Moving Forward in Fits and Starts

Everything was moved in on Saturday, and now I have the daunting task of unpacking or storing all the boxes.  It's interesting to me that I survived the last several months without any of these items, which shows they are not vital to my life.  Useful in many cases, yes.  Aesthetically pleasing sometimes, yes, but not necessary.  I will admit after all the protests from my housemate about using "her stuff," it does feel good to move all "my stuff" into the dining room and kitchen.  I am back to having an abundance of cups and bowls, versus just the few I bought at the dollar store.

At the moment, housemate and I are getting along in a civil fashion.  Major drama erupted last Thursday, though, when I let her know late night that S might stay over and leave early in the morning for work.  He was wrapping up a conference and had been out with colleagues and I, admittedly after having a glass of wine, thought it would be nice to cuddle, especially since we have been talking about staying over but haven't crossed that line yet.  I texted her as a courtesy but realize now it was something we needed to talk about first.  I was thinking it would be unobtrusive and they wouldn't even see each other, but we do have a shared bathroom.

I think a reasonable response from her might have been saying that she felt it was something that needed to be discussed first and didn't want to be informed right before something was going to happen.  Then, asking me if I could change plans because she really wasn't comfortable with it.  Instead what happened is she turned into a toddler or teenage, I'm not sure which, and started cussing me out and yelling at me.  It was pretty crazy, and I felt really overwhelmed.  I knew if S came over, things would escalate further, so I got a hold of him and cancelled.  I made it very clear to her later that the name calling/cussing at me was unacceptable, and I did not want it to happen again.  I also apologized for not discussing it with her first.  We have since negotiated a couple things, including sharing the living room and S coming over perhaps one night a week on a night she is not there (she stays at her daughter's house two nights a week).  Feeling okay about it right now, but admit I questioned my choice to stay here after she blew up.

S has a couple of key appointments with doctors today, so please send good thoughts.  He hopes to start this round of treatment as soon as possible, so it - and I think the surgery, as well - will be done by Christmas break.  We have been talking about diet and supplements that will support his treatments and healing.  This article was interesting to me, in that it doesn't talk a lot about diet.  It says the most important factors are stress, exercise, staying away from mold, helping others, and levels of Vitamin D.  What do you think?  Apparently, this doc has studied these factors for over 30 years.  I did find a good cookbook along these lines, as well, and plan to use that.

We had a great time Saturday night after he helped me move in.  A friend of mine from the EOL leadership program I did - ironically right after we broke up - was having a 70th birthday party, replete with an Indian feast.  So, we had a drink ahead of time and caught up on our weeks, which was really nice, then headed over and had a lovely evening connecting with conscious, compassionate people and participating in sharing memories and recognizing my friend.  I usually get very nervous to give speeches, even informal ones in front of nice people, but I had some liquid courage at that point, and I think I did pretty well. :)

Tonight, we are going to the Gi@nts game with one of S's work friends and his girlfriend.  S said she's a little odd, so we'll see how things go.  It would be nice to have "couple" friends to do things with.  We've never had that before, other than with our siblings.


House! Relationship! Family!

Sitting in Starbuck's passing time while my new house is cleaned.  That's right, my new house!  My stuff was delivered a couple of days ago.  S and I moved some boxes and bedroom furniture in yesterday and will move the rest in next weekend, likely with an hour of help from T@sk Rabbit or another type service. 

My housemate has softened a bit, so that we are not exactly friendly but respectful and civil.  It's a step in the right direction, anyway.  Of course, I am counting on her moving out in a few months to a year, as she said she planned to.  We will see how that unfolds... she is financially struggling and, as I well know, it is difficult to make a move from that position.  Hopefully, things will pick up for her with her business and re-starting a part-time therapy practice.

Once I get my stuff settled in, I plan to contact social service folks in my new county and take the next step with paperwork and meeting with an adoption caseworker.

S and I have been continuing to communicate daily and see each other once a week.  I think I mentioned he is going through a health challenge right now.  He has the type of illness that many men his age have to worry about.  He caught it relatively early but will need to go through a round of treatment for the next several weeks, then surgery, then another round of treatment.  The doctors prognosis is that, if he completes all that, he should have a full recovery.  I am praying this is so.  When I first heard the extent of necessary medical intervention, I felt scared and had a moment of asking, "Am I up for this?"  After all, S and I are newly reconnecting and still talking through issues and concerns.  But things continue to be encouraging and grow closer between us.  I love him and want to be of support. 

One of the issues we started talking more in-depth about this last weekend is family and parenting.  As I have mentioned, S has a lovely adult daughter and step-son and does not feel the longing I do.  Plus, he is almost a decade older than me and worries whether it is responsible for him to become a father at this age.  He has also not wrapped his head around the various aspects and potential challenges of adoption to the level I have at this point.  But I have a sense he will "come around" should we stay together long-term.  In the meanwhile, I know he will be supportive of me in my present adoption efforts.

A parallel concern is whether his fertility will be affected by treatments because, although this path is not something we are pursuing or are ready to pursue, if a door is closing, I would like to know that and discuss it together.  Of course, his health is paramount and takes priority over anything regarding fertility.

So I guess we are in a complicated and multi-layered relationship right now!  I am feeling pretty hopeful and upbeat today, though, for what that is worth. :)


Labor Day Progress

Happy Labor Day!

I am feeling excited for Mo at Life and Love in the Petri Dish because she is now getting clearly positive HPTs!  A lot of resources and emotion have gone into her journey, and I am happy that her little one may get a sibling!

After I finish this post, I will get ready and head out to meet S at a park to watch a free production of King Lear.  I don't love Shakespeare, to be honest, though I can recognize it's worth, but it's outdoors and we will be sipping wine and relaxing, so I think overall it will be a good time.  Then, we will stroll over to have dinner in the neighborhood near the park.  I thought about bringing Zoey, but neither of us have been to this park, so I don't know whether there will be trees or posts to tie her to, which is key to a lengthy event like this.

S and I had some more conversation in the last few days about the possibility of dating again.  We have talked about different lifestyle choices and taken action to get more on the same page.  It's so strange when I take a step back and consider where we are right now.  I would have NEVER thought we would get back together.  I was truly and surely finished, which is why I ignored his first two attempts over the last year to communicate with me.

But I do believe he has "woken up" to a couple of the key issues that painfully destroyed the love we had for each other and finally broke us apart two years ago this November.  His acknowledgement of his "stirring the pot" around exes and shift in his view of what loyalty and commitment look like is huge.  Then, his work on getting control of his anger and, from a cognitive-behavioral lens, changing his viewpoint when he is emotionally triggered by my actions, is also a giant change.  So far, knock on wood, we have been able to talk through anything that has come up for either of us in a mature way, like two adults.  Imagine that!  It does feel very grown up, here at our ripe old ages of 55 and 46.  ha!

Also, I don't want to go into it today, but S has recently had a health scare and I am helping him with a couple of things.  This brought up fear of losing him and also a true desire to help him the way he helped me with my fibroid surgery, even after we had broken up.  So that has been a factor in bringing us closer, I think.

More shall be revealed, but I'm feeling some optimism today and look forward to spending time together this afternoon and evening.

Oh, even though my housemate has continued to be caustic at times, we did have another talk on Friday that released some tension, and, considering the landlord now says he has no plans to sell anytime in the foreseeable future, I may end up moving into this house on a more long-term basis.  I will likely decide when I hear back from him on a couple questions, including the lease, in the next day or two. 


More Time with S

I met with S for the third time yesterday, after having a couple great phone conversations this week.  The way we are talking through things if one of us has feelings come up feels really, well, "mature"! So far, fingers crossed, we are able to keep connection and humor throughout our dialogue.  This is quite different than before.

Things are beginning to move into romance, and we crossed the kissing threshold yesterday.  I feel mostly positive about this, with a little anxiety mixed in.  Would I be a fool to try again with him?  As you all know, I have dated and been open to meeting other guys in this last year and a half - as well as when we were broken up before - but I can say that no one thus far has come close to his level of willingness to grow and talk about things. 

And obviously we have a lot of history together, which is both good and bad, but mostly good I think, in terms of knowing each other and getting to a deeper level of communication.  The trust has been rebuilt somewhat in the last few weeks but would have a ways to go.

I do know that both of our issues would come up more strongly as we grew closer.  We have been talking about using H@rville Hendricks "Im@go Ther@py" work and even practiced one of his communication exercises yesterday.  I read all HH's books a decade or more ago and really see the potential for healing childhood wounds.  In brief, he believes we choose partners because they possess both the positive and the negative traits of our caregivers and within this reality is the potential to heal what happened to us - what we lacked in childhood - with our partner.  S has indicated he would be on board with doing this work with me.

A last positive development is that he owned his passive-aggressive behavior of being late to our meeting.  He admitted he felt okay in the moment about changing plans to him coming up to me again, versus me driving down to him (based on some logistical factors and me feeling overwhelmed), but then felt some resistance/resentment that resulted in him dragging his feet to start the drive.  Awesome!  Not the feet dragging, but the fact he acknowledged his feelings and how they had driven his behavior. 

More shall be revealed, but today I'm feeling some hope.


Further Healing

I had a second meeting with S yesterday and had another big release of emotion - both anger and sadness/grief - and we talked about what verbal abuse means and how our interactions did end up in that area.  We did a couple of structured exercises, including an "im@ge theatre" one in which we sculpted each other into images of how we saw each other in conflict and also into images of our feelings during this conflict.  It was good.  I felt lighter at the end, but S seemed to feel heavier and said he was understanding more of what I went through.  I'm sorry he is feeling down, but I do appreciate him "going there" and remembering and empathizing with my side of what happened.

Also, I think he was sad that we didn't end up closer physically.  He hoped that working through this stuff might automatically lead to us feeling amorous towards one another.  I felt affectionate and caring but not romantic.  I think switching gears from the intense processing and grief, especially since it involved remembering pain and anger from the worst time in our relationship, to romantic feelings would have been difficult.  We have talked about that possibility prior to yesterday, because both of our minds had strayed into that possibility, and I brought up that I sometimes feel strongly passionate towards him and other times not, and would that even be okay with him.  He indicated yes, but maybe he's really not, after reflecting further.

Anyway, regardless of what happens, I'm deeply grateful for our conversations, and for him holding space for me to express buried grief and heal further from the traumatic end of our relationship.


Housing and Healing with update

The month-to-month house I've been living in for the last two weeks has been great in many ways - the kitchen is fantastic and Zoey loves the room and playing with me in the side yard.  My housemate was gone all last week so that was nice.  I did figure something out about her yesterday... so she's been kind of cold and seems annoyed much of the time I'm around her.  Acting put-off when I ask her something and just generally not seeming warm and conversational, like she did when I came to first check out the house.  I was feeling anxiety about this and also taking it on myself, questioning if I had done something wrong and trying to be a "perfect" housemate to make her happy.

Weeell, that is ending today.  I pay the same amount of rent as she does.  Yes, my furniture is in storage and I'm using "her stuff," but that was the agreement we made when we all talked about it and signed the lease with the landlord.  She knew I was not going to take my furniture out of storage for just a month or two.  I may go to target or even the dollar store and buy a few cups/bowls/dishes.  I think that might help some, but overall I'm not going to stress about that.

What I realized yesterday is that she does not want me living here and is not happy about it, and that's just the way it is.  She wanted to live with me IF we were both living here long-term and IF I was coming with all my stuff and furniture.  She may have preferred, in a way, to live alone, but she was prepared for that scenario.  What she did not want was what she got which was that the landlord said everything was uncertain because his wife had Parkinson's and they may move into the house in two or three months, thus everything about this situation has been tenuous.  She did not want me "camping" here basically - I think she used those words once - without my stuff and without a long-term commitment.

If it was going to be short-term, she wanted to live here by herself and work on her writing.  Well, sorry housemate, this is a two-bedroom house and the landlord is not going to choose to have it half-empty if someone is prepared to pay rent.  And if she was unwilling to have me move in without my stuff, she could have said so.  But she didn't.  And here we are, and I'm not going to feel guilty or tip-toe around her.  This is my house as much as hers right now.  I will respect her stuff and her needs for the space of course.

To throw a further twist in things, two factors have changed with regard to our situation here:  one, the landlord's wife accused him of carer abuse and he was actually arrested.  I think he's out now but I'm not sure, and I'm not sure what the "truth" of the situation is.  In any case, he is now moving in by himself to the cottage that he also owns, next door to our house.  Sooo, I guess that means potentially we could rent the house long-term now?  I don't know if I want to, now that I've seen this kind of cold, closed-off side of my housemate.  When I move in somewhere, with all my stuff, I want it to be long-term.  The second factor, though, is that she said she will likely be moving to Hawaii in a few months to a year.  At which time, maybe I could take over the house.  That is tempting and could work out great with adopting.

Which brings me to another big piece of news to report, which is that I have been emailing with my ex, S, for the purposes of healing still-existing hurt from the past.  We met yesterday and I had a HUGE grief outpouring about our Fourth of July Tahoe trip - you know the kind where the sobbing and wailing just pours out of you interspersed with words coming from your deepest feelings - and it did feel healing.  S held a container for me around that, and it was really good.

We talked about other things, as well, like the work he's done around his anger issues, which he now fully acknowledges.  He told me about that work and also shared his current awareness of the source of this anger (some of which I knew but it was more specific) from less than adequate parenting in his early childhood, as well as teen years with a jerk of a step-dad.

I can tell he is thinking about the possibility of us getting back together, but I am only thinking of healing and friendship.  I will not ever again stay in a relationship that has so much fighting and criticism without the love.  Five positives for every negative experience - that's what a relationship needs to thrive.  That's what we all need and what I intend to have.  It is interesting that he is in a temporary solo living situation for a few more weeks and needs to find a new place.  It's just weird that I need a place right now, too.  But I'm not going to let a coincidence determine my choices.  For now, I'm really happy to have released so much stored-up grief yesterday and to feel the start of forgiveness.

*Update:  My housemate and I talked yesterday and I was right about much of what I wrote above.  Also, she shared about the financial stress she is under, which is almost causing panic attacks.  Good news is that we worked out a couple compromises - I'll buy a few dishes and Zoey can stay in my room when housemate needs focused privacy.  We will see how it goes.  In other news, we had an earthquake last night, and I was awake for it!  It wasn't as scary for me as past earthquakes for some reason - felt more like rolling than jolting - but we were further from the epicenter than my ex who lives in Oakl@nd.


Short (ish) Post on New Place and Someone from the Past

Short post this morning to share that I am moved into the house I mentioned last time.  It feels great to be in "my" space - it's shared but I'm paying rent versus being a guest in another's home - and to know I have the option of staying another month or longer if needed.  This situation IS quite perfect for me, I must say.  Thank you, God.

My friend is driving over in her truck this morning to drop off my bed.  I have been sleeping on an air mattress the past few nights, which was fine, but a bed will be nice.  Zoey is in dog heaven to have the run of a full house after being confined to single rooms the past months.  We are learning the neighborhood and have been enjoying walking around a lovely nearby park.

The interview went well.  Not perfect, but well.  I was a bit scattered on a couple of unexpected questions but did great on several other questions and my 10-minute presentation.  From buying a new outfit, to lengthy research, to doing a mock interview with a friend, I know I did everything possible to prepare, so now it's out of my hands.

My final juicy bit of news is that my ex, S, contacted me for the third time since our break-up, asking if he could share recent insights about our time together.  That bait was too enticing to pass up, so I responded, and he shared... well, he didn't share much of anything new, so it was kind of disappointing.  He basically validated what I already knew - that he did have anger issues he needed to work on and had shut down in the intimacy department and also was unable to get to a place when we were together where he could "hang out" with me and just be normal - work or whatever.  He said he had made progress in all these areas in a relationship he had been in since about six months after our break up, which had now "reverted to being friends."  Ah, I see why you contacted me at this time, S.

Anyway, I'm considering getting together with him to see if I can release some residual anger and hurt from the last few months we were together.  But first, I need to get clear on "how" that might be possible.  The goal would not be to get back together, but to further heal my feelings from that time, and maybe have more positive feelings towards S, allowing friendship.  I am meeting with a counselor this week (the one S and I saw when we were together and that I saw individually a few times after), so hopefully that will help.