There’s a lot of backstory to it, but my relationship with my boyfriend has been challenging, and I have felt like I’ve been pushed to a place of calling it quits. We’ve both had to learn a lot about ourselves and communication in the last year, and recently I’ve been faced with a choice of pushing past all of that and being vulnerable and honest and starting – and leading – hard conversations, or quitting.
I really wanted to quit.
It’s so much harder to be honest with myself and with him, to say the things that aren’t fun to say, to draw the lines and hold to them, to lay out the situation without making threats, to set boundaries without making selfish demands and to practice love when I have no idea if it will be returned.
I’ve had moments of bright, happy and cheerful the past two days, which quickly tips over into what feels more like manic than actually happy and calm, but I’m still mostly struggling through the confining, dark depression of PTSD. It doesn’t help to be constantly triggered while trying to work through communication and behavior course corrections
I want to take a break from all of it.
But as we know, life doesn’t stop. And if anything, I’m proud of myself for not giving up on me.
My boyfriend and I continue to have difficult conversations. I keep doubting I have the energy to keep going, but I keep pushing through.
We don’t have anything to hide behind. We don’t have money and job security, we don’t have a lot of time together, we don’t have a long history of trust and connection, we don’t even have a certain belief that we belong together. It’s fucking hard.
Because we don’t have anything to hide behind, and because we’re both sticking with the difficult conversations long enough to get past the darts and jabs, we’re starting to get honest. The kind of honest where you face shame and admit you’ve been hiding things because you’re not sure they’ll like you anymore if they know. The kind of honest where you say what isn’t ok. The kind of honest where you admit you might be the problem but this little bit is all you know and you haven’t learned enough to figure out the rest yet.
I’m not sure how many people ever get this honest in a relationship, but I don’t think many do it within the first nine months. It takes more courage than I knew I had. And I do it because I believe I matter enough to speak and hear the truth. To not walk away because I’m scared and this is really hard, but because walking away is the right thing for me. And I don’t know that yet because I don’t have enough information.
And there’s no backing down now, because we’re here, rumbling with the truth no matter how scary or how hard. AND IT’S HARD. I’m still not in neutral, and I’m not comfortable with some of the surprises I’m getting. I’m constantly in high threat mode and no one else is bringing me back down to my version of calm. While I’m rumbling with a really painful series of realizations about who I am and how I got here.
But worth it, because I’m worth it. And so is he.
There are few things more healing than a sincere and unasked-for apology. And I really value that when I met my boyfriend for lunch to talk things out, he offered just that. Actions do really speak louder, but there are some words that cannot be replaced, and “I’m sorry” is on that list. It’s why I agreed to keep working things out, and why I’m wanting to heal our relationship rather than end it. Sorry is hard, but sorry can heal.
The Sahara Dust is killing any ideas I have about walking outside (I tried it Monday and won’t be doing that again), so I’m probably not achieving my exercise goals this week. Eh.
I also am losing interest in food as a way to numb/cope, which feels weird but is good. I haven’t stopped eating, I just am not focused on eating, and can go hours without any interest in food. It’s such a change from before, and it’s nice! I’ve also been sleeping a lot this week, and letting myself sleep. Things are still getting done, even if they are not all getting done today, and my resting heart rate has dropped another 3 beats per minute – a sign that I have less stress and anxiety.
I had a really great conversation with my boyfriend last night, much closer to when we started dating than recently. We talked about Things Going On In The World until late, and that free flow of ideas and questions is such a gift, because I can’t do that with just anyone, and it reminded me why I like him so much.
On the plus side, I’m venturing out of my hole.
Most of my family was in town Saturday. A year ago during our annual get together my brother was barely out of the hospital following a work accident, and I was handling…a lot. I knew Friday that I still hadn’t processed that trauma. Saturday night I was sobbing after listening to my parents tell my aunt and uncle all of the details of what has happened since. I should have walked away, but I didn’t, and by the time I got a few minutes to myself that was it – I couldn’t stop crying.
What followed was my boyfriend abandoning me while I was grieving, movies with my family the next day and trying to recover a bit, a full day on the road for work on Monday, boyfriend basically ignoring me at dinner for a stranger next to us, me having enough and leaving, boyfriend later (and finally) owning up to what was going on with him (beginning to understand how traumatic experiences have impacted him, which…welcome to my hell) and me talking him through opening up about it, me working another full day today like a boss and still not a priority for him and the signs are all there this isn’t going to work, and I am going to have to tell my business partner this week that we need to go our separate ways.
Healing is HARD AF, and I was going to go for a walk in the heat but my stomach hates me today and I have a feeling I’m a bit dehydrated and walking in 102 degrees will likely just make me sick.
So I’m going to catch up on all of the personal business I didn’t get done in the last couple of weeks, give myself a break for not exercising today and be proud of myself for practicing discipline and organization.