Vicki's Journey Continues...

Tinwen

Active member
Charles’ housemate went back to work three days before the end of self-isolation. Therefore, Charles can’t come stay with us.
So sorry. Could you risk moving in Charles after just 11 days, not 14? Or, wait out those 3 days and move him in anyway, if they take maximum precautions (like Charleses housemate wearing a mask in common space, disinfecting common surfaces etc.)? What does Henry think of it?
 

Vicki82

Member
It’s too late. The roommate already went to work.
 

Vicki82

Member
I'm in so much pain today. Charles has basically had a mental breakdown so severe that it's causing physical symptoms intense enough that he needs hospitalization.

He says he needs to isolate mentally as well, although obviously physical isolation will now be a thing since he's going to one of the most dangerous places to be right now.

It hurts so much because I just don't understand. He says that he can't cope with my pain as well as his and he just needs to be alone right now. He says he loves me and cares about me but he can't manage himself right now.

It doesn't make sense to me. I just don't understand. I feel like COVID is claiming my relationship, too.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I'm in so much pain today. Charles has basically had a mental breakdown so severe that it's causing physical symptoms intense enough that he needs hospitalization.

He says he needs to isolate mentally as well, although obviously physical isolation will now be a thing since he's going to one of the most dangerous places to be right now.

It hurts so much because I just don't understand. He says that he can't cope with my pain as well as his and he just needs to be alone right now. He says he loves me and cares about me but he can't manage himself right now.

It doesn't make sense to me. I just don't understand. I feel like COVID is claiming my relationship, too.

I'm sure that the pandemic causing all these changes in how we normally live is taking a huge toll on many of those that deal with mental or emotional illness. You're not alone. I hope the hospital stay helps him.

I think it's wise of him to say he's not in great shape to be in a relationship right now. You can probably best help him by respecting that. I'm sorry for this setback in his health!
 

Vicki82

Member
I'm sure that the pandemic causing all these changes in how we normally live is taking a huge toll on many of those that deal with mental or emotional illness. You're not alone. I hope the hospital stay helps him.

I think it's wise of him to say he's not in great shape to be in a relationship right now. You can probably best help him by respecting that. I'm sorry for this setback in his health!

He said he'd call me in a couple of weeks. But I just don't understand. It doesn't make sense to me.

My ex, John, who I am still friendly with, tried to explain because I think he had similar issues. But it's tough for me to understand because I feel like if someone adds value to your life then that's better than not having them. Having support is better than not having it. So it doesn't make sense. And it's rough on my self esteem.

When you love someone it's supposed to be for the good times and the bad, right?
 

vinsanity0

Active member
I understand it hurts you. I don't know what he suffers from, but sometimes people need to regroup on their own. That is not a reflection of their feelings for you. He needs you to show your support by letting him heal on his own terms.
 

Vicki82

Member
I understand it hurts you. I don't know what he suffers from, but sometimes people need to regroup on their own. That is not a reflection of their feelings for you. He needs you to show your support by letting him heal on his own terms.

I'm not texting him or calling him, even though I reallyy want to. I can't get him off my mind because I'm so worried. I worry so much more because we can't talk.

Henry doesn't really understand. He feels the same way I do, that if Charles had come here sooner than none of this would have happened and maybe he wouldn't have had the breakdown. He said he got all messed up because he was worried about me and I was worrying about him and if we were together we wouldn't have had to worry. But I don't know. John says if we are wrong it could have been much worse because he would have been having a breakdown here in an unfamiliar environment. But I find myself instinctively rejecting that just because it doesn't make sense to me.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
He said he'd call me in a couple of weeks. But I just don't understand. It doesn't make sense to me.

My ex, John, who I am still friendly with, tried to explain because I think he had similar issues. But it's tough for me to understand because I feel like if someone adds value to your life then that's better than not having them. Having support is better than not having it. So it doesn't make sense. And it's rough on my self esteem.

When you love someone it's supposed to be for the good times and the bad, right?

This doesn't mean things are over! My BIL was in a depressive almost fugue-like state for about a year, a couple years ago, and all he wanted to do was scream and cry and hide in his bed with the covers over his head. He was not himself. Many meds were tried. My sister eventually convinced a doc to write him a scrip for Ambien (which he was occasionally given in emergency situations), no matter how addictive it was, and it worked like a miracle. And he didn't get addicted, it just flipped a switch in his head, he was himself again, and he was soon able to wean off it.

But he was not able to be held, cuddled, reasoned with, talked to, or anything like that, much less text or email anyone, in his worst phase.
 

Vicki82

Member
This doesn't mean things are over! My BIL was in a depressive almost fugue-like state for about a year, a couple years ago, and all he wanted to do was scream and cry and hide in his bed with the covers over his head. He was not himself. Many meds were tried. My sister eventually convinced a doc to write him a scrip for Ambien (which he was occasionally given in emergency situations), no matter how addictive it was, and it worked like a miracle. And he didn't get addicted, it just flipped a switch in his head, he was himself again, and he was soon able to wean off it.

But he was not able to be held, cuddled, reasoned with, talked to, or anything like that, much less text or email anyone, in his worst phase.

I just don't get it. I've been as bad lately as I've ever been, and I've had the kind of soft suicidal thoughts of just wishing I could sleep right through this whole thing and wake up when it's over. But even when it hurts the most, having Henry here always helps me. There have been a few times I need to be alone but never longer than a few hours.

I actually don't know how I would be surviving without Henry. He's doing better than expected. He says it's because he's "seen some shit" and so his crisis coping skills are better. But I've been a total mess. Henry is really taking care of me. He's really going to be there through the good times and the bad. I can count on him. He doesn't deserve to have to deal with me.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I just don't get it. I've been as bad lately as I've ever been, and I've had the kind of soft suicidal thoughts of just wishing I could sleep right through this whole thing and wake up when it's over. But even when it hurts the most, having Henry here always helps me. There have been a few times I need to be alone but never longer than a few hours.

It sounds like you don't understand how Charles could be so different from you.

Would it be possible to accept it without understanding it? Can you try not to take it personally and just respect his wishes for now?

I actually don't know how I would be surviving without Henry. He's doing better than expected. He says it's because he's "seen some shit" and so his crisis coping skills are better. But I've been a total mess. Henry is really taking care of me. He's really going to be there through the good times and the bad. I can count on him. He doesn't deserve to have to deal with me.
 

Vicki82

Member
It sounds like you don't understand how Charles could be so different from you.

Would it be possible to accept it without understanding it? Can you try not to take it personally and just respect his wishes for now?

That's what I am doing. I'm not going to text or call. But I still have to sort through my feelings about it and when something doesn't make sense, it feels normal to me to try and put it into the best context I have. So to me, it means there is something wrong with ME that he doesn't want to spend time with me. How am I supposed to understand it otherwise?
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Some people just like to hole up in a burrow when they aren't feeling well.

You wish there was some perfect thing you could do or say to make him feel better.

Maybe he finds company (from anyone) irritating right now, distracting him from dealing with things they way he needs to. Maybe he's embarrassed to be seen when he's struggling.

You find this frustrating and it makes you feel inadequate.
 

Vicki82

Member
Well, you have me pegged anyway. Except that I don't wish I had the perfect thing to say or do. I want the opportunity to even try to help because that's what partners do. They support each other and they're there for each other. They don't shut each other out of their lives.

ETA: Like what Henry is doing with me. I can't even imagine the mental fortitude it must take for him to be supporting me totally losing my shit about COVID, and then watching me cry my eyes out over another man. So not only having to get us through the pandemic but actively having to help pick up the pieces that my other partner is helping create. I mean, Henry doesn't have to do any of that but he loves me and he told me he's in this for the long haul and his actions match his words. He's never left me unsupported. He's never shut me out and he forgives me when I fuck up, and he loves me when I feel fucked up. The man is a fucking saint for putting up with my garbage, honestly. Not that he doesn't have my flaws... but he's one hell of a person.

I try to be a good partner. I want to be that person and I try to be that for him and I want to be that for Charles, too. I don't know what I did wrong. He isn't entirely holed up, he does have two roommates that he's living with and obviously sharing a lot of space since no one is going out much except for the one who is working weekends :p
 
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Magdlyn

Well-known member
Well, you have me pegged anyway. Except that I don't wish I had the perfect thing to say or do. I want the opportunity to even try to help because that's what partners do. They support each other and they're there for each other. They don't shut each other out of their lives.

I am sorry you are hurting, and I know you feel abandoned. I am reflecting your feelings back to you and validating them. We all feel what we feel. Dismissing your feelings right now would be worse than pointless. If we don't hear our feelings being validated, we might suppress them and think we are somehow "wrong" or "bad" for having them in the first place.

Charles is having certain feelings now, panic and dread and who knows what. Many men are taught that having certain negative feelings makes them seem weak. Men are taught to repress some feelings. Many men think the only feelings they are allowed to express are anger, hunger and horniness, and maybe joy when a sports team wins a game!

Therefore, many men retreat when they feel grief. On Bluebird's blog, her husband DarkKnight is retreating for a while to deal with his mother's death. Her now ex, PunkRock, broke up with her and left her because of his inability to express his feelings. He also covers up his feelings with alcohol, cigarettes and weed.

Charles didn't break up with you because of something "wrong" that you did. He just doesn't want or need your "comfort" in the way you need comfort from Henry. As I said previously, he isn't you. He doesn't need or want what you need or want in a time of ill health, emotional upset, or whatever.

He didn't break up with you at all. He just doesn't desire to be around you right now in his time of "weakness." I think he'll be back. I wish him well.

If you "need" a partner who comes to you when they are ill or weak, he might not be the right partner for you. I once broke up with a woman partly because of her tendency to retreat when she was unwell. This made me worry too much! She knew she did this, and told me she had learned it from being in a long marriage with an abusive cold-hearted husband, who demanded she not complain or bother him when she was sick.

ETA: Like what Henry is doing with me. I can't even imagine the mental fortitude it must take for him to be supporting me totally losing my shit about COVID, and then watching me cry my eyes out over another man. So not only having to get us through the pandemic but actively having to help pick up the pieces that my other partner is helping create. I mean, Henry doesn't have to do any of that but he loves me and he told me he's in this for the long haul and his actions match his words. He's never left me unsupported. He's never shut me out and he forgives me when I fuck up, and he loves me when I feel fucked up. The man is a fucking saint for putting up with my garbage, honestly. Not that he doesn't have my flaws... but he's one hell of a person.

I try to be a good partner. I want to be that person, and I try to be that for him, and I want to be that for Charles, too. I don't know what I did wrong. He isn't entirely holed up, he does have two roommates that he's living with, and obviously sharing a lot of space, since no one is going out much, except for the one who is working weekends :p

Who knows how much time he's spending with his roommates? Maybe he's just hiding in his room, in his bed, on dirty sheets, wearing unwashed sweat pants and t-shirts, with the curtains closed and his head under the covers, like my BIL did.
 

Vicki82

Member
I don't really think he's gone either. He was clear that he loves me. But I feel all fucked up. He really did wind up abandoning me when I was having a mental health crisis since apparently mine triggered his. And I get that he couldn't really help it since that is how stuff like that works, but did it ever hurt. He was saying all the things I needed to hear- and then he disappeared because he got so sick apparently that he gave himself an ulcer. But I definitely can't rely on him when he says stuff because if shit happens, he might not be able to be there for me when I need him.

I really appreciate your comments though, Magdlyn, and the validation too. It helps to be heard. And it's I guess nice to know that a stranger on the internet cared enough to remember that is something that is important to me. So in a time where I'm having trouble managing at all- thank you.

I'm just not used to people who withdraw. I've always been attracted to articulate people, and Charles can be very articulate- but not in this realm. Henry in particular is so good at talking about his feelings and being very open with me. There are times he needs to retreat but he's much more like me where it's generally just for a couple of hours max. It's never ever been multiple days. Henry and I are just very compatible people, which is kind of odd to think about since we aren't necessarily all that alike.

I just want to feel loved and needed and wanted. It's hard not to feel rejected here.
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
Vicki - I am sorry that you are hurting. It sounds like what Mags is saying is helping a bit, so I would just like to add a few comments, in case it helps. (Feel free to disregard!)

It sounds like you don't understand how Charles could be so different from you.

Would it be possible to accept it without understanding it? Can you try not to take it personally and just respect his wishes for now?

My Dude does NOT understand why MrS and I are together (and have been for 27 years)...because we don't have sex very often. For Dude, sex is an integral part of a romantic relationship, for MrS it is not. (For me, it doesn't have to be, if I have other outlets - so poly helps.) The concept of "Love Languages" is useful for me in this regard - but Dude (who, I believe, is on the spectrum) cannot fathom this. I have to ask him to "accept it without understanding it".

That's what I am doing. I'm not going to text or call. But I still have to sort through my feelings about it and when something doesn't make sense, it feels normal to me to try and put it into the best context I have. So to me, it means there is something wrong with ME that he doesn't want to spend time with me. How am I supposed to understand it otherwise?

It is natural to try to understand things in context of what we already (think we) know. But sometimes, we have to acknowledge that we don't know everything. So you are doing the actions requested (not texting or calling) but to you they mean something entirely different than what they mean to him. I, myself, am an articulate introvert. I interact with people all day long, I can explain complex concepts in ways people can understand, I am a charismatic public speaker - yet, I find interactions with people exhausting (even though I am good at it). When I am emotionally vulnerable, I do not want to interact with anyone - even (or especially) the people I care about the most - I am using all of my energy to keep myself together and any interaction with people I care about draws away from that reserve.

... I want the opportunity to even try to help because that's what partners do. They support each other and they're there for each other. They don't shut each other out of their lives.
...

This reflects what helps YOU...what supports YOU...which is not, necessarily what other people (like me and maybe Charles) define as being "what partners do". Which is (in my case) actually listening to me and believing me when I say - "I need to go away now, I need to recharge and reclaim myself, I love you and I need you...to not demand my presence right now." That's not shutting you out (in my world) - that is revealing my deepest vulnerabilities and needs to someone I trust.

I try to be a good partner. I want to be that person and I try to be that for him and I want to be that for Charles, too. I don't know what I did wrong. He isn't entirely holed up, he does have two roommates that he's living with and obviously sharing a lot of space since no one is going out much except for the one who is working weekends :p

There may not be any more ways to say it - YOU DID NOT DO ANYTHING WRONG!!! It is entirely possible to hole up while sharing space with other people - physical space is rarely the problem, it is emotional space that the introvert requires (in my experience as an introvert).

...Charles didn't break up with you because of something "wrong" that you did. He just doesn't want or need your "comfort" in the way you need comfort from Henry. As I said previously, he isn't you. He doesn't need or want what you need or want in a time of ill health, emotional upset, or whatever.

He didn't break up with you at all. He just doesn't desire to be around you right now in his time of "weakness."

Listen to what Mags is saying here.

If you "need" a partner who comes to you when they are ill or weak, he might not be the right partner for you.

This whole conversation brings to mind a song by Amanda Palmer (who I am a little bit, a LOT, in love with):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df37unclIKs

Relevant lyrics:

I want you and I want you to want me to want you
But I don't need you
Don't need you to need me to need you
Thats just me
So take me or leave me
Please don't need me
Don't need me to need you to need me
...
So love me and leave me
But try not to need me
Enough said
I want you but I don't need you


I don't really think he's gone either. He was clear that he loves me. But I feel all fucked up. He really did wind up abandoning me when I was having a mental health crisis since apparently mine triggered his. And I get that he couldn't really help it since that is how stuff like that works, but did it ever hurt. He was saying all the things I needed to hear- and then he disappeared because he got so sick apparently that he gave himself an ulcer. But I definitely can't rely on him when he says stuff because if shit happens, he might not be able to be there for me when I need him.

He probably isn't gone. It's clear to you that he loves you. BUT, he may not be able to give you what you "need" when you are in crisis. (Because he doesn't understand what you "need" because it is so different from what he "needs"?)

I'm just not used to people who withdraw. I've always been attracted to articulate people, and Charles can be very articulate- but not in this realm.... There are times he needs to retreat but he's much more like me where it's generally just for a couple of hours max. It's never ever been multiple days...
I just want to feel loved and needed and wanted. It's hard not to feel rejected here.

You may have to decide whether feeling loved and wanted...and not "needed" is enough. I'm sorry you struggle.
 

Vicki82

Member
It is natural to try to understand things in context of what we already (think we) know. But sometimes, we have to acknowledge that we don't know everything. So you are doing the actions requested (not texting or calling) but to you they mean something entirely different than what they mean to him. I, myself, am an articulate introvert. I interact with people all day long, I can explain complex concepts in ways people can understand, I am a charismatic public speaker - yet, I find interactions with people exhausting (even though I am good at it). When I am emotionally vulnerable, I do not want to interact with anyone - even (or especially) the people I care about the most - I am using all of my energy to keep myself together and any interaction with people I care about draws away from that reserve.

This bit in particular sounds a lot like what he was saying to me. But doesn't that build in some emotional distance between you and the people you're closest with? If you don't share your vulnerability, how can you connect that deeply? I guess that's part of what's confusing me. Doesn't it keep relationships on a shallower level in some way? Please don't take me the wrong way- I'm not trying to disparage other ways of doing things. I just genuinely don't understand and maybe this is something that I need to figure out how to.

Part of what makes me feel so close to Henry is that he literally has seen it all. Everything. All my flaws, all my secrets, all my vulnerabilities. I can trust him with all of that and know that he still loves me. I've never in my life been able to open to someone so completely as I can now, and know that it will be okay. It feels like the walls are down. How can I not feel like Charles' act of retreating puts walls between us?

I don't know. I consider myself to be an introvert, rather on the far side of that actually. But my very close loved ones and intimates? They aren't "people", so to speak. Pretty much everyone else is, but not my partners. They are solace when I feel drained, not a further drag. Even if I don't want to talk, I don't think cuddles have ever not helped.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
This bit in particular sounds a lot like what he was saying to me. But doesn't that build in some emotional distance between you and the people you're closest with? If you don't share your vulnerability, how can you connect that deeply? I guess that's part of what's confusing me. Doesn't it keep relationships on a shallower level in some way? Please don't take me the wrong way- I'm not trying to disparage other ways of doing things. I just genuinely don't understand and maybe this is something that I need to figure out how to.

Part of what makes me feel so close to Henry is that he literally has seen it all. Everything. All my flaws, all my secrets, all my vulnerabilities. I can trust him with all of that and know that he still loves me. I've never in my life been able to open to someone so completely as I can now, and know that it will be okay. It feels like the walls are down. How can I not feel like Charles' act of retreating puts walls between us?

I don't know. I consider myself to be an introvert, rather on the far side of that actually. But my very close loved ones and intimates? They aren't "people", so to speak. Pretty much everyone else is, but not my partners. They are solace when I feel drained, not a further drag. Even if I don't want to talk, I don't think cuddles have ever not helped.

I'm an ambivert. But I do like having some distance from Pixi, sometimes. I suffer from a bad back, my spine often gets messed up, and my usual dull roar spikes into acute agony.

Being around Pixi can sometimes hurt me physically, just because she gets me excited to do projects, or drive somewhere, or asks me to lift something she can't (she's handicapped too). And of course, being around her makes me want to have sex with her, and sadly, these days, sex done not carefully enough can hurt me. (I've had to put off back surgery I was planning because of Covid.)

Also, Pixi suffers from anxiety. It is handled as well as it can be, with meds, therapy, etc. But I like poly with her because she can take herself off to her bf's for 2 or 3 days and I can just fucking rest. I do not have to listen to any of her worries, and I do not get excited about something and overdo and hurt myself. Well, I do, but less than if my partner in crime was here.

You obviously suffer from anxiety. Maybe that actually drains Charles sometimes. He only has so many spoons right now, dealing with whatever he's got going on. Being around others might just make him feel worse, no matter how well intentioned they are. There's no need to change who you are, or how you relate to Henry and how he relates to you. But it seems like you can consider making an adjustment with Charles. Your caring may be welcome sometimes, but not all the time. He's only got so many spoons.

This indeed may make you feel less close to him than you'd like. You get to determine if being around him when he's feeling better is enough of trade off to make staying away when he's ill OK.

I just remembered though! When Pixi started seeing her bf, he didn't want her to come over when he was sick. But after several years, he came to know and trust her so well, he welcomed her whether he was fine or under the weather. So maybe in time, it will be different with Charles, if you're just patient.
 

icesong

Member
This bit in particular sounds a lot like what he was saying to me. But doesn't that build in some emotional distance between you and the people you're closest with? If you don't share your vulnerability, how can you connect that deeply? I guess that's part of what's confusing me. Doesn't it keep relationships on a shallower level in some way? Please don't take me the wrong way- I'm not trying to disparage other ways of doing things. I just genuinely don't understand and maybe this is something that I need to figure out how to.

Part of what makes me feel so close to Henry is that he literally has seen it all. Everything. All my flaws, all my secrets, all my vulnerabilities. I can trust him with all of that and know that he still loves me. I've never in my life been able to open to someone so completely as I can now, and know that it will be okay. It feels like the walls are down. How can I not feel like Charles' act of retreating puts walls between us?

Having a little bit of emotional distance can be nice, though - I mean, I am far more emotionally vulnerable with Knight than with Artist, not that I don't tell Artist a lot of things but just due to the structure of our time together he ends up getting, most of the time, a slightly more processed version of that. So he sees me as a complex person, and a real one, but not... the total emotional mess I can be with Knight sometimes. And I think that being a total emotional mess with Knight as much as I am actually hurts our relationship sometimes - it drains a lot of energy out of it. I don't know if you've ever read Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity? One of her premises is that having a little bit of mystery in a relationship actually makes it closer and more passionate as it gives you something to seek in the other person, instead of assuming you know everything about them.

That's a little different than what we're talking about now, but still. I mean, on a lot of levels I don't *want* Artist to see me in don't-get-out-of-bed-for-days-because-I'm-depressed mode - I've told him it happens, yes, but that's different than actually being present for it. But I don't entirely want Knight to see me like that either, truthfully...
 

Vicki82

Member
Having a little bit of emotional distance can be nice, though - I mean, I am far more emotionally vulnerable with Knight than with Artist, not that I don't tell Artist a lot of things but just due to the structure of our time together he ends up getting, most of the time, a slightly more processed version of that. So he sees me as a complex person, and a real one, but not... the total emotional mess I can be with Knight sometimes. And I think that being a total emotional mess with Knight as much as I am actually hurts our relationship sometimes - it drains a lot of energy out of it. I don't know if you've ever read Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity? One of her premises is that having a little bit of mystery in a relationship actually makes it closer and more passionate as it gives you something to seek in the other person, instead of assuming you know everything about them.

That's a little different than what we're talking about now, but still. I mean, on a lot of levels I don't *want* Artist to see me in don't-get-out-of-bed-for-days-because-I'm-depressed mode - I've told him it happens, yes, but that's different than actually being present for it. But I don't entirely want Knight to see me like that either, truthfully...

I dunno, icesong. I think I may see this one fundamentally differently. To me, it's beautiful to feel that I am able to completely reveal myself. That I don't have to feel ashamed of being me and to know that I will still be loved and accepted. I've never felt so safe as I do with Henry because he really has seen all the bad and all my quirks and everything and he still loves me and wants to be with me. I feel like it builds a more authentic connection where we really see each other and not just the good bits.

It's not that bad times aren't an energy suck sometimes, I get that. But I see that as part of people supporting each other and being there. And the closeness that it builds is worth the price to me and Henry anyway.
 
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