amazing work discipline.) I am just glad because he absolutely loves teaching and scholarship. And he's going to drop all the extra administrative stuff, such as heading up graduate studies, that made FT into FT+. He happened to know a friend of my father's who died face-first into his typewriter at 101, still writing scholarly articles. He says, I want to go like that! And I think for him, that'd be perfect.

For me, if I'm with him long term? Time to MYSELF!!!

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

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #102 on: June 22, 2019, 05:35:39 AM »
I keep trying to write a post, Hops, and keep deleting it because I keep saying things that I know you already know and are aware of :)  So I will just say that I know you will figure this out, I hope you know that while we are all rooting for you to have the happy ever after bit we also don't want you having to compromise on any of the things you've worked so hard for and you hold so dear to yourself.  So I hope you will keep posting, keep thinking, keep taking back your space and time and keep looking after you.  Not least because I've got no-one to water my plants if I have to come over there and kick his arse :) Lol xx

lighter

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #103 on: June 22, 2019, 09:34:16 AM »
((Hops)) I'm so relieved he's going back to work.  Whatever happens.  All that focus and zeal was impossible to deal with, mainly bc he can't hear you through his need, as you've mentioned.

I hope the T breaks through.  He's smart enough.

The fact he's messing in your wounds, like fingerprinting child, then going all Irkle...
"Did I DO that?". It's maddening, imo.

It's forgivable if he respects that bou dary going forward.  I think. 

It's a terrible thing when your new, supposed to be safe person, begins putting your emotional safety in his sights, and for what seems to be attention.  It doesn't feel molevolent but it feels deeply disordered.

I think Paris will make or break the bond.  Hold steady.  Don't give an inch.  Take back the ground you lost.  He learns and can be trained, or cannot.

Stay in observer mode as you can manage.  No matter what he does, this can still be a period of growth, lovely meals, and compassion for you both.  There will be deep sadness if he can't make the shift, but you're hopefully able to stay level, and hold what you got, as they say.

Don't panic if things go awry.  Know he's doing his best, and can't manage more.  He would if he could.  Our limitations are so human, and heartbreaking, imo. 

I guess I'm saying that if he fails, just enjoy Paris on your own.  Try to resist racing to the airport in horror.....worst case scenario.  Been there, done that.  He'll likely talk you into staying, and that's deeper misery, IME.

Courage, Hops.  Maybe he'll be brave enough to figure this out.
Lighter


sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #104 on: June 22, 2019, 10:59:26 AM »
If you read my long description of Buck, Hops... you might already know what I'm going to say.

You may have to enforce that tiny bit of space between you and M, for awhile on your own. I don't like the "fusion" idea either, but I know Mike really went there after he retired and I fully sympathize with the Japanese women stuck with retired husbands. I'm not picking up any of that from Buck; he's been alone long enough. It's myself I have to watch, because precisely, it's what I was used to with Mike. I don't want that again. ESPECIALLY when we're older, we have to adapt those "conditioned expectations" of what a relationship is and the structure of it to the complicated mess of what our lives have been up till now. That requires individual, private space. Entry into it, needs to be requested - not taken for granted.

The sex thing is also different when we're older. I swear, we might as well be teenagers again what with all the angst and self-consciousness about our bodies. For guys, that often shows up in performance anxiety. Everyone deals with it their own way too. For me, it's an area of compatibility in the top 10 important things on my wishlist. And so it's also something that I explore earlier than most people. What I noticed - despite being able to immerse myself fully still, despite my old lady body - is that even in the peaceful, safe place afterwards... I needed to go back to my own room to sleep. Let my brain process everything while I slept. (I think I might've been wary about emotional whiplash, too... part of my emotional self wants to judge this as "cheating" on Mike. It's not at all rational in any way shape or form; but I am paying attention to it regardless. That would be loyalty at my own expense, and I know for a fact he didn't expect me to enter a nunnery while he's chasing blondes in heaven.)

What was really welcome to me, was being able to talk about it openly without "posturing" or ego-crap. He surprised me in an embrace and kiss (I'd given him a huge hug when he arrived; this was later on) and while I didn't expect anything of the sort... I was ready and willing to not just receive but give as good or better than I got. Full throttle. And he made sure verbally it was what I wanted; even letting me come to his room and leave as I needed to. But then, there have been "omens" all along our friendship period that there was some kind of intuitive understanding & respect for our separate life experiences between us.

It's a totally different style of thing that you're going through Hops. I'm not even sure they're comparable - apples to apples. But I shared your reticence about sex too and whether I even had that side of me left alive... until it was called forth. She's been in hiding for a long while, but she's way more alive (albeit PICKY) than I expected. And not at all concerned with the vulnerability that's involved in that shared experience. But there's a lot of trust already built up between he and I. The fact that I could definitely still desire someone is very empowering and magical for me.

But I've needed those 4 solitary years of picking through the flies in my own "pepper"... to know whether or not something like this was even on my "want" list. Maybe you need to focus on that for a bit, too. Unravel all the bits & pieces of emtional experience flotsam that have gotten tangled in that very natural expression of life & love in human experience.

For sure it'll be a different ball of yarn, than mine.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.