I’m incredibly stressed out. I’m not coping especially well. All I want, more than anything, is to be left alone. To curl up in my room, with my cat, and shut out the rest of the world. Part of this is my own fault. If you caught my bonus post last night, my routines, and the things I need to do to take care of myself have been very off. Other things, not necessarily of my control.
I’m still struggling with Tech Boy. He’s not making it easier either. I’ve seen so little of him lately. I’ve felt so disconnected to him. And the time we do spend together it feels like I’m fighting to find something that bonds us.
Every time I see him it feels like I’m trying to get to know him all over again. While at the same time I recognize that he doesn’t struggle with this and just sees his girlfriend that he misses and wants to be close to. But it’s hard for me to be physically close to someone that feels like an emotional stranger. I have to reestablish my connection with him every time I see him now and it’s harder and harder for me to do that because I don’t feel like I’m getting anything in return. I’m so uncomfortable.
Last weekend, xRoommate, her Boyfriend, Techboy, and I went out to dinner at a great little bistro and then back to my place to watch horror movies (it’s Halloween season after all!). He was drinking a lot (it’s football season after all, bleh). All throughout the night I made mention of how stressed out I’ve been; when he picked me up, on the drive there, when xRoommate asked me how I’ve been, on the drive back to my place… I wasn’t harping on it, but trying to discuss it constructively. Despite my stress levels I managed to have some fun, enjoying the company. Though I do admit I was pretty uncomfortable when TechBoy was trying to get snuggly on the couch.
Around midnight everyone leaves because we all have to work in the morning. Tech Boy finishes probably his 10th beer. He decides he wants frisky time and things go the way they usually do. I was so uncomfortable. Having him touch me was making my skin crawl. Plus I’m so stressed out, and sober, so I just can’t get myself in the mood. I tell him we need to stop, I’m just too stressed out, and not up to this tonight.
Time #2, the second time, in 11 months together, that I’ve declined sex. Last time he flipped out and started a fight with me. This time he flopped over, got defensive, said “fine, it’s cool, I just won’t touch you ever.” He laid there for a few more minutes, got up and eventually said he was having trouble sleeping and left.
He texted me the next day and apologized for leaving early. Abbreviated conversation to follow:
Him: Sorry for leaving last night… It’s just your whole elevated stress level is really starting to stress me out, and that doesn’t happen easily.
Me: I’ve had a lot that I had to deal with. I’m trying the best I can. I’m sorry I’m stressing you out too. But honestly I thought you were mad that I stopped us having sex. It’s only the second time I’ve done hat and the last time I got a big unhappy reaction from you too.
Him: Well yeah, kind of that too. It sends me weird signals and I don’t really know how to take it.
Me: That’s a problem. When I’m this stressed out I can’t just make myself be in the mood. When I’m this stressed out my sex drive drops, which is pretty typical. It’s not your fault but you need to be able to respect the fact that there are times I can’t or don’t want to have sex though. When you start a fight or walk out because I said no the message that sends, is that you’re only sticking around for sex and what good is any of this if you’re not getting it. That’s how it makes me feel.
Him: I’m not in it only for the sex. At all. But I will admit that I need to work on being more sensitive to your plights. You gotta remember this is a learning experience for me. I’ve never really had any of this in my life before.
Me: I just need something comforting occasionally and not feel pressured when I’m not up to it. Not guilted. I know you haven’t had much relationship experience but that’s not exactly easy on me either. I end up feeling like shit for taking care of myself instead of your urges.
Him: Which obviously shouldn’t be the case. You can count on me knocking that shit off. I’ll try not to stand on my inexperience crutch too much longer.
Me: We’ve been together for almost a year now. I’m not exactly mystery woman that makes you guess what’s bothering me. Inexperienced or not you should probably have been paying attention at some points during the last year.
Him: And I have been. I’ve just been pretty famous in my life for missing the more subtle cues. It just catches me by surprise when we go out and have a good time and all of a sudden a switch flips and you’re really stressed.
Me: Subtle and all of a sudden? Did you miss how I’ve been really stressed out for weeks now? Or when I told everyone half a dozen times last night, including on the drive back to my place how stressed I feel? That didn’t go unspoken and stress wears on me over time. Stress doesn’t just mysteriously evaporate. You were drinking a lot though, which tends to make your fun go up and your paying attention to me go down.
Him: I guess when I see you out having a good time, I figure that the stress went away or maybe I’m just hoping it did. I don’t like seeing you miserable. I mean, I try to help as much as possible by trying to have fun with you, but I think I can see now that’s probably not the best approach. A more supportive role seems better than trying to remedy something that’s really out of my control.
Anyways, there was more, but that’s the gist. He tried pushing it off as the stress being the main issue and saying it would pass. That’s not the issue. Stress makes things harder, but that’s not the problem. The problem is our lack of emotional connection and responsiveness.
I get that he doesn’t have a lot of relationship experience, but I have too much. While he’s learning, I’m being wounded because he hasn’t figured out how to not be a jerk to women. Okay, that was judgmental. And I told him, he’s never had to deal with this stuff before so no one would expect him to just instinctively know how to do everything. I get it. Really I do. But I’ve dealt with this a lot and I’m already sensitized to it all so that isn’t going to make me a great guinea pig for him.
He’s learning, and he does learn, he does always try to be better. But while he’s learning, he fucks up a lot, and I get hurt. Bad. Every time it’s like cutting another piece of my heart off and then trying to glue it back on again. Except it doesn’t quite feel the same after. Every time my heart gets worn down more and more.
And after the music tour last month with his friends I feel like my rose colored glasses were just ripped off and I’ve had a clearer picture of the kind of person he is… which is someone I don’t have much in common with.
I was so angry. So frustrated. So sad. It was an awful session and Therapist was making me so mad! She kept being so positive. Wanting me to give it more time, work it out, telling me he’s still young and by the time he’s my age he’ll be at an amazing relationship place…. So that means I should just wait for years while he gets his shit together? How is that fair to me.
I was borderline out of control in therapy last night. My frustration was right at the surface and I was much more stubborn and reactive than usual. I actually told Therapist that she was frustrating the shit out of me. Just because he’s a good guy, and capable of learning, doesn’t mean we’re necessarily right for each other.
There’s no emotional connection! I don’t trust his ability to empathize or even listen to me when I have something deep, meaningful, or emotionally important to express. Anytime I’ve tried to express something emotional I can visually see him shut down, not know how to handle it, or flat out tell me he doesn’t want to think about or talk about things like that. He’s emotionally closed, which leaves me needing an attachment he won’t help me with.
And Therapist thinks that’s the main problem. We keep having these big disconnects where he’s off and away, don’t see each other, and our connection fails, and on top of it he’s emotionally closed off in ways that I need to feel close to him. His drinking isn't conducive to emotional connection either, and it's gotten to the point where I'm clearly on edge around him when he's drinking.
Therapist also points out that when things like that happen, I do shut down. I close off, I push away. And he’s probably picking up on that. I shut down emotionally and flip to a hyper logic mode. I go from love and life to Mr. Spock. And you know it’s bad when I’m using a Trekkie reference. I’m a Dark Lady of the Sith that thrives on emotional passion, but when I feel my security threatened I shut down and all trace of emotion is covered by Vulcan logic. Genres just shouldn’t mix like that. It’s practically blasphemy.
But I don’t think I’m wrong about everything. I’m second guessing and doubting everything. We have so very little in common. I can’t talk to him about things that are important to me because he doesn’t care and has no opinions on anything. What he’s interested in are so left brain typical frat boy I makes me want to vomit. I want passion, and creativity, and debate, and someone to make the world a better place with. He’s grounding guy that keeps my feet on the ground, which I guess is good in one sense, but it’s also incredibly dull. After the music tour something broke for me. It hasn’t come back. The love and comfort I had felt, got drowned in tears and smashed with beer cans.
Is it so wrong to want to have something in common that inspires passion in us both?
I was so angry that Therapist harped on me about this being such a wonderful, loving relationship, like she was the one idealizing it. I’ve been dubious from the start. Admittedly there have been quite a lot of great moments and comforting times, but nothing that makes me fear letting it go. We're at different points in our emotional maturity and what we need in life. Very different points. I don't feel like I should be expected to wait around on the chance that he eventually catches up. He likes the things he likes. I don't feel any need to change him. Compromise is one thing, but for me to be really connected, he would have to be a different person and I'm not interested in trying to make him someone he's not.
I’m just tired. I don’t want to see him right now. I don’t want to see anyone. I just want to be alone.