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.