September is Coming… & Maybe Self-Worth Along With it?

A while back I wrote a post about my impending partner’s acceptance to a PhD program five hours away entitled “When September Comes…”. I was struggling with whether or not I wanted to, or should, go with him. There many factors to consider when you move cities, but even more to think about when you have a surgeon and narcotic addiction. (I say addiction only because I have been on pain killers for over two years. I use narcotics, I don’t abuse them, nonetheless I am still physically addicted.) I have thought long and hard about moving. About what it will mean for me, what it will mean for him and what it will mean for our relationship. I have come up with a solution I am semi-comfortable with. Whether I stay or go there are fears. I am afraid to change. While I am still not 100% confident I made the best decision, by any stretch of the imagination, it came down to challenging my fear.

I was afraid of all the things that could happen. Like we could break up, and I could need surgery and have no where convenient to stay. Sadly, this is certainly not the first decision that has been hindered and put off because of my fear of “could’s’’. It is a life long pattern that I analyze decisions to the point where I can’t help but feel like there are too many cons and could’s to overcome the pros and want’s. Often I corner myself so there is no choice left and then lament that I am in the very position my indecision put me in. I get angry and resentful when the ability to choose is taken away from me, even though it is me who takes them away. It is a cycle I have finally triumphed over. Kinda.

Moving

I made the decision to challenge my fear of changing and I am going to jump. We are moving five hours away from everything I know and feel comfortable in. With my partner.

Pause while I calm my breathing…

——————

 

rutA large part of me believes this is a healthy thing for both C. and I. (Although another part believes that we keep each other ‘down’ and would be better exploring ourselves separately.) We need to break out of the rut we have been in and what better way to do so than to move to a city where neither of us have lived, or spent much time in.

The thing that really made me decide to go was a weekend trip we took there a few weeks ago. It was hell driving there and back, but the experience in the city was wonderful. It was great to see all the life on the streets and neighbourhoods I hadn’t explored and fibre shops I hadn’t been in. It was awesome. I felt more alive in that environment than I have in a long time, so I feel like it will give me new life.

Or so I hope.

—————

surpiseI talked to C.’s mom yesterday for quite a while. C. and I have been together for close to five years and I was never sure that his mom approved, or even liked me. However when I was struggling with the decision to move or not I asked her if I could sit down and talk to her about the whole thing. She readily agreed and we went for lunch yesterday.

I was thoroughly surprised by what she had to say. I thought she was going to be slightly disappointed in us because we still need help regularly financially and I have been injured for so long I just felt she might be thinking it was time for C. to move on, unburden himself of his depressed, goalless, and injured girlfriend. In fact, she expressed the exact opposite. I have been supporting C. for two years and she is unsure how I have put up with it for this long.

His mom told me he has always been rather selfish and that it is not something that will change easily. She also told me that she knows how hard I have been fighting to make ends meet and that I am the responsible one who ensure bills are paid. I told her about how I carry around a lot of misplaced guilt and she comforted me by assuring me that I have been strong and unbelievably generous and by making me see that our issues don’t really start with me, my injury or my depression. A lot of them start with him. She made me realize the importance of expressing exactly what I want and need from C. with the intention of leaving him if I don’t get it. She told me that every once in a while I have to be hard with C., just like she had to be hard while he was growing up and going to university. He can be incredibly self-centered and self-absorbed to the point that you have to shock him to make him realize just how self-involved he is before he makes even the smallest change. Oh, that and he thinks he is perfect, despite his protestations to the opposite.

imagesAll these things are things I have heard before, but it really meant a lot coming from his mom. She thinks I need to look to myself because I am a fixer, a nurturer, too generous, caring and nice for my own good. In her words, “C. has been using” me. He knows that I won’t let the bills or rent go unpaid. He knows I will organize the move if he doesn’t step up. She said she sees a lot of her younger self in me, before she realized she needed to give more to herself and less to her children and husband. She needed to set boundaries, limits and deal breakers. She even told me about issues that her and his dad have gone through and overcame. (Not in the least, that she had to propose to him!)

One thing that stuck with me was when she told me about how C.’s dad had gotten them into debt for over $100,000 and had to re-mortgage their house. When she found out about this she told him straight up that if he ever gets them into this much debt again she would leave him. He occasionally says that she traumatized him with this ultimatum but she had to say it for her. It made me realize that there really are such things as deal-breakers in significant relationships. I always thought you could work through almost everything if you are both on board, but there are those things that you just can’t tolerate. I need to feel respected. C.’s mom felt disrespected by the amount of money her husband was spending on his business and not investing in the family and their house so she made it known that this was one thing she wouldn’t tolerate again.

frogprinceAs she spoke I kept feeling like she was talking out of my thoughts. Apparently C. and his dad are more alike than I ever realized! Her advice to me was, first I need to decide if staying is what is best for me, second I have to be ‘tough’ with C. When something comes up that is non-negotiable I need to say specifically, “I expect this of you and will be upset and it will be really hard to truly forgive you with no lingering resentment if you disappoint me.”  Yes, this sounds rather harsh to me too. But she is right. Nothing else I have done has worked. Like trying to get him to get a job, which I have been trying to do for two years. I don’t like to give ultimatums, I like decisions that effect both of us to be made together, but C. doesn’t seem to work that way. It has become apparent that if I want our life to be organized I will have to do it. I will take on the role of the organizer in the relationship. I will be the responsible one. But I will also step my foot down and give him only two options.

Those options pretty much boil down to grow up or I am leaving. I will be more sensitive than that in expressing this to C. but that is the bottom line. If he doesn’t like that I have drawn the proverbial line in the sand, fine. He can move by himself. I am worth effort. I am a good partner, who constantly tries to help and support my significant other. I am not ashamed to say that I am maternal, I just can’t hurt anyone, I always want to help and I am nice to a fault.

discoveryAll these things are great traits to have if you are with someone who shares them. But I have to get tougher if I am to continue this relationship with C. I need to decide what it is I want from our relationship and leave if it is not forth coming.

The hard part is figuring out what I want.

So my ‘solution’ to this whole fear of could’s, anxious about what might happen thing is to give myself one year. If in one year we are not where I want to be, after thoroughly discussing this intention with C., I will have to leave. I can’t wait any longer for him to put in the effort it takes to make me feel loved, respected and desired. I am not high maintenance, but good relationships take effort to to sustain them and he has not been putting any effort in at all.

————–

lostI am looking forward to changing cities. I am look forward to creating my space and decorating our apartment. I am excited for the opportunity to down-size, simplify and explore what makes me happy. I am looking forward to a change in my routine and caring for myself in an environment I feel comfortable, safe and happy in.

I think I have finally been able to let go, or at least curb, my guilt in association with my injury. Let’s be honest. This injury, surgery and slow (er, stagnant) recovery have had a larger and more profound impact on me than any one else, including C., in my life. I am the one who has had to deal with the constant pain and the effects of all the medications I use to control it. I am the one who has fallen into a deep, dark pit of depression accompanied by my constant companion anxiety. I am the one who is looking at a drastically changed and modified future. I am the one who has been cut into, screwed into and sewn back up. I am the one who is two pounds heavier from the metal in my spine. While these things have certainly had an effect on C., our relationship and my relationships with all the other significant people in my life, I am the one who has had to experience this. No one else has had to spend the last two and a half years in constant pain with no solution in their foreseeable future. I have had to experience this physically, emotionally and mentally alone. No one can get into my pain with me, it is a burden I have to bear on my own.

quoteSo why should I feel guilty when I am the one who has suffered? Really. It is not like I wanted this. It was not my decision to hurt my back, and it is not my decision to not have bone grow in my spine. I had very little control over my recovery, and the things I did control I worked incredibly hard at. I have rehabbed three times from this injury. Twice before surgery, once when everything was getting a lot better, once after a massive set back and once after lying in bed for four months after surgery. And I have killed it. Really, all three times I improved massively in the first few months. But no matter how fit I get, the pain doesn’t go away. My efforts in the gym have strengthened me physically, but they have not reduced the pain or solved my nerve issues.

I guess what I am trying to get at is that all the guilt I have felt about C. being ‘held back’ by my injury is completely misplaced. Actually, he should feel guilty about the way he has treated me, the degree to which he has taken advantage of me.

——————–

serenityI am going to release this guilt. (And I am working on the resentment.) I am done with thinking I have been ‘less than’ in my relationship. I am finished thinking that the problems in our relationship are caused by me and, consequently, the weight it places on my shoulders. I have been generous, open and selfless in this relationship and the tables are about to turn. I am focusing on me. I am going to figure out how to find what I want. He has sat around for two years surfing the net and doing nothing productive at all, he wasted his time. He wasted my time. He hasn’t tried to find a job, he hasn’t kept a handle on cleaning our apartment, he does nothing all day.

We are moving in seven weeks and our apartment is is being shown starting tomorrow. I went to work today so I was gone for six hours. The last thing he said to me when I left today was “I will clean the apartment this afternoon.” I came home around seven, and was there anything done? No. Well, he emptied the dishwasher… That I had loaded and started last night. Needless to say I was, and still am, in a somewhat annoyed state of mind. The worst part is that he thinks he did do something productive. Taking the dishes out of the dishwasher is not doing something productive, it is doing what you have to do everyday. It is a task, a chore and definitely not ‘picking up the apartment’. I asked what productive things he did in the six hours I was gone and he responded with the vague and obviously false “Well, I did the dishes and picked up the bedroom a bit.”

I wish I was brave enough to take a picture of our bedroom so you all can see what his ‘picked up a bit’ means. Basically he just piled all the laundry I sorted into loads into one huge pile of icky dirty clothes. The bed wasn’t made, the garbage wasn’t changed, he didn’t dust or vacuum and there is still garbage on the window sill he uses as his night table.

But I am going to let this go as well. There is no reason for me to stress out about what he hasn’t done. I have thought about writing a weekly list of things he needs to get done, but I think it is more controlling than I want to be. I guess I just want some accountability in our life, meaning I want to know he will do his share. We should be accountable to each other and in order to do that I think we need to have defined tasks and expectations.

I am not ready to throw in the towel, hence the plan to have one more year together. Haha, that song “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine” totally just popped into my head, so I will leave you with her lyrics and video at the end.

We’ll Sing in the Sunshine By: Gale Garnett

We’ll sing in the sunshine
We’ll laugh every da-a-y
We’ll sing in the sunshine
Then I’ll be on my way

I will never love you
The cost of love’s too dear
But though I’ll never love you
I’ll stay with you one year

And we can sing in the sunshine
We’ll laugh every da-a-y
We’ll sing in the sunshine
Then I’ll be on my way

I’ll sing to you each mornin’
I’ll kiss you every night
But darlin’, don’t cling to me
I’ll soon be out of sight

But we can sing in the sunshine
We’ll laugh every da-a-y
We’ll sing in the sunshine
Then I’ll be on my way

My daddy he once told me
“Hey, don’t you love you any man”
“Just take what they may give you”
“And give but what you can”

“And you can sing in the sunshine”
“You’ll laugh every da-a-y”
“You’ll sing in the sunshine”
“Then be on your way”

And when our year has ended
And I have gone away
You’ll often speak about me
And this is what you’ll say

“We sang in the sunshine
“You know, we laughed every da-a-y”
“We sang in the sunshine”
“Then she went away”

We’ll Sing in the Sunshine By: Gale Garnett

Best,
xo – S.

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4 thoughts on “September is Coming… & Maybe Self-Worth Along With it?

  1. backonmyown says:

    Hi S. That song is from my teen years. Thanks for reminding me that I like it very much.

    I’ll be thinking of you as you make this big move. Remember to write about your progress. I want to know how you are. xoxoxo

  2. I have empathy. Change is scary but not irreversible. You can always come back. Trusting is hard and the ‘what ifs’ could slay a girl. Have faith that all will be well no matter what. There’s a little book I have called Courage to Change. It’s an Ala-Non reader that could help you. You don’t need to be in a 12 step program to glean its goodness. I’ll say a prayer for you.

  3. I LOVE THIS S!!!!! Awesome conversation with his mom. Awesome owning and taking charge of your situation. Awesome awesome awesome post!!!!!

  4. catterel says:

    Courage, S! You are blessed to have a woman like that to talk to, who knows and understands and gives such good advice without being over-protective of her son. Respect yourself, and others will respect you. Praying you will be able to stand firm.

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