Feeling Crushed

I’ve truly been doing the best I can.

Something is so off for me. I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly. I can name plenty of things, but there is something deeply, deeply rooted that I can not unearth.

I can’t have the conversation about a job search with anyone anymore. I’m tired of hearing the stock answers that “you’re so smart and talented someone you will always land on your feet!” Or “why can’t you do something else? I’m sure you have transferable skills!” Then their brainstorming starts “have you tried this!” “I know someone who does that, why can’t you?” “I know admin assistants that make over $100k – surely you can find a job!” Do people truly not understand how hard it is to pivot a career at 53 years old? A career built in very, very specific and technical experience? I sound cranky because I am.

I am not unhappy with the job I have exactly. I doesn’t pay enough (I took 1/3 of my normal salary, so that puts me back to what I made when I was 30 years old) but I remind myself every single day that I am very grateful to have any job in my industry. It’s on the other side of the country and I just don’t want to live in Portland, Oregon. While some friends try and encourage me and make it sound like a great new adventure, I feel that the ones who are the most honest with me will say “its not your place and hopefully this is only temporary.” It is not my place. I am an urbanite at heart. Going to a crunchy granola, outdoor loving extremely liberal place yet totally not diverse city is just not for me. I am praying I can convince my new team that I can remain remote for good. If I can do that, I can come up with a plan that feels comfortable to me, despite the loss of salary. I am trying every day to remain positive and grateful.

In the meantime I am so overwhelmed with the timing and making a plan – and that’s a kiss of death for a planner like me.

I have decided to sell my home. While the pain of this decision resonates with me every day, I know this is the right decision. My brain is in overdrive to think of ways to stay, to keep my old dream of living here forever so my grandchildren could be close (imaginary grandchildren I don’t even have yet). I fight with myself daily to stick to my decision to sell. The market is ideal for a home like in in my proximity to the city. My brain is working so hard to keep me here that I often wake in a cold sweat fighting with this decision.

Besides the emotional and mental challenge to sell, I struggle with logistical challenges. Ideally, I want to pack up and move once. I don’t foresee that happening unless I can go totally remote. I want to be in my home until my youngest is off to college in early September – this really isn’t ideal for a new family to move in, so I know I have to be out in the summer. The plans look as follows depending on my circumstances:

  1. Sell the house as close to my move date as possible, pack everything and put into storage. If I had to live with my sister 2.5 hours away until my youngest is off to college, I suppose I could do that. Then, move to Portland and rent a furnished apartment for about 6 months while looking for a place to live.
  2. If remote, sell the house in the summer, buy (or rent) a townhome further south in the same state where it would be more affordable but keeping me within about an hour drive to all my family and friends

I need to avoid moving more than twice – once out of this house and then once our of storage. That’s already super costly AND I have to consider how to get my car and stuff I need to wherever I land in the interim of having a full time home.

Right now, my job expects me to move around September. I do believe I can convince them to let me stay home longer, but even if they did, that wouldn’t be sensible as far as selling my home because I would have no where to live. I am so stressed about how I will see my kids if I leave this state. I don’t make enough money to maintain any type of residence in two states. And I know my kids well enough, they may come visit once, but they won’t want to be put out. That really sucks.

Add this break up on top of everything and I feel really shitty.

I have my first therapy appointment Friday. I’m praying most of the service is covered because she’s expensive. If I have to pay 20% it will already be $50 which isn’t a terrible fee every week. But if the insurance does that “usual and customary fee” thing and they say they only pay 80% of (not $250 which is her rate) then I might be paying much more – and I can’t even afford the $50 frankly.

I don’t want to go on more meds. I can barely have an orgasm as it is, and any stronger meds will kill my libido. At least my sex life was healthy.

I feel so crushed by the weight of everything lately. At least before I had Scott to hold my hand through so much of this change. Now I’m just alone.

I don’t even have friends or family to help me through this exactly. I lost my best friend post Mexico, and I sort of don’t blame her. My other closest friend is not the type to come running to help in a crisis, she would be there on the phone, but that’s about it.

I’m just feeling like I’ve really fucked up my life since 2018 and I don’t know how to get any part of it back.

If I Wrote a Letter To You

If I wrote a letter to you, what would it say?

If I wrote a letter to myself what would it say?

They say at the end of a relationship you should write down all the things you didn’t like about a relationship instead of focusing on all the things you did like. They also say you should work through a process of forgiveness.

This week was The 1 year anniversary of the day we met. After a big fight last week where he broke up with me on the phone “we’re done here” but I reached out with an attempt to resolve, I knew in my heart of hearts we were not making it through this weekend. Yet, we both arrived full of hope.

There was one thing I was clear about, for both our parts, should he abandon me again in anger, I would not stop him from leaving this time.

The truth is, I don’t know exactly what turned him so angry on the second day. I honestly and truly do not. But it went bad early in the day and only got worse. This resulted in him leaving me behind in the hotel before 9pm and going home, leaving me to get back on the train and head home the next day.

I didn’t cry during this fight because I had already cried close to 2 hours during the day, which angered and embarrassed him. He really doesn’t understand emotion and the fact that he was more worried about being embarrassed than soothing me shows how deep the emotional insecurity runs. He thinks it’s a play or manipulation to get him to have sympathy for me, I assure you it was not.

I didn’t understand why I cried so much yesterday but I do now. The moment he got made at me I knew it was over. I just knew there was no coming back from this one. I knew he would ultimately abandon me at some point during the day/night and I could not control my emotional response to that. I could not articulate this to him yesterday and I’m pretty sure if I did, I still wouldn’t have gotten the soothing I needed to come down off my ledge. Once again I was the one to ultimately attempt repair during the day, but he sat on his anger until he pounced.

We don’t know how to communicate with one another on the things that are important.

The strangest thing of all is we get mad in trying to please the other. He feels like no matter what he does it’s wrong or not enough and I feel exactly the same way. When I think I’m being agreeable and not complaining, somehow I am still not doing what he needs. I wish I could figure it out because, long term, Scott is the type of partner I want to be with. But, I don’t know how to separate emotion from practicality.

I do know I can’t live in fear he will leave when he’s angry. Or have him be so mad at me that he sees no part in the event leading up to the argument. More than any other time in my life I tried to do what he needed, I thought I was. Yesterday was a clear indicator that I cannot do what he needs me to do and he cannot seem to give me what I need emotionally.

He does try. He really does try to please me. Until I piss him off, and now, after too many arguments about the same triggers and patterns, he can’t stay in the moment and the whole thing just whips around.

Last night when things started I remained stat felt disengaged (like I said I had cried most of the day) and after being told there was no reason to cry and I embarrassed him, I kept my emotion removed. As he escalated and began packing I asked him to stop speaking multiple times because at that point it was all attack until I finally went into the bathroom to wait for him to leave the room.

I let my kids and friends know I was alone and coming home the next day. Then I took a gummy and went to sleep.

My heart hurts today, my brain is foggy and I just want these feelings to pass so I can get on with the process of healing.

I know he will not reach out and that kills me. I know he will never be the one to make a first move anymore. I have to accept that it is what it is and I can no longer do it. I need to stick by my own word and demonstrate some self worth for once.

I am just numb today. I thought maybe I could write the list of the reasons why not, but that hurts too much today.

I want to be with someone who feels I’m worth a chase, an apology, or comfort sometimes – no matter how angry and upset they are. I want to feel safe. I want to be seen when I hurt or even when I’m wrong. I want to learn how to fight fair (and I have in this relationship) and come out the other side of arguments stronger. I don’t mind that he held a mirror to my ugly spots, I don’t mind acknowledging and accepting there are things that should I change to be a better person. I cannot do that with someone who repeatedly says “I am who I am” but does not allow me the same luxury.

I am really sad. I hope I have the strength to weather this storm. I have an appt with my therapist now that I have some health coverage again. I know there is work to be done on myself.

And I know I need to write a letter of forgiveness to myself. He deserves one, too. But this time I have to learn no one is going to take care of my emotional well being but me.

Modesty

This is a word I haven’t thought of in a while but it crossed my mind tonight after a conversation with Scott.

I just spent 2 hours searching vaccine appointments for my Dad with no luck, so this will be a short post, but it’s on my mind.

Scott feels he is landed where he wants to be. Status quo and happy with his job and where he is in life. He’s 46 and sees an easy path to retirement working for the government doing what he does very well, but not hardly working. But he’s getting the sense his boss doesn’t want him anymore and is pushing him out. I just needed to listen to him tonight as he was pretty upset and I realized I was describing him incorrectly all along – he does boast about how great he is and how he is the best there is, which I genuinely find appalling. I just didn’t understand why.

Now I do.

He just has no modesty and no humility. And I don’t think he even realizes it. For all my flaws, I have both of these qualities in spades (in person, but you get alllll the word vomit from my head!). I have to keep my mouth shut when he starts on himself because it’s just not how me or my people do it.

I am great at my job, I’m a pretty good mom, daughter snd friend. I do not boast about any of it. I certainly do not boast about my income, my status or my abilities.

I wondered to myself if people who do this never got the recognition they needed when young or got too much recognition? Or are they just loud achievers? There’s no debate he’s good at what he does, but he’s complacent…and believe it or not, this complacency (or lack of ambition) may be a bigger joy killer for me than his anger episodes.

I wonder why some people boast like this and are not modest no matter how good at their jobs they are and why some don’t?

Where’s my psychologists here?!

Modesty

This is a word I haven’t thought of in a while but it crossed my mind tonight after a conversation with Scott.

I just spent 2 hours searching vaccine appointments for my Dad with no luck, so this will be a short post, but it’s on my mind.

Scott feels he is landed where he wants to be. Status quo and happy with his job and where he is in life. He’s 46 and sees an easy path to retirement working for the government doing what he does very well, but not hardly working. But he’s getting the sense his boss doesn’t want him anymore and is pushing him out. I just needed to listen to him tonight as he was pretty upset and I realized I was describing him incorrectly all along – he does boast about how great he is and how he is the best there is, which I genuinely find appalling. I just didn’t understand why.

Now I do.

He just has no modesty and no humility. And I don’t think he even realizes it. For all my flaws, I have both of these qualities in spades (in person, but you get alllll the word vomit from my head!). I have to keep my mouth shut when he starts on himself because it’s just not how me or my people do it.

I am great at my job, I’m a pretty good mom, daughter snd friend. I do not boast about any of it. I certainly do not boast about my income, my status or my abilities.

I wondered to myself if people who do this never got the recognition they needed when young or got too much recognition? Or are they just loud achievers? There’s no debate he’s good at what he does, but he’s complacent…and believe it or not, this complacency (or lack of ambition) may be a bigger joy killer for me than his anger episodes.

I wonder why some people boast like this and are not modest no matter how good at their jobs they are and why some don’t?

Where’s my psychologists here?!

Cobwebs

I know enough now that I should be writing when my mind is so cloudy. I’m fraught with tension, anxiety and sadness. It is taking every ounce of my being not to reach out to Scott to “fix” this.

In reading back on my posts related to Scott, I know how I sound. I realize what I haven’t done is take a really hard look at myself in the mirror. Scott’s mirror, too. When I do this I always worry I am going to spiral into such a depression I won’t be able to crawl out again, but I also know the hard work is the necessary work.

Unfortunately, Scott echoes much of what my x told me about myself: I am controlling and critical to a fault. I make him feel like he is always wrong, that he can do nothing right and that it’s never enough for me. My boys say the same thing to me.

I can sit here all I want and defend myself. I don’t wonder why Tony was so impossible to separate from, I know it clearly: he saw my shit and somehow knew how to manage it. My friends say because he had the best of both worlds. I say part of it was his own personality coupled with the way he thought he loved me. He would do anything to please me. Anything expect leave his wife.

Initially with Tony, I never felt it was one sided. Some times one or the other was angry and one or the other apologized or reached out to smooth things over. Tony never indicated I was controlling or critical, but I must have been the same person then as I was before him and after him. It sucks so badly that the only benchmark I have about how I want to be treated in a relationship is from an affair.

There is a part of me that feels I need to remove fairy tale Tony from my equation. Bobby too. That leaves me with no one but my x and my childhood (pre marriage) relationships as models. And Scott. But I can’t help thinking how wonderful Tony always made me feel. Ho he brought a sense of sincerity, seriousness and kindness coupled with patience and humor.

I am not going to make excuses for myself in this post. I am going to do the work and get out the things I know I must continue to work on, for my own benefit and any relationship I am in (including my kids).

I know my challenges:

  • I like control, I have a very hard time not being in control and not being right on top of it.
  • I am critical of almost everything at first. It must come out like a complaint every time to those around me, even though I often times am just speaking directly. My directness is too much for many people.
  • I lack patience.
  • I am judgmental.
  • I am lot to handle because I am so complex and moody.
  • I have become extraordinarily forgetful and I think part of this is I’m not paying attention, I lack the laser focus I once had. I worry I may get early onset dementia all the time.
  • I am, in fact, almost always depressed and find it hard many days to get motivated. Now, more than ever, I do – but fuck its hard all the time.
  • I am overly anxious about my life change – leaving my kids, selling a home I have lived in 43+ years and changing coasts for a job I am overqualified for at a company I don’t love in a city I don’t want to go to.
  • I do not do alone well. At all.

There have been so many things in my life that kept me on cruise control that my worst traits were also my best.

  • My control came out as confidence more often than not.
  • I was too busy to let depression consume me with a busy job, commute, home and young children.
  • As a leader, directness and transparency was a valued trait that I was rewarded well for.
  • My life didn’t really change all that much, other than the normal course of events (until divorce and my subsequent breakdown).

I believe, though maybe I’m wrong, if I can begin to alter the worst three traits: control, criticism and judging, I will find I am a better person. I thought I was doing better with these things, but, according to Scott and my kids – I am not.

So this is why I have a hard time determining if Scott is good for me in the longer term. I want to believe in fairy tales, but I no longer believe that’s going to happen. I am trying to live within my means both financially and emotionally.

I cannot discount his anger and lack of emotional IQ, those are really big concerns for me. I don’t believe that my behavior creates his reactions, those reactions are built upon his own history and he is responsible for his reaction. I am responsible for mine. I don’t think you can ever really identify when the chicken and egg come first, and I can often see when I am at fault, but it doesn’t excuse his behavior.

Scott deserves credit for so many things. I believed in the beginning he saw me, at least I felt that he did. I believed we were aligned with both long and short terms goals – and we are, but our path to them may be divergent. We both place importance on many of the same things.

The space between our behaviors is where I get lost. I think about how I can change myself to be a better person, and I feel that I can do that because he is supportive of me in many ways. On the other hand, every time I make a wrong turn, I feel threatened with argument and abandonment. Should I expect him to love me unconditionally? That doesn’t seem reasonable or fair. So what is it I need to work on to behave difefrently to bring out the best in him?

When I am happy and positive, he is happy. He really has no expectations other than to be happy and at ease. He says often that he’s worked so hard to get to this place where he enjoys life and doesn’t have a lot of responsibility that he isn’t going to let anyone or anything disrupt that – which I do. On the other hand, I have so may expectations, and when things don’t meet my expectations I try to control the situation or become hyper critical. I know I need to let some of this shit go, and stop wanting everything to be perfect, but even if I did – would Scott be fulfilling to me? Would he nourish my soul the way I need it to be nourished? What in the actual fuck does that even mean to me?

I can’t even figure myself out.

I can’t have it all, so what is the absolute non-negotiables I can’t live without?

Would figuring out those things help me to relax and loosen my death grip on everyone around me, including myself?

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush…

I sort of knew when I didn’t hear from him what would happen. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew the outcome.

He called late afternoon Friday. I was working and returned his call 2 hours later. He didn’t leave a message or text, just called and I guess that’s what people do now – expect you to return a missed call. I find that very strange and impolite.

Anyway, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to *not* say something about his lack of communication but I had practiced in my head how I wanted to say it because I knew it would be very sensitive. Any time I have tried to raise any criticism it resulted in an argument. Today was no different.

He babbled on for 10 minutes about nothing, as he does. He asked what I was up to (as if we we buddies and not in a relationship) and I said not much and he went on about an exercise equipment. I said I would let him go as he was clearly doing something in the garage, but he insisted he was done. I asked if he could have a quiet minute to speak to me about something I felt was important and then I said I was pretty upset I hadn’t heard from him in 2 days.

He immediate launched into how busy he was and that he had so many chores to do. He said he was so busy Thursday morning that by the time he realized he hadn’t heard from me it was already noon. And since he hadn’t heard from me he would see how long it took for me to reach out to him. I was expecting that. I knew it was coming. I knew there was going to be a tit-for-tat in there somewhere.

Then he said he called me a few times and never heard back from me. And that’s when things took a turn because I get really angry about his embellishments. He called Wednesday, I showed you the text to which I replied to his call, and then he called again later afternoon Friday to which I returned his call. No call of his went unanswered. I stated that it is his routine to reach out to me every morning (and even said how much joy this brings me to get his good mornings) and was uneasy and upset that I hadn’t heard from him. He said if it bothered me I could have reached out to him. I was honest and said I didn’t because I always feel like I’m the one “fixing” things so I waited on him. He stated felt it was fine not to communicate for close to 2 days when he has things to do.

I do not.

Not has that happened expect once after a very big argument.

And thats when he said I was causing him anxiety and “this had run its course and he’s done”. We said ok and hung up the phone.

Of course I called back a minute later because thats bullshit.

I should have let it go but it doesn’t matter, a longer conversation didn’t change how I felt or how he felt. We have a canyon between us in the way we communicate.

The biggest highlights are that he has worked hard to get to a place that’s relatively stress free and he wants to have fun. Why can’t I just relax and have fun.

I told him I felt there was no depth to our communication. We can talk about dried paint for days on end but it’s empty. We can talk about that with anyone. Relationships are built on deep conversation and connection and he said “why? Whose rules are those? I just want to have fun and not work hard”. He doesn’t think life is without conflict, just doesn’t understand why things need to be so deep.

I can’t imagine a serious relationship without it being deep. Like I want to crawl into every corner of your brain deep. Maybe that’s a bit much, but let’s meet part ways on this.

Here’s what I know about him: He has never had a broken heart. He said he never felt real love until he met me. He said he can’t remember when he last had sex and was not drunk until me. He had never made love or slow sex looking into someone’s eyes. His parents threw him out when he was 15 and he had to drop out of school and make a living. His x wife never communicated and became an alcoholic in the latter half of their marriage. One of his daughters hasn’t spoken to him in years.

He doesn’t think any of this is unusual. He knows many people who have never had a broken heart at 46. I don’t know anyone. that makes me sad for him that he never experienced the depth of love that would create a broken heart, or make one want to make love while gazing into their partners eyes.

I am certain after our conversation he does not have the emotional intelligence I need. He wants a buddy, someone to have a great time with and go on adventures with. Someone who is mostly happy and not complex. I am not that person. I know I’m fully and highly emotional, have a high emotional IQ, and I’m very complex.

I have never met anyone as disconnected as he is to their emotions. My x is somewhat similar and perhaps because we were married young and I was immature and naive I didn’t understand emotional intelligence myself, but I don’t even recall that asshat as being this disconnected. Scott claims to have been In therapy and “dealt with his shit” but I notice he doesn’t seem to have any of those typical buzz words that come from ANYONE who has had ANY therapy. Maybe he went a couple of sessions. He said he did but he never talks about when or for how long or any of it which is also sort of weird. I’m pretty for sure if he had been in therapy he would be more aware of his emotional maturity. And he would have a better understanding of what a relationship needs to grow.

He is baffled by what I think I’m missing. He doesn’t understand what more I want from him when I say we are emotionally disconnected or that our communication has no depth.

To be fair, he said plenty to me which I listen to and don’t take in stride as I’ve heard it before. I’m difficult and inflexible and want things my way. There have been others who knew how to coax me out of those moods but he’s not that person. He avoids conflict until he’s explosive. He feels he communicates to me, but clearly not in a way that is understood by me.

He doesn’t believe in saying I’m sorry as he feels the words are empty – and he said the same about I love you initially.

The bottom line is we are both feeling exhausted and unappreciated. I said I felt unloved and unimportant and he couldn’t believe I said that after he stayed for 2.5 weeks with me.

I wanted to offer solutions but heard nothing I needed in that conversation. I asked why he complimented my appearance and he said because he knows how self conscious I am and wants to be sure I know he thinks I’m beautiful. I tried to explain it’s the same with my heart and soul – he needed to nourish them the same way he did my self consciousness about my appearance and he couldn’t understand that either.

I asked why he loved me and he said it’s my spirit. That I have an energy that draws him to me (and also clearly sucks all of the energy from him). He can’t really articulate what draws him to me and he’s got a million words at his disposal: this is a guy who is a mediator with two masters degrees, the man can talk and write prolifically.

The mediator in him can only focus on facts. All this emotion overwhelms him. In an effort to cross the chasm I suggested we read a book or take a course or watch videos on couples communication. He said he would do whatever it takes, but I’m unsure it would matter.

I feel like he doesn’t hear me and he feels like I don’t hear him. And round the mulberry bush we go.

I think a break is in order which is very upsetting to me as we were going to celebrate an anniversary. As much as it pains me, I think I have to learn how to let go. I don’t know if some form of counseling can help us, or if it should even be considered.

I feel like crap but I feel that way because I am not getting the nourishment I need in this relationship, not because he’s breaking my heart.

And that, in itself, is a little heartbreaking.

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush…

I sort of knew when I didn’t hear from him what would happen. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew the outcome.

He called late afternoon Friday. I was working and returned his call 2 hours later. He didn’t leave a message or text, just called and I guess that’s what people do now – expect you to return a missed call. I find that very strange and impolite.

Anyway, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to *not* say something about his lack of communication but I had practiced in my head how I wanted to say it because I knew it would be very sensitive. Any time I have tried to raise any criticism it resulted in an argument. Today was no different.

He babbled on for 10 minutes about nothing, as he does. He asked what I was up to (as if we we buddies and not in a relationship) and I said not much and he went on about an exercise equipment. I said I would let him go as he was clearly doing something in the garage, but he insisted he was done. I asked if he could have a quiet minute to speak to me about something I felt was important and then I said I was pretty upset I hadn’t heard from him in 2 days.

He immediate launched into how busy he was and that he had so many chores to do. He said he was so busy Thursday morning that by the time he realized he hadn’t heard from me it was already noon. And since he hadn’t heard from me he would see how long it took for me to reach out to him. I was expecting that. I knew it was coming. I knew there was going to be a tit-for-tat in there somewhere.

Then he said he called me a few times and never heard back from me. And that’s when things took a turn because I get really angry about his embellishments. He called Wednesday, I showed you the text to which I replied to his call, and then he called again later afternoon Friday to which I returned his call. No call of his went unanswered. I stated that it is his routine to reach out to me every morning (and even said how much joy this brings me to get his good mornings) and was uneasy and upset that I hadn’t heard from him. He said if it bothered me I could have reached out to him. I was honest and said I didn’t because I always feel like I’m the one “fixing” things so I waited on him. He stated felt it was fine not to communicate for close to 2 days when he has things to do.

I do not.

Not has that happened expect once after a very big argument.

And thats when he said I was causing him anxiety and “this had run its course and he’s done”. We said ok and hung up the phone.

Of course I called back a minute later because thats bullshit.

I should have let it go but it doesn’t matter, a longer conversation didn’t change how I felt or how he felt. We have a canyon between us in the way we communicate.

The biggest highlights are that he has worked hard to get to a place that’s relatively stress free and he wants to have fun. Why can’t I just relax and have fun.

I told him I felt there was no depth to our communication. We can talk about dried paint for days on end but it’s empty. We can talk about that with anyone. Relationships are built on deep conversation and connection and he said “why? Whose rules are those? I just want to have fun and not work hard”. He doesn’t think life is without conflict, just doesn’t understand why things need to be so deep.

I can’t imagine a serious relationship without it being deep. Like I want to crawl into every corner of your brain deep. Maybe that’s a bit much, but let’s meet part ways on this.

Here’s what I know about him: He has never had a broken heart. He said he never felt real love until he met me. He said he can’t remember when he last had sex and was not drunk until me. He had never made love or slow sex looking into someone’s eyes. His parents threw him out when he was 15 and he had to drop out of school and make a living. His x wife never communicated and became an alcoholic in the latter half of their marriage. One of his daughters hasn’t spoken to him in years.

He doesn’t think any of this is unusual. He knows many people who have never had a broken heart at 46. I don’t know anyone. that makes me sad for him that he never experienced the depth of love that would create a broken heart, or make one want to make love while gazing into their partners eyes.

I am certain after our conversation he does not have the emotional intelligence I need. He wants a buddy, someone to have a great time with and go on adventures with. Someone who is mostly happy and not complex. I am not that person. I know I’m fully and highly emotional, have a high emotional IQ, and I’m very complex.

I have never met anyone as disconnected as he is to their emotions. My x is somewhat similar and perhaps because we were married young and I was immature and naive I didn’t understand emotional intelligence myself, but I don’t even recall that asshat as being this disconnected. Scott claims to have been In therapy and “dealt with his shit” but I notice he doesn’t seem to have any of those typical buzz words that come from ANYONE who has had ANY therapy. Maybe he went a couple of sessions. He said he did but he never talks about when or for how long or any of it which is also sort of weird. I’m pretty for sure if he had been in therapy he would be more aware of his emotional maturity. And he would have a better understanding of what a relationship needs to grow.

He is baffled by what I think I’m missing. He doesn’t understand what more I want from him when I say we are emotionally disconnected or that our communication has no depth.

To be fair, he said plenty to me which I listen to and don’t take in stride as I’ve heard it before. I’m difficult and inflexible and want things my way. There have been others who knew how to coax me out of those moods but he’s not that person. He avoids conflict until he’s explosive. He feels he communicates to me, but clearly not in a way that is understood by me.

He doesn’t believe in saying I’m sorry as he feels the words are empty – and he said the same about I love you initially.

The bottom line is we are both feeling exhausted and unappreciated. I said I felt unloved and unimportant and he couldn’t believe I said that after he stayed for 2.5 weeks with me.

I wanted to offer solutions but heard nothing I needed in that conversation. I asked why he complimented my appearance and he said because he knows how self conscious I am and wants to be sure I know he thinks I’m beautiful. I tried to explain it’s the same with my heart and soul – he needed to nourish them the same way he did my self consciousness about my appearance and he couldn’t understand that either.

I asked why he loved me and he said it’s my spirit. That I have an energy that draws him to me (and also clearly sucks all of the energy from him). He can’t really articulate what draws him to me and he’s got a million words at his disposal: this is a guy who is a mediator with two masters degrees, the man can talk and write prolifically.

The mediator in him can only focus on facts. All this emotion overwhelms him. In an effort to cross the chasm I suggested we read a book or take a course or watch videos on couples communication. He said he would do whatever it takes, but I’m unsure it would matter.

I feel like he doesn’t hear me and he feels like I don’t hear him. And round the mulberry bush we go.

I think a break is in order which is very upsetting to me as we were going to celebrate an anniversary. As much as it pains me, I think I have to learn how to let go. I don’t know if some form of counseling can help us, or if it should even be considered.

I feel like crap but I feel that way because I am not getting the nourishment I need in this relationship, not because he’s breaking my heart.

And that, in itself, is a little heartbreaking.

Confusion

Like much of the country, weather here sucks. The snow is pretty but it makes me feel claustrophobic after a week of continuous snow. Maybe it’s the claustrophobia that is making me feel some sort of way.

I’ve been seeing Scott over the course of a year at this point. Next week would be one year and we were set to celebrate with a couple nights in a hotel.

But I haven’t heard from him in 2 days now. Dead silence. And as I sit here and contemplate how I feel about this, I come up empty.

My friend says I’m selling myself on a less than ideal relationship and some days I feel that way and other days I don’t.

Have you ever been so confused that you don’t know how much of the issue is because of you? I know I have some negative traits. Lots of them. Scott had tolerated a lot of my negative behavior and makes me want to be a better person. I try very hard to stay positive and not be critical. I try to be very aware now. The problem is, oftentimes my behavior is a result of his and we can’t see eye to eye. I’m not blaming him, I just think it’s both of us creating a discomfort which linger between us.

Let me start with all the good things, the reasons I stay with Scott:

We laugh, so much and all the time. He just makes me crack up even when I don’t want to. This has always been one of my most highly coveted traits in a person.

He’s smart, and the kind of smart I admire. He just knows a lot of things. And when he doesn’t know he researches. He is one of the rare people I defer to for knowledge about many things. I admire this trait greatly.

He’s practical about many things but can also be impractical about others. I like this balance. He has his own Bougie side and isn’t cheap. He knows what he needs to be serious about (like diet and exercise) but will break those patterns to have a Cocktail and a snack.

He’s fun.

He is healthy and very fit. This is an immense turn on and he keeps me on track. We cook and workout together.

He is a good Dad and very close to one of his two daughters. They are like best friends.

He’s great in bed. We had a slow start here but it’s gotten really good.

Things that concern me:

He is stubborn. And once he gets stuck he is immovable.

While he isn’t always quick to anger, once he does he gets mean. I think he has underlying anger issues but he won’t address it. When I see the anger flare I try to immediately back off whatever topic got him to that point.

He can be inconsistent and that plays into some of my worst fears. I like to know where I stand which requires a lot of communication.

He doesn’t have good emotional communication. This dead silence for 2 days is a good example.

I feel he is immature because he doesn’t have friends who are peers. Because of this he hangs out with his daughter who is 24 and her friends. He doesn’t see this as an issue. I think a 46 year old man hanging out at bars, bar hopping and getting very drunk with children is a concern.

He drinks and smokes. He admitted (while drunk) that he knows his drinking is an issue. He doesn’t smoke around me and does his best to hide the smell and taste before he sees me.

He doesn’t have family traditions and strong family values. He is close to one of his daughters and one of his sisters but his family is dysfunctional. In his marriage he didn’t celebrate holidays and such and didn’t establish traditions, so he gets weird around traditions I have (or want to establish with him). this makes me feel as if nothing should be celebrated.

I sometimes feel stressed when we are together for long periods. This is primarily due to the fact that he’s just not busy. His work is very light. If he actually works 3-4 hours in any given day it’s a lot. So that means when I have any break he’s full on with me. I mostly don’t mind but I don’t think he sees how consuming he is. Alternatively, when he’s not with me his communication is highly inconsistent. Those two behaviors don’t reconcile well for me. I don’t expect him to text every 5 mins but I do expect a good morning, good night and a phone call each day. Or at least communication why I wouldn’t hear from him (I don’t feel well, I’m going out etc). These last 2 days are an example. We have had discussions about this and he is aware (and is ok with) my expectations for communication.

Here is what seems to have happened:

Monday: He left by train after 2.5 weeks with me. I text him twice to see if he arrived home safely (not happy he didn’t communicate this without me asking first) and he said he was out with his daughter. He text again to say they were home and chatting so I told him to enjoy his night. No reply.

Tuesday: I received my normal good morning. One text during the day and then nothing. I text him when I was finished with work and he told me he had a headache. I said I will leave him be and said goodnight. I know he doesn’t like to be bothered when he doesn’t feel well. But he could have text during the day to let me know why I wasn’t hearing from him.

Wednesday: I received a normal good morning. I asked how he slept and how he felt. I didn’t hear from him again until a photo of his dinner. I asked how he cooked it. I text when I was done with work and he said he was at the food store and would call when home. That was 7:45. He called at 9:15 while I was getting ready for bed. I replied by text about 15 mins later that I was going to sleep and said goodnight. He said goodnight. I have not heard from him since.

This has happened before. Where I may have not been as receptive as he expected so he determined I was “in a mood” and wanted to “let me have my space” and I would “reach out when I was ready”.

However, I wasn’t in any mood. I was tired and wanted to sleep and said so (I didn’t have my glasses on so I said “robbed” instead of “to bed” but otherwise was clear. There was no good morning on Thursday or Friday.

Is he angry I said “late night at a food store”. Is that the driver here? Who knows.

So I’m sitting here somewhat upset and anxious and not knowing what’s going through his mind. I question if I should be holding out like this but I have my reasons.

We have had a few arguments and hurdles to overcome. Each time I have made the effort to reach out and smooth things over. Every time there is conflict I am the first to try and resolve it. This has made me feel like each time is also somehow my fault. I did something to upset him, he withdraws and so I must soothe. Of course we know not every conflict can be due to one person, and his withdrawal is on him. I have always felt like it was worth it to smooth things over regardless of the conflict and how it started. I felt that he may not know how to Manage conflict within a relationship – and I’m no expert but I felt like the relationship deserved it. I was willing to be the one to set an example of how conflict can be resolved with love.

This time, there was no conflict. This time I simply didn’t answer the phone when he called and I have no idea why I haven’t heard from him. I’m angry, upset, anxious, hurt and confused. I could reach out as easily as he could. I’m not because I’ve reached my limit of being the one to always smooth things over. He broke routine, two days in a row, and he must have his reasons. one partner in any relationship cannot always be the one to attempt reconciliation. This isn’t even a reconciliation though! I’m frustrated and tired.

Things were not this way before Thanksgiving. The period between Thanksgiving and New Years was fraught with tensions and arguments. I felt these were resolved in early January and we have been spending quality time together and both of us were happy and connected. maybe that’s not the case. Maybe he wasn’t. But if he wasn’t he didn’t communicate it.

So that brings me to emotional communication. I over communicate. I ask a lot of questions and I’m curious about everything in his life. I realize he does not have the same curiosity. He says he doesn’t need to ask questions because I will tell him everything I want him to know in my own time. While some of this may hold true, I believe when someone has a strong emotional communication style, they are inquisitive about their partners moods, experiences, and day to day – especially in a long distance relationship.

I’m disappointed. I believe I have tried really hard to maintain this relationship. I do not feel the same from him. I always feel like he is willing to let me walk away. I have told him how I feel about abandonment snd how I have to work within myself to resolve this type of anxious attachment. What if he is avoidant attachment style? Unable to dig deep for the emotional connection. He hasn’t experienced a relationship where someone consistently demonstrates their love for him and says it out loud. I tell him I love him, I miss him, I’m happy when around him. I make sure he hears these things from me because it’s important I hear them too. When he’s here I’m sure to be close to him and touch him (quality time and physical touch are his love languages). Perhaps he doesn’t need the affirmation I do, but I have discussed with him how important the words of affirmation are to me and when he withholds like this I can’t help but feel it’s intentional.

I worry something is wrong yet I can’t be the one to reach out this time. I strongly feel he needs to demonstrate the interest to maintain this relationship.

Relationships with Kids

I know everyone has different relationships with their kids. We all parent differently.

My kids are mostly benign. We don’t have the greatest relationships but they trust me and come to me when they need help. I am home for them. I try to be more of a friend now that they are getting older (18 and 21) but I still treat them like my children and there are lines I don’t cross.

Scott has one daughter she 24 who lives with him. She’s a good girl. She lives in a basement apartment he built out for her and she pays rent and holds down a job. He would like her to be in school be she can’t quite get it together. They have a good relationship. She is mostly respectful and is learning to be a good adult. She adores her father to no end.

Scott parties with his daughter. He told me a story of how “they” took her out when she was 21 and got blackout drunk for 2 days. They both tell the story with delight. I had to turn away in disgust. Not for her, she’s a kid, that’s what kids do – but for him.

I don’t think a parent should be hanging around with his kid and her friends getting black out drunk and footing the bill. I don’t think it’s appropriate.

His answer is “we are free spirits, we do anything, age doesn’t matter”.

When he is out at the bar, often times her friends are there and he’s hanging with the kids. He talks about them like his “crew”. I’ve met them all now, her friends are nice. One night she came to the bar to hang with us a bit and then her friends met her and we stayed and had a fun time. This was the night he smoked and got very drunk. When he is around a fun crowd he loses sight of how drunk he’s getting.

Several months ago he acknowledged he was drinking too much and I added in her was hanging out with the kids too much. He doesn’t have single male friends that are age appropriate but he doesn’t see that as an issue. He has bar friends for his free time. He grew up in another state so his closest friends still live there and his other close friends where he lives now are married – so he is out at the bar socializing.

Should this bother me? I know it’s not the way I parent (or anyone I know frankly) but maybe this is normal in other parts of the country.

I’m trying to suss through so many differences. Does it matter the way he parents if it has no effect on me? No, it doesn’t. But I don’t admire it despite the fact she’s a good girl. I don’t want my kids to see me black out drunk – I have more grace and pride than that. I have more class.

I have never said those words to him: Grace, pride snd class but I realize this is a big divide between us. He makes me feel like I’m too formal and I am not carefree – but I don’t see going out with your kid and getting drunk as being carefree as much as I think it’s inappropriate and not classy.

What do you think?

Wound Tight

I know it’s been more than a minute. But I started work and the relationship with Scott took off.

Dating during Covid changed the way anyone would date long distance. There’s no spending a night in a hotel or a weekend because you don’t want to possibly carry Covid back and forth so we tend to switch off weeks at a time. This created a semi-living situation which his friend dubbed “marriage-lite.” It’s pretty accurate.

And oh is it tough.

I was never entirely sold on Scott from the beginning but ultimately made the decision to try because of many good reasons. There were some outstanding reasons that might have been big enough to stop sooner but I figured times are different, I’m different and maybe it was time to try a new approach to the way I handled things emotionally. I’m not unhappy I did. But ultimately, I’m don’t really feel any different than I did back in the summer.

Scott and I are different. I may have articulated some things that sounded frivolous and judgmental to others. Some of those things have actually lost their bluster as the relationship developed. But as with any couple that spends a lot of time together, the polish wears down and the shiny new thing gets dull.

Were the cracks there all along. Yes. They were. No doubt about it. Some more obvious than others. All highlighted by the inordinate amount of time we are spending together. If we make it past the New Year, we are going to need to slow it down or there won’t be a chance of survival. I’m not even sure there is now. I frankly don’t know how much of this is from the compressed living situation or if it would have happened regardless of current circumstances.

I’ve done things I’m not so sure he can really ever get over, the resentment is already there. He has now done things I’m not so sure I can get past, though mine are not built off resentment. If I were to list everything we’d be here more than a minute, so let me try and recap as best possible. As usual, I need this brain dump because I’m not feeling so great about him/us at the moment.

His resentment is easy to guess. I wasn’t impressed with his job or the money he earned and I voiced hat pretty early on. That ate at him because he believes he has “arrived”. In particular his comments have included “everyone else thinks I’ve got it made except you!” When I pick at him about the things that bother me (and I will get to those) he will say “get my foot off his chest” and get angry, really angry. Add in alcohol and we’ve got an immediate dumpster fire. He consistently says he’s has never been or felt so wrong in his life (this one resonates with me because it is my kids and my x’s complaint as well).

Because his three big ones are accurate (about his job/level of success and my critical and controlling nature), I backed up, a lot. But I’m left feeling that I haven’t made the right choice for myself and I’m overlooking other concerns I have because I’m trying to course correct the concerns he has about me that I agree with. In other words, I acknowledge I have some real crap parts to my personality that I would like to change and this relationship gives me (or gave me) the space to be a better person. The problem with this approach is that almost ANY issue I have now becomes related to me being critical and controlling. Perhaps its true. Or maybe it’s not. That’s where the confusion lies.

So I have just learned that some of the things I deem important have no bearing on me in the context of our current relationship. They might if we have a long term relationship, but they don’t right now. And if the relationship has any chance of survival, I have to keep that in mind and keep my mouth shut.

Do I think this is fair or right? No, I don’t. But I’m willing and ready to try something different. However, as I mentioned, his resentment may have already built to a point where he can’t let go of what has passed. So when other tensions pop up, the anger and resentment from past issues spills out. I don’t know how to fix that or if I can.

The money/job success piece I can’t retract. I voiced my feelings and he already felt the resentment. He didn’t mention it for a long while until he got really angry with me over something else entirely – so that means it’s there, under the surface, waiting to rear its ugly head. I know that right now this has no bearing on our relationship. I have a lot of opinions about his work but I need to shut my mouth. He is very proud of himself and he does like to often say “I’ve made it to the top” or “I’m the best at my job”. It makes me cringe but it has no impact on the relationship. It’s not what I would do.

As far as this goes long term, yes, I see an issue. I equate success with long, hard hours and earning potential. He has no desire to chase that. Now that I’ve spent more time with him I see exactly how much free time he has during a day of work. Does he work hard when he’s working? Sure. But he works 4 days a week for about 6 hours a day. So the money he makes for that level of effort is pretty stellar.

I’ve mentioned he is a storyteller. I knew some if not most of those stories are heavily embellished. Now, I’ve caught several inconsistencies and questioned him. These feel like “white lies” to me. For example, he left to go see someone’s new car one night when we were at a bar. He came back and smelled like smoke. I questioned him and he said the other guy was smoking in his car. I smelled both cheeks so I knew he was lying but I dropped it. The next day we were at his local bar and I ordered chicken fingers. When they were delivered to me the waitress laughed and made a comment about a story. I thought I knew the story (I did know a version of) but turns out a girl was involved. It was no big deal. But he didn’t tell the truth around this girl when he told the story the first couple times. These two things back to back had my hackles up because lying is a really big deal breaker for me and so is smoking. This was when I got the comment “take your foot off my chest” because he thinks white lies to not hurt someone’s feelings are ok and that everyone does it. Well, no they don’t. I don’t and that’s all that should matter. I didn’t penalize him about the girl or the smoking. He knows I’m allergic to smoke and detest the taste. And I could care less about the girl as it’s his past.

Until this weekend I really had implicit trust in him and now my spider sense are going.

But the big one, the really big one, that’s making me feel like it’s over is what happened when we got home after the smoking incident. He was very drunk. Too drunk. His drinking is a red flag to me as well but, again, not something I need to address right away since it has never had any impact on me before this weekend. We got into bed. There was a lot of tension. Then there was an explosion and for the life of me I can’t even tell you what caused it. I rolled over to go to sleep. He flew out of bed, threw the lights on and came right up to my face in anger and screaming at me to get the fuck out of his house. I was scared and I told him to stop being violent and that sent him into another whole kind of rage.

I left the room and slept in the guest room.

The next morning he didn’t address anything (he wakes first by at least an hour). I had packed my suitcase overnight while he was sleeping and my bags were at the door. I came down dressed. He had no intention of resolving the issue. He said he knew his actions had consequences and he would have to accept them.

The short version of this is I initiated a conversation. He acknowledged he flew off the handle but my use of the word violent was extreme and simply made him angrier. He did apologize for losing his temper and threatening to throw me out. I just gave up eventually as I realized he would not see my perspective. When I tried to explain he scared me and there were other concerns wrapped up in the event (smoking, lying, drinking and rage) I could see it was angering him and I wasn’t about to get anywhere. It defaulted to how I treated him in the past and that the tensions bubbled over but were gone now.

Do you give someone a pass for that?

I’m not positive how I feel. I was sad. Disheartened. Scott and I are genuinely friends and get along well. We have so much fun together and really enjoy each other’s company. But when the relationship pieces come into play, it feels like things get off the rails.

I can believe and understand much of what occurred was due to built up resentment. I will accept that he needed to get it out (not the way it happened but he says it’s out now). So, if it’s out for him, do I move on or am I going to always be afraid it eventually happens again?

I had to leave him earlier than expected this week as my son is having surgery. I felt immense relief upon leaving him. I needed the break and I would be surprised if he didn’t feel the same way. Writing this hasn’t helped the way I thought it might.

I don’t know if either of us can withstand another talk. I feel like I need to balance things and tread softly until we get through the holidays. I didn’t even bother to think through some of the other items that bother me because the ones above are the ones that really matter.

Drinking: he likes to drink. We like to drink together. I didn’t realize he likes to drink alone. I didn’t realize how much he drinks. I’m all for getting drunk and having fun, but not on the regular.

Smoking: at some point months in I tasted tobacco and questioned him. At first he admitted he was a smoker many years ago. Then he admitted he smoked cigars. Now I find out he smokes several cigars a day but still won’t say he’s a smoker. He has really made an effort to not let me taste it or smell it before I saw him until now. That was because he was drunk most likely. The next day he said he wanted to sit outside with a cigar (the day after the fight). I asked him later that day if that was intentional to kind of poke at me and he got really mad. But he never ever smoked around me or even suggested it. It felt intentional.

Lying: now that I’ve heard several white lies, I feel like they must be everywhere and wonder what else I’m missing. I can’t speak to him about this right now because it really makes him angry. I have always equated that kind of anger with someone trying to hide more cause that was my x. When anything triggers me and I explain the trigger his standard response is “I’m not them”.

Anger/Rage: there’s nothing to say about this. Damaged people behave this way including me. This takes so much work to keep down and change behaviors. It might not be possible between us if we both have that piece of our personality.

Scott feels his life is free and carefree and I have too many rules. I don’t know how to manage any of this and I truly don’t even know what I feel. Some of it is disappointment in myself for being unable to have an easy no expectations relationship. Why can’t I just let it go and not worry about the future? Maybe there isn’t a future. Should that even matter right now?