A brief snapshot

Social media is something that simultaneously astounds and appalls me. At times it brings out the lowest common denominator in some, and yet for others it coaxes out a true humanity and the love we all have inside of us.

There is a gentleman I follow on Instagram whom I have never met nor have ever conversed. It has become apparent with his recent posts that he is going through a breakup. At first it was all subtext (a lot of selfies and cheeky butt shots) or the sporadic vague post about “going through stuff.” He finally disclosed his and his husbands break-up in his Instagram story and my heart broke for him. I have watched with interest as this stranger shared his life through photos: spending time with his boyfriend as they travelled the country, to their marriage at the site of a plane crash (no joke), and as they spent time together with their son. I have “hearted” almost every snapshot into his life. And now as he goes onto a new path I eagerly watch hoping and praying for his happiness, all the while never really knowing him.

I have been blessed to have been on the reverse of that, as people who happen to read this little blog or follow me on twitter have asked me how I’m doing. They barely know me, yet something compels them to care and reach out. Their little messages bring a lot of light into my world. And because of their loving curiosity I find myself wanting to share more.

As of late life is good. Wonderful in fact. Things with the husband have greatly improved since our little Palm Springs excursion, during which we laid out all our bull shit on the table for he other to inspect. I will admit, after all the sordid disclosures it took me some time to get through the following mess of emotions, but I have since arrived at a happier place. One in which I don’t ever want to leave. There is power and peace in rigorous honesty. And the communication since has flourished.

Then there is my awesome boyfriend. He is the kindest, most understanding person and I don’t know how I lucked out twice to get such amazing men in my life.

I shared all of this with my therapist during this last Tuesday’s session. She participated in my joy, but like any good counselor she didn’t just accept the good she also asked probing questions. For whatever reason, the one that stuck with me the most was: how do I not compare the two. My immediate response was that I don’t. The two of them are so different that there is no way to hold one up to the other in comparison and to do so would be a disservice to each of them.

After having more time to mull over her inquiry, my answer is still the same but I am more confident in my response. I truly can’t compare them because neither has what the other offers. It is trite to say but they’re like little unique snowflakes. And what I realized is that to break it down into such black and white ideas is not how this works. Polyamory (if that is what this is) is more complex. There are levels and layers to affection, emotions and multiple relationships that can’t be easily described in terms of “oh he’s so much better here.”

I don’t have my fears like I did. The thought that I would somehow be replaced by my husband’s boyfriend have left me. And my fear of us “just fooling ourselves and drawing out the inevitable divorce” has waned. It still lingers at the back of my mind, but it is a faint nagging that I scarcely ponder. Much like the zen attitude of just enjoying the moments with either one, I don’t let these negative thoughts cloud my present.

So, if you’ve wondered or worried over this stranger, as of right now there is no need. But your concerns have touched me more than you’ll know.

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Looking Out/In

I can’t stop myself. My new normal has become reading into situations, scenarios, and responses like they’re a New York Times bestseller and the secret to life’s happiness is between those lines. I truly don’t want to, but it is default. So, fuck me.

Today I took three separate events and combined them into one that sent me into a depression spiral I fought hard against. I only pulled out of this nosedive when I finally spoke to my husband about it and got something I didn’t even know I needed. For once he told me I was right. Granted it was because we have somehow switched roles and he is the one not reading into things and I am, and he finds it irritating. To that end, he told me I was correct when I had previously told him the same, it is annoying. So, there’s that.

I even try to read into what is me “reading into” things actually means. There is no end to it! What I have concluded is that it’s me trying to gain some sort of sanity in the chaos (granted a self-perceived chaos) and taking the power into my own hands. However, that is not at all what it does. Doing it actually makes me crazy-er. Almost like I’m trying to force something that isn’t there because of a perceived threat. To that I say, that is insane.

My goal going forward is to try and be calm about all of this. It is what it is. There is no deeper meaning. There is no smoke from a fire. It just exists in this neutral land. A world between worlds.

I think a large part of it is public perception. I’m looking through a lens of social “norms” to what all of this means. It’s silly. Usually I don’t give a fuck what others think and feel. Their opinions don’t dictate my life. Yet, here I am backtracking on my own character. For what? A fear of loss?

What seems to exacerbate my overthinking is taking my “Ethics of Living and Dying” class at the local community college. It’s definitely forcing my own introspection. I guess that means it’s a good one, seeing as how it compels me to look and learn. The only byproduct from all of it, is my self-inflicted pain.

Speaking of that class, I had an essay to write and I found myself at a complete stand-still because I was OVERTHINKING the entire thing. I was attempting to do it in a collegiate prose which went against the whole point of the assignment. What I have gathered is that he wanted us to look at our own mortality when faced with a terminal illness. What does it mean to have it, the effects on one’s life, and how would we respond. I could be wrong, but the way in which the assignment was to be written appeared to press that own self-analysis.

The ultimate conclusion is I just need to chill the fuck out. The “answer” I’m seeking, for whatever reason, will not be found in me analyzing every minute detail. It will come in living through the experience. That is life.

UPDATE:

In the course of writing this I got a call from my sponsee who shed some light onto my fears that I didn’t even take into consideration.

Basically I was laying all of this out to him over the phone and he said it was brought about by my husband’s disclosures of past events. The light clicked on in my head and I was so relieved. He’s right. It’s me stressing about all of it and coupled with the events of the day it just brings about a whole other set of problems. Goddamn his perceptiveness. I’m such a proud sponsor-papa.

 

Inebriated Confessions

The truth is something we all think we want but very rarely do we accept it or really even want it. Most of the time, people hear what they want and it turns into something else by way of preconceived notions or baggage.

This weekend I got something I’ve been longing to have for some time and that is: the truth. The real truth. For whatever reason, my husband felt fit to offer it to me. It could have been his own want to have no secrets but it could have been the liquid courage. Honestly it’s probably a combination of the two. Regardless the reasons, he poured it out and I accepted what he had to say.

The thing is what he told me I already knew in my gut. After all the bull shit and infidelity on my part there was no way any normal person would put up with my shit. And I don’t blame him. The only thing I felt was relief. Finally I had the knowledge that while my transgressions are terrible I am not alone.

In the morning, in mild sobriety, I told him (whether it needed to be said or not) that I forgave him. It wasn’t for him, because I don’t think he needs or wants it. I did it for myself, plain and simple. From that moment on I wanted to go forth with honesty and integrity. The only way to do that was to leave all the baggage in the past and move forward. I don’t want to hold resentments. (Which is my default, by the way.)

While, I don’t remember all he told me (unfortunate side effect of being thoroughly fucked up on vodka redbulls) I remember some and it was the stuff that my brain and gut had sensed forever. Now knowing, I have the peace I need to move past my worries and fears. It also gave me a glimpse into my husband. And it was nice.

It’s hard being vulnerable. The truth/honesty leaves one at the mercy of the listener. I again wonder what prompted it, or why he felt it was the time to do it then, but I am thankful for that moment. And I will be forever I think.

I just wish I had at least taken notes to remember it all. Some of it lost in the inebriated crevasses of my brain. Maybe I don’t need to be reminded. Most likely the latter.

However this whole situation plays out, at least it won’t be bogged down by lies and secrets.

A Seer Reads the Stones

It’s going to be hard, but doable, not to read into the actions and words during this time. When I’m left with no answers and my mind is searching for some sense of stability or ‘realness’ I begin to look for the answers around me. Like when Charlie sleeps on the complete opposite side of the bed, where he used to hog all of it, is that a subliminal message that he’s trying to get away? Or when the last two days he’s been chatty and we’ve spent the evening holding each other and talking, and then it doesn’t happen is it different? Did something change?

The answers I divine to why are all stupid and probably not true. The further proof of this fact is that these are all my interpretations of perceived realities. For all I know the bed just feels bigger because of how I feel right now. I feel small and insignificant. Thus the spaces in between are vast and seemingly unending.

Then, like last night, charlie was tired and spoke very little and quickly turned around and fell asleep. Not at all like the past two nights. I could see that as he’s getting closer to this other dude or it was just that he’s a 40 year old man who is currently juggling a husband and a boyfriend. I could very well see how that in itself is exhausting and when you’re tired, you’re tired. (Not saying 40 is old.)

The thing about reading our own meaning into anything is that the pendulum can swing either way. It doesn’t matter what the facts are, they can be read in such a way that it is misinterpreted as negative. Case a point, Charlie was reading into my actions as wanting him to end the relationship because I couldn’t do it myself. In reality I was angry at him because I knew about the Derek thing and instead of talking to him or asking him about it I chose to keep it to myself which further drove a rift into our relationship. I was angry. As it also turned out, I was genuinely furious with and blamed him for our dog Klause getting out of the yard back in November. It was these things that made me angry with him and I was very cold to him as a response. It had nothing to do with me wanting to end the relationship, but that’s how he saw it.

Instead of talking to him and voicing these fears I kept them bottled up inside. They festered and made me feel something else entirely. If I had just done the “adult” thing and had a discussion about all of it, none of this may have transpired. My reality may have looked totally different. Yet, even that, right there, is me reading into it.

I want to think that “looking for answers” is a natural human response. It is our way of attempting to take the control back in a situation in which we feel we have none. We don’t like uncertainty and living in a “zen-like” state of letting life wash over us is against our usual factory defaults.

It’s a Brave New World…

…At least that’s what I keep saying to myself, and have been since December when I asked for an open relationship.

My husband doesn’t recall our conversation, in January, when we agreed to close it. I can specifically remember the location and how I felt in the moment in which I snapped and agreed. I then changed all of my stuff on all the apps and went back to that mindset. As it turns out, he was under the assumption we were still open which is when he started talking to this other dude.

We have talked a lot since our initial conversation on Saturday. What I have since learned, was that the reason he spoke to his mother about the state of our relationship and telling her about Derek (his boyfriend) was because he thought it was over between us. He had planned on ending things with me that night because he thought I was waiting for him to pull the trigger. However, when we talked on the car ride home from my parents, after St. Patrick’s Day dinner, his mind changed. What I told him was I wasn’t done. And I’m not. Like I mentioned in my previous post, regarding my midlife crisis, I was on the fence of what to do. I wanted to be single but I also wanted to stay in my relationship because at my core that is what I want. But, I also want to be single. Evenly distributed. (I’m kind of fucked up.)

After our conversation last night I have found further peace with this arrangement, which is basically a polyamorous relationship. I have my boyfriend (I hesitate to use that word for the baggage it brings) and he will have his. At least, for the time being. (It should be noted all four of us have deleted grindr and scruff, further upping the ante.)

A friend of mine, back when we were wrestling with it just being an “open relationship,” told me that we both have to be in agreement, and if one of us isn’t in it, the situation has to end. He is/was right. Which is why I have informed the husband that at the moment he is uncomfortable (and the husband said “I agree”) I will not hesitate to pull the chord on this arrangement. Now, whether he still feels that way in a few weeks, months or years (however long this fucking lasts) may be something else entirely. I just can’t be too concerned with thinking that far ahead. (I can hear the voice of my besty, Shelby, and her subsequent eye-roll, informing me how I’m being stupid.)

I have made peace with the notion that if he ends up ‘head over heels’ with this dude and would rather be with him I will be okay. I mean, of course I will. It will hurt like a mother-fucker, but I will remind myself I set this situation into motion. As he likes to remind me, I chose this. I asked for it when I wanted the open relationship and I chose it (yet again) when we talked the day after the car ride home. He set forth 3 options and I chose the ‘keep things the way they are and stay together but see these side pieces’ plan for only 5.99 a month.

I have no illusions to the contrary that this is absolutely playing with fire. Emotions WILL run high. And someone will be hurt in the end. The gamble is, who is going to be hurt. In the effort of full disclosure I have let my guy, Josh, know everything. I have not hid the fact of what is transpiring. I even want to send him the contact info of my previous ex for further reference to the agony that comes with dating me. I am trouble, plain and simple.

One of the changes I am making, to keep myself sane in this insanity, is to not read into the actions he takes and any assumed underlying message in what my husband says to me. My previous post was me reading into what he said way more than I should have. My therapist said that if we do this there has to be trust and I am just going to trust that he will be honest with me. What he says is what he says. If it turns out that there wasn’t any honesty in his words I imagine I will find out by our relationship ending.

I just find it odd that my husband, who has such anxiety about the future and how things will play out, is okay with this. For once he’s living in the moment and that is some major change. We’re both changing evidently.

The one thought I came to today was that we had previously known of similar situations with other couples in the past and we poo-pooed them and judged. I think we were just belittling them in an effort to tamp down our own desire for something similar. I probably shouldn’t be thinking that because it’s reading into things I shouldn’t. (It’s going to be a hard habit to break.) I just can’t help but look at it the same way I did when I was denying my sexuality. I vehemently hated gay people because I thought if I hated it enough outwardly it would kill that part of myself inside. Well, we see how that worked out.

I probably shouldn’t be airing my dirty laundry, but I have only one story to tell honestly and speak on with certainty and that is my own.

Stay tuned for further episodes of “Gays of Our Lives.”

Living in the 10%

I’m 90% sure that my marriage is over. It’s just that he and I refuse to see it and don’t want to go through the long arduous task of tearing our lives apart.

It became abundantly clear to me as I lay thinking about our entire conversation that took place over the course of the day and the tiny pieces of what he’s done that give reveal to a very large picture I can’t bear to see.

For the longest time Charlie has always kept his personal life to his self. We have gone through some major fights and on my part some major infidelities. I have fucked up this relationship, and it would appear beyond repair. But he always kept these things close to his chest for fear of how his family would view me if we were to reconcile and try again. Well, this weekend he told his mother everything, including the details of the new guy he’s been seeing. So tomorrow, I am supposed to go to his niece’s birthday party but I truly don’t know if I can knowing now that his mother and sister (and most likely everyone) will be looking at me like some kind deviant idiot, wondering to themselves “why is he here?”

While that alone tells me more than I will ever need to know about where he is in the situation, the other final point of obvious reality is that in our talks he has mentioned many great things that would benefit him if we were to divorce that he wouldn’t be able to do while together. He could file for bankruptcy and bring himself some financial peace. As a single income person, they would adjust his student loans accordingly and he could pay them off. A month ago he even mentioned about moving and getting out of town if we were to split. In the end… He would find the happiness I know he needs and deserves. So, why can’t I just do what I see is right in front of me?

Now, don’t think I am some kind of saint. The last thing I want is to appear like I am trying to be the victim in the situation because I am not. Far from it.

I too have a quasi-boyfriend thing. At least I have been talking to someone other than my husband. In fact I’ve probably done that multiple times over the 15 years we’ve been together. When my husband and I initially got together I wasn’t even looking or wanting a relationship, but he told me he loved me and that was the first person to ever say it. Being young and dumb I said it back without thinking of the consequences of my actions. From then on I caused him nothing but heartache. I have been a horrible person to him, never once deserving the love he gave me. I have been selfish and unkind. And I wonder if I ever returned to him the love he showed me.

As it stands now, we have decided to stay together but see these other people on the side. Even as I type this I am laughing for how absurd it all sounds and how dumb we’re being. I don’t know if were doing this because we are holding out hope that the spark is in fact not dead and we’ll realize that at some point, ditch the side pieces and focus on each other. Or, its just a temporary band-aid until we both come to our senses and realize it is indeed over. (For Christ sake he said tonight about giving his side dude more attention because he’s been giving so much and then referred to us as glorified roommates. Jesus…)

It’s so obvious. I know it is. I’m just not ready or willing to accept the reality. And neither is he, or he is just making me the one to bring the ax down onto this marriage.

For further disclosure: we have literally been in this situation once before. This isn’t our first rodeo. In 2008 we “broke up” but continued to live together and see guys on the side. So maybe we’re hoping to recreate the result which was us getting back together.

Lost at Sea, a Letter of Confusion and Mental Health

I am almost certain I am going through a mid-life crisis. At least, I hope it’s not “mid life” because I would like to think I’d live past 64. One side of the family has early death rates and the other lived into their 90’s. So, who fucking knows?

When I was 25 I thought I was having a quarter-life crisis but I quickly discovered it in fact was due to the Prozac I was taking. In my own trials, I discovered that when it doesn’t work it has the opposite effect. Instead of making me not-depressed it made me erratic and I made broad sweeping decisions about my employment that made me look like a fool. In the end I survived my irrational choices without damage.

Having that memory in the back of my mind, I worry that this is just another one of those moments, however I am currently not on meds and that may play a part in it. All I am certain of, is right now I am in a very weird place.

It all began at Christmas time. I had lost all desire to shop, sure I put up the decorations but my usual Christmas cheer was AWOL. The only reason I ended up purchasing gifts at all is because I would have looked like an asshole come Christmas day and everyone I care about had gotten me something but I had not returned the favor. Social decorum kept me in check, but deep down I wanted no part of the holiday.

I sought the help of my psychiatrist and he came to the conclusion that I might be bipolar type II. The diagnosis angered me, as if I was somehow “broken” but I thought I would humor him at least. (He is the professional after all.) My doctor prescribed me a medication that made me very, very uncomfortable physically and emotionally. The most significant side effect was during that time period it made me really question my relationship and where it was going. I volleyed between staying together and splitting up. Although no side had more power over the other. They were equally matched in every way. It was almost as if it was making me bipolar. For the second time in my life, I felt truly insane.

Still on this medication, and grappling with these emotions, I asked my husband for a temporary separation. Well, I didn’t ask for it. He offered it up in the moment and I took it. For a week (probably less) we lived apart. Eventually, he came back home and we haven’t really discussed anything since then. Which the fault lies on both of us, but probably more-so on myself.

Yet, I am still in this peculiar area of where I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing. Most importantly, what I want. I have this type of personality that I fear and hesitate to make the “wrong” choice. I sit there and suffer, contemplating everything down to a fine point, until I expect everything to make sense. What unfortunately ends up happening is I gain no clarity. I see the merits on both sides and still sit in the middle; undecided.

When I returned to my doctor for my trial period follow-up, he told me he had fallen into a “conundrum.” He had no diagnosis for me that seemed to stick. We had tried the depression and the bipolar type II and found no success. His final suggestion to solve our medical quandary was for me to have psychiatric evaluation. The prescription pad leaflet for it still sits in my center console of my car. No appointment date set. I fear what the conclusion will be.

My biggest concern is that I will come back with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder or something equally as drastic. I worry daily that it would show me that I don’t know what love is and don’t have the capacity to return the emotion. Like I’m some kind of sociopath. Such results I would see as a death sentence, that I am fundamentally, at my core, fucked up beyond repair. However, I would NEVER view such results for someone else in that manner. I would be supportive and try to be there for them. (I think.) I just don’t have that kind of kindness for myself.

Currently, I loathe to say it, I am lost. I am in uncharted waters of which I have no map and see no land on the horizon. Yet I am still captain of this ship and it will inevitably keep moving regardless of my choices.