I feel depressed today. Hard to say exactly why, though I’m not really surprised. It’s cold and rainy here in the Midwest – so much for enjoying springtime – and the grey skies are just weighing me down further. I need sun. I need to be able to walk outside and get fresh air. Instead, I’m stuck inside.
Last night, the boyfriend and I went to an art festival that’s in town for the weekend. The building where we stopped was the same building where my old therapist has his office/artist’s loft. The boy and I walked into the loft and my therapist was hanging out in there with people I presumed to be his family, and they were drinking tiny shots of whiskey as people from the festival shuffled in an out. I don’t think he recognized me. AT least, he didn’t act like he did. There’s a somewhat unspoken rule about therapists not approaching their clients in public – clients are typically supposed to be the ones to approach the therapist instead.
But, I didn’t approach him. I felt so awkward, and after we left his loft, I felt anxious. I was almost like running into an ex-partner or an old, old friend, someone who knew me really well at one point, but who I haven’t spoken with in ages. Walking around the rest of the festival, I felt restless and irritable. I tried to talk to my boyfriend about how I wasn’t sure what I should do – should I go back and say hi? should I just move along? would my old therapist even care to be confronted by a client on a day where he’s celebrating his art? – but my boyfriend offered no opinions, no real solid advice. He just kind of shrugged and asked me what I thought I should do. I just kind of shook my head and kept walking.
After we were done at the fest, we decided that we wanted to hang out for a bit longer before going back to my place, so we landed at a new brewery. My boyfriend got a flight of four and I sat there with nothing. We sat and chatted for maybe an hour before deciding to go back home.
I find myself back again at the point of being distraught and confused by my relationship. Last summer was pretty tough for me where my relationship was concerned, and I felt a little too deeply entrenched to make a move to leave, especially after just getting sober. Now we’re a year and a half into this thing, and I’m fully immersed into his friend group as a member of the “family.” I continue to feel dissatisfied, bored, restless, and lonely – not all the time, but often enough – but I also feel like this is a place where I can be comfortable enough, for now.
Being sober around my boyfriend hasn’t been hard, really, but it doesn’t help that he continues to drink. I always tell him that it’s no big deal, but I’m starting to wonder if this combination of restlessness, loneliness and boredom will somehow lead me back down the path I’d really, really rather not take. It feels alarming to think of it that way.
And the thing that sucks is that our relationship as a “thing” isn’t bad at all. There’s no hot-button issue between us, we don’t argue, we have never had a fight. Our biggest problems seem to be figuring out what we want to do and wrestling with either apathy or indecision on both sides. For me, personally, I often feel like my boyfriend doesn’t put forth the type of interest or effort in me that I desire. He doesn’t ask me to talk about all the things I’m learning in school. He doesn’t do or say things that make me feel like he desires me, or finds me sexy. I don’t remember the last time he complimented me or called me beautiful. And to be fair, I guess I don’t really compliment him or call him handsome, either. That’s just not part of our relationship, it never has been, though I wish it were. I wish we were sweeter. I wish we were more cozy. I want to be held and know that the person holding me would instinctively know how to comfort me when I am anxious or depressed.
Fuck, I know I expect a lot. I guess I’m expecting what I’ve always gotten from other partnerships. It gets frustrating. I feel more and more like I want to step away and take time for myself – really and truly – but I am petrified of breaking off this partnership and losing every friend I’ve made along the way. Along with that, I’d be losing some semblance of routine and predictability.
But he wants me to move in with him when he buys a house and I’m just not ready for that. Not at all. I’ve been waffling back and forth on it for the last 8 months since he first posed the question of living together. He keeps talking about going to look at houses – a process which I’ve been invited to, but never an integral part of – and I keep going up and down the roller coaster of excitement, hesitation, and fear.
Guys, I’m coming up on my 1-year at the beginning of July. I feel like my boyfriend has almost no clue what it’s been like for me – partially because I haven’t been a totally open book about it, and partially because he’s never really taken the time to ask me what I’ve been going through. As a person and friend he is kind, loyal, honest, level-headed, giving and intelligent; as a boyfriend and long-term partner, I still feel like he’s got some emotional block against becoming more deeply intimate with me, and as a result, I’ve got the same type of block as well. It’s a repetitive loop. We don’t even make love without turning the lights off first, I feel awkward and self-conscious standing in my underwear around him.
What is going on? Why is this part of my life so discordant from the rest? How can I be diving so deeply into myself, my sobriety, my career, my community and my friendships, while maintaining a relationship that often seems to self-sustain on the surface level?
I feel lost. And still depressed. But a bit better now that I’ve ranted. Still sober and doing my sober best.