When Reality Sets Back In

Despite this particular Monday being a holiday, I have not been spared the customary Monday kick-in-the-ass reality check. This time it's not about the reality of work. It's the reality of SCL moving out.

We had a truly lovely weekend of lounging around, making our fabulous homemade pizzas, watching The Office, drinking lots of wine, and getting sun by the pool. It was awesome to do nothing for a change. With all of the travel weekends have been so hectic for me over the last few months that it was a nice change of pace for both of us. It's also the most time SCL and I have spent together since the break-up. I think we both really enjoyed each other's company and can appreciate one another in a different way than we did before.

SCL's lease officially starts tomorrow, and while he's planning on moving his things gradually, it's still quite a shock to my system to watch him move things out. Today he bought new sheets and is taking them over to his new place. Does that mean he'll be sleeping there soon? Probably, at least some of the time. He also put up his dresser, which I'd been using, and our extra bed up on Craigslist, and within an hour someone wanted to buy the dresser. Tonight. That means I had to dump all of my stuff out of it, and of course, I don't have any place really convenient to put it all.

As I was pulling out my sweaters and socks and shoving them into storage bins, that's when it hit me. He's moving out. I'm moving out. We're not going to live together anymore. We won't have the luxury of an entire space together--no private kitchen to make pizza in, no living room to hang out in, no space that just belongs to us. Pretty soon we'll be back in the "yours and mine" stage, not the "ours." It's going to be fucking weird. As excited as I am to have my own space to make my own and call it home, I'm not sure if that outweighs the sense of loss I feel. It's only more difficult to consider this shift after spending a truly wonderful weekend together, remembering what it used to be like when things were good and wanting to truly believe that this time around, it would be different if we lived together. I'd try harder. We'd figure it out.

We've made this choice to live apart. I'm scared about that change for sure. But there's part of me that truly hopes that the (short) distance from one another will actually work to make the time we spend together better--that perhaps we'll appreciate the time we have and one another more, and that in fact we may want to spend more time together than before. And it'll be intentional rather than by default. I hope that's the case. I have to believe that it will be.

Happy Weekend!

Hope you all are enjoying yours outside and not spending too much time reading blogs. Just wanted to say that SCL and I have had a great, chill weekend together just enjoying the moment we're in. This is a tough shift for me, but I'm finding that once I'm there, it's a more relaxed, peaceful way of being together.

Here's to beautiful weather, lazy Sundays, and taking things slowly...

Clearing the Air...Thanks to You

Let me begin by expressing my love for all of you, blog friends. I do take your comments seriously, and your feedback really does shape my thoughts and attitudes about what's going on with SCL. And in the case of yesterday's disappearing act, it really helped me address my concerns with him.

Since we're both a little low on cash, we had planned a date to the Natural History Museum that afternoon. I wasn't thrilled about going, but decided to anyway. (Note: if you are visiting DC, the prime time to visit the museums is after 5:00. There were hardly any people there, which was nearly a miracle given the influx of tourists this time of year.) I decided just to see how things went. By the time we got around to the Triceratops fossil, I decided just to say: "Look, I don't feel like you're putting much effort into this. Do you really want to do this?" This meaning the relationship.

He was pretty embarrassed about his beer shenanigans. SCL's never been much of a party-guy. He's a nerdy-guy. Apparently he'd done a keg stand for the first time and played beer pong. So, yeah I think he was pretty drunk and did make a half-hearted attempt to catch the last train. I don't know what got into him that made him think any of this was a good idea, but I would be surprised if it becomes a habit of his or even something he does again in the near future.

But despite his embarrassment, he still deserved to hear from me. Thank you to commenters:
  • Brian at The (Soon to Be) Groom for pointing out that SCL was taking advantage of the ambiguity of our situation and using it as an excuse to come and go as he pleases.
  • Cee at Curiosity for reminding me that this would bother her even if it were a roommate, much less a live-in boyfriend-ish person.
  • Krysten at After 'I Do' for sharing my pain of not being able to sleep when the SO isn't home.
  • And finally, an Anonymous commenter for reminding me that no matter what happens in this quasi-relationship, it'll all be ok. Including me.
You all helped me stand up for myself and let him know that staying out all night isn't cool! At least send a girl a text that says "I'm alive." And he got the picture, I think. Only time will tell.

SCL's Disappearing Act

Before I got into this, go check out my first ever guest post at Cee's blog Curiosity! I guess this makes me a "real" blogger now. Probably no new information for my readers, but I'm so pumped to be making a name for myself in the blogosphere.

So, here we go. Yesterday SCL came back after three nights at his parents. After being home for about an hour, he started packing things into my car to take to his new place. Although his lease doesn't start until June 1st, the landlord/SCL's new roommate had said he could start moving things in this week. I don't blame SCL for wanting to move stuff in gradually, but it was kind of tough to see him for a few minutes and then the next moment he's packing up his shit. Well, I'm going to have to face it sooner or later. He's moving out.

But this is not the disappearing act I'm talking about. Ironically last night I wrote something in my journal like, "I really want to know that SCL isn't going anywhere, but right now I don't even trust him to come home at night." And that is true. The nights when he's out later than I am, I usually keep my bedroom door open to hear him come in. My mom did this when we were teenagers because she said she couldn't sleep until she knew we were home safe. Most of the time I don't hear him but when I wake up, he's there sound asleep.

Until last night. After moving some of his stuff over, he took a shower and went over to a party around 5:30. I didn't ask when he'd be home, and I didn't even leave my door open. But I did assume he would come home. Apparently that isn't a safe assumption to make because when I woke up this morning, I looked out in the living room and he wasn't there. I was worried and pretty pissed. I went to check my phone and email; no word from him. I figured he'd just gotten drunk or had missed the last train, but neither of these options sounded much like him. He's always managed to get home before.

I sent him a text, "R u ok?" and he texted back yes, that he had stayed over where the party was and would be home later. Well, at least he's ok. I'm not so much upset over him not coming home, but that he didn't let me know that he might stay over. The bigger issue to me is wondering if this is how it's going to be with us. Is staying out all night and not calling now something I'm expected to just accept as ok? I guess when he moves into his own place, it will be different, but while we're still living in the same apartment, it would just be nice to know where he is. But it's like he's already gone.

A Therapy "Pause": Week Eight of Therapy

C's belly is something to behold! She's due in just a few weeks, and I'm so excited for her. Her going on maternity leave coincides nicely with my drop in income that will occur when I move into my new place, so she and I have bid one another adieu for now until she's back in August. Then we'll see where things are.

I told her that I thought our joint session had gone well, though I wasn't sure what that would mean for the future. I think it showed both of us that we do communicate about a lot of important things already, which was affirming and encouraging. Since we last met, I had signed a lease for my new room and was feeling good about it. In general I was feeling better about everything, even the ambiguity. Everything feels less intense than it did a few weeks ago, so it's easier to handle on a daily basis.

We ended up spending a lot of time on the couch situation. She, although she didn't say it, was horrified by his request (I could tell by the reaction she had in her eyes). I'm so glad that I talked with her about it because at that point I was leaning toward--shocking--giving into him. Haven't I done that enough already? He's been calling all the shots lately, and she helped me see that my tendency is to care for him, forget about what I need, and bend to his wishes because I think I have to do that to keep the relationship going. She said, "You can disagree on this. You don't have to do what he wants you to do." And, oh yeah, I'm not responsible for him or his finances. I never was, but now that he's decided to move out and have an undefined thing of a "relationship", I'm really not.

And really, do I want to be stuck in a place where I feel like I have to bend to him in order for us to stay together? What does that mean for me and for what I want? If nothing else, I left my session feeling pretty damn justified in my decision not to pay him a damn cent for that couch. And if he doesn't like it, so be it.

Couch Conflict

SCL and I were having a lovely time at the National Mall, walking through the sculpture garden with iced coffees in hand. We decided to have a seat and just enjoy the people.

That's when he decided to say something that I found really, really offensive. I can't remember how it came out, but he basically asked me to give him back the money that he used to help pay for the couch. I flipped my shit. Seriously. I could not believe it. Just moments before I'd been offering to help with getting sheets and a comforter for his new place, and he had the nerve to ask me to pay him back for the couch!

Let's not forget that he was the one who broke up with me, he was the one who wanted to get back together, he was the one who wanted to find a new place. And now he wants me to pay back the stupid money he put in for the couch? I'm sorry, but this seems awfully petty. And fucking cheap. I may have told him that several times.

It's not like we're just two roommates who decided to buy a couch together. It's not just a practical, logical thing. It's not a business deal. No, his asking me to pay him back says to me, "I'm not even going to throw you a fucking bone." All of this adjusting and having to be understanding of him, and he wants a lousy few hundred bucks back? If that's the game we're playing, then give me back that $300 I spent on your winter coat, you cheap-o.

If you couldn't tell, I was steaming.

We sit silently. I hurl some biting comments at him. I tell him he's being ridiculous. Then finally he confesses, "I don't have much money right now, and I want to buy you a birthday present" (my birthday is next month). See how much different that sounds vs. 'I want you to pay me back for the couch, even though I'm the reason we won't be using it together anymore'? I still think it's weird for me to pay him so that he can buy me a gift. This is something a parent does for a child--here's $10, go get Mom a Mother's Day gift.

Sometimes SCL really sucks at saying things in a way that won't hit a nerve, though I get now what he was trying to say. I'm still not sure how I feel about giving him the money back though. What would you do?

I Have a Place to Live!

Despite being creeped out by craigslist, I decided to give it another go, this time looking for more of a house or townhouse situation. My parameters were:
  • Must have private bath
  • Must be under $1000 a month
  • Must be walkable (less than a mile) to Metro
I found a listing for a room in a house just a few blocks from where I am now and decided to give it a try. SCL and I have been in a high-rise this year, so it was crazy to walk just a few blocks away and be surrounded by single family homes. So residential--and not on the fire house route like we are now. The outside looked really nice and well-kept; flowers everywhere. (Second clue that the guys living there are gay; first clue was a detail they included in the ad about a chihuahua.)



The inside was beautifully decorated, and the house has a huge deck with a perfectly manicured backyard. One of the best features of the house is a guest room where people could stay for a night or two if they're visiting. I was already in love. Then I went up to the empty room--HUGE with plenty of light and a HUGE ass closet with full length mirrors in the sliding doors. Beautiful wooden floors and a private, albeit small bathroom. But I love that the room is big enough to accommodate Rosie.


So, I'm going tomorrow to sign the lease! To tell you the truth, I'm kind of excited about having my own space again, too. I've already got decorating plans in mind, and I don't have to worry about it being too girlie. And, although I wasn't looking specifically for it, SCL's new place is also pretty close by, which means we won't have to spend an hour taking the Metro to see each other. Another plus.

But the biggest plus? The chihuahua named Heidi. Seriously.



Little Shift, Huge Impact

One of the most interesting aspects of being in a relationship with SCL is understanding how our personality differences affect not only our needs and desires, but how we perceive the actions (or even inactions) of the other.

For example, there would be times when SCL would arrive home and I'd be back in my room. And he would not say anything to me. He'd hop on his computer or turn on the TV, but never acknowledge that I was there, too. This would really hurt my feelings. I'd start thinking, "He doesn't want to see me. He doesn't care that I'm home." And I'd begin to think that he was upset with me and then I'd maybe even get a little angry.

This is because if I, the extreme extrovert and communicative one, were to come home and say nothing to SCL it would be because I was ignoring him and trying to make a point about being angry. My only frame of understanding this silence was how I would mean it.

Bu , as it turns out, SCL was not ignoring me, nor did he not want to see me. No, he was thinking that if I was in my room, I was probably working, and for him to come in would be a disruption and would bother me. That's because for him, it would be. So, he only had his own understanding to go on.

This is why communication is so freaking important. As soon as I was able to stop being pissed off and articulate my feelings about it--and then listen to his side of things--it was cleared up. He got it, I got it, and it's made a huge difference in the way we interact. Of course he's still getting used to coming into my room to say hi, but now that he understands how much it means, he's really making the effort. Something so little can have huge implications for how we're feeling about the relationship. And it didn't take a grand gesture to do it; just a minor shift in our relating.

Now when SCL comes home, he says hi and chats for a few. Sometimes he'll come into my room while I'm working just to tell me something funny he heard on the news. And I in turn feel cared for and paid attention to, making it much easier for me to give him the space and quiet he needs to feel recharged.

Have you seen how a minor shift can affect your relationship, for the better or worse?

First Go at Couples Counseling: Week Seven of Therapy

Yesterday SCL and I ventured into couples counseling for the first time, and we got out alive and--better yet--not hating each other.

We talked only briefly beforehand about what we wanted from the session. I said I wanted to explore why our relationship fell apart and find new ways to relate better. SCL said that he wanted to get some clarity about how he's feeling about us. So, we're definitely in different places in terms of where we currently see the situation.

C asked what barriers we see in our current situation. SCL said living together is very difficult for him because it feels "normal" although we're not as we were before. I responded that I didn't feel like it was "normal" because he's living in another room! But I got what he meant; it is weird to still be living in this shared space, although that will only be for a few more weeks. He's already found a new place, and I'm searching for mine.

One thing that came out was right now, although he does want to get married eventually, SCL doesn't see himself getting married while he's in school. What this means is that although he told me it was, his going to school was never a "good for us" thing. And C said I'll have to see if that's something I can accept. In my mind, I think, "Ok, I guess I could wait until I'm 31 or so to get married." But it's really not what I want, at least for now.

That was probably when C was at her wisest. She said, "People's feelings change over time. There's no way to project how we will feel about something in the future." This means SCL could continue feeling that way about marriage or not. I could continue feeling this way about marriage or not. We don't know.

But I know that we're doing well right now. And I want to continue doing better. I'm trying to live in the moment and take it one day at a time.


Here's to an Entire Day of Not Acting Like a Psycho!

Yesterday was a huge accomplishment for me. I went through the entire day without making a single comment about our "relationship" or whatever it is the fuck SCL and I doing! This is a first for me. Yes, I do over-analyze things. Yes, I do agonize over things. Yes, I do worry about things constantly. This is a trait I adopted from my beloved mother. I am trying to work on it.

So, I wrote yesterday's post from the airport just a few minutes before learning that my flight would be delayed, I would miss my connection, and the next connecting flight to Springfield, IL wouldn't be until 6:30 that evening. Great, just great. They might as well tell me that the next flight wasn't until November. I'd been up since the ass-crack of dawn to get to the airport, and now hours later I had to turn around and head home. At least it was a beautiful day and I actually got to enjoy most of it.

SCL had plans for the evening, but I though it'd be nice to go on a walk. I wanted him to show me the place he's seriously considering living for the next year. It's very nice and close to where we live now. And I genuinely was happy for him. I can tell that this is going to be good for him, and hopefully us, too.

I'm still really trying to get to know him again, so I've started asking him random questions about his life that don't have anything to do with our relationship. I had no idea that he wanted to be an astronaut when he was a little kid or that he was attempting to sight-read better on the piano. We had a relaxed conversation, the kind I wish we'd had more of in the past. There are so many things I wish I could take back, but all I can do is try to do is move forward. I also told him I'd like to listen to Ben Folds because he's so into his music even though I'm not sure I understand why. Rebuilding our friendship is important to me. I guess I'd gotten so caught up in the relationship and our future that I probably neglected the friendship that we have.

Later that evening I was having a chili cheeseburger at the infamous Ben's Chili Bowl (though I couldn't tell you why it's so famous honestly) with a guy friend that I suspect has a crush on me. I told him SCL had plans to go out salsa dancing, which is entirely uncharacteristic of him but probably another attempt for him to reinvent himself. I'm all for it. Guy friend says, "Let's show up and I'll flirt with you and make him jealous!" I think he was actually semi-serious about this. Um, no thanks. Last thing I want to be is a psycho.

I'm still uncertain as to where things are going, but for now I'm trying not to focus on it too much. I have no idea what our therapy session tomorrow will be like, but I'm hoping for the best. I think what I'm realizing is that I want SCL to be my friend for a long time. He makes me laugh like no one else can (and he's honestly not even very funny in general), and we do share a connection that is worth fighting for. I hope he sees that, too.

On the Hunt for a New Apartment

Being the control freak that I am, the fact that I still have two months on my current lease is of no comfort to me when I have yet to find the perfect situation in the first 48 hours of my searching. As I write this, I realize how truly ridiculous it is. But SCL started looking yesterday, so damn it, I did, too. Can't let him beat me to it!

Just as there is no perfect man, there is no such thing as a perfect apartment. Well, there probably is but not at the price I'd like to pay, thereby making it imperfect. I've thought about all kinds of possibilities.
A. Finding a studio in the area I'm currently in, which I love because it's convenient.
B. Finding a one-bedroom slightly farther out but still pretty convenient.
C. Finding a 2BR/2BA in a high rise or a townhouse in
D. Leaving DC altogether because the rent here is fucking ridiculous.

Ok, so D isn't really an option. At least not for now.

Yesterday I went on my first search for a new place. Answered a listing on craigslist for a C-type apartment. The woman living there seemed normal (not exactly easy to find in craigslist) and the place was practically across the street from where I live now. I had somewhat high hopes for the place, but as soon as I got there, I knew it wouldn't work.

The problem is that I work from home and I need some SPACE. I'm not comfortable spending a lot of time in an apartment with a person I don't even know. She was nice enough, but the place was really messy and I just didn't get the best vibe. I could see it being at least a semi-awkward situation, and I really want to avoid that.

Granted it was just one visit, but I'm kind of thinking that sharing an apartment in a high rise with someone I don't know just ain't gonna work. It's too small of a space to live with a practical stranger. I'm ready to have a bit more grown-up of a life, so I guess I'll have to suck it up and pay more for that. Also have a friend who is looking for a fourth roommate, and she's pretty fantastic. I think they're in a house or a townhouse, so at least there'd be more space.

I'm still kinda pissed I have to do this when work is busy as hell (I'm writing from the airport AGAIN!!!!) and I really like my current apartment. And I'm kind of disappointed by the potential of not being very close to SCL, though hopefully we can find places somewhat convenient to the Metro. I guess considering him in the situation shouldn't be priority one, but it's been my default way of looking at things for so long that it's hard to resist that initial gut instinct to think how my decision will affect him and us. If there even is an "us" anymore.

Gotta Get Through This Lease

Two words: fuck it.

It's partly an acceptance of the ambiguity of the situation, and it's partly my own exhaustion with the situation.

I've started emailing folks on craigslist about housing, not that I'm seriously looking yet but to get my mind in the framework of finding my own place to live, something I thought I'd be doing anyway a few weeks ago. It's kind of liberating not to be restricted by SCL's meager student finances in terms of where I can find a place. It'll be more expensive than sharing our 1BR, but not too much.

I have to say, I don't mind being in our apartment by myself, but when we're together here, it feels totally weird. SCL named it tonight--in the apartment our interactions feel "normal," but it's not like it was four months ago or so. It's confusing to be kind of back at the beginning of our relationship, trying to rebuild it, but occupying a space we shared when we were "serious" or "committed" or whatever it was we were. Now I don't know what we are.

What I do know is that he's the one shifting and varying and wavering, not me. He even admitted this today. Frankly, it's exhausting to be around, and there's part of me that wishes we both could pack up and move tomorrow, get out of this place and the baggage it holds, get a fresh start. If the separation helps us, fine. If it doesn't, at least it'll put me out of the misery of being around his moody ass.

I'm not sure what to do in the meantime before our lease is up in July. If we are going to try to give it another go together, I think we should make time to be together now (i.e. have some actual fun) and not wait until we've moved. Maybe that needs to be done exclusively outside our living space since it seems to wreak havoc on our time together.

Oh, just fuck it.

More Confusion than Clarity: Week Six of Therapy

Although less than a week had passed since my last session with C, I went in Monday afternoon with a helluva lot to say.

First, I talked about the apartment dilemma: to live together or not. I explained that I saw either as a big decision--that moving together implied long-term commitment whereas moving out and living separately indicated a breaking apart. She helped broaden my view on this--that perhaps not allowing something as arbitrary as a lease date decide something monumental in our relationship. Living apart does not necessitate a loss in intimacy, but it could protect what is still very new and undefined. Good thoughts.

Second, I talked about my decision (although it didn't really feel like one) to accept SCL's apology and agree to give our relationship a second chance. I started crying and admitted, "I did it without even thinking that I might not." Ugh, I hate that. I was so happy he'd "come home" that I just agreed without thinking about it. I'd made it really easy for him to break my heart and have another opportunity to break it again.

She asked me how SCL had been meeting my needs daily, and I told her, "I don't know." I excused it, said he'd been in finals and I'd been out of town, but what I knew but was too embarrassed or ashamed to admit was that he wasn't. He has been opening up to me, being more honest and vulnerable, but as far as meeting my needs to feel loved, I'm not really seeing it so much. I feel in a lot of ways I'm just waiting for him to grow up and make up his mind. It's a precarious situation to be in with all of the uncertainty. Sometimes I wonder if I really want to wait.

Here are some things I took away from the session.
  1. I know what I want from my relationship with SCL. I want to feel like we are a team.
  2. My feelings about the situation are more nuanced than I had thought. I do feel some ambivalence about being with him.
  3. Maybe living apart would not be a bad idea. It would allow us to choose our path together. At the very least it would make things less complicated should I find myself broken-up with again. Sigh.
  4. I want to be known and loved. I want him to show me in small ways, not grand gestures.
  5. I want to be moving toward a committed relationship.
All helpful things to know.

SCL and I are planning to attend my session together next week. I'm not sure what we'll talk about, but I hope it will be effective for us to work through some of these issues together with someone else. Can I get a "hells yeah" for the awesomeness of therapy?

Taking on Comments

Hi blog friends. Just woke up after a fabulous night of sleep to find a little controversy in the comments section of my last post, so I guess I'll take on the challenges of this "Anonymous" comment. (Please, if you're going to comment like this, at least leave a nickname!)

If you didn't see it, let me re-post it here:
I just finished reading your blog. I would like to give you some feedback, and I want to preface it by saying I'm not trying to be an asshole. I'm really not. I'm just trying to give you an honest, unbiased view of what you wrote. You may not care for it, but the way I see it is if you're going to take to the internet to tell your story, you should probably be prepared to hear things that you may not really like.

First of all, I am glad that you got back together, and I really hope it works out for you. But I have to admit, I found some big contradictions in your story. For example: Valentine's Day. In your post, you talk about how the two of you don't really agree with the whole Valentine's rituals that others do. You mention gifts. In fact, you mention the gift that he bought you, which was tickets to see Chelsea Lately. You say that you actually like that better than something else because it would give you time to be together doing something fun. After the breakup, though, you talk about the tickets, and you mention that it wasn't a very creative gift since you had been to see Kathy Griffin there before. You also said that it was probably more fun than you would have had with him. That's not exactly the picture you painted before. Another is the fact that before he broke up with you, you never really mention any problems with him. Not really. Yet, after he broke up with you, you talk about things you noticed, and even say that the relationship started to unravel months before. Considering that you had only been living together for a few months, and your blog starts out with your moving in together, it's a little confusing. If you were noticing problems, why did you not share them with your blog followers? For example, the reading of his journal in September. How come you never mentioned it here? If your blog is devoted to your relationship and all of the dynamics, it seems you would have mentioned it, and the fact that you didn't suggests that it's not a completely factual and comprehensive picture of your life with him. I mean, honestly, it was like "Oh, everything is just so great. We're a partnership. He's awesome" one minute, and the next, "I should have seen it. I noticed this and that.". Why didn't you mention noticing this and that if you were being honest?

The other thing I wanted to bring up is the therapist. I'm not knocking therapy. It just seems like sometimes people use it as a band-aid. Heartbreak happens...run to therapist to make it all better. I don't know, I just don't really understand why you felt you needed therapy because your relationship ended. Maybe I have the wrong view of therapy. I guess I just view it as something one does when they are having serious problems. In other words, based on your previous posts, I guess I would have thought you would have a little more resiliency to have gotten through those few (yes, few) weeks without professional help. I just think some people use it as a crutch. Not saying this applies to you, because I dont' know. Just something to think about.

Honestly, I do hope you work things out. But something tells me that you will be back in the spot of him ending things. He sounds like kind of a flake, to be frank. He moves in with you and four months later he wants out of the whole thing? Then a few weeks later, he, too, is going to see a therapist and all is now going to be well? I hope so. But I have my doubts. Be careful with your heart, and I would suggest NOT moving in with him again. I really think you'll be back at the same place if you do.

Shall we take this apart here?

1. I just finished reading your blog. I would like to give you some feedback, and I want to preface it by saying I'm not trying to be an asshole. I'm really not. I'm just trying to give you an honest, unbiased view of what you wrote. You may not care for it, but the way I see it is if you're going to take to the internet to tell your story, you should probably be prepared to hear things that you may not really like.

Prefacing something by saying "I'm not trying to be an asshole" is a red flag. It's akin to someone saying "Don't take this the wrong way." It means that what you're saying is not unbiased but in fact critical. There is no such thing as an unbiased view. But Anon is correct in that if I'm going to tell my story on the Internet, I should be prepared for feedback, positive and negative. So be it.

2. First of all, I am glad that you got back together, and I really hope it works out for you. But I have to admit, I found some big contradictions in your story. For example: Valentine's Day. In your post, you talk about how the two of you don't really agree with the whole Valentine's rituals that others do. You mention gifts. In fact, you mention the gift that he bought you, which was tickets to see Chelsea Lately. You say that you actually like that better than something else because it would give you time to be together doing something fun. After the breakup, though, you talk about the tickets, and you mention that it wasn't a very creative gift since you had been to see Kathy Griffin there before. You also said that it was probably more fun than you would have had with him. That's not exactly the picture you painted before. Another is the fact that before he broke up with you, you never really mention any problems with him. Not really. Yet, after he broke up with you, you talk about things you noticed, and even say that the relationship started to unravel months before. Considering that you had only been living together for a few months, and your blog starts out with your moving in together, it's a little confusing. If you were noticing problems, why did you not share them with your blog followers? For example, the reading of his journal in September. How come you never mentioned it here? If your blog is devoted to your relationship and all of the dynamics, it seems you would have mentioned it, and the fact that you didn't suggests that it's not a completely factual and comprehensive picture of your life with him. I mean, honestly, it was like "Oh, everything is just so great. We're a partnership. He's awesome" one minute, and the next, "I should have seen it. I noticed this and that.". Why didn't you mention noticing this and that if you were being honest?

Anon, are you really glad we got back together? Nothing in this post sounds like you do. I think you felt like you had to say this before you went on to point out of all of the problems you see in our relationship.

Before our break-up, I didn't see this blog as a place to come pour my guts out everyday. I didn't need that. No, not everything was perfect, but SCL was reading my blog at the time. I wasn't going to say things that were private, or things I wanted to discuss with him in person. And I never claimed things were perfect, like this post shows. After the break-up, I had little to lose at that point. I was free to share my incredibly biased perspective in the situation as a way to vent, to find community, and to find some kind of healing. The thing is in the relationship, I was prepared to make it work no matter what. I had committed to that, so it did change my perspective when SCL broke it off with me. Obviously, do I even need to say that?

The other thing I wanted to bring up is the therapist. I'm not knocking therapy. It just seems like sometimes people use it as a band-aid. Heartbreak happens...run to therapist to make it all better. I don't know, I just don't really understand why you felt you needed therapy because your relationship ended. Maybe I have the wrong view of therapy. I guess I just view it as something one does when they are having serious problems. In other words, based on your previous posts, I guess I would have thought you would have a little more resiliency to have gotten through those few (yes, few) weeks without professional help. I just think some people use it as a crutch. Not saying this applies to you, because I dont' know. Just something to think about.

Again, the prefacing: "I'm not knocking therapy." Yes, you are. Well, you are knocking my use of it. Thinking that therapy is about making it all better is a clear sign that you know nothing about it. Sure, I could go have a rebound, get trashed, eat like a glutton, do some other stupid shit to cope. A lot of people do that. Instead I decided to find a healthy way of working through it with the guidance of a skilled professional. I really don't feel the need to defend this. You are certainly reinforcing cultural myths about who "should" go to therapy and that it's a sign of weakness. What complete and utter bullshit.

Honestly, I do hope you work things out. But something tells me that you will be back in the spot of him ending things. He sounds like kind of a flake, to be frank. He moves in with you and four months later he wants out of the whole thing? Then a few weeks later, he, too, is going to see a therapist and all is now going to be well? I hope so. But I have my doubts. Be careful with your heart, and I would suggest NOT moving in with him again. I really think you'll be back at the same place if you do.

Again, do you actually hope things work out? To clarify, it was not four months later. We moved in together early July, so it had been nearly nine months, but that's beside the point. I never said "all will be well." This is hard as shit, and we have a lot of work to do. I don't know what will happen.

Here's the thing, folks. I owe nothing to anyone in terms of talking about my relationship. I share what I feel like sharing, hide what I feel like hiding, and respond to what I want. I don't really give a shit what Anonymous thinks because s/he's basing this on crap I've written, not on the relationship itself. Yeah, there's contradictions, omissions, etc. because it's a blog, not a memoir. As many of you have said, the only people who understand a relationship are the two who are in it.

Comments are always welcome. I'm not against opposing views, and believe me, Anon, you aren't the first. Yes, I should be prepared to have negative and positive comments, but there's no obligation I have to accept it or even seriously consider it, just as the same is true of reading or not reading my blog. But seriously if you're really trying to be helpful and not just throw an opinion out there, try having a more balanced view, one that can be both critical and charitable. And just prefacing it with "I'm not trying to be an asshole" ain't gonna cut it.

Note: apparently I'm not the only one dealing with this right now. Check out Cee's blog post about this very issue.

Ok(not-so)cupid

Guess where I am. Just guess. Another fucking airport! O'Hare. This is getting ridiculous, this whole work thing. I suppose this is the downside of being good at setting up speaking engagements. I actually have to go do them!

So, the creep from okcupid kept texting/calling, etc. and so I finally texted back the following: "Hi, I do not mean to ignore your messages, but I don't want to lead you on. My partner and I had broken up but we are trying to work things out. Take care."

And he just unfriended me on facebook! I find this absolutely hilarious, probably in part because I've been up since 5:00 am and could fall over with exhaustion. Oh, J. You weird one. I hope you find another girl! Sorry to be such a heart-breaker.

An Apartment Predicament

SCL and I found out while we were broken up that our rent was going up by $200 next year. Hell to the no was I going to pay for that by myself. I figured that'd be the case anyway and had no intention of staying here. Plus, why would I want to live in the apartment that we'd shared? I was all prepared to do some serious craigslist hunting in the coming months.

But last week SCL told me how he really didn't want to live with anyone else--he wanted to live with me. But he also wanted to find a new apartment. I was fine with this. I think a fresh start would be a good thing for us.

It hadn't occurred to me to say, "What a sec, you want to live with me again?" Here's the thing, blog friends. As soon as he told me he wanted back into my life, I couldn't help myself. I was already planning the wedding, the kids, the whole shebang. From the third week of our relationship, I knew that SCL and I would end up together, and the fact that we broke up and got back together less than two weeks ago doesn't seem to have changed that feeling I have. But it does mean that I want a solid commitment from him.

Now that we're discussing it more, I can tell he's unsure about this move. And deep down maybe I am, too. Would moving in together be a good idea, given the last few months? Should we jumping into another big re-commitment just a few months after a break-up? I don't know.

The flip side is what would living apart do to our relationship when we've been living together for a year? To me I would see that as a moving apart and part of me wouldn't believe SCL and I would ever live together again. So, in my mind at least, it's challenging because the options are so cut and dry. We either live together and make plans to have a life together. Or, we separate and drift apart.

Where's my therapist when I need her?

Tension-->Collaboration: Week Five of Therapy

I came into therapy this week feeling a bit more punchy than usual. Now that I'm not in the doom and gloom of the break-up, or in the teary/WTF-is-going-on? stage, my needs are changing. I didn't really know what I wanted to talk about, but we started out discussing the book I've been reading, The Good Marriage. (Really I recommend this to everyone in a serious relationship or who wants to be in one someday.)

In the book, Judith Wallerstein examines the stories of 50 couples in which both partners say they are happy in the relationship. She outlines four types of marriages--romantic, rescue, companionate, and traditional--as well as the necessary tasks that couples undertake over the course of their relationship. She asked if there was one that stuck out to me.

We began discussing one of the early tasks, separating from the family of origin. I explained how in my case I was fortunate to have a mom well-versed in parenting adult children as I'm the youngest of three. She's supportive but not invasive. SCL on the other hand is...well, not as fortunate. His mom means well, but she still thinks she knows best. And of course, no one is good enough for her baby boy. Barf. Needless to say, I haven't had a fair shot. That isn't to say that I've been blameless in the situation, and I fully intend on making amends with his mother as soon as I have the opportunity. But C also reminded me that I can't expect anything from her in return. She may accept my words, she may not, and ultimately I decided I needed to do this for the sake of our relationship. If she continues to be a bother, SCL will need to step in.

This conversation flowed into an airing of quasi-grievances such as having to adjust once again to a life tied to a poor grad student for the next 4 or more years. I was really looking forward to not having to deal with all of that, and here I am again, dealing with it. SCL wants a different apartment with more space, but because he doesn't make much money and I'm not willing to suck it up and pay a lot more out of pocket, that limits where we can live. I'm worried that we'll have to more too far out and getting into DC will be a pain. There's a lot of anxiety in knowing we'll have to compromise on this, and I must be careful not to neglect the things that I need, rather than being silent and playing the martyr later.

The same kind of issue came up as I discussed the importance of marriage and even though it is still quite early in our getting back together, I would like to discuss a timeline for making a formal commitment to each other to solidify the one we are already making by ourselves. This is important to both of us, and well, I'd like to have an idea of when it might happen. I talked about how he had hated the idea of a diamond ring, but admitted last week that was more about finding an excuse not to get engaged than it was about the damn diamond ring.

I realized (well, C helped me realized) that I was approaching these conversations in an adversarial way. I had my wants, he had his wants, there was clashing and arguing. She said, "Try to think about how you'd discuss this with a best friend. Think in terms of collaboration rather than about opposing sides because this is about what's best for your relationship, not either of you individually." Brilliant. And here I was thinking I had this communication thing down. I've got a lot to learn. It honestly had never occurred to me to approach these issues in this way, but it makes complete sense. We both care deeply about these issues, and in a loving relationship, we should honestly care about what the other person wants, thinks, and feels.

I'm going to reflect more on this and try to apply some of this in our conversations this week. Not only will it relieve some of the inevitable tension that occurs when there's disagreement, but it will also help us discern what is actually best for both of us.

What are your best negotiation strategies?

The Remnants of Online Dating

So, as you know, I ventured into the world of online dating for a few weeks before SCL decided he'd been a big idiot in breaking up with me and wanted to start over. After a few days, I figured I'd better at least disable my dating account, not wanting to mislead my "many" suitors. Then all hell broke loose.

One guy wrote back to say that he hadn't had a girlfriend in 5 years, that I was added to his long list of women who'd rather give their ex another chance than go out with him, that I shouldn't come back to him when things don't work out between SCL and me, and that he was VERY interested. It made me laugh my ass off. No wonder he hasn't had a girlfriend in years. He's a psycho.

Then there's J, the one guy I seriously talked with continuously throughout my short online dating experience. He seems really nice, but we hold opposing political views, which I figured ultimately would interfere with our having a chance at a real relationship. He was pretty cute, though, and I was willing to date him. We never got around to making actual plans when SCL and I began to reconcile. I couldn't just cut him off the way I had the others. I felt like I needed to tell him. Over facebook chat. I told him SCL and I were working things out, and I thought this would be enough for him to get the picture.

Apparently not. He keeps calling me, and I keep ignoring him. He keeps texting me, and I ignore those, too. I've told SCL about it, both because I want to be transparent and because I feel a little creeped out by it. Do I continue to ignore him and eventually he'll stop? Do I spell things out more clearly for him? I'm not used to balancing more than one guy, so any advice would be most helpful, bloggy friends.

Let's Talk about (the Lack of) Sex

The beauty of blogging anonymously is I get to be raw, open, and honest with my blog community. Up until now I haven't really talked about sexuality. I'm hugely progressive when it comes to the sexuality of other people (I used to work for a sexuality organization!), but when it comes to myself, I've still got a bit of that Southern belle/good girl complex going on. But seeing as how this is a relationship blog, it would be ridiculous for me not to talk about sex.

The last time SCL and I slept together was February 26th. I know this because apparently he wrote the date down. Even though our break-up was not for another month, things had begun to disintegrate between us weeks before that, and I didn't feel comfortable being intimate with him when I didn't feel close to him. So, not having sex when we were officially broken up wasn't too difficult. By then it had already been a month, and I was getting used to sprawling out in our queen-sized bed.

Now that we're back together again, this is something we have to address again. We both agree that we want a better sex life together, but the question is, how long do we wait before we engage each other sexually? My therapist C told me that it takes three months for a person to no longer be on his "best behavior." She asked what I thought about that. I told her three months sounded like a long-ass time, especially because we know each other so much. But it got me thinking about it--the physical intimacy shouldn't overpower the other forms of intimacy we're rebuilding, namely the emotional intimacy that is new for us.

SCL and I discussed it, and we've decided to wait a month. In the meantime, we're rediscovering the joy of long make-out sessions and enjoying the torturous longing for each other. And I'm still enjoying sprawling out in our big bed.

Our Baby

No, I'm not pregnant. We're not getting a dog either. I'm talking about our new relationship that is now just about a week old.

I've been thinking a lot about what C said in my last session about creating a space in which there are only the two of us. I spent a lot of time this weekend reading The Good Marriage and thinking about how a relationship needs to be nurtured and protected. It's a seriously brutal world out there for people just trying to make it as a couple. With all of the distorted images of what love is, it's challenging to unearth the truth about it and continually resist those ingrained cultural pressures to have a relationship look a certain way.

SCL hasn't told anyone about our getting back together. In the past I think this would have annoyed the hell out of me, but he said, "I want to wait until we've been back together for a little while. I don't want to feel like I have to defend our relationship to anyone." SCL is generally a more private person, so I think it's easier for him to keep things to himself. I've begun telling a few of my friends just because I need to process it, but likewise I'm quite cautious about whom I tell. I'm also not willing to be in a position in which I feel I have to defend my decision to give him a second chance.

Right now we both need to nurture and protect this baby of ours, this new infant relationship. We need to give it lots of care, reassure it, calm it when anxiety runs high.

When I got back from the airport, I was completely frazzled, not just from the exhaustion of traveling, but also from a turbulent flight in which I was seated next to a frightened passenger whom I reassured and then a very delayed, very crowded Metro ride back. I was feeling irritable and cranky until I walked in the door and there were beautiful flowers waiting there for me.

Sweet reassurance.

Reassurance via Gchat

Of course my timing was just perfect with last night's post because as soon as I hit publish, I got a message from SCL.

It felt awkward at first. I kind of hate talking via computer because tone is impossible to detect. I had decided that I'd restrain myself a bit and let him do more of the work. We chatted about our respective weekends--he's in the middle of finals, and I've been chatting with thousands of little old ladies about maternal health. Then he told me that he was looking forward to finals being over, especially because it would mean a lot more time for us to spend together.

Relief. I needed that affirmation. He went on to affirm our relationship and his feelings about me. And most of my anxiety about him possibly having changed his mind went away instantly.

I did tell him that it would have been helpful if he had at least said "hi" before last night or if we'd been more clear about when exactly we would talk. He said that was fair. I'm learning that I can't assume anything, especially right now because the rules are so different.

I was most relieved when he said this: "I feel like I'm in a place of hope and optimism that I haven't been at for a while, but I guess it's not just that, because those are things that are bound to come and go. I guess I'm trying to realize that I don't have to feel a certain way all the time, and sharing my thoughts and feelings with you isn't something I need to be afraid of."

Yes. Exactly. I told him how relieved I felt to hear him say that, and that I knew how hard it is for him to open up to me but that I appreciate it deeply.

All of this is a process, a difficult one. A lot of times I feel insecure and worry that he's changed his mind, and I think that's to be expected. The clearer we can be with each other through communication, the better. But I'm thankful for his new openness and insight. We are moving forward, one baby step at a time.

I'm Sorry, Are We Not Having Contact?

I'm sitting in my hotel room, overlooking the Cardinals game. I just consumed a chicken quesadilla and a piece of peanut butter pie, complete with a Coca-Cola. You could say it was a comfort meal. I need some comfort.

Before I left for St. Louis, I specifically asked SCL about communication while I was away since we're trying to be more honest and open, as well as take things more slowly. He said, "We can talk on the computer." I took this to mean e-mail, Gchat, or Facebook chat. Perhaps I should've been more specific. It's now been approximately 60 hours since I left DC, and I have not heard a single peep from SCL. And I'm kind of irritated.

I'm imagining what I will do if he doesn't contact me at all before I arrive home tomorrow evening. I imagine I will be fucking furious. What about him showing me that he's for real this time? I appreciate the distance, but a simple "Hi, hope you're doing well" would have been nice. Or, you know, "did you make it there alive?" kind of thing would have also been acceptable.

I'm tired--tired of being the one to be communicative all the time. What makes him think that what I need to feel secure about his commitment (something I told him I would need him to show me) is silence on his end? Again, I'm not saying we needed to chat on the phone for hours and hours, but just a "I'm thinking about you" note or logging onto Gchat for five minutes would have made all the difference.

Do I really need to spell things out this clearly? Why wouldn't it occur to him that I need to hear from him at some point during the past three days? Oh, wouldn't you know, he just signed onto Gchat. Of course. Let's see if he says something.