So it has arrived. That point where the veil of love and perfection is lifted and we start to expose ourselves to each other. Where we can no longer hide behind the chemically-induced infatuation that the other feels for us and vice versa.
I’ve been overwhelmed and rundown and burnout and I’m actually complaining that the there’s too much pleasure in my life. How insane is that?
So, here’s the dilemma. Or rather, the crux of what is going on and why this huge, emotional regression on my part…
I am not used to love or intimacy or closeness like this. It’s very scary for me. I find such comfort in avoidants because I can LOSE MYSELF in them. They have problems that need fixing and so, I can easily spend my days obsessing over their problems and i never have to deal with ME. I never have to address the question of who I am and who i need to be to stand on my own. I never have to address the 500 pound elephant in the room. I am a caretaker. I took care of my ex-husband, I took care of G, I took care of MB and I took care of S. I am coming up short with D. He doesn’t need to be taken care of. The opposite, in fact, is true. He wants to take care of me. I simply do not know how to react to that and it makes me want to run.
I came to this conclusion after having been moved by a Ray LaMontagne song, “Let It Be Me.” It should be the caretaker’s creedo. When I was listening to it I came to the sad and confusing realization that I have no one to take care of– that my nature to “rescue” is not being met. And the only one that needs taking care of is ME. Shortly after that, I realized that what I am doing by pushing D away is that I am giving up on myself. I am giving up on the potential of something right and good. I am also giving up on work and grad school and who I am as a vital, producing individual. I am completely giving up on myself and I came home from the gym crying hysterically, saying, “don’t give up Tracy. Please don’t give up…don’t give up on love, don’t give up on you, don’t give up on work…Work it through…hang in there…this is YOUR moment to seize and to change.”
I have been focusing a lot on S too. He popped back in to my life, partly my own doing. Before D and I got serious, I sent S an email stating that I was dating again, but that I missed him very much, or rather that I was thinking of him. And so, in S’s indirect, extremely passive way, he’s kind of pulling me back in, without actually committing to anything himself. It’s hard to explain, but in his ambiguous way, he’s flirting. At any rate, because I have virtually no issues to lose myself in with D, I start fantasizing about S. Thinking that I love and miss him. These are true. I do love and miss him. But I know S is not good for me. Why then, do I continue to entertain the idea that he might be? I don’t know.
The bottom line is that I am feeling extremely exposed, and I do not like it. D and I were progressing so nicely, so deeply and I’m guessing a combination of intimate plans and work related stress just set me off– he’s coming for Easter to meet the whole family, we’re set to go to Nassau at the end of the month, he said he thinks he’s falling in love with me. I want all those things. And I think he’s good for me. But I guess I am fixated on a more immature version of love. I’ve never made it past (or rather through) the “negotiating stage” (see: Judith Sill’s book “A Fine Romance.”), EVER, except with Roberto via marriage (and there wasn’t much communication or negotiating going on there), and maybe George. But George was quite different in that we solved our issues by running away and taking long breaks from each other. When we’d come back, we’d be all in love again, but none of our previous problems were resolved. With S, I had hoped to get to the point of negotiating, but he ran away. He yessed me to death and i thought everything was going great. Only to bail out in the end. Non-negotiable.
I’m not quite sure what D will do during this phase, confronted with my insecurity. He seems a little whiny about it. A pouter. He’s taking it personally. How can I ask for time away when he has only a very limited amount of time to offer me anyway? Well, hell…I would probably offer you MORE time if it were during daylight hours, damnit. Can I help it if I am not a night person?
I wrote him an email today, below is an excerpt:
I have been having issues at work, thus another reason why I have been slightly withdrawn and ornery. But I won’t go there again, lest we cause more upset. What’s best is to sometimes not think, like you said, and just let it be. Everything always works itself out. I will say though (something I wish I’d said last night) that despite this new development of me not being as “accommodating” as before it doesn’t change my feelings for you or the fact that i still want to move forward with you. It simply means i am making an attempt (better late than never) to go at my own pace. I realize though, that much of a relationship is compromise and I do not expect to always have my way. But hopefully, we both don’t feel threatened by trying to reach a middle ground. Like for example, maybe Friday nights will be our late night/sleep over night and Monday night will be my time. Maybe we can still get together on Mondays, but I can have the rest of the night/morning to myself- like last night. And that’s not even including little visits and stolen moments in the afternoons or evenings that i so love with you. These are some concrete ideas that we can toss around. Yes?
Here was his reply:
To use your terms, I am a little reluctant to “negotiate” anything with you right now that sets anything down in a schedule, because I don’t really see your needs as falling into a set schedule, but will more likely come in ebbs and flows. I mean from Friday through Sunday, we got a lot of each other, and it seemed very desired by you. Last night, not so much. So lets just let it be for a bit, okay? And I am not always free on Mondays and Fridays. I will sometimes have my kids. I will sometimes have work. I think we can probably agree that as a general rule, its probably not a good idea if I have a night meeting on a Monday night to stop in late. You need to just get your sleep and not be woken up by me, and though I like being able to creep in and steal some time with you, once you’re in bed asleep you are done for the night, and it is best to just let you go.
And just so we are clear, you don’t have to write me if you don’t want to. I don’t want that. And if you don’t know when your “me” time is satiated, the ball is, only fairly, in your court and I will let you be.
Anyway, that was a fair compromise and yet, I took the last bit about me not having to write to him as an offense. He didn’t have to add that. But the truth is, maybe the reason it offended me so much was because it was true and I didn’t want to expose that. I told him so and we bickered a little more until I just conceded. He’s a lawyer, for god’s sake. What the hell am I doing arguing with a lawyer. Part of my problem is not owning my behavior, not owning my feelings, not being able to make decisions and stick to them and feel good about them. I say I want space and then I say, come over! I don’t want to confuse him, and I don’t want to hurt him. But the truth is, I am in unchartered territory without a map! I don’t really know how to ask for things I need and be proud when I get them. I can deal with others’ problems so easily. But not my own.
The other issue that is transpiring is with S. He’s in my life in such a small way but I am making it out to be more than it is. SO…I replied to one of his emails by asking if we could talk tonight. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS, but I think I have to end what little communication we are having. It’s emotionally causing a rift in my relationship with D. Ever since Thursday, when S took me and the kids out to dinner, I’ve been unhappy. It’s never a good thing to have two men in your life, so S has got to go. So…below is the email I wrote to S but will not send. I will tell him over the phone instead:
I’m going to try to make this short and sweet:
I’ve kind of been hoping to bring myself to a rather superficial point with you (much like we had talked about 6 months ago). You know, just hang out, joke around, send funny emails back and forth, and be friends. No strings, no emotional kinda stuff. But when I saw you the other night there were moments where I felt I would burn up with some kind of rampant, buried emotion; love, lust, hate, anger…Not really sure what, if you ask me. My point is, seeing you the other night made me aware that I’m not sure I want to try to be friends.
To complicate things even more, I am in a relationship which has since turned from not so serious to serious. His name (ironically) is D. And I do like him a whole lot. Despite being a corporate lawyer, he’s funny, creative, earthy, plays guitar, has two kids, lives on a farm and has goats and chickens. Probably the most annoying thing about him, from my perspective, is that he is normal and healthy and responsible and all the things I’m not very used to and generally, if given the slightest chance, will run away from. Thing is, I don’t want to run away.
So, the problem is, I’m trying to start a life with a new man, while the old one is still there, and sadly. I don’t think that’s healthy.
That being said, I just wanted to let you know (and not to be too dramatic now) that each of your emails or phone calls is quite difficult for me to deal with, no matter how small or inconsequential you may think they are, and it’s putting a wedge between me and this new guy and drawing me some where into a state of limbo and confusion. Farther from him. Yet, no closer to you. Bottom line: I suppose the easiest way to resolve this is for me to ask that we not attempt our “friendship” just yet. I think more time is needed for me to lighten up over the idea of you. I know I can achieve that. I just need more time. MOre importantly, I really want to move forward. Please respect that i have to try…