A Mono's Journey Into Poly-Land (or, "Aw hell, there's no road map?!")

YouAreHere

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Camping / Highland Games went well... The games themselves? Amazing. Nothing like seeing large, muscular men in kilts tossing cabers and steel weights. Rowr.

M1 gravitated more toward the music and bands, so we watched some great performers as well: if you like drums and pipes, I heartily recommend Albannach. Alastair Fraiser and his cellist (can't remember her name) were great too, if you like strings. All in all, a great day. P picked up a new kilt. I picked myself up a celtic-looking knotwork silver band for my index finger (I love metalwork in my jewelry - not so big on stones), and tried haggis!

And loved it. I'm a sick little monkey. :D

I still get awkward when we all hang out together... I feel uncomfortable when P gives public attention to the both of us (the "all eyes are on me" feeling), so I do tend to separate myself a bit, physically. It's a reaction of mine, I've identified it, but I definitely ran it by P again to make sure he understood I wasn't trying to be standoffish and I wasn't pissed off. He gets it, and I suppose with more outings, I'll work on that and hopefully approach "I don't give a shit" territory as time goes on.

Camping was interesting. The first night was effing freezing, and M1 and I assumed that since P is an oven, we would be okay with only a couple blankets.

Oh, were WE wrong. My poor ass was hanging out of the blankets when I tried to snuggle up with P, and the air mattress taco made my shoulder hurt. When I'd roll over in an effort to feel my fingertips again, I'd get cold. Slept like ass.

Apparently, M1 also slept like ass (allergies) and mentioned that she felt isolated from P all night, which, oddly enough, so did I... I'm guessing that when we *were* awake, he was facing the other person. I know I did have to wake him up at one point because I was freeeeeeeeezing, so he could come over and warm me up. Poor P felt badly, but honestly, what the hell could he do?

Anyway - solution was to put ALL the blankets on the mattress. I figured I'd sleep much better and not give a shit who was facing where.

Except it rained and was in the 60s the next night.
Oh, and did I mention the leaky tent?

Oy.

Well, despite roasting under all the blankets (and poor P in the middle, unable to hang a leg out!), and the occasional *spat* *spat* of a drip hitting you in the face, or arm, or foot, or whatever, M1 and I slept like rocks. P, not so much.

Good time, but I was still pretty damned happy to be home.

So, sanity check - yeah, I don't like the "all eyes are on me" feeling. It felt extra-strange since for some reason, a metric shit-ton of my coworkers were also at the Games. It was manageable, though, so no big deal there.

The sharing a bed thing was okay. I find cuddling a very intimate thing, tied emotionally with a partner, my kids, or, maaaaybe a very close friend. I don't feel that intimacy with M1, and thus, when I get a brush of her hand, or end up flopping my hand on her arm or something while I'm snuggling with P, it's pretty jarring. I end up sticking to "my side" of P.

I suppose that's fine. We find what works, and I was okay with that. I know that I'm not up for "puppy piles" or "cuddle puddles" and I guess this just reaffirms that. It's funny, because I'm a "hugger", and I'll reach out and touch people's arms when I'm talking (if they're also "touchers" - I don't like to wig people out if they're not), but cuddling... nope. Crosses some internal line somewhere. <shrug>

Anyhoo... everyone had a good time, and I started looking up haggis recipes. ;)

In other news, NO news from my sister after she was discharged from the hospital. Maybe one FB post (a shared article), but she's staying quiet. I dunno...

Got a call from radiology that they want me to come back and get followup images done of my right breast (the same one that was biopsied, marked, and determined to have a benign tumor in it a few years ago). Sigh. Hoping it's nothing. With mom's issues (still going through chemo, and doing better with a different dose), the desire for a followup scan is a bit stressful. I go in tomorrow for that. Fingers crossed...
 
Sounds like a fun weekend over all, except the leaky tent would have made me crazytown. :) It also sounds like you learned/reaffirmed some things about yourself and your comfort levels. Self-knowledge is always a good thing!

I'll be thinking about you tomorrow. My mom was a breast cancer survivor, and Moonlight has had a couple worrisome times with that sort of thing, so I know how scary it can be. I'm sending good vibes that it will be nothing!
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Thanks bunches, RGJenny! I appreciate the positive vibes. :)

I find all the learning and reaffirming - all that self-introspection - to be a fascinating thing. I used to bury things in a big way, due to avoidance behavior and just plain old conditioning. Once I started doing all this work, it was like, "What other interesting/bizarre/surprising thing can I figure out about myself?"

It's actually grown into something of a compulsion now, to be honest... if there's something wrong and I'm having an emotional hiccup, my brain starts turning it over in a "MUST FIGURE THIS OUT" fashion.

Sometimes the old habits come back (bury and ignore), but lately, those times are fewer and farther between. Now P just can't get me to shut up when there's something going on. Be careful what you ask for! :D
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Thinking Out Loud (or, "talk til ya puke" isn't good if it's more 'puke' than 'talk')

Okie dokie... Over the character limit, so you get two posts... Yay?

Update from the last post: the whatzit in my right breast is a "complex cyst", so no worries. It got a little hairy when I went in for the followup mammo, then for an ultrasound, then for ANOTHER ultrasound - my 15 min. appointment stretched on for an hour. However, the news at the end was worth it, so yay that. :)

Some interesting emotional observations this weekend. We have a powwow coming up next week, and I'm trying to figure out what to bring up, and what not to. I think some of this is "own my own feelings" territory, but I also remember from experience that not acknowledging it can breed resentment. Oh boy.

Stream of consciousness / rant / thinking-out-loud follows - I'm processing via typing, so consider yourselves warned. None of this shit is worked out yet in my head...

(As an aside, although this is a blog thread, posts that offer up constructive criticism are always welcomed and will be taken in the spirit in which they were offered. It is, of course, up to me whether or not to actually TAKE any advice that's offered, but it's still appreciated.)

So... Let's begin with Negative Moment #1:

P and I started discussing the holidays, and that we'll need to plan them out fairly soon (is it almost October already?! WTH!): Samhain, Thanksgiving, Christmas... P's mom hosts Christmas Eve every year. Last year, the kids and I were invited (along with P, M1, P's sister and her family (and the new grandbaby), P's son was there after having just come back home from the other tip of the country) - it was a LOT of people. My mom calls me up, last-minute, saying that she had nowhere to go for Christmas, and can she spend it with me.

This is my mother. Of COURSE she can spend the holiday with me. Except, well... plans. I asked P if his mother would mind if I brought MY mother. I know it's an imposition, so I wanted to be delicate about it. "No" was definitely an option, and I would have been okay with that (other than having told the kids one thing, and then pulling the rug out from underneath them). She said sure, I called her to thank her about it, and we had a very odd, but busy Christmas Eve.

Last week, P (obviously not liking being put in the role of "messenger") mentioned that his mom felt odd about it all last year, it was a year of a lot of upheaval, etc., and she felt uncomfortable with it all. He wasn't sure what my plans were with my mom, but he didn't believe the invitation would be extended this year to her.

It's P's mom's event and all, and I completely understand. But I did make it clear to P that if my mom needs someone to be with, then I would not be attending the festivities at his mom's house. I won't tell the kids anything until we have something firmed up, and I'm okay with not being there, given the possible circumstances.

Except, competitive and comparative thinking is not my friend. Well, it is for work. It always was for school. I have been conditioned for it my entire life, and it works very well, except for here.

My emotions go traipsing down the path of, "If this were a traditional relationship, would she be okay with shutting me out of the family celebration? Is it okay because he's bringing M1 and well, that's enough?"

Which then ends up feeding the wolf that says, "Because M1 is closer in proximity to P's family, she's got the recognition. She's THE partner. She's the one they see all the time. Maybe my relationship with P isn't real to them, or isn't seen as important - after all, I didn't pick up my life to move in with him. She did. Maybe that shows them that his relationship with M1 is more legitimate, or something, than ours."

Blaaaaaah.
The spiral of negative thinking is really easy to get caught up in. When you're feeling that way, it can cloud the way you think about other things. The wolf has been fed.


Negative Moment #2:
So... in discussing Christmas and Christmas Eve, P suggests that maybe I preempt the question from my mom by making plans with her for Christmas Day and not the day before.

A little back story from last year: Christmas Day fell on a day where P would have stayed with me. M1 spent the day with us as well, since I'd have to be an asshole to want her to spend Christmas away from P. We had a really nice time all together, and with mom as well (thank goodness my relationship with P is out to my mom and sisters), and I learned WAY more about my mother than I ever wanted after a game of Cards Against Humanity. Wow. :eek:

This year, though, P suggested going up to my mom's, with M1 in tow.

I'm internally balking at this, mainly because, if we're going to plan this in advance, I'd like my mom to spend time with HER family and plan that as well - invite my grandparents and my aunt up - and do the family thing with them. And they don't know anything about the particulars of the relationship - that M1 is also P's partner - and I'd feel that (A) she'd be a fish out of water, and (B) we'd be dealing with "who the hell is THAT?" (There are other reasons I'd balk - my mom is a recovering hoarder whose house has just been fixed up, but still has signs of decay and old cigarette smoke from years of neglect, and I don't think she'd be comfortable with us bringing M1 anyway).

I know M1 is P's family, but I don't see her as *mine*. I'm reluctant to bring M1 along to something I see as time with *my* family. This one definitely needs more thought... I'm torn between ignoring the whole family thing (which I don't want to do), or outing myself at this point so that it's either a non-issue, or the issue is out in the open. And I don't know that outing myself would really solve anything, anyway, since I don't know if my mom would even want M1 to come up. And yes, I recognize the irony here, between this situation and the one with P's mom. I recognize it all too well.

Negative Moment #3, and the final ingredient in the recipe for Emotional Roller Coaster Upside-Down Cake:
(To be continued)
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Thinking Out Loud, Part 2

So, to recap...
- We have the "people see P & M1 as the 'legit' relationship" feelings floating around.
- We have the "do I have to out myself" worries as well, surrounding Christmas
so let's now add Facebook to the mix (ugh... Effing Facebook).

Negative Moment #3:
Saturday, P and I did a LOT (a looooooot) of work around the house while the kids kept each other occupied. Feeling like a gregarious wiseass, I updated my Facebook status to indicate that yay, we got a lot of shit done, but boo - poor P ended up stung in the neck by one of the bees we'd inadvertently pissed off. Apparently, I ran over a ground nest with the mower. Lots of angry bees flying around. Oops.

Now, I love the fact that FB offers a GREAT way of keeping in touch with family I don't often see. My uncle and two aunts both commented on that post, and it's fun to see what we're all doing. Especially since my Uncle is a tractor guy and he likes seeing the posts regarding P getting his tractor working (which he drove around the yard for the first time EVER on Saturday - woot!).

M1 responds as well, with what sounds like an extremely worried post about P not being allergic, or he would have let her know, and she's hoping he's all right.

To which I thought, "Oh, here come the questions from the relatives!"

There was a bit more back and forth - I reassured both M1 and my aunt that yes, he's fine, but I was pretty wound up about having possibly been outed to my family and friends in a FB comment. I was already a bit emotional due to the holiday thing, and while I understand her worry, I was aggravated that it didn't end up as a text or phone call, but ended up on my FB feed.

So this fed my feelings about the next thing... and I know that, if the emotions hadn't been running hot, I probably would have shrugged it off. It's a personality difference between me and M1, and I don't even know if I should bring it up at the powwow, to P, or just rant about it here and suck it up. This is where typing to the blog will help just get the thoughts together... I hope. Apologies to anyone still reading - you're now the "YouAreHere is processing while typing" guinea pigs.

Facebook again. Right after the whole "did she just out me to my family?" thing, I notice P's status from the night before - basically a "hey FB, I haven't been around much. <wave!>." A handful of comments from folks to say hey, we missed you, how's things, bla bla.

M1 has responded to EVERY comment on P's status as though they were directed at her. "Waves back!" "I missed you too!" Stuff like that. And it's grinding my gears at the moment.

It goes back to the "P and M1 are looking like the 'legitimate' relationship" thing from the beginning of the post. She's acting as welcoming committee - the public face to P's Facebook wall when he's not there.

I'm not as Facebook-gregarious as she is. I know this is a personality difference (I prefer to friend people I actually know and don't want to go out and friend everyone he knows just because they're tied to him). I AM gregarious with my friends and family, but when comments are directed toward other people, they're not mine to respond to. So, yes, we're both VERY different on this front.

But it also just feels territorial to me. That she's treating him and his FB comments as her territory. In the process, she's getting the "name recognition" and further cementing her status as "primary" in everyone's eyes, while I remain fairly quiet and hang back. I realize it shouldn't matter - what people think doesn't impact what our relationship really IS, but it's nice to have the recognition and validation. It's the difference between the politician who puts up signs all over the neighborhood and "um, that other guy, what was his name?"

And this is where I just want my inner Spock to come out and tell my emotions to fuck off. She has reassured me many times over that she is just not a territorial person. I have no place even getting upset about this. It's her modus operandi, not mine. I've already (a year or so ago) struggled with this difference, tried to be as FB-gregarious as she is, and HATED it, so I stopped trying to be something I'm not.

(Anyone who is friends with me on FB is reading this like "who the hell ARE you? You're pretty damn gregarious, or we're going to have to redefine that word!" Yes, I am, but within my circle of friends and family. It takes a lot to get me to befriend people just because P knows them, and I've done that only by request).

I don't know if I'm going to bring this one up - it's not my place to get tweaked about how she talks with people. If I feel publicly steamrolled, then I need to speak up in public myself.

Bah. Good thing there's a week before we get together. Maybe I can work some of the holiday angle out through P beforehand, and the emotional BS will subside enough to see the other stuff a bit more clearly. One step at a time, I guess... Anyone still reading? You get a cookie. You sure as hell deserve one.
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Update:

Found out that P & M2 broke up the other night - mainly due to time and schedule differences, and not really being able to make a heck of a lot of time for their relationship. P's the type to be able to pick up where he left off 6 months or a year later down the road, so he's not in a bad place - they left it as friends, and I guess they'll see where the future takes them.

The relationship between M1 and M2's husband was broken off a while back, due to some basic incompatibilities.

So... it's pretty much back at a typical Vee.


Gonna talk with P tonight when he comes home (and after I have my time with the kids). The one thing about splitting time like this is that I feel that, when these things come up, I have to wait until he comes home to actually talk about it (I don't like to call and take up his time with M1 unless it's an emergency). I guess it helps get the thoughts in order before we actually DO talk, but still... nothing like hanging on to stress longer than you need to, and working up the dread toward actually HAVING that discussion because you have to sit on it for a while.

I guess I can run it by him as to whether or not he thinks I should even bring up the whole FB commenting thing (not the "feeling like I almost got outed" part, that I still want to bring up). I'm reluctant to have that talk (even though I will), because I hate triggering his protective instinct - like he has to protect her from me. It disassociates me from him, and it takes some work to reconnect after that happens. Especially when I'm not trying to attack her, but it's just that some of her mannerisms can really get my hackles up when the emotions are running high.

Which, again, is MY problem. Not hers.
I just can't really vent to very many people about it, and really don't want to drag P in the middle.

Feh.

It's obvious to me (now) that my main deal with the whole FB commenting thing, combined with the Xmas Eve thing, is a desire to feel validated and recognized as someone who is just as important to P as M1 is, even though I'm not as visible as she is.

What to *do* about feeling that way? No effing idea. I can't change circumstances, other than trying to get more "face time" with P's fam, which doesn't seem to happen even though I ask for it - it's difficult to get together. Do I splatter myself all over his FB feed? No. It feels like I'm wearing someone else's skin if I do that - it's not me. Do I just give up on wanting that? It feels like I'm admitting defeat if I do that - that I'll never have that, so why bother - sour grapes. Eff it. And therein breeds resentment ("M1 gets that, but I never will").

Double feh.

Oh, and no takers for the cookies, eh? More for me!
OMNOMNOMNOMNOM...
 
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opalescent

Active member
I may have missed something critical but did your partner tell you his mom consider you as lesser in some way? Or did you infer that? Maybe his mom is uncomfortable with having your mom over for the holidays for totally different reasons.

If you want to feel confident as having importance in his life, then act like it. Partners talk directly to parents sometimes. In this case, it would have been better to ask his mom directly if it was ok to add your mom to the holiday mix. Perhaps you could think about apologizing to his mom for putting her in an awkward position. Yes, she should have told you of the discomfort long before this. And P should have just refused to be an intermediary if he was that unhappy about it. But apologizing may allow you to act as a person who counts in his life - which you are to all appearances - and it might clear the air with his mom, who just might tell you why she does not want your mom to join them this year.

I think you are struggling with a lot of issues many mono/poly folks struggle with. I see that you are doing the best you can and your willingness to keep trying and working on yourself is really commendable. I've enjoyed reading your blog.
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Thanks, Opalescent... No, she's never said anything overtly - it's more that I get in a funk every now and then that I rarely see his family (except for big holidays), and M1 is close enough to see them for dinner fairly regularly and the like. I feel like the "invisible partner" at times, and there's little to do about it when schedules collide.

I'd like to see them more often, but P says he sees them enough ("But if you want to hang out with the crazy people, fine!"). I'd like to find a better balance than what we have now, but given my schedule, and people's overall reluctance to drive (this is RI - sense of distance is REEEEALLY skewed and a drive of 20 minutes is OMGFOREVER!), I'm going to find it harder to strike a balance than I would an hour into a game of Jenga.

Logically, I *do* know that the reason P's mom didn't feel comfortable with my mom there is that it was just weird... she had barely gotten to know me, and that year was the first time EVERYONE was at her house. P's son had come back from living at his mother's house, which kind of threw everyone into a tizzy, and here are not only P's TWO partners, but one of them had her kids AND her mom. I can totally agree with the "OMG, Calgon, take me away!" that she must have been feeling.

And I hadn't intended on dropping that on her lap (hell, I was surprised when it was dropped in my lap!) - I shortened things for brevity a bit (wouldn't know it from the novel I wrote), but I was worried THEN that I'd have to bow out, and did call her afterwards to make sure it was all right, and to thank her (profusely). I agree that calling her myself now would be a good idea. Time to get over my stupid phone phobia and just do it (I can blather on in person like there's no tomorrow - why do I hate the damned phone so much??).

Emotions and insecurities got ramped up and compounded with the other small triggers to make the molehill into a mountain, much as it always does when I go a bit wonky.

Problem now is that P's having a shitty day at work, and while I'm feeling a bit better about it all now that I've dug and hit paydirt, I'm thinking he's not going to be in the best mood for talking. Hopefully the commute doesn't suck too, or I might as well avoid him all night.

Always an adventure, now isn't it? :)
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Did you hear that?

That. Did you hear that? That loooooooooong exhale?
Yeah.

Funny how one face-to-face talk does wonders.
Funny how it does wonders every. single. time... and yet I still get wound up about even just talking about it - worrying that something I say is going to get his hackles up and be the straw that broke the camel's back (do camels have hackles?).

And P, very calmly, says that well, this stuff doesn't get triggered all that often and he knows I'm still turning over stones, so he's just happy it was a familiar animal and not something new.

He offered reassurance that yes, his family understands that I'm just as important to him as M1 is, that they ask about me when I'm not there, that it's not "How's M1? And how's that other girl you're seeing?" That kind of thing.

And the whole Christmas thing was a bit of a misinterpretation (not the Xmas Eve thing, but the whole "do we go up to my mom's and bring M1, and then what about the other relatives?") - P was suggesting that he, I, and M1 do dinner at home first, THEN he and I would go up to mom's. Given the drive, etc., it wouldn't be feasible, though, so I just assumed he meant we'd all go up to mom's. Derp.

Anyway, Christmas needs some more discussion at the very least.

P's biggest worry through all this was that I got all wound up about talking about it... that whole "is this going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back" thing. Yeah, it stems from insecurity. When my ex decided he wanted to separate, it was after a few months of telling me "I just want you to be happy" - which translated into "I just want you to shut up and be happy with what you have; I don't want to work at this - I'm going to keep my GF, not go to counseling with you, and isolate you from your friends. You need to be happy with that." I kept bringing up issues so we could work through them, and he decided he'd had enough.

(Yeah. I know. I should have had the balls to have had enough, myself, but kids are a powerful motivator for staying in an otherwise crappy situation)

17+ years of conditioning (add dating in the mix and we were together 22 years - yikes...). Of "Why can't you be happy with what you have? Why do you always want more? Why isn't anything good enough for you?" So yeah, it's work to get past that.

I'm evidently projecting this onto P. I know I'm being an enormous PITA at times, and keep wondering if each time is going to be the "I'm done" moment. He's being patient - understanding that it's not that I don't trust him, but that in those moments, I feel that despite our relationship being a great one, that my PITA-ttitude will be big enough to mess it up. And he offered a lot of reassurances that he's not going anywhere.

At least until the brussels sprouts kicked in and he went to bed in pain. D'oh. :eek:
Damned food, always getting in the way of a good time.

Anyhoo... I plan on calling his mom tonight on the way home from work. The stress has lifted. The FB crap seems as insignificant as I thought it would, had I not already had the other emo crap going on. And tonight is "demo night" - the remaining studs and drywall (and other assorted junk like the old central vac unit) are getting removed so I can pick up some concrobium, fog the hell out of the mold down there and kill it once and for all.

~~

As an aside, this was one of those things I was reluctant to post - the whole internal twisting and turning, and the process by which things got worked out. But if there is anyone in the same boat - who goes through the same issues sometimes (and sometimes over and over again), I thought maybe it'd be good to see that someone else does this too... If it's a bit eyeroll-inducing for some, I understand, but I figured what the hell... it's worth sharing this stuff.

Hope all is well with everyone... All the cookies are gone, BTW. You missed your chance. ;)
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Putting the F-U in funk. Blah...

Powwow was last night - rather than do it in a public place, we ended up meeting at P's home with M1 south (they were broke and I was thankful for the chance to get emotional in a place where I wouldn't be surrounded by strangers). Of course, when I stay there on a work night, I'm leaving at 5:30am, and tired me is sucking down the coffee and trying to fight off the exhaustion and general malaise. Bleh.

Starting off on a up-note, the phone call with P's mom went well. P's grand-niece's first birthday party was over the weekend, and I was unable to make it due to commitments with my own kids, so I called, left a really awkward voice mail about how I was sorry I wouldn't be coming to the party, that P talked with me about Xmas Eve, and I understand completely, and we'll figure out our holiday plans as we get closer. I wished everyone a good time at the party and left it at that (stumbling over my words as I spoke... it was a very derpy message I left). She called back and we had a nice conversation, although she really did NOT want to discuss Xmas Eve - instead brushing it off with "Well, we'll talk about it later."

I found out that she cornered him at the birthday party and asked him, "What did you tell her? You didn't tell her that we didn't want HER to come, did you?"

So, that was nice to hear. And it was nice to talk with her a bit.

His family dynamic is very different from what I'm used to. My Ex was the gateway to his family (except for his mom, somewhat - but she used to live across the street... in a good way, not in an "Everyone Loves Raymond" way). I feel odd just picking up the phone and calling them without P being in the middle somehow. It's difficult to undo that training, but she appreciates the phone calls, so I'll work on that. It's nice to know how she feels about it.

After the party, he came up and we knocked off the rest of the basement demo - we had to gut the whole thing, since I found more mold in a section we thought was unaffected. At least all the old mouse nests are gone too (bleh). My mouser of a cat is going mental, wanting to get downstairs and hunt. After a few dry days, it'll be time to spray with concrobium and kill the mold once and for all. It'll be good to have THAT finally done.

And for some reason, I thought it'd be a great idea to have a cookout with my college friends this Sunday. Nothing like forcing myself to clean up the house and yard with no time to do it... wheeeee!

So, like I said above, last night was the powwow with me, P, and M1. We usually go over our issues (ups/downs/anything else that needs to be worked out). We started off by planning the holiday schedule: Samhain, Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Years.

Samhain:
I pretty much gave up on doing a Dumb Supper on Halloween night with P and his family, since I'll be doing trick-or-treating with my kids (at least until I transfer them for Trick-or-Treat Round 2 with their dad). We'll have our own the night before. Sucks to miss out, but given all the scheduling conflicts, it seems like the story of my life. At least we'll do something.

Thanksgiving:
Last year, we started a tradition that M1 brought with her: making homemade ravioli the night before, and then serving it with Thanksgiving dinner. It didn't really go so well with the entire clan - not enough room for all the people, not everyone got into it, and I and my kids had to leave early since we were running a road race early the next morning. This year, M1 will come up and we'll do the ravioli party up north, just the three of us and the kids, which will be fun. Not sure if I'm doing the road race with the kids, but I'll drop them off at their grandmother's on turkey day, and then head south for dinner with M1, P, and P's family.

Christmas was the one that turned the night upside down.
Xmas Eve and Xmas Day fall on "my" days with P on the schedule. Since Xmas Eve is always spent at his mom's, and he'll have his daughter for the night, it makes no sense for him to stay up north with me, and that's fine. We'll have the day with his mom (depending on what my mom's needs are), and I'll spend Xmas Eve night at home with the kids - cookies for santa, stockings, the whole bit. I'll drop them off at their dad's the next morning.

Given that we're not sure what's up with my mom (she had nowhere to go last year), and she'll be in the middle of radiation therapy for her cancer, we're not sure she'll even be able to handle a trip, and P and I considered going north to see her (and I thought about collecting some more family on the way and making it a nice Xmas for her).

This would leave M1 alone for much of Xmas Day, unless I either out myself to the rest of my relatives and bring her, or we leave the other relatives out of the Xmas festivities and bring her. And given that my mother is a recovering hoarder, that even assumes she'd be comfortable having M1 at her place.

I don't know how this is going to work out, but it really left a shitty taste in everyone's mouths last night. :(

(More to come - I need to break here for a bit)
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Well... interestingly enough, there's already a solution being worked out for the Christmas thing. P and M1 are both Pagan, and have decided that they will celebrate Yule together while he and I celebrate Christmas. Maybe we'll all spend some time together on Christmas, but it takes the stress off me trying to bend and twist my brain into figuring out a holiday get-together with my family that could somehow include her so she isn't alone (and she wouldn't be alone anyway - she has family in the area, and P's family, but it seems to me that she really didn't want to spend a holiday apart from P, and I understand that).

So, where I left off...

After the holiday talk, we moved on to our "positives/negatives" since the last time we talked. I, of course, was the only one who had anything to talk about (I always feel like the monkey wrench of the bunch, but I guess that's just my bit... :rolleyes:). I brought up the family thing - how I see P and M1 getting time together with his family, and because he "sees them enough", I don't get the opportunity to do the same.

Yes, logistics makes it harder, but P ended up going on a minutes-long discussion about how different members of his family act, and how he doesn't want to hang around them all that much more than he does now, and all I got from that was, "I see them enough." Which is what I had before.

So I clarified my issue: can he and I GET more time with his family (and maybe figure out some sort of balance here so he isn't "fammed out"), or is this the way it is, I just suck up that I'm not going to see them except for group get-togethers, and we all note that this emotion is going to keep coming up because it hasn't been resolved (especially when I see M1's connection with them posted on Facebook - lunches, coffee, and dinners out with everyone, and the envy pops up over and over again)?

And yeah, the FB thing got blurted out as part of the emotional rant. M1 took it well, although I think she was still upset about Christmas at the time. I did make it clear that I don't expect her to change her behavior, but when I'm feeling invisible or "less than", I get even more tweaked when she's VERY visible on his facebook feed, while that's typically not my style. My own issue. My own deal. I wasn't even going to bring it up, but it came out in the emotional torrent. Yippee.

I think I got a compromise... we'll be trying to get together with his sister for coffee, and maybe trying to get some more time with his mom and his son. But outside of holidays and birthdays, we're probably not going to have many more opportunities than we do. P and M1 understand that these emotions (and the envy) will pop up from time to time, and I guess we'll just deal with it when it does.

Not entirely optimal, but workable, I suppose.

I did bring up the FB thing where I was concerned she'd outed me in front of my family (via a comment on a picture I posted). She replied back with, "You're not out? I didn't know that."

:confused:

No. Our common friends know. Some close family (my mom and sisters) know. Some other friends of mine, but a handful here and there. I prefer to let people know in my own time, and not have my hand forced. I've also been bitten HARD by the "You deserve so much better!" replies, and really would prefer my extended family and friends to get to know P before coming out, so they're less likely to cast him as the villain and me as the unwitting victim. :rolleyes:

We'd had that discussion in the past. I found it surprising, and a bit cavalier that she'd make the assumption otherwise. But, she says that now she knows, she'll be more careful in the future. I'm still shaking my head a bit over it, but whatever.

So... a stressful night. I felt pretty heavy after expressing some powerful emotions. M1 felt pretty awful about the holidays, and the mood was just very dour after we were done. Today seems a bit better, although I feel like I just need a nap. But work awaits. ZZZzzzzz...
 

YouAreHere

Active member
D'awww moment...

Got a text from P last night that said, "Call my mother."

So, of course, I called HIM to make sure nothing was wrong, and maybe suss out WHY I was actually calling her. He wasn't spilling, so I called her. Had to laugh, because one of the first things out of her mouth was, "Well, that was quick - I didn't expect you to call TONIGHT!" Heh.

Turns out, she's been figuring out the whole Christmas overload as well, and to prove that apples don't fall far from trees (despite the grumbles P gave me as I said that), she offered up a more intimate Yule celebration at her house, with me, P, M1, P's son & daughter, my mom, and my girls. P insisted that none of this was at his urging or prompting, and I thought it was extremely sweet. :) It gets her out of violating local occupancy codes as well. ;)

Also got a nice email from M1 explaining how she felt after our talk - that it was pretty much the Christmas thing that bothered her (and that she's happy with celebrating Yule with P as a solution), and the other stuff I mentioned didn't upset her at all. It felt nice to have that conversation, although I'm still a little concerned for potential OTHERS if her default mode is to assume people are out. But hey, it's not mine to manage, so c'est la vie. She now knows (fer sher) that I'm not out to everyone, so I'm not anticipating more "uh-oh" moments.

So. Nice outcome after a lot of emotional BLAAAAAA. Still tired and wonky after getting little sleep for the last couple days (WHY did I think this weekend was a good weekend to have people over, especially now that I realize my oldest daughter's tri-county XC meet is Saturday? GAH!), but feeling better about stuff.

House is pissing me off. As I cleaned up the dining room (that whole "having people over" thing), I noticed some small, old, dried spots of mold on the secretary cabinet, and I damn near freaked. Realized that the cabinet is right next to the cellar bulkhead, which is where the worst of the problem was downstairs. I cleaned it up, and I'm hoping that taking care of the cellar takes care of this as well. Fingers crossed. Toes too. Mkaes it hrad to ytpe, thuohg.
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Yaaaahd work. Tons of leaves (damned maple trees are prolific!), and my little mower is working as hard as it can to mulch them up. I do *not* want a repeat of last year, where I bagged leaves and then had no idea what to do with them (my trash service won't take them with the regular trash and require an extra fee). 15 bags of leaves? NFW. Lots of work so the mower can munch them up into little eeny-weenie pieces. Yep. And my forearms are going to be PUMPED! (ow)

Met the son of the older lady next door, who gave me a bit more history about the house. It was all stucco at one point (that pebbled look), and he used to get into trouble as a kid by picking all the little pebbles off. I told him the tradition is alive and well (even if the only stucco left is on the front exterior wall), since my kids do it too. :)

He thought the place was kind of spooky as a kid - the old man who lived here years ago had a stroke and couldn't speak, and although he was really nice, as a kid that totally wigged him out. Hence, haunted house. Hee... :)

He and his niece talked about how nice it used to be, and how the previous owners (before me) let it get really run down. I love hearing about the history of this house, and I love even more the ability to bring it back to life and give it some TLC and some of its personality back.

All right... back to work. Before my arms atrophy and I'm useless for the rest of the day. :)
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Warning: a rambling post where I "suss out my feelings" follows. Oh, the feels...

But first... on the family side, things are better/not so better. Not so better in the sense that physical get-togethers are still going to be few and far between. P sends me a message while I'm at work early last week that his mom's birthday party would be this past Saturday. Uh, yeah, whoops. That's the date of my daughter's Laser Tag party with her friends. No can do.

Logistics suck sometimes.

However, they're better in the sense that there's a bit more contact, and I did call his mom on Saturday to wish her a happy birthday, and had a nice conversation with her (and got a nice text from her after her party, thanking me for the gift). :)

Okay, Teh Feels...

So I've noticed a pattern here. But instead of getting right to it, I'm going to circle around from a different beginning. That's how I roll. I'll make a great story-telling old person, I think. ("GAWD, Grandma, get to the point already!")

I've never lived alone. Ever. I mentioned this in a post above, somewhere. From home to college (roommates) to married to... this. This strange amalgam of alone-yet-not-alone. And this flummoxes me emotionally sometimes.

I never went through that post-divorce phase of "I am alone and must be self-sufficient". Never had the "rage at the ex and the world" moments because I don't know how / can't do something that I need to do in order to keep the household moving, before figuring out how to do it and getting the independence / self-esteem boost out of it.

Well, now I'm going through that. Sorta.

P is a protector / caretaker type. He WANTS to help. He understands my independent streak, but still wants to help me out with stuff. Except, with the whole two-days-with-me-then-two-days-with-M1 schedule, things don't always work out according to schedule.

When we were renovating the shower, he left for a week or so to move M1 back across the country. When the mold hit, he was down south at his apartment with M1 for a couple days. The latest aggravation is fighting with the wood stove, and trying to figure this thing out before it gets REALLY cold at night. (The aggravation is worth the price of heating oil nowadays).

Each time, I end up feeling completely over my head ("What do I do with this friggin' plumbing that's too long?" "What do I do with all this mold?" "How the hell do I get this fire started without smoking out my house?"). And with P's schedule of being here, and then not here, I get used to having him around to help, and then BAM. I'm on my own. Literally.

The emotions? I feel abandoned, left to flounder on my own. My logical brain knows I need to (and WANT to) know how to do this stuff on my own, but my emotional brain (wait, that would be a heart, wouldn't it?) just goes off on a four-letter tirade about being left alone to handle this stuff.

Now, I have to wonder if a more normal post-divorce situation would make that anger a bit more socially acceptable. Screw the ex husband for putting me in this position, yadda yadda yadda. Gotta learn to take care of things myself, can only count on me, bla bla bla.

Except, where does the anger go in this case? Inward, because I'm absolutely frustrated that I can't do whatever it is without help (or, in the case of the mold, that it was just going to take so much TIME and I had no frame of reference re. how bad it was). Outward as well, toward P, for my BEING alone even though I'm "not alone". And that one's not fair, so I get all twisted up about feeling that way on top of it all.

Oh, and I get irrationally pissed at the wood stove too - inanimate objects can't get their feelings hurt.

So I'm left wondering if this is some strange extension of the post-divorce-angries. I know that being more self-sufficient is a good thing, and I want to learn/get better at this stuff, but wow, the steps to get there are friggin' hard. I don't like tossing the anger out, but I'm not sure if it's something that needs to happen as I transition into the more independent "me". The whole twist where P's around some of the time just makes it more difficult, however.

No real solution to this yet. It's easy to say that I should try to make sure anything open-ended is wrapped up to my comfort and satisfaction before P leaves, but that's not always reasonable, and I can't always prepare for these things anyway. Figuring out how to redirect the anger and feelings of abandonment that are directed at P when he's not here would be the thing that I need to work on... I have to wonder if googling around for similar situational advice from people whose spouses/SOs travel for work, or drive trucks, or are deployed may help a bit.

FWIW, I read FoL's blog re. her life change from a poly relationship into a mono marriage, and her husband Matt's struggles, and I find that I do ID with Matt a bit. Not so much with the level of resentment, and not so much with the cowgirling, but with the gyrations he went through to be ok with the situation. I'm walking this odd line between considering P a part of this household, and needing to be self-sufficient. I wonder what would happen if he and M1 ever broke up, and I wonder if I'd even want to have him with me full-time, since I don't want to have to go through this again if he were to find another life partner and split time with them. It's some interesting food for thought. I love P to pieces, but at the same time, I'm figuring out how to protect myself from being hurt.

Makes the head hurt on a Monday morning. That means the feely stuff is over. Time for caffeine. Glorious, glorious caffeine...

Edited to add: Realizing that my mom may have some experience with the "first-time-alone-angries" as well. My dad passed away when I was 17, and she had a two-year-old and a three-month-old in the house. Her more recent life partner passed away a couple years back from lung cancer, and she's been a bit more independent this time around (although she and her 80-something next-door-neighbor are pretty close and cute together :) ). Hm.
 
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YouAreHere

Active member
Well, P came home last night, and we talked about the last couple days. On the plus side, I *finally* figured out my own rhythm for getting the wood stove to work. On my own. :)

P understood, and agreed that, in this respect, a year alone after my divorce probably would have helped a LOT. I went from a marriage with a combination of learned avoidance and codependent behaviors, to wanting to be independent, but being in another relationship and finding it difficult to shake the codependence (couldn't go "cold turkey").

It's happening, and I'm getting that independence that I value, but things like this - the frustrating "I can't do this!" moments - tend to bring out the "I need help!" in me.

The last couple days did lead to a bit of an epiphany regarding my marriage, which was interesting.

My ex and I used to not see eye-to-eye at ALL on our child-rearing philosophies. I wanted to raise them to be independent adults; he wanted to protect them. On one occasion, he called me "mercenary" and thought that I'd been TOO independent as a child (latchkey kid, etc.).

It finally occurred to me that my wanting the children to be independent adults was an affront to how he lived HIS life.

We lived across the street from his mother. She and his dad owned an auto body shop, so we always had cars and someone to work on them. They knew handymen and contractors, so we always had someone they could call to do odd jobs. We shared their snowmobiles, and their lawnmower, and the list goes on.

He was being taken care of. And I stepped in to fill that role of "mom" perfectly when he quit work to be a stay-at-home dad, and I (and my paycheck) took care of him as well.

It's probably why he didn't want me to move out, post-divorce.

It's funny to look back and see how the independence I valued (highly!) eroded over time, because the man I married wanted to be dependent.

So. Anyway. I'm learning.

P explained that he probably doesn't appreciate what I'm going through at the moment - the "OMG!" overwhelming feeling when something in the house goes wrong and I don't know what to do about it - because he went through that in his 20s, when he and his first wife bought their fixer-upper of a house. He's lived half his life dealing with junk cars and shit that breaks around the house, and he's used to it. Me? I'm not. So what's not a big deal for him because he's been around the block once or twice is a HUGE FUCKING DEAL to me until I can get on top of it and figure it out.

And I'm impatient and a perfectionist (somewhat), which doesn't help. I want to learn how to do it, and do it RIGHT. And RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT.

Whee.

Anyway, it was a good discussion. I owned up to my feelings, we understood that until I have that self-reliance, this will probably happen when something pops up, and that's okay. He resists the urge to swoop in and fix it for me BECAUSE he values my independence as well, so I'm good with that. I want to learn how to do this stuff, but there's a piece of me that still says, "I'm in a relationship, dammit - why isn't he here helping me with this?!"


In other news, the family thing once again is having its moments...
P and M1 are hosting a Samhain Dumb Supper with his family tomorrow night. We initially thought that he and I would do our own thing, but he invited me down anyway. I was excited about it, bent over backwards to make plans (take the kids trick-or-treating for the first hour, bring them to their dad's, and then immediately schlep down to P's place down south for the dinner).

Last week, he mentioned that by the time I get there, everyone will be gone. Sooooo... what? Do I not go? I asked him if we should go back to our original plan of having our own thing, and he left off with "I'll see who's going to be around at 9pm." Which I should have followed up on before last night. :rolleyes:

Last night, in bed, I mention something about having to pick up the halloween candy off the porch before I head down, or I'm going to have the lights on all night (I was planning to stay south overnight, given the time). He went, "Wait a minute. I thought we were doing our own dinner tomorrow."

Sigh.

He had forgotten he was going to ask.
Which is all fine and understandable, but when I'm trying to be part of the family stuff, it's another disappointment. Especially when I was going through gyrations to even be there.

It's one of those situations that makes me wonder, if this had been his previous marriage, would it have been okay to accept that everyone would be there and gone before his wife got there? Would he have tried to push out the start time and not just gone "Okay" when his sister suggested something earlier? Why is it acceptable in this case, if he feels that we're as close and important to each other as any husband and wife?

I hate that mental comparison coming up over and over again, but it's one of the things that makes me feel "less than" in this type of relationship. Would it have been okay to do this if you had a traditional wife? Why is it okay now?

So now I get to figure out when to have THIS talk with him, without ruining our own dinner tonight. These heavy talks are really getting to be a drag... I'm getting back to the point where we're doing more talking about our relationship than actually enjoying it. Boo.
 
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HisPet

New member
Wanted to stop by to send you some warm and fuzzy support vibes. I relate to much of what you are going though emotionally and I love your clarity. No words of wisdom lend, just saying you're not alone!
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Thanks, HP. :)

I have a feeling much of this is just screwed-up communication and not following through, on either of our parts. However, I think I need to ask that since he does consider us family, the next time he hosts a family event, I be considered as well, and not just he and M1 if they're hosting in their place down south. Otherwise, it really does lead to the "P & M1 are the main couple" feelings if they host events for his family and I end up left out, without an effort to find a date that works for all of us.

Of course, it might be important to him that they selebrate Samhain on the day of, and not some other night, so maybe it's a moot point until my kids get too old to trick-or-treat with mom. My 12-year-old (who is already bordering on "too old for trick-or-treating" anyway) is already at that point, and wants to go out to one of her friend's neighborhoods this year. The parent/child separation has begun!

Well, until then, more talking awaits.

Edit:
Headdesk.

Just got off the phone with P. Asked if he was shopping on the way home, or if we were shopping together before our dinner tonight. He didn't think we *were* having our dinner tonight, and just thought it was regular dinner and a trip to Home Depot. That "we never talked about it".

:confused:
Sometimes I think we share a brain, and sometimes I think we're from different planets.
So, I guess my not coming down south on Thursday didn't mean we went back to the original plan. Apparently, all plans were erased, period.

Well, on the bright side, the cellar door will be insulated (door inside the bulkhead got removed, since it was destroyed from the mold), and I won't have to worry about ruining our Samhain dinner with a talk.

Funny how we THINK we're communicating, and we realize that we're just not being understood. Seems to be a theme lately, not only in my life, but in some of the threads on this board lately. We think we're being crystal clear, and, uh. Nope. Take 2, try again...
 
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YouAreHere

Active member
"Mercury in Retrograde"... I really, really hate that excuse.

Well, THAT sucked.

P had a shitty day at work yesterday, so I didn't want to unload on him right when we got home, but when you ask me what's wrong, I'm going to answer you. Although dealing with a night like last night is almost enough to make me just stop communicating altogether.

(Okay, not really, but damn...)

As an aside, don't point up, go "Mercury in retrograde! And you don't believe in it!" as a "See, that's why we're not communicating well" and expect me to NOT go explodey on your ass. I don't give a shit what you believe in - pointing to an external, supernatural source as the cause of a problem only gives people an excuse not to fix it, whether it's "Mercury in Retrograde" or "It must be God's will". Regardless of the cause, it doesn't mean we don't have the power to fix it.

But I digress.

The talk went horribly and really brought down the whole evening. We were both home at around 7pm, and after the initial verbal dump, we sat on the couch in silence until about 8 or 8:30, then kinda started working things out. Didn't end up getting out of the house until 9 (we needed that damn insulation from Home Depot), and I made a bologna sandwich for the both of us so we'd actually have some food. What a cluster.

His initial emotional reaction basically was a modified "why isn't anything I do for you enough". And yes, he does go through hell trying to maintain both relationships. I understand that.

Finally, after the emotional dump and the time in silence, I outlined what I SAW, regardless of what he DID or THOUGHT (which I didn't see): that we started off with plans of our own, believing that I wouldn't be coming down for the family thing; that he then invited me to the family thing (so, to my mind, that meant it was actually going to work out - next time, I ask if it's a courtesy invitation, or if something changed); that a few days ago, I had the rug ripped out from under me with, "Well, nobody's going to be there when you get there anyway" which turned into "let me see who's still going to be around" - which says to me "stay tuned", that we're in a holding pattern. That when we talked about it in bed the other night, he forgot about asking and just assumed I wasn't going. These actions are what I saw, and they basically baffled the hell out of me. Why not stick to the original plan if there was no shot in hell of me getting there when anyone else was there? Why invite me at all, after we'd already discussed it?

I didn't see any pushback on the start time when his sister suggested 6 instead of 7. It just sort of said to me that it was "okay" that I wasn't there, for a family event that he hosted - that my presence or absence was incidental to his plans, and as his partner, that hurts.

After the initial emotions died down, I suggested Skype. He didn't like the idea (thinking that his mom and sister might talk about it behind his back or something - I'm still unsure of why that's a problem for him when he doesn't usually give a shit about other perceptions, but emotions were high and that's a question for another day). So, the current plan is that I'm going to go through the gyrations I was planning to - take my youngest trick-or-treating (oldest will be out with a friend anyway), drop her off at her dad's halfway through, and haul ass down south to see if I can make it before everyone leaves. He's going to try to drag his feet and keep people there.

I'm apprehensive that I'm going to get there, nobody else will be there, and I'll have gone through it all for nothing. To be honest, with the mood I'm in, I'd rather just stay home with the cats, "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" and any leftover Halloween candy, if I'm going to miss everyone.

BUT. Going in with a foul mood and a shitty attitude won't help me. At the very least, I should try to have a good time with P and M1 if nobody else is there. Or at least, not be a dour little miserable beeyotch.

Oh well. I should be working. Touché and away...
 

YouAreHere

Active member
You know the feeling of planning a big event? Wedding, big party, whatever. You may stress out over the details beforehand, wonder how it's going to go, hope for the best and dread the worst. And then, when it's showtime, and the lights are on, all that goes away? The waiting is done and you're just... there?

That's how it felt yesterday after bringing my daughter back for trick-or-treat round 2 with her dad, and I schlepped down south for the Dumb Supper. I thought about what I'd feel if, by the time I got there, everyone had left, and by that point, I'd already had the upset come and go, and it was just, "Well... time to go find out."

When I arrived, P's mom and son were still there. His niece and her family, and his sister and her husband had left, so most people had gone. However P's mom had made it a point to stay and chat with me after I got there, and I thought that was very sweet. :) They saved a plate for me, I asked P who each dish represented while conversation was going on, I scarfed down my dinner (waaaay too fast), and we all had a good time.

I missed seeing the others, but it was still a nice night. By the end of it, we were all kinda beat, but we smoked some hookah, played with the cats, and then *clonk* out. Until I had to get up at 5 to make it home to feed MY cats and head to work. Zzzz...

Lesson learned? I dunno. I still think plans need to be shored up a bit better in advance, including any follow-through on the things we discuss. No assumptions, period. Even if we think something is crystal clear.

Second lesson? At the very least, his mom is including me as part of the family, and that really feels good (and kind of helps to quell the insecurity). His son has always been a great kid, very welcoming of everyone, and his daughter (same age as my older daughter) is the same way, so that's a good thing too. I suppose the rest may come in time, but I know I'm still sensitive to it, and I'm still going to bust my hump to make the time to spend with his family, even if it fizzles out.

Another lesson...
I cannot count on "losing" all my Halloween candy by leaving the bowl on the porch. Dammit. You're welcome, coworkers. November 1st is now officially "Gorge yourself on chocolate day!"
 

FullofLove1052

New member
I am glad you enjoyed yourself. Things have a funny way of working out.

This warrants an eye roll from me:

And yes, he does go through hell trying to maintain both relationships. I understand that.

You know how people say, "Rich people problems?" This qualifies as, "Poly people problems." I would have given him a side eye that would have made him feel my retinas burning his face. This would not be for me to understand. People go through hell by choice. He has made the choice to maintain both relationships, so he should suck it up, cope, deal with it, work on his shit, do something different, or read a self-help book. That is the [one-size fits all] advice to mono people, but I am using it on him.

Other than that, I do hope you have a good weekend.

Ry
 
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