Vicki's Journey Continues...

Magdlyn

Well-known member
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.

Well, you've been with Henry five years, and Charles only one year. Maybe by respecting his boundaries now, you'll see a payoff in more closeness as your relationship grows. One year is not really that long in the grand scheme of things.

Of course, this Covid is fucking almost everything up right now. It's causing all kinds of glitches in all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones. We can't expect everyone to be at the top of their relationship game.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
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.

Something I learned to embrace about myself is that my responses are somewhat influenced by the people with whom I interact.

This helped me to become okay saying to someone who needs vastly different types of interaction to me that our relationship is limited by said differences. I used to feel guilty/needy/just plain wrong saying that I can't develop deep emotional attachment to someone who prefers sporadic contact. It made me feel like I was pressuring them to change and feel inferior/immature because my need was for "more" while theirs was for "less".

This was complicated though because sometimes these people would be able to develop deep attachment which wasn't shared by me even if I desired it, and that would show in my actions which they read as ambivalent or even disrespectful.

Now, I can find common ground with people who prefer sporadic contact and have a mutually enjoyable relationship as FWBs because I make it clear upfront that their preference rules out anything more entangled from my end. It's just the way I work.
 

Vicki82

Member
Well, you've been with Henry five years, and Charles only one year. Maybe by respecting his boundaries now, you'll see a payoff in more closeness as your relationship grows. One year is not really that long in the grand scheme of things.

Of course, this Covid is fucking almost everything up right now. It's causing all kinds of glitches in all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones. We can't expect everyone to be at the top of their relationship game.

My anniversaries are coming up with both of them. Six years with Henry and 2 years with Charles, both in August. My wedding anniversary is in May, though.

Yeah, I think things would be a lot different right now if there wasn't COVID :(
 

Vicki82

Member
Something I learned to embrace about myself is that my responses are somewhat influenced by the people with whom I interact.

This helped me to become okay saying to someone who needs vastly different types of interaction to me that our relationship is limited by said differences. I used to feel guilty/needy/just plain wrong saying that I can't develop deep emotional attachment to someone who prefers sporadic contact. It made me feel like I was pressuring them to change and feel inferior/immature because my need was for "more" while theirs was for "less".

This was complicated though because sometimes these people would be able to develop deep attachment which wasn't shared by me even if I desired it, and that would show in my actions which they read as ambivalent or even disrespectful.

Now, I can find common ground with people who prefer sporadic contact and have a mutually enjoyable relationship as FWBs because I make it clear upfront that their preference rules out anything more entangled from my end. It's just the way I work.

Way back when we first had issues, I offered Charles a FWB type relationship and he didn't want that because he had emotional and romantic feelings for me. Truth to tell, I didn't want that either because I am very much in love with him.

I don't know how to maintain deep connection with only sporadic contact. It doesn't make me happy. I was worried from the get-go about how this would affect my relationship with Charles and that's why I had wanted him to move in with us. I thought we could lean into our relationship rather than out. I would always prefer the option that keeps me with someone I love.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
Way back when we first had issues, I offered Charles a FWB type relationship and he didn't want that because he had emotional and romantic feelings for me. Truth to tell, I didn't want that either because I am very much in love with him.

I don't know how to maintain deep connection with only sporadic contact. It doesn't make me happy. I was worried from the get-go about how this would affect my relationship with Charles and that's why I had wanted him to move in with us. I thought we could lean into our relationship rather than out. I would always prefer the option that keeps me with someone I love.

Well this was exactly the problem with me. Frequency and quality of contact was only one example of such an issue. But I kept finding myself in a situation where expectations were not met on both sides because of the discord. It was me who had to realise who couldn't give me what I need (from partners) to be happy and put in boundaries to ensure I didnt develop attachments to people who would have to sacrifice their preferences to meet my needs.

ETA: This sounds too much like I had to give up on lots of great people. That isn't the case at all. It actually helped me keep great people around because I managed my expectations and set boundaries that helped them to manage their expectations of me. I did develop attachments, just attachments which complemented the level of our compatibility.
 
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Magdlyn

Well-known member
Way back when we first had issues, I offered Charles a FWB type relationship and he didn't want that because he had emotional and romantic feelings for me. Truth to tell, I didn't want that either because I am very much in love with him.

I don't know how to maintain deep connection with only sporadic contact. It doesn't make me happy. I was worried from the get-go about how this would affect my relationship with Charles and that's why I had wanted him to move in with us. I thought we could lean into our relationship rather than out. I would always prefer the option that keeps me with someone I love.

The sporadic contact is not, as I understand it, a willing choice Charles made. I thought he was all ready to move in, and then one of his roommates went back to work outside the home, which increased the roommate's and Charles' risk for Covid.

Maybe if that had not unfortunately happened, Charles would be with you now, and maybe, just maybe, his depression wouldn't have increased to this point.

If possible, I'd recommend again, being patient during this rough lockdown period. I am sure millions, if not billions, of people are experiencing lack of desired contact with their loved ones, and having trouble maintaining "deep connections." I hope Charles comes out of his funk enough to message you in some way very very soon!
 

Vicki82

Member
The sporadic contact is not, as I understand it, a willing choice Charles made. I thought he was all ready to move in, and then one of his roommates went back to work outside the home, which increased the roommate's and Charles' risk for Covid.

Maybe if that had not unfortunately happened, Charles would be with you now, and maybe, just maybe, his depression wouldn't have increased to this point.

If possible, I'd recommend again, being patient during this rough lockdown period. I am sure millions, if not billions, of people are experiencing lack of desired contact with their loved ones, and having trouble maintaining "deep connections." I hope Charles comes out of his funk enough to message you in some way very very soon!

That was mostly it. When I freaked out about him not being able to come, he told me that he got overwhelmed trying to deal with my feelings and it wound up triggering some physical stress related stuff. Henry had said he was still willing to take the chance with Charles coming but by then Charles was having his own breakdown and told me he just couldn't leave his space right then. I don't understand that- I'd rather be with someone I love than somewhere I love.

I know it's happening to other people, and at least I have Henry. I just don't want to think that my relationship with Charles is going to be a COVID casualty. I worry if the distance means we won't love each other anymore or if there will be too much pain and sadness to move on. I'm not as nonfunctional as I was a few days ago, but I'm still having a hard time not thinking about him, especially at night.

I don't know what he's going to be like when he comes back. And I don't know who I am going to be when this is all over. Henry mentioned to me that he saw that they may not even be able to make a vaccine since they aren't sure what is going on vis-a-vis reinfections or the virus hiding and not going away. That having it may not confer immunity at all. So what happens then? Do we just leave high risk people to die if there's no way to prevent this?

There is supposed to be a second wave in the fall which may require quarantine again. What will happen then? What if this was so much stress that he won't want to be here then?

I know, I know- don't worry about that now. But it's hardest at night to ignore those thoughts.

At least Henry and I had some time together last night. I made us a crockpot caramelized onion and cream cheese dip with chips, and we had sex and watched the Expanse. It helps. And I am ever mindful that at least I have a partner with me who is supporting me and who loves me. But it still hurts not to have Charles with me too. And I miss him and worry about him. At least most people are still talking to their partners, I bet.
 

PinkPig

Member
That was mostly it. When I freaked out about him not being able to come, he told me that he got overwhelmed trying to deal with my feelings and it wound up triggering some physical stress related stuff. Henry had said he was still willing to take the chance with Charles coming but by then Charles was having his own breakdown and told me he just couldn't leave his space right then. I don't understand that- I'd rather be with someone I love than somewhere I love.

I can relate to Charles in this situation. When I am unwell, whether physically or mentally, I prefer the familiarity and comfort of my own home. And, I prefer more solitude. I'm a caretaker by nature, and caretaking others while I'm unwell just exhaust the resources I need to heal. This is especially true if the other person also suffers from anxiety or depression since my experience is that anxiety/depression of one person can feed the anxiety/depression of another (and vice versa.) I really don't see it as a case of vulnerability...I mean I know there are people who isolate because they are afraid to show their vulnerability. But, for others of us, it really is more about conserving resources in order to heal. I can be, and am, vulnerable with those I love. But, if we're both struggling, sometimes it's just better to take some space....and unfortunately, there are a lot of hurting people right now :(

I am sorry you're hurting and missing Charles, all at the same time. I hope he reaches out to you soon.
 
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Tinwen

Active member
I'm a caretaker by nature, and caretaking others while I'm unwell just exhaust the resources I need to heal. This is especially true if the other person also suffers from anxiety or depression since my experience is that anxiety/depression of one person can feed the anxiety/depression of another (and vice versa.)
Listen to this, so important. Some people's mental health challenges just multiply.
 

Vicki82

Member
I really appreciate all the supportive comments, guys. Thank you so much. I'm hurting a lot right now and I don't have a lot of support. I've been avoiding my friends because I don't want to talk to them. If I tell the truth I have to talk about stuff that hurts and I'm not sure I can handle that, and I don't want to lie and say I'm OK when I'm not, so I've just been hiding. I don't have the spoons to check on other people and I have friends who really need checking on. No one is doing okay right now. But I just can't do that. Maybe that makes me an awful person or a terrible friend but I am barely keeping myself together right now.

Kiddo has been having tantrums and I can't blame him, but I try so hard to explain to him that we're here to listen when he wants to talk but he can't just start refusing to do things that have to be done and then freaking out. He's ten years old, he's too old for that kind of thing. But he is definitely my son and he has big feelings too, so this is in character for him. Except now the toll it's exacting on us is much higher. Henry has his autoimmune disorder and stress makes it far worse, so this could literally put him in the hospital which is the one place he absolutely cannot be right now. I'm terrified that he has to go for treatment tomorrow but he absolutely does have to go every six weeks and the idea of him being exposed is so scary because we've been strictly quarantining since 3/14. He is so high risk I am terrified he will catch this and die, or that I will die. Henry reminds me he isn't the only high risk person.

I'm listening to all you guys about Charles but it's so hard to understand because it's so foreign to how I do things. My ex husband used distance as a punishment, and when he felt like being especially cruel, as a torture method. When he got angry, he would ignore me or withdraw affection or go away and just refuse to interact with me at all until I was doing what he wanted me to do. So maybe I'm overreacting to this but it's hitting some major buttons for me. Every day of silence from Charles just ups the pain and starts making me worry that maybe he won't come back after all. If being away from me is alleviating his stress, why would he come back for that? Maybe I have been doing things wrong. Maybe I'm not worth any of it. Maybe he's happier without me. I don't know. And when I don't know, my mind runs rampant.

Even if he did call, I don't even know what we could talk about. The virus is permeating every aspect of our lives right now. I just want him to hold me and he wouldn't be able to. We can't make plans to see each other now for sure until this is over and who knows what will happen then? And I know I can't talk about that stuff yet because we have to see what happens but I am just so fucking scared. I know I would have been a million times better if he was here. Henry thinks, like I think (or at least thought, before all of you chimed in?) that Charles would have felt better too if he had just come and been safe here with us and we could have supported each other. Maybe we are wrong? We need our alone space and down time too but we know we are better together. We can take care of each other.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
I really appreciate all the supportive comments, guys. Thank you so much. I'm hurting a lot right now and I don't have a lot of support. I've been avoiding my friends because I don't want to talk to them. If I tell the truth I have to talk about stuff that hurts and I'm not sure I can handle that, and I don't want to lie and say I'm OK when I'm not, so I've just been hiding. I don't have the spoons to check on other people and I have friends who really need checking on. No one is doing okay right now. But I just can't do that. Maybe that makes me an awful person or a terrible friend but I am barely keeping myself together right now.

Kiddo has been having tantrums and I can't blame him, but I try so hard to explain to him that we're here to listen when he wants to talk but he can't just start refusing to do things that have to be done and then freaking out. He's ten years old, he's too old for that kind of thing. But he is definitely my son and he has big feelings too, so this is in character for him. Except now the toll it's exacting on us is much higher. Henry has his autoimmune disorder and stress makes it far worse, so this could literally put him in the hospital which is the one place he absolutely cannot be right now. I'm terrified that he has to go for treatment tomorrow but he absolutely does have to go every six weeks and the idea of him being exposed is so scary because we've been strictly quarantining since 3/14. He is so high risk I am terrified he will catch this and die, or that I will die. Henry reminds me he isn't the only high risk person.

I'm listening to all you guys about Charles but it's so hard to understand because it's so foreign to how I do things. My ex husband used distance as a punishment, and when he felt like being especially cruel, as a torture method. When he got angry, he would ignore me or withdraw affection or go away and just refuse to interact with me at all until I was doing what he wanted me to do. So maybe I'm overreacting to this but it's hitting some major buttons for me. Every day of silence from Charles just ups the pain and starts making me worry that maybe he won't come back after all. If being away from me is alleviating his stress, why would he come back for that? Maybe I have been doing things wrong. Maybe I'm not worth any of it. Maybe he's happier without me. I don't know. And when I don't know, my mind runs rampant.

Even if he did call, I don't even know what we could talk about. The virus is permeating every aspect of our lives right now. I just want him to hold me and he wouldn't be able to. We can't make plans to see each other now for sure until this is over and who knows what will happen then? And I know I can't talk about that stuff yet because we have to see what happens but I am just so fucking scared. I know I would have been a million times better if he was here. Henry thinks, like I think (or at least thought, before all of you chimed in?) that Charles would have felt better too if he had just come and been safe here with us and we could have supported each other. Maybe we are wrong? We need our alone space and down time too but we know we are better together. We can take care of each other.

He could just as easily be like this while living in your home which would be arguably worse. Your child might find his behavior intimidating or strange given that the adults in their home behave differently.

I think you've hit something there where you identify that Charles' tendencies to need alone time when overwhelmed reminds you of the emotional abuse from your ex. This is what I mean about compatibility. It isn't that he is being abusive at all. He's just being him. Unfortunately, your past experiences might mean that him being him isn't conducive to a healthy relationship for you. In this way at least.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I think you've hit something there where you identify that Charles' tendencies to need alone time when overwhelmed reminds you of the emotional abuse from your ex. This is what I mean about compatibility. It isn't that he is being abusive at all. He's just being him. Unfortunately, your past experiences might mean that him being him isn't conducive to a healthy relationship for you. In this way at least.

I had an aha! moment too! So this is why Charles taking time for himself is so upsetting. You're totally triggered because it arouses feelings of abandonment from the silent treatment you ex used on you, to control, manipulate and torture you!

It's not Charles at all. It's your own past. This is a great insight. Being aware of this and dealing with it head on should help a lot.

My partner Pixi suffers from anxiety. She's improved a lot, but to this day, things in the present will automatically remind her of extremely unpleasant events in her past. It causes her to vocalize suddenly, since she has mild Tourette's. She says, out of the blue, "Hi," or "I love you," and I know she's been suddenly triggered. I guess those are what are known as "intrusive thoughts" in psychspeak.

I have more to say, but I'll come back later. I need to get back to work.
 

Vicki82

Member
I had an aha! moment too! So this is why Charles taking time for himself is so upsetting. You're totally triggered because it arouses feelings of abandonment from the silent treatment you ex used on you, to control, manipulate and torture you!

It's not Charles at all. It's your own past. This is a great insight. Being aware of this and dealing with it head on should help a lot.

My partner Pixi suffers from anxiety. She's improved a lot, but to this day, things in the present will automatically remind her of extremely unpleasant events in her past. It causes her to vocalize suddenly, since she has mild Tourette's. She says, out of the blue, "Hi," or "I love you," and I know she's been suddenly triggered. I guess those are what are known as "intrusive thoughts" in psychspeak.

I have more to say, but I'll come back later. I need to get back to work.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say. I too suffer from intrusive thoughts.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I look forward to hearing what you have to say. I too suffer from intrusive thoughts.

OK, let me expound on this. I am quoting this part again.

My ex husband used distance as a punishment, and when he felt like being especially cruel, as a torture method. When he got angry, he would ignore me or withdraw affection or go away and just refuse to interact with me at all until I was doing what he wanted me to do. So maybe I'm overreacting to this but it's hitting some major buttons for me.

I'm sure we all do this, especially when we are younger. New people in our lives remind us somewhat of people we knew when we were younger. So we tack ideas and motivations onto the new people that resemble how the older person would have acted, reacted. We do this unconsciously.

I remember I used to do this when I was married, even after a decade. I used to treat my ex h the way my mom treated my dad. It took a lot of experience of how my husband was actually different from my dad to stop this unhelpful attitude and behavior.

Being aware and conscious of it was key. Then I'd have to be careful and make different choices.


Every day of silence from Charles just ups the pain and starts making me worry that maybe he won't come back after all. If being away from me is alleviating his stress, why would he come back for that? Maybe I have been doing things wrong. Maybe I'm not worth any of it. Maybe he's happier without me. I don't know. And when I don't know, my mind runs rampant.

Some of this is valid and some is "catastrophizing." Charles wanted to be with you. He was prepared to move in, but was prevented by something outside of his control. That's probably why he doesn't want, or can't just Skype or whatever now. He's too bummed out, and has gone into a spiral. That's my opinion.

Even if he did call, I don't even know what we could talk about. The virus is permeating every aspect of our lives right now. I just want him to hold me and he wouldn't be able to.

See? You just want to hold him. Just chatting from a distance isn't what either of you want.

We can't make plans to see each other now for sure until this is over, and who knows what will happen then? And I know I can't talk about that stuff yet, because we have to see what happens, but I am just so fucking scared.

I know I would have been a million times better if he was here. Henry thinks, like I think (or at least thought, before all of you chimed in?) that Charles would have felt better too, if he had just come and been safe here with us and we could have supported each other. Maybe we are wrong? We need our alone space and down time too, but we know we are better together. We can take care of each other.

It seems to me like Charles wishes he could be there too, since he was all ready to move in. But now that he can't be there, his issues have kicked in and he can't communicate at all.

It's not anything you've done! It's just the damn lockdown. I'm pretty confident you'll re-establish a great connection after the world heals up and we have more freedom. :eek:
 

Vicki82

Member
I hope so. I really do.
 

Vicki82

Member
Giving him space doesn't mean that I can't show that I care, right? Tell me if this is a terrible idea. I made up a box with stuff in it I know he likes, just little stuff like his favourite drinks and snacks and a couple of alcohol minis. I was just going to leave it on his porch. I wrote a note but all it says is that I was thinking of him and that I hope he is feeling better. Nothing demanding or whatnot in it, I didn't even write I love you.

It feels like a good thing, but if my instincts are way off, is it a bad thing?
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
Giving him space doesn't mean that I can't show that I care, right? Tell me if this is a terrible idea. I made up a box with stuff in it I know he likes, just little stuff like his favourite drinks and snacks and a couple of alcohol minis. I was just going to leave it on his porch. I wrote a note but all it says is that I was thinking of him and that I hope he is feeling better. Nothing demanding or whatnot in it, I didn't even write I love you.

It feels like a good thing, but if my instincts are way off, is it a bad thing?

As a person who doesn't like to "people" when I am not doing well, I think that this is actually a fine way to give them space while showing that you care.

For instance, I am NOT (NOT!) a morning person and if Dude is up and wants to be all loving and pep-talky in the morning I get SOOO vexed. But if he is asleep on the couch and I walk into the kitchen and he has set up the coffee pot on a timer so that it is already done? OMG, my heart smiles! Best way to start my day! Because he has paid attention to what I need (coffee+silence) and not what HE would want in the same situation (cuddles+talk).

I am curious as to what the others think. :rolleyes:
 

PinkPig

Member
Giving him space doesn't mean that I can't show that I care, right? Tell me if this is a terrible idea. I made up a box with stuff in it I know he likes, just little stuff like his favourite drinks and snacks and a couple of alcohol minis. I was just going to leave it on his porch. I wrote a note but all it says is that I was thinking of him and that I hope he is feeling better. Nothing demanding or whatnot in it, I didn't even write I love you.

It feels like a good thing, but if my instincts are way off, is it a bad thing?

I think it's a sweet, thoughtful thing to do. And I think it would be fine to say you love him. I hope doing it brought you some comfort, too. :)
 

Vicki82

Member
Well, Henry dropped off the package today when he went to pick up a replacement part for our sink. Thank goodness he is handy because I can't call a plumber!

He left it on Charles' porch and rang the doorbell. Hopefully someone was actually awake to hear it and go bring the box in because I'd hate for someone to steal it (I used a clear plastic tote because that's all I had). I also sent him a text just to let him know to check his porch in case he was asleep but I don't know if he will actually get it or if he has his phone turned off like he did last time. I don't expect him to interact with me but it would just be nice to know that he got it okay.

That was a few hours ago, which makes me a little uneasy, although I know that he was on meds making him sleep crazy hours so it's possible that one of the housemates brought it in and Charles is still sleeping and hasn't seen it yet, or who knows. Maybe he doesn't want to talk to me at all.

I wanted to at least show him I care while also still giving him what he needs but this might have had a negative effect on me since now I feel like I'm waiting again to at least find out if he actually even got it. If he doesn't even message me to say he got it I don't know how I'm going to feel.

I didn't sleep well last night again so I am sure that's not helping.

ETA: he did text me and say that he was asleep all day and thanked me for the care package and sent hugs. I told him to enjoy it, and that was that. I didn't want to say any more because I didn't want him to think I gave him the package to force him to interact with me.
 
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Vicki82

Member
And for some reason I keep seeing all these stupid memes pop up on my feed that say stuff like actions speak louder than words, and if he wanted to be with you, he'd be with you. Like not things my friends are sharing, just stupid public memes.

And then I just don't know what to think.
 
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