It is Monday morning here in New Zealand and I am getting a head start on dinner which is going to be Asian Beef Soup in the Slow Cooker because I have University lectures this afternoon. While I was cooking, the self realisations were coming thick and fast and although I was in two minds about writing them down, I decided I owed it to myself to be true to my intent for this blog; which is to document my journey.
I spent most of this weekend alone except for a couple of hours with a friend on Saturday and Sunday walking her dog and a brief visit to my parents on Saturday night. The Englishman was not feeling well and was literally a bear with a sore head except it was his back which was hurting. He wanted a couple of days by himself. A perfectly ordinary thing to ask since he doesn’t see me at all sometimes, the weekends I have Jacob and is quite used to chilling out at home on his own. And we had agreed long ago that he did need his space and given he worked 5 days a week commuting from a rural location, the weekends he had to himself were his chance to enjoy the beautiful location he had built his house in. That worked fine these last 3 months because he never asked for space on the weekends I was on my own without Jacob. In fact in the last 6 weeks leading up to last Friday, I had not had a single night on my own without him or Jacob to keep me company.
Intellectually I understood why he needed his alone time. But emotionally I turned into a wreck.Of course I didn’t sit at home moping. I went for long walks, finished my University reading for this week, did some gardening, talked to friends and family I hadn’t caught up since last year. But I felt each and every torturous minute go by. And almost all interactions my grumpy bear and I had since Friday morning turned to custard. And it left him feeling angry that I couldn’t give him the space and left me feeling like I had failed despite my best intentions to give him what he needed. A lose lose situation.
Friends I had talked to for support gave good advice about keeping myself occupied and holding on to the knowledge that he and I were ok; that this was just a temporary situation. But I still felt a desperate need to see him and when I knew that was not possible, an overwhelming need for his understanding of why I felt like I did. Yet, each time I tried to explain, he got angrier.
At 10pm last night, he messaged me to say he would see me tonight after work as per our usual arrangement and that he was feeling calm inside after a long 6 hours of sleep. I went to bed happy; finally.
This morning I felt the familiar surge of self blame well up inside of me. Why was I so needy, why had I let him into my heart to such an extent that I could not be alone any more. Should I expel him from my heart so I could survive the next time this happened. And so it went. But then another realisation came upon me. I spend my days in isolation. Yes, I have University and the fortnightly spiritual groups I attend. But neither of those are conducive to quality one on one adult time. Before I met the Englishman I had friendships that provided this contact, but given I had spent most of my free time in the last 3 months in his company, some of those friendships had become distant. Some had ended even before I met him. And I had come to a stage where I depended solely on the Englishman for my quality adult company. And until now, I had no complaints. I had lots of alone time at home during the week. When I had Jacob in my care, my life was full on with the degree of commitment it required and I had no mental space to think about other company. And long ago I had come to a place where I considered Jacob and I a complete unit. So when I was with Jacob I did not feel alone or that something was missing. But I looked forward to my free weekends with every fibre of my being. I stored up all my need for human contact until then. That was my sustenance. It kept me sane. And this weekend I realised it was not a reliable source for me to stake my sanity on. And that was through no fault of his; but simply because he did not rely on me to provide him with the same type of succor. He had adult time at work and a couple of nights during the week with me and if he did not see me for two weekends in a row, it was not the end of the world for him.
This does not provide us with a map for the way forward. But it eases the self blame because now I know I was not being needy or clingy; those dreaded words men throw at women in anger. That shows us up to be emotionally weak and puts them on a higher plane called self sufficiency. My situation is unique and did not occur out of choice. I had made the best of the the few strands of normalcy left to me with the resources I had. And I am proud of that. And occasionally if I blow off course like I did this weekend, then I have a perfect right to do so. I give myself credit for waking up every morning and getting out of bed and anything more is a bonus. If people around me don’t appreciate that, then it is their problem, not mine:).