When I was away I made some discoveries. I'm nervous to share them here but I think I need to start really pushing myself to trust again that I can be vulnerable and that it will be better in the long run if I am. I've always benefitted from writing and sharing so I'm trusting that I will benefit now. I do a lot of writing these days but it launches me to a different end result when I share it... so here it goes.
I had what could of been seen as a lovely holiday with my boyfriend who treated me to four days in Las Vegas. His whole family was there as it was his oldest sisters 60th birthday. I get along famously with his family. There are five siblings all together, a nephew and niece and his mother. They, and all their spouses and friends, adore me. They cheer when I arrive at one of their family events ("yaaaay, RP is here!") and include me in everything.
His family aren't quick to show emotion but as I am, they have come to cherish that about me. I give all of them hugs and wear my emotions on my sleeve. Even if they don't understand what is really behind how I feel, I quickly get back to the "happy-go-lucky" mask. I think they really like that about me. They say things like, "you can always count on RP for a hug."
His mum loves me most of all. She's given me lavish gifts and lovingly watches me from the other side of the table when we are all together. She is very pleased her bachelor son has a girlfriend and they all wait for an announcement of marriage.
Most of all, his son, who is the same age as my son, loves me like a step mum. I have watched this kid grow from the tiny little boy he once was at age 11 to the towering gentle giant he is now at age 16. I love this kid. My son loves this kid. He cuddles up to me, even as the big guy he is now, and talks my ear off when we are together. He comes from a different background than my boy and I come from, but he always listens to my ways and balances it out with his own. I think I have taught him a thing or two and he has taught me...
Here's the thing....
I feel nothing inside. I'm lying that I feel that all encompassing, grounded in certainty, I'll be here because I love you endlessly feeling. I feel blank. On the surface I'm a fantastic person to be around. I'm fun, adventurous, funny, gentle when its needed, kind and generous. I wear a good mask of how I want to be seen to them. It protects me from the truth... which is I am a quivering mess of guilt and deception about how I feel about my boyfriend.
I wonder sometimes if this is how mono felt with my family. It all looked so good on paper, but the feelings weren't there. It's excruciatingly painful to be living, what my morals believe is a lie. I feel so guilty.
Okay, so when I say I feel nothing, I love them all and I get excited to see my boyfriend, but not in the passionate way I have been with others in the past. He's a good friend and in my mind we are just having a good time until we don't and move on. We have sex and it's alright. I love that he's having such a good time. I watch him have fun from outside my body and it makes me happy, but feel hollow. I often cry in private afterwards. Because I remember what it's like to feel connected but I can't get there anymore. I've tried, with him.
This is what I have had a recent realization about... and yea, I'm about to start therapy, AGAIN! ...
When I first met my now boyfriend, I had just had my life decimated. I had been in self distruct mode and was drinking too much, allowing myself to be used by men and in a couple occasions had been beaten and raped. Yes... that happened.
When I found and wrote to this conservative, vanilla, monogamous, straight cautious man from a dating profile his sister made for him, I was so relieved. Here was a man that wasn't part of the world I knew. I jumped on the chance to be loved by him. He swooned over me in a teenager kind of way and when I found out he hadn't been in a relationship for most of his adult life, I thought that I'd hit the jack pot. He wouldn't have the same baggage that other men have. He'd have different baggage.. I was right... I did hit the jack pot, but I never fell in love with him.
I followed him around and did whatever he wanted when we were together. I made sure we didn't see each other too much and didn't involve him with my family until it became obvious that it would weird not to. I knew I had a lot of work to do on myself and I have done that on my own autonomously from him. He was always interested in how I was getting on with it though.
At the beginning I was a mess. I cried constantly, couldn't stop talking about what had happened and re-hashed over and over again, trying to make sense of it all. Life isn't like the movies, sometimes you never have answers and never get closure. I have never had these things and that has been the hardest thing of all.
I asked "why" constantly. I was angry, depressed, grieving, trying to hold on to my life. In 2015 I was numb and detached from my body. I was numbing myself out in whatever way I could, in 2016 I did what was best for my child, in 2017 I was suicidal Every. Fucking. Day. This man, loved me through all of it. He listened and listened and listened sometimes and sometimes I wouldn't talk for days. I just wore the safety mask and hid. He got used to this person that was me then. I put on my mask everyday and walked through life like a zombie, with the occasional moment of healing and many flashbacks. Quite often I was outside of my body and cut off from reality. It got to be comfortable.
I could of died if he were not picking me up and taking me out, spending nights with me shuffling around my house as I was a ghost in it. I hated my house and everything in it, I hated everything around me as it was a reminder of what had happened. I hated myself most of all and wanted to be dead. To him it was all new and exciting. Even when I shared I was suicidal he still held me and was excited to be with me. He never dwelled on it, just kept me busy and following his lead.
He helped me see how everything was mine now and how my life was mine to do with what I wanted. I was not held bound by partners, obligations and responsibilities to people who didn't give a shit about me. HE gave a shit about me. He taught me, as I looked at him actively reflecting back to me, that I am worth something. I could see, through him, that I was here and worth it.
I didn't think I existed anymore. My life was empty of people as they dropped me like a stone. It's the strangest feeling to suddenly be nonexistent. To be someone people look past and don't see. I felt I was becoming one with the walls around me and the nature I ran too often. Like a Sasquatch. I thought I didn't exist and he reflected back to me that not only do I exist but that I am lovable and deserve love.
He would help me fix my motorbike and I would stand back and marvel that he actually saw me and that I was actually there, standing in front of him. I wasn't a ghost. That to him, fixing my motorbike had purpose and meaning. It was worth fixing because it meant something to me, because riding it has been a large part of my healing.
The guilt of not loving him the way he deserves has been a ball and chain lately. I am not the person he thinks I am. He sees me as the person I was when we met because stuff happened to me, but that isn't me.
Now I go out, make plans to spend time with new friends, I like to spend time with people who have proven to be there for me and love me and sometimes that means I don't spend time with him. He has become a huge part of what people see me as and now that I'm okay, I wonder how that happened and how I let it happen.
I don't think of myself as being his girlfriend and he my boyfriend. I think of him as a close friend. I want him to know me as who I am now, but the fit isn't working for me. When I see him now I find him a little boring, uninspired, lacking goals and dreams that match mine. I'm launching off and he is still on the shoreline. I'm trying to find in myself something that is worth staying for and increasingly, can't find it.
My biggest fear now is, how can I let go and be on my own entirely without falling back into the destruction that I put myself through before? How will I deal with the loneliness?
How can I hang on to something with him? How can I move on without disappointing everyone around us. How can I explain to them all without sounding like I was never who they thought I was and that I care for all of them, but can't stay? How can I face his child?!!!! How can I possibly break his heart when he has been so kind and we have learned so much from each other? He helped me save my life... how can I possibly be so unkind to him by ending what we have?! How can I stay and find a balance between my moving on and being with him?
I used to think that if I find someone else then I'll move on, but as that isn't happening, I wonder if I ever will or if there really isn't a relationship out there for me. Maybe I'm not seeing it because I'm with him?
Am I feeling this way because we've been so set up by the monogamous escalator that says that it's time to commit more? Am I feeling this way because his family pressure us so much? My family pressure us too!
Big questions... and few answers at the moment. I hope therapy will help me discover if I really have this all wrong and he's really what is best for me now. The journey continues.