Relationship Woes

Somehow, it is April already, I’m not exactly sure how that happened. But here we are, all the same. Spring is here (sort of) and I’m still plugging along, trying to but never quite finding the time to write. It takes so much mental energy these days.

Last week though, I accepted an assignment from Dr. N to begin writing after I saw my family, even for only if for ten minutes. We’d talked about how sometimes when I was around my parents I felt a little suffocated. It’s like there’s no fresh air to breathe, all of it is stale and lingering as quietly as the conversation is going. Because really, when my mom comes over, we have so little to talk about these days.

We just had dinner last night, myself and my parents. This post was started then but finished the following morning. Anyway, I invited myself over for pizza and spent an hour there. And it was fine, it was. There were no blowouts or anything, and there haven’t been for awhile. This is all because of how calculated I am, picking and choosing what I say trying to avoid a negative reaction. It’s exhausting to feel constantly like you are walking on eggshells around your own parents, but some days I feel exactly that. They just feel so strongly about things, especially my mom, that are so different from the values I have. And I feel strongly when any type of conflict arises.

Years ago now I wrote about how I incorrectly associated disagreeing with conflict. I know now that people can have different opinions about things and it doesn’t mean they are in battle over it. So in theory me being such a far cry from my parents in terms of well…everything, shouldn’t be such a big problem. But that’s what it has become in my eyes: a gateway to conflict. I worry that they’ll feel like I’m disagreeing with out of spite, just because I can. It will morph into a personal attack and become heated. I’m reminded of a time my mom asked me “why do you always assume I’m wrong?” when we were disagreeing about something COVID-19 related, before she stormed out of my house. I just don’t want that kind of relationship with my parents.

So we talk about the cat and TV shows and other things. I’m always on edge though, wondering if what I say will somehow start us down a path that I don’t want to travel. For example, if we talk about my job, I’m careful with what details I allow because I know they have strong opinions about the kids being in school. I’ve gotten better at asserting how I feel in a non-threatening way but it’s still quite a challenge.

Even tonight we were watching a TV promo for this upcoming show where an actress is playing a boy. My dad was seriously confused by it and asked multiple times for confirmation that the actress is a woman. And I just held my breath hoping that it wouldn’t progress into more that than, some kind of ignorant diatribe. It didn’t, he was just curious, and I kept my cool.

I guess I need to learn to steel myself a little better to their remarks. I know full well that just because they think one way intensely doesn’t necessarily mean they are right. I know it’s not a personal attack against me, but sometimes their opinions make me uncomfortable. It’s that whole them being so right-wing conservative (so Trump brain-washed) that eats away at me because the views they espouse are like night and day from how I feel. And sometimes I sit there wondering how could they really think that?

Really, I try not to judge. I try not to judge anyone for their beliefs. I like to believe they have a good reason for feeling why they feel. Yet when those opinions come with such hate and anger towards so many people, that’s when even tiptoeing into that area makes me want to duck and cover.

Sometimes I wonder how they feel. I know my mom holds back from me too; she doesn’t talk about the political stuff anymore (thank god) because she knows how much 1. I don’t agree and 2. I hate politics. Is it so uncomfortable too? Does she think less of me or judge me for my personal beliefs?

I miss when everything wasn’t cause for this division that exists now. Even with the vaccine it rears its head and now it’s going beyond my parents and extending to my relationship with my grandfather.

I initially succumbed to pressure from my mother not to get the vaccine and I knew it was out of real concern on her end. But eventually, for multiple reasons, I did end up getting vaccinated (halfway so far anyway). I told my mom I’d be doing it and she begrudgingly told me “it’s my choice,” which was code for “I don’t agree with what you’re doing,” before we quickly shifted gears.

My parents aren’t the only ones who don’t trust the vaccine. My aunt on my father’s side has some crazy conspiracy theories about it (I don’t listen long enough to be able to tell you what they are). So when I got the appointment I figured I wouldn’t say anything to my family unless directly asked. I didn’t want to hear it.

Low and behold, last week my grandfather asked me if I’d gotten the vaccine. I’m not a liar, so I told him yes. Not twenty minutes later, my aunt calls and while they’re talking, decides to tell her right out of the blue how “I went and got the shot.”

I was so angry. Probably the angriest I’ve been with my grandfather in awhile. There was no reason to bring that up at all, it wasn’t relevant and it wasn’t her business. Thankfully, probably because I did blow up and she could hear it, my aunt didn’t push the issue. But grandpa and I had a talk about boundaries after that, where I told him I’m not a point of gossip in the family.

Unfortunately, my grandfather couldn’t see my perspective, because of course it was different than his own belief that one person’s business seems to be everyone’s business. He asked why I was being so uptight about it and implied that it was the same thing as “telling people I got my toenails cut.” Only when I reminded him how controversial this vaccine is did he let up a little, but of course still didn’t apologize.

Usually grandpa and I can disagree, even loudly, and I still feel like things are okay. I’m somewhat accustomed to his outdated views, but this made me really resent him. I haven’t wanted to talk to him much since, which makes me feel bad. And I can’t even complain to my mom about it because that would mean bringing up the vaccine, which would likely just make her go all quiet.

I never got a chance to write about this encounter last week because I went and took my anger out on my wallet. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. In the last month I’ve spent countless dollars on things I don’t need, namely clothes and pins, which I collect. In fact last week after a whole mess of back and forth with L about our session, which wasn’t happening and then did half-happen, I went and dropped $300 at a clip trying to soothe myself.

Now that it’s April I’ve got myself back on a “no spending” policy and I’m hopeful I’ll stick to it.

If you’re wondering about the session with L, she got exposed to COVID and had to cancel session to get tested. I was upset by the situation and trying like hell not to be because I’d love to be at a point in my therapy where a missed session doesn’t throw everything off-kilter. No such luck though.

She cancelled on Sunday and then texted me Monday to change her mind because she got a negative result. But at that point, she had no childcare, so my only option was telehealth. I work five minutes from her office, but I live 25 minutes from my job. When you get out at 2:45, there’s no making it home for a 3:00 session. That left me doing session in my office at school.

It was hard, because two things were true as we often say. I was very grateful that she cared enough to make the time for me even if it meant juggling home and work, but I was also put off by seeing her home life. It came to the point that during session she was bouncing the baby on her leg.

A few things would happen. I would feel a sting of jealousy at the little bundle she was lucky enough to have. I would also feel a little hurt, wondering how she could possibly be hearing me when her attention was split between us. It felt a little like the baby and I were competing to see who could pull her attention more.

Of course I want this little being to have her mother. She didn’t do anything wrong. But I yearn for my therapist just as badly and I only get two hours with her a week. That kid gets the majority of L. So to have her interrupting my time was frustrating.

L didn’t miss a beat the whole time we were in session, and she admitted that she felt horrible things worked out the way that they did. So I didn’t say anything. The reminder was clear though: You don’t come first. And now you’ve slipped even further down the totem pole.

I feel like a child writing this. I know I don’t need her, but at the same time, yes I do. So when she cancelled on Thursday, it really hit me like a ton of bricks. I could tell she felt bad because she offered to let me email her, but it didn’t really matter. My fear that her having a child would mean cancelled sessions was coming true, just like when Dr. N had to shorten our sessions for three weeks because they didn’t have childcare.

I don’t know how I’d ever bring this up to her. She’d be so good about it, I know she would. She reassured me Monday that I was allowed to be upset with her, that she wanted me to have all my feelings and stop suppressing them. Plus, as much as I’m getting on her case about the baby interfering, I do ask to see her and ask how she’s doing. It feels like the polite thing to do, and part of me does really care, even when doing so hurts me.

It’s not just the baby. It’s COVID. First we had to get through me being exposed to someone positive and waiting five days (!) for a negative result. Then barely after that it’s her. This is the one place I can’t bear to have things be interrupted.

Because I didn’t have therapy on Thursday, I didn’t get a chance to muse further on my relationship/non-relationship with a new guy.

D and I met on a dating website, which is where I meet all of my potential relationship partners. I was iffy about even seeing him the first time, but L encouraged me to go and feel it out. The first couple dates that we had went pretty well. We have a lot in common and the conversation was pretty easy. I liked him enough to keep exploring, so that’s what we did. We had pancakes. We went bowling.

As things began to get more intimate, I increasingly wanted to sabotage and run. I may want a relationship badly, but I rarely feel emotionally ready for it. I admitted to him on our third date that I take awhile to warm up with the physical contact, and he said he’d “picked up on that.”

Then on our fourth date, things took a weird turn. First we went out to dinner and that was fine, there was some playful banter. He talked about wanting to kiss me later and I didn’t mind that. Then we moved on to this hole in the wall brewery owned by his friend. That’s where I started to feel uncomfortable. First off, my inner-introvert was screaming “that’s enough! go home!” because I was just tapped out. I tried to push through, but all of the sudden he wanted to sext simultaneously while talking to me and his friend.

So, a couple things here. It really felt like he was moving kind of quickly, especially after being told that I’m a slow to warm kind of person. Even at dinner, he’d admitted that a lot of his last dates had turned into sexual conquests. To which I told him that he shouldn’t expect the same from me. He acts like he’s all good with that, but then he starts with this. I tried to play along but I wasn’t super into it.

Second, the topic of sex is really shameful for me. I don’t know why, I don’t have a history of abuse, but I’ve always been very easily bristled by talk about sex. It makes me want to be swallowed up by the ground kind of shame. I’m not comfortable with my sexuality and never have been.

We ended up in the back of his car making out like teenagers. I didn’t so much mind that, although it didn’t do much for me. Again, I need to be more emotionally intimate before the physical ever gets brought to the table. Part of me wants to hold that boundary and part of me knows it might be a deal-breaker for some people. (But so what, right? Aren’t I supposed to do what’s right for me?) Either way, the kissing and groping was fine, but then he started to go further.

With M last year, I let myself get sucked into having sex pretty quickly and our relationship kind of devolved from there. I told myself I’d give it more time with the next person. While I didn’t feel taken advantage of, I did feel like I let myself go further than planned and I didn’t know how I felt about that. At one point, he asked me if I trusted him and I said yes, even though my insides were screaming “No!! How could I trust you after only knowing you for barely a month?”

Oh, and at one point he tried to choke me. I guess that’s a thing some people like, but it was very off-putting. I immediately put that to an end, and he listened, but I still felt the discomfort of how quickly things had escalated. He was being kind of pushy and not being sensitive enough to my needs I felt.

I don’t know, I could tell he was trying, and I must be different from everyone else he has ever been with. Maybe other girls have said one thing and meant another, but I certainly haven’t.

I really feel like something is wrong with me that I can’t just let go and be romantically into someone. I’m always in my own head, always uncomfortable, and it ruins the whole experience for me. Plus, it certainly doesn’t make me want to go down that road any sooner.

We were supposed to meet up again last week, but he cancelled at the last minute. I pointed out that I wished he had told me sooner so I didn’t spend the morning getting ready for nothing. By the time he texted me, he was already at this other engagement. There was time to let me know sooner.

Anyway, this week was his spring break and while I knew he was away, I heard absolutely nothing from him. I suppose I could have texted, but I felt like the ball was in his court after cancelling the last date. So yesterday when he finally texted me almost a week later, I didn’t know how to feel.

I want to call him out on it, but I don’t want to seem clingy (which in reality, I know I’m not, because it didn’t bother me to go a couple days and not hear from him, just to go like 6 days and hear nothing). I’m not sure how he’d respond, although I guess that would be a worthwhile test wouldn’t it? Not that I should be testing him, but I think it’s important to see how he handles potential dissent like that. Still, I’m not sure what to do.

I have an appointment with Dr. N in a half hour, so I guess I’ll ask her advice then, because I haven’t responded to him yet.

There’s more I could say, but this post already ended up way longer than I intended it to be, so I think I’ll stop here and update more soon. But that’s where things stand as far as my life right now. How is yours going?


6 thoughts on “Relationship Woes”

  1. You are absolutely well within your rights to decline choking. What is the world coming to! I’m so sorry it turned out that way for you, you definitely deserve to be treated MUCH better than that 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sending hugs. Thinking of you. I’m not sure how I’d cope having my therapist’s baby on screen… fortunately A is older with grown up kids. I feel jealous of her daughter (a bit) so I can only imagine how your young parts would have felt in that situation. Thinking of you xx

    Liked by 1 person

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