You probably can't see it very well because my face is in shadow, but this is the face of a woman who is a boiling cauldron of rage and resentment. I hide it pretty well, don't I?
What the fuck happened, you ask? Well, as so often happens early (or late!) in relationships, it was a number of small things that just built and built until I exploded. My sister came to visit last week, and while we had a lovely visit and spent a lot of time with The Boyfriend, I found myself feeling extremely exhausted, drained, and stressed out. After he left us Sunday night I asked her honest opinion about him, and while overall she did like him, she did notice some quirks about him - how he relies on my opinion and help getting dressed, how he obsessively shows videos on his phone as a way to bond with people, how he seems just a tad immature. All I needed was someone to open the floodgates and weeks of frustration poured out; all the little things he's done and said that irritated me, how pressured I feel to be completely enmeshed with this person right now, how smothered I feel. I decided we needed to talk. But only after I'd gotten a good night's sleep because I'd had only a few hours for days and was a basket case.
He came over Tuesday night and I chickened out. I thought maybe all that rage was just stress-induced.
But then yesterday we had an exceptionally irritating text exchange in which I felt he was picking a fight with me over a non-issue (can I tell you how much I frigging hate texting?) and I told him we needed to have a serious talk and I was not happy. He came over looking terrified and I just unleashed on him. I'd had my first mammogram that day, my arm hurt from the flu shot, I had convinced myself that he was jealous of me and trying to tear me down like all the others, and I had had it.
We sat on my rotting porch and I picked at it for hours while we hashed it out. To his eternal credit - he listened, he heard me, and took it all to heart. I told him I felt like I was walking on eggshells around him, that I had an upcoming photo shoot for the family only and I was terrified he'd be all butt hurt that I didn't want to include him in it. He told me absolutely it should just be for me and the kids and that he would even feel weird if I wanted him in it. He said I should never feel like I need to "ask his permission" to go out without him (I did feel this way). He said I feel smothered and the last thing he wants to be is a third obligation in my life, that he's here to ease my burden, not add to it. And that we should dial back and go back to just dating - getting to know each other without all the heaviness.
I hate to admit it, but...he's right. But it did break both of our hearts a little.
Who knew relationships could be this complex? Jeezis.
He was supposed to come see me dj tonight but he's not coming; I believe his coming over Saturday night is probably off, too. I wanted my space, right? Right???
We were in touch a lot today and it's all good - he takes responsibility for everything and wants us to do better. I do love this man and do want him in my life. There's no question all of our lives would be better with him in it once we work out our shit. We just need to try a new approach and cool our jets a little.
This morning he left as the workmen were tearing apart my ancient porch, the sign of our big confrontation, and preparing to build a new one. A metaphor for us? God I hope so.