Dec. 9th, 2014 10:49 pm
silentwaters: (silent)
[personal profile] silentwaters
I'm intentionally not leaving myself much time to write this before my next appointment. Because I am already at the point where I'm refusing to dwell.

The other day, after we'd had great loving morning sex, I cooked up some delicious sausage and white bean soup which was simmering on the stove and I went upstairs to shower and get dressed. I got out of the shower and was getting ready to go down and eat with Mr. Man, but halfway down the stairs I heard Mr. Man on the phone with someone (later I found out, his dad) and some phrases drifted up the stairs, something that sounded like my name, maybe. I stopped dead still for a moment, not wanting to intrude, and turned to go back up the stairs to give him time to finish his convo before we sat down to eat. I heard him speaking low, and my ears didn't catch anything but some disturbing snippets:
"...I like her, but…"
"..I mean, she's intelligent, but…"
"…mess…[something about a lot to clean up or deal with, couldn't really hear/can't quite remember, seemed to do with the house being a mess or requiring a lot of effort to deal with]…"
"…I think her ex-husband…"

basically the tone was really uncertain. I think I heard my name. It sounded like he was expressing to his dad that he felt only lukewarm/uncertain about this relationship.
It pierced my heart like an arrow. I felt cold and nauseous. I gave him a few more minutes before I tried to come back downstairs and eat with him, and tried not to let it bum me out, but… I've been failing pretty hard the last couple of days. I found my body rejected the idea of food really, and I couldn't even finish one bowl of the soup.

Weirdly, when I asked him what he and his dad talked about, he mentioned they talked about his cousin, and how it's been a struggle for her here in this country, and that her ex-husband may have held her back from achieving her goals, etc.
So maybe that's what they were talking about that I overheard.
But it's not like I could ask him directly. I didn't want to start a fight or seem petty, I mean, I'm not… I'm not the kind of high maintenance whiny bitch who just gets upset over any little thing, and truth be told, I trust Mr. Man a lot and respect his privacy. I don't go snooping through his phone, I leave him alone to deal with his ex-wife on his own terms, I wouldn't normally eavesdrop on a private conversation, I just happened to be coming down the stairs right at that moment and something- self-preservation, I guess- made me stop and try to hear a little- once I thought I heard my name- because he's so… non-verbal to me, about how he feels, that it would mean the world to me to hear it from his mouth. To hear "I love you" more often, (assuming he does?) or even, "okay you're a fun fuckbuddy and thanks for the roof and the food but but I really can't stand your baggage and your fucked up life" I mean-- whatever it is, I feel like… just tell me the truth, you know? even if it's painful.

But this is fucking painful now in and of itself, and I can't ask him about it because I don't want him to think I'm a snoop, or a jail warden or any shit like that. He can live his life, I mean I love him whether he loves me or not and I decided to love him freely for however long he stays in my life, and right now I'm just trying to remind myself of that and be in that space of centered love radiating outward, instead of needy black hole sucking inward.
I don't have to be weak. I've survived enough.
I don't need a man to complete me. I've learned to be enough for myself on my own.
I will never be as destroyed over a man again as my ex-husband left me. I survived that, and now I know I can survive anything.
I can love whomever I want-- perhaps I should phrase that like- Love will infuse me with care whenever IT wants-- and the hard truth is, whether they love me back or not is (for better or worse) really of way less consequence than popular culture would have you think.

But… I really feel so close to him sometimes. I really… love him. I'm sorry, I'm… sorry. I know I shouldn't have fallen, I know I should have tried harder to keep my walls up and protect myself after everything I've been through. And I know… I love hard and deep and not everyone can meet me there, and maybe I've asked too much of him, in terms of faith and devotion…
And to think that he doesn't love me back, really… or that he only just "likes me, but…"

I'm kind of like… is this relationship even worth my time?
If you're not passionately about ME, if you don't NEED me in your life, then… why are you still here?

But here's the stranger part:
I came downstairs, my good sex mood had evaporated, my hunger for the delicious food I'd cooked had turned to nausea, I was shaking and trying not to show it, trying not to cry, trying not to let it get to me, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, like maybe he had to act cool the way you know how you have to do when your parents are needling you "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO MARRY THIS GIRL" and you have to be like, "Look Dad, I like this chick but I don't know" just trying to play it off nonchalant to get them off your back or something; trying to remind myself it could have been a million things and I just didn't hear it all, I have no context, I should calm down, I should leave him room to explain that he'd been talking about anyone else (maybe it was in fact only his cousin, maybe? maybe?)
So you know, basically I'm internally freaking out for a moment, while trying not to externally show I'm freaking out, trying to keep my heart from breaking, wondering if we should have a relationship-ending talk right now, or drag this out in lukewarm perpetuity, desperately needing (but not really able to believe) some sign of reassurance from him, but completely unable to ask for it…

And he's like, in this cute, physically affectionate, playful mood. He likes the soup. He eats what I leave left over. He makes comments about how much he enjoyed the sex this morning. In the last couple of days since this happened, he's been more affectionate and physically snuggly than normal. I went to sleep that night for the first time in a long time facing away from him. He rolled over to spoon me anyway.
I woke up in the morning in a weird angle to him- and put my hand on his chest and he immediately, in this sleep, clasped my hand to his heart with both of his hands and snuggled his forehead over onto mine.
I mean how freaking adorable is that?
Is that the body language of a man who only just kinda 'likes' you?
Then there's his mother-henning. I mean, he doesn't hardly let me go anywhere without him. We're at the office together late, I'm working my ass off, grinding away on a client project, and he's been getting progressively sicker for like the last 4 hours. Finally he tells me he feels like shit and he needs to go home. I want to go home with him, but I'm really really not done with this deadline project, so I hug him and kindly try to send him home to rest (we took separate cars, so he could have left).
But that's not our way. Our way is that we usually drive home together, so one or the other of us doesn't get sucked into the Internets Forever, and we make sure each other get some food in us and enough sleep and we can fall asleep snuggled up together and that kind of thing. It's kind of his deal. He escorts me on the road, usually driving behind me the whole way home, to make sure I'm okay or don't get in a wreck or have a flat tire or… something. I don't know.
He's not overbearing about it, he's just… like, sweet, and concerned.
So he refused to leave the office without me, and stayed at the office with me until I was ready to leave. Just...hanging out on the couch with his laptop, kinda half cat-napping. I tried to shoo him away home to rest but he wasn't having it. I would have had to be mean and fight with him to get him to go, which totally wasn't worth it, because he's a grown-ass man and can make his own choices and I'm not upset he stayed, I just… didn't want to be cruel holding him there if he was feeling sick and wanted to let him know it was fine for him to go without me. But no. He sat on the couch and chilled like he suddenly had all the time in the world, and he wasn't even mad, bro. He just patiently hung out.

Okay I don't know if you guys remember our biggest fight so far, but it was about his refusal to hang out and be patient while I was in a critical bind and needed his help desperately.
The man is not patient.
One does not simply, "wait around", it's a thing I've come to learn and accept about him and his ways. It sucks sometimes for me that he's impatient but you know, I do understand that his time needs to be respected to, and I'm slow and complicated sometimes. So. This behavior that he has about me sometimes, waiting for me, shepherding me around… it's uncharacteristic for him and it speaks to me of caring and concern. And okay, maybe of comfort-habit and duty, too, but I hope that's not… all it is. Because I don't need someone to do me any fucking favors. It's not that I'm ungrateful- I'm sure some people, on getting to know me, must wonder how the fuck I've conducted my life and personal affairs for so many years without falling prey to some downward spiral of self-destruction.
I have one answer: God.
That, and I know I'm the kind of messy creative who has everything out in the open where I can see it, but even though it looks like piles of bullshit to you, I know exactly where everything is and there really is a method to my madness, as hard as it is for some to believe. So maybe Mr. Man thinks I need shepherding because I'm a little… uhm… disorganized and "too nice" and that sort of thing. Maybe he gets this idea that I need him to chaperone me and it's a simply a paradigm of duty, for him. Maybe it's not indicative of "Love", per se.

But there's the fact that I observe he values himself and his own time highly, and the fact that he spends much of it with me, voluntarily, and usually treats me with kindness, that leads me to believe he wouldn't saddle himself with this role purely out of duty. He's got to be getting some pleasure out of it, right? (sometimes I exasperate him, I can tell, but it's not on purpose! I appreciate him, truly. I'm just not perfect, obviously, but what can I do about that but strive to improve? Surely he must know that to err is human, to forgive, divine?)

Lord knows I've made my way in this world for years without a man looking after me, but if he's gonna be chivalrous, I'm… gonna accept it with grace. It's kinda old fashioned and sweet, you know?
He opens doors for me, buildings and cars both.
He holds my hand everywhere we go (still). I mean, like, everywhere, even when we're walking into a store or restaurant from the parking lot. If I don't reach out for his hand first, he sticks it out towards me and makes the little searching "where's your hand" motion until I give it. It's never with a mean or dominant attitude, but like, a searching, questing-for-connection kind of attitude. An unspoken bid for closeness or reassurance.
(I have to take a moment to explain that this could not possibly be because I'm any kind of trophy-girlfriend material. I'm a 200+ lb., pudgy, goth-ish freak, I'm definitely no great beauty and I'm not the kind of girl a guy would put on his arm to show off to the world, okay? I have my moments of 'not-completely-hideous' and I even sometimes achieve "good hair day" but I'm no buxom, slim-waisted mail-order bride here, I am just an average pudgy pasty american with a ghetto booty and I don't even always wear makeup. So it can't possibly be that he's like… just "proud to be seen with me" or whatever. I can only read it as, he's just truly a gentleman and treats his lady with kind manners. And also there must be something internal about me that attracts him, because he's so handsome he would never really need to settle for someone with my looks. Just trying to be realistic here.)

So you see, I don't want you to get the wrong idea when I say he never says "I Love You", and I say, "but I'm still so in love with him" - it's not that I'm an idiot, I'm not blind, but I get… all these conflicting signals from him in a way. Everything about the way he treats me is usually kind and nice, affectionate and caring.
He just won't fucking verbalize or define it. He just won't SAY "I Love You" or "I need you". He's like some wild animal, and he treats me like I'm the "mate" his instincts lead him toward. I'm just supposed to accept that.
I mean I do, I feel the same, that he's my mate, even though we aren't married, I accept him as my other half and I don't like to do things without consulting him anymore, and I show him as much consideration as I can, and I need him there by my side when I fall asleep, and I accept his chivalric overtures, and I fall asleep with my head on his chest and I love the way he puts his arm around me so I feel safe.
And yes, the feminist in me sometimes rebels against this show of patriarchal behaviours, but you know, sometimes- someone is just trying to be nice. And I'm going to tell that shrill harpy in the back of my mind to STFU, and remind her that it's supposed to be FUN to be with somebody, to be in a romance. And you know what else? I've been through some heavy shit, and I'm fucking weary of this world. And the fact that anyone else- male or female, is willing to take on the burden of being partners with me, and is willing to treat me kind, and protectively stand guard sometimes so I can wear my armor a little less heavy… so I can fucking, I dunno, RELAX once in a while instead of being tense as a coiled spring at the breaking point of torsion once in a goddamn while… it's… it's nice, okay? It's nice. A girl could maybe get used to not being treated like shit.
Even though a girl knows better and that she should only ever rely on herself and trust no one.
Sometimes I feel like *I'm* the wild animal, and he's the visitor to my forest, coaxing me down from the trees with a handful of berries or something. Often I just wonder if it's time to run away now, but he's so still and gentle… I want to believe he won't really hurt me.

But he just…

I don't know what the hell is going on here.
You can see why the snippets of convo that drifted to my ears were so fundamentally disturbing, speaking of a deep disconnect in my perception of his behavior, and the intentions of his human mind.
It's one thing to be physically attracted and have good sex and be… in puppy love or whatever, but we're not treating each other that way, we're treating each other with the regard and care and trust of solid mates.
Yet, he might only sort of be on the fence about it, with me.
So like, that's not grounds for building a future, you know? I need… something better than, "I like you, but…" Something more passionate, preferably. Or at least something more substantial, some indication of commitment and desire to be an equal partner with me. I don't want someone floating along on my life, who isn't all-in. Can't build a loving home with someone who only "kinda" cares. Can't raise healthy happy kids on that. Can't toil and sweat and labor for that. Can't feel like hustling for that.
Like, I need to know. Not just because I'm a worry-wart but because… if you're considering a long term future with someone, it's kind of important. Right?

Wellll, not… necessarily. Arranged marriages have worked for thousands of years, and those are domestic partnerships predicated on a bunch of things that are not "wild passionate star-crossed love".
You're thrown together. You're expected to fuck and procreate. You're expected by your community to build a household together, to treat each other kindly and raise children and make joint decisions… And you know what, many couples have, and do, just like that.

I'm not saying I'm willing to give up all my individual freedom and yoke myself to some guy as if it was an arranged marriage, because we're bot EXTREMELY FREE TO CHOOSE.

But if I had to choose right now… I'd still choose him.
I just want to know if he would choose me.
Oddly… I feel like he would, even with what I heard.
Sometimes I get a weird feeling that the real problem is, he does love me but he won't admit it to *himself*. Like, sometimes I get the sense he loves me way different and maybe…deeper? than some of his previous women, and he doesn't know how to deal with that, and because he's just come through his first year post-bad-divorce (that whole bad-timing thing, of when our relationship began, maybe rearing it's ugly head here), he's hiding from acknowledging that because commitment is scary, and he either is so unfamiliar with experiencing real love that he doesn't even recognize what this jumble of feelings is for me, or… he's scared it really IS love and oh shit, that means he would have to give up some autonomy to admit he needs me, and his fierce pride (and sense of self-preservation from being fucked over by his last few terrible, bitchy women) won't let him bow his head to that.
(I mean seriously though, even at Thankgiving his mom made comments to me that she is so happy he's finally with a girl who treats him well and really loves him and is kind to him. Everything I hear about all his exes is bad. He really picked some lemons. Maybe it's something masochistic about him, and he doesn't know what to do about the fact that I'm not really a bitch to him. Maybe that's why this isn't equating to = "Love" in his mind yet.)

The thing is, I love him so much that… I'm willing to take the time to be patient enough with him to let him realize his love for me himself, on his own terms, and to shelter him with kindness and respect until he stops waiting for the other shoe to drop, with me, and can maybe…let himself breathe out. Because he's been abused at the hands of women before (literally one of his exes used to beat him, and others played some real fucked-up mind games). And so, I realize he's got his shoulders hunched up and his armor on, just like me. And it's asking a LOT, to ask a hard-assed survivor to drop their shields and let you in. I know. Because good god, I know what that's like, to be innocent and then get fucked-over till you're half dead, then to painfully build and wear this thick self-made armor, to tell yourself, "NEVER AGAIN. NEVER. A-FUCKING. GAIN." And to live in your armor day in, day out, until your own spiritual stink is so miserable you can't even stand yourself- but you can't relax and trust anyone either, because god forbid you show any vulnerability to anyone, lest they turn and use it against you for blackmail later.
But Never. Again.

So… I empathize.

I have lived that way for years. He's the first person who's successfully coaxed me to relax. It's astounding, to me.
If I could only gift him the same safe space… maybe he will finally drop his shoulders and let the words "I love you" slip out of his mouth, accidentally when he's off his guard some time.

Maybe at the end of our long, interesting life together, he will look back and realize… that his life was better with me in it. Maybe.

I can dream, anyway.

I'm an idiot, right?
I'm being an idiot.

Date: 2014-12-14 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bahia.livejournal.com
What you describe in the way he acts toward you sounds like a man in love, not someone who feels lukewarm about you. I'd say take it at face value when he says he was talking to his dad about his cousin. Dwelling on overheard snippets of conversation and speculating about the worst isn't going to be productive, though it makes sense given all you've been through. If you need to know more about he feels verbally, I would say just ask him. Many men are not very verbal about expressing their feelings. He seems to be showing it, but may not understand your need for words that also reflect those feelings.

Date: 2014-12-30 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silentwaters.livejournal.com
Thank you, bahia. I really feel like you're right. This last month has been hard. We so broke and couldn't afford anything for each other for Christmas, he could barely afford to buy a few toys for his kids. We couldn't even afford to travel to see our respective families, which really bummed me out since my family really wanted to see me and some heavy shit has come down on them (just found out my dad has prostate cancer a few weeks ago, my eldest brother died suddenly in a freak accident this month, and my parents have decided to separate, but my family and I, we're a good 1500 miles apart).
So Mr. Man and I have been stressed and actually both pretty sick, and trying to take it easy and recover. We have not even been having sex and our sleep schedules have been falling out of sync to the point that he was waking up for the day soon after I came to bed.
But even so, he's continued to treat me with kindness and in many small ways I keep observing that he feels connected to me, that he seems to do things out of "love" for me. He brings me water in bed when I'm thirsty, he lets me sleep late when he knows my insomnia was bad, he dragged my tree and decorations out of storage while I was napping one day and we had a loving and quiet little Christmas Day together at home where we put up the tree together, made simple Chinese food and later went out for dessert and some looking at lights- we enjoyed the heck out of it with no stress. I have thought back to this entry's events several times this month, and tried to assess how I'm feeling now vs. how shook up I was at the time, and the truth is,... I still feel pretty peaceful with him right now. Kind of a combination of love and acceptance that we can enjoy this journey together right now, and whatever will be, will be.
Also, to put it in perspective, there are bigger problems in my life right now to deal with, than trying to make a problem out of something that *isn't*, so far. He's been the one consistently good thing in my life since my divorce, and most days he just makes me want to sing out with glee like I'm in some gorram musical, lol.
Edited Date: 2014-12-30 03:13 am (UTC)


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