Sexuality Happens

Relationships and Emotions

Since I came back from Florida, it’s been non-stop. Q’s sister was in town visiting from Long Island. Jamye Waxman was in town to speak. Q started her first day as a grad school professor. I still haven’t had time to process all the emotion and family drama from my Florida trip, and Q is on a meditation kick (which I’m trying to do daily, and seems to give me headaches).

The result? Right now, we have an incredibly mercurial relationship, almost bi-polar. One minue, we’re holding hands, looking into each others’ eyes, sharing frozen yogurt, being all lovey dovey. The next, we’re arguing with each other about little things, being nit picky, almost ignoring each other.

People keep telling me it’s Mercury in retrogade. I don’t normally believe in that, but we all like to cling to something to explain why our lover and ourselves have suddenly started acting bi-polar towards the relationships…and I mean hell, Mercurial (the temperament/actions) and Mercury sure sound alike, right?

But it’s made me realize, along with some posts on Alphafemme’s blog, that relationships constantly require work, even if they’re working out just fine. Being complacent about the relationship leads to things getting stale, or issues not being worked out. However, I’m also realizing that working on and improving relationships takes a lot of hard work.

This is the longer sexual/lover relationship I’ve ever been in. I mean, I’ve made friendships work for years. My best friend Annabelle and I have been friends since 2002, and my best friend E and I since 1999. Clearly, I can handle long term relationships/friendships, including their natural ups and downs.

However, I’m new to making long term lovers/partner relationships work. I didn’t realize how hard it can be, how much effort need to be involved in truly communicating (instead of just saying yes and no, or I like this/don’t like this), how much it can hurt as we work through our issues, as well as personal issues that get brought up.

I’ve never been a highly emotional person before, but I am often with Q, because I just have so much love and trust for her, which seems to bring out this side. I need to work hard not on pushing them down, but not letting them run wild. I let little things hurt more than they should, and I feel a lot of my OCD-ness and anxiety returning, something which I would like not to happen.

Then there is the disability thing. As things get worse, and I have more bad days, and hospital visits, I always get worried that something will be the last straw, and she won’t want to deal with me anymore. I’m trying to figure out how to even phrase this feeling. I’m not sure yet.

I have a huge fear of being left/abandoned by those I love; friends and partners alike. It happened with Julius, and with Nikki, and with the Kinky Whore, and I’m terrified it’s going to happen with Q. It’s not logical, I know, but I have a history of people I love leaving me. Can I trace it back to daddy issues, and my father dying when I was 13? Possibly. Who knows? Regardless, no matter how much I trust Q, I still have this voice in the back of my head, especially whenever we’re aruging or trying to improve things, telling me that “if you don’t do it right, if you mess up at all, Q is going to leave you, just like everyone else.” I need to figure out how to quiet that voice, and trust in Q and in what we have together.

Q pointed out to me that relationships cannot thrive and grow unless we ourselves thrive and grow. Whether that is through writing, therapy, meditation (I’ve decided I’ll try it daily for 3 weeks, and then decide if it is in fact helping me), etc, we have to, as individuals, work on ourselves in order to work on our relationship.

And so, I’m working on harnessing my emotions, learning to let things go. I’m trying to not attach so much importance to little things. I’m trying to re-create more of my own life here. It’s hard. I don’t really have friends. I strongly dislike the kink community, there is no queer community, and most of the lesbians we’ve met drink a┬álot and do drugs, neither of which is for me. I’m having a hard time creating my own life outside of Q and my relationship because I’m in an area where I don’t fit, where I don’t belong. I think that’s part of the issue.

And I’m going to work on, I’m not sure how, but I’m going to work on this fear of abandonment. I’m open to suggestions, ideas, etc. How do you convince yourself to leave your past alone and trust in the future and in your parnter, completely?

-Essin’ Em

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5 Comments so far

  1. lady brett August 25th, 2010 6:02 pm

    well, first thing’s first, dear – hugs to you!

    but also, i really understand where you’re coming from. i haven’t pinned whether it’s us or just me that’s been rather polar recently. i have a consistent problem with “little things”. i’ve been thinking of it as an inertia problem (and i’ve been meaning to write about that).

    feeling alone in a foreign place is the worst. well, for relationships. it reminds me of being with jake in her homeplace, where i didn’t know anyone. i think (among plenty of other things) that was part of our problem. instead of branching out, it made me cling on. i’m not sure i have suggestions for that, though. i’ve found being social almost exclusive to being partnered for me (ugh!).

    so, also, the disability/abandonment thing really hit home, but in a strange way. it hit probably the only secret i have from jamie: i’m not a good caretaker, and i don’t really like it. she gets sick a lot. and i do take care of her, because, well, it’s what you do, and it has to be done. not because i think it’s sweet to take care of her. and sometimes i get fucking tired of it (usually if i am tired anyway). but the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter. i mean, in the long run/scheme of things – that isn’t related to everything that is so real, important, crazy about how i love her. and maybe that once i didn’t help her ’cause i was wallowing in my own shit, but the fact is there isn’t anything that’s going to be “too much.” maybe too much for right now, but not too much to keep her. not too much in the long run.

    on the other hand, if your *crazy is anything like my *crazy, i’m not clear that there is a way to assure you. when my *crazy really kicks in, fear of being left for it always rears up. but i hope that helps a bit. and that it made sense (feel free to ask anything if it didn’t).

  2. Annabelle August 25th, 2010 10:22 pm

    Hey. Got your back, even if it is from afar. Manymany hugs, and hoping you find strength from within, and can keep radio KFKD (that annoying station that plays all your weaknesses back for you…I hear it when I sit down to write and have to shut it up) turned way down. Hearts!

  3. Elodie August 26th, 2010 12:39 am

    “How do you convince yourself to leave your past alone and trust in the future and in your partner, completely?”

    I’m not sure completely is possible 100% of the time. Shit happens, and we know that. I think at heart it’s a fear of losing control. For me, finding a way to accept that I could not control everything, and I’d still be okay if things went to hell, is what allowed me to really trust.

    Also, in my experience, forgiving myself for not being perfect was absolutely central. You can’t really trust anyone else until you trust yourself. Hang in there!

  4. Essin' Em August 26th, 2010 11:31 am

    Brett- thanks for showing your support and sharing a bit of yourself. It’s really nice to hear that I’m not the only one, and I’m not alone in my picking at the little things. Also, thanks for sharing your thoughts on caretaking — I think you and Q are fairly similar in that, and I’m such a caretaker that it is hard for me to think from her point of view.

    Annabelle – Love to you, always. I miss you :)

  5. alphafemme August 27th, 2010 10:03 am

    Yeah, this stuff sounds pretty familiar to me, too. I’ve been really, really intentional in this relationship about slowing down, thinking about what’s going on, and trying to figure out what’s just in my head and what’s actually real. In my previous relationship, which ended after 2 years, I wasn’t intentional about any of that and I let my fear of abandonment run away with me. Every fight turned into me being afraid she was going to leave me and her having to convince me she wasn’t. And really, that wasn’t fair to her at all. It sent her the message that I didn’t actually trust her. It put the entire responsibility of making me feel okay in her lap, rather than taking on some of my own responsibility. AND, it was usually over-reacting. So eventually, she left me — a self-fulfilling prophecy. And in THIS relationship, I really think I’ve been so so so much better about recognizing when I’m starting down that slippery slope again and knowing when to pull back. A huge part of it for me has been coming to the realization that my sadness/anger/emotional flooding *hurts her*. It makes her sad and afraid and anxious and panicky. And usually if I’m in the middle of freaking out about something and look at her and can see those emotions all over her, I can’t help but reign it in a little because I don’t want to hurt her. That wasn’t a feeling I had in my ex relationship, though I’m not sure why.

    Anyway… I really do recommend the book I read, the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman. Some of it is pretty obvious, but a lot of it really gave me stuff to think about and helped me recognize areas where I was contributing to things being rough and areas where she was contributing to things being rough. We have much better ways of clearing things up now, and it’s usually a remark that references the language from the book (like “hey, you’re making an overly general critical statement right now!”) which serves to both lighten the mood (since it’s sort of like an in-joke) AND make us shape up!

    Also, the stuff about caretaking… I tend to be a pretty good caretaker, but I feel a LOT of guilt about needing to be cared for myself (and it happens fairly often… I’m a rather sickly person). Don’t really have anything to offer, other than that I feel like I can sort of identify with that feeling of guilt/fear.

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