Category Archives: Relationships

On affairs, breakups, and reopening old wounds

Several years ago, I started dating someone I’ll call N..  N. was really pretty and really different from anyone I’d dated before.  She was 1. Smoking Hot (no offense to anyone else I’d dated before) and 2. taught me I could move in ways I had never before thought possible.  She encouraged me and pushed me in a way that felt fulfilling and truly inspiring.  But, you know, relationships and all that.  She lived far away, and I didn’t have a car.  Bits of tension crept in over silly things, and ultimately I decided that it wasn’t working out.  We ended things on good terms.

A year or so after that, I met B..  You thought N. was hot?  Well.  Anyway, I met B., we chatted, we talked about setting up a time to get together, and then Daphne came into the picture.  You read that right – the dog came into my life, and I decided that trying to learn to live with and train my first dog was not the ideal time to start a new relationship, even if it was just coffee dates, and so, once again, I called things off.

In the meantime, other things came into and out of my life.  And then, another year later, I crossed paths with B. again.  And this time, you know, something clicked.  True lesbian-relationship style, I fell madly in love, head over heels, and if I could have moved in with her, I probably would have.  Unfortunately, that really wasn’t an option at the time, but we spent a lot of time together, gazing into each other’s eyes, having grand adventures.  Yes, the adventures were so awesome I am willing to call them Grand Adventures.

In retrospect, it should have been a big warning sign that B. was openly dating other women. Several other women.  This was never a secret, but for some reason I really thought that in the end she would choose me.  And guess what?  She didn’t.  I was crushed. Oh, my, the tears; I think the only time I cried that much beforehand was when my very first girlfriend and I broke up and I was like, “Oh, so this is what people mean when they talk about heartbreak.” After B., I decided I was never dating anyone, ever again.  If this is what these relationships were like, I wanted none of it.

Well, last night, I saw N. again.  I don’t really know how to describe my feelings around all of this.  We held hands; we sat really close to each other.  No kissing, and only a little bit of ass-grabbing.

What do you do when you break up with someone you really, really love, and then someone else you once really loved wants you back?  Do you want them back?  Is it worth the risk again?  Do you hope that someone totally different will come along?  Because, sure, there are other people out there, but they’re different and maybe don’t have the qualities you are looking for.

I suppose this is a good time to note that I am not talking about actual people.  You may have noticed I’m actually married, I think I mentioned it once or twice, and it’s not really an open relationship (except in the case of roller derby?).  I spent my first year on a roller derby league having just moved to Boston; I had no friends, no girlfriend, and roller derby was pretty much my whole life (that was N., in case you were wondering).  I routinely said that roller derby was my girlfriend.  And it’s funny, now, how much it feels like an old relationship coming back. I went to tryouts last night for the league that I started skating with way back when it was a baby league.  I started skating with them before I knew how to skate, and when they were only a few weeks old.  Now I have gone through two skate upgrades, actually played roller derby, and this league is so real that they are having real life tryouts.

I’m excited.  I know how much derby means to me, and how much it can change my life.  But I’m also so wary.  I’m not ready for this heartbreak yet again.

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Filed under Relationships, Roller Derby

I’m still smitten

I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned how Turtle and I originally got together, but this video reminded me of the whole thing:

Back when we were still just coworkers, we spent several weeks playing Scrabulous and sort of flirting over the little chat box they had there.  I got her to join Facebook (because I wanted to get to know her, sort of – I needed an in! But I told her it was so we could play Scrabulous.  Word games are a good way to snag a spouse?) and then I spent a lot of time looking at this picture and feeling fluttery.

Finally, one Friday night when I was supposed to watch a movie with my mom, she sent me a message; I’d just scored really high on some word and she said, “I’d be mad if I weren’t so smitten.”

Swoon.

From there, it all just sort of started: I saw her two days later, we had a seven hour date, and I didn’t kiss her goodnight.  Don’t worry, I made up for it the next day.  I spent the first month of our relationship not really talking; I was afraid we would run out of things to say to each other and that our relationship would be doomed: maybe we had nothing in common, maybe she was secretly a crazy cat lady, maybe our age difference would be a big deal or my friends wouldn’t like her.

Well, here’s what I have to say to that, Bird-of-the-Past: thanks for giving it a chance and finally opening your mouth.  And Turtle-of-the-Past? Thanks for speaking up, for waiting for me to finally find a voice and words and trusting the whole crazy thing.

 

the first picture of us as a couple, about a month after we started dating

When we first started dating, Turtle would not let me take care of her at all.  She got a cold and banned me from her apartment.  To someone who needs company and someone to make me tea and bring me tissues, this was a completely ridiculous response to getting sick.  When you are sick, you need someone to take care of you, and you let your girlfriend do that.  Turtle’s response to that: Oh HELLS no.  Leave me alone. Seriously, I think she wouldn’t even let me bring her a blanket.

Last week, as she was lying on the couch crying about how we were torturing our dog, she asked me for a box of tissues.

Look how far we’ve come, you guys.  So tell that someone you’re smitten with that you’re smitten, because smitten is a good word and it makes people fluttery and then they’ll wear makeup and those cute jeans the next time they see you and then you’ll have an awesome wedding and a cute-if-high-maintenance menagerie.  If that’s how you want it.

Who spoke up first in your relationship?

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Coming out of the fog

Since finally being unemployed, a few things have cropped up, and mostly they are things in my head. I have referenced a couple of times that I’ve been dealing with major anxiety, which sort of snuck up on me and took over for no reason that made sense to my logical brain. The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle; it’s been hard when it gets dark out, it’s been hard when the TV is on and when it’s off, it’s been hard when my wife kisses me or if she doesn’t kiss me.

Luckily, I have a kick-ass relationship with my awesome therapist, and she knows me well; she hooked me up with a doctor who could prescribe things that might make me feel better, and after exactly 18 days of nearly paralyzing anxiety, I am finally starting to feel clear-headed.

looking towards clearer, happier days

This is something that’s sort of tough to write about, but also really, really important to read about. I find strength every single day from reading Karen’s blog, Uncomfortably Honest and Honestly Uncomfortable: she is such a cool person and if she lived closer I would want to be friends with her, but also she deals with all this crap stuff all the time and talks about it in such a normal way.  Plus!  Heather Armstrong of Dooce routinely references the tough mental stuff she’s gone through – and all of this, I think reaches people who realize that it’s really okay to ask for help.

Again: It’s okay to ask for help.

So if posting has been a bit less entertaining than usual, it’s because real life has been a bit more challenging than usual.  But it really is getting better.  And along those lines, I want to thank Karen, for helping me realize that there is hope and that I am not the only person in the world who is dealing with this; I want to thank Ellen for sharing her experiences with anxiety, and how they’re over (i.e. There’s hope! There is an Other Side!); and I want to thank my wonderful wife.

Turtle and I have been married for four months today, and the last four months have been wonderful and challenging.  For the last 18 days, I have been needing her support more than maybe I ever have before, and you know what?  She’s there.  She’s checking in with me, checking on my meds, making sure I don’t get into bed with all my clothes still on.  She’s stretching her own limits and she is doing a damn good job.

best wife, on a better day

When we say “in sickness and in health” (which, actually, I am not sure we did say), I picture someone in a hospital bed, or vomiting over the toilet, or needing a ride to a doctor’s appointment.  I don’t picture the mental health aspect of it, but that’s it, too, you guys.  In sickness and in health is checking in, saying, “How are you feeling today?” and just asking about moods and emotions.  Funny, the things that we promise that we only learn the meaning of later.

And this, four months in.

So, to my readers: thanks for sticking it out, despite the foggy posts.  Knowing you’re out there makes it worth all the trying.

And to my wife, as I said yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that: Thank you, in all the ways.

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Snow day!

Snow Day at the Turtle-Bird Homestead

I have few sassy things to say today, but here’s what I do have:

  • My wife is really pretty and has been the most supportive partner I could ask for over the last couple of weeks/months/years.  I’ve been dealing with some weird anxiety stuff, and she’s 100% here, making sure all is being taken care of.
  • My dog is very entertaining and gives me a reason to get my unemployed ass out of the house every single day.  Thanks, Daphne. (Also, daily posts about her at Flying Dingo. Have I said that already? I’ll stop soon.)
  • We have big plans for today: there’s already 15 inches of snow on the ground here, but we did our Ikea shopping trip last night so we have lots of projects to tackle. Fun!
  • Oh and I’m on APW today!  And I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on boyfriend/girlfriend vs. partner vs. spouse vs. husband/wife.  Comment there or come back here and tell me what you think!

Hope some of you are having a wonderful snow day and others of you are warm wherever you are.  Nothing like 1 foot + of snow to remind me how grateful I am to have a home.

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Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, other, Relationships

Reflections on a year I was grateful to see go

Well, hello, there!  I said I’d be back in the new year, and here I am.  I missed you!  But I also spent the last couple of weeks masquerading as a slightly insane petsitter.  Slightly insane only because I think sane petsitters occasionally say no to jobs so that they can occasionally care for their own pets; I, on the other hand, had up to 13 jobs in one day.  Thank you a billion times over to my beautiful wife for taking care of our own beasts!

I both love and hate year-in-reviews; sometimes I find it really boring to read about other people’s years, but really, if you find this boring? Skip it.  Because when it’s not boring it’s really interesting, so I’m banking on everyone loving my version of a year in review.  It’s a bit more of a reflection than review, but that’s what you get. Ready? Let’s go.

Our 2010 year started off with us screwing up a dinner party.  Seriously.  We thought we were being invited to just a “let’s all hang out, it’ll be fun!” party and we showed up 2 hours after it started.  Um, fashionably late for a regular old party, right? Yeah, well, as I mentioned – it was a dinner party.  Being 2 hours late is very, very bad.

I tell you this because, in retrospect, it seems like an appropriate beginning to the year that 2010 was.

In 2010, we had in our lives or in the lives of people we’re very close to a birth, a death, jobs lost, new jobs started, a separation, a wedding, we moved, we got a kitten, we lost our kitten, and we each turned another year older.  That last part is just how things work.  Other notable things: I started blogging, I started classes, I dropped classes, I got rejected by roller derby (twice!), our dog bit someone, I changed my life plan, we changed our last name, we merged our finances, and – yes, I already mentioned the wedding, but it feels worth mentioning again – we’re married now.

yes, I know you've seen this picture before... but it is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES. So here it is again. Enjoy, because it's beautiful.

What I mean to say is that 2010 was a really big year, and I am really grateful that it’s over.  When the clock struck midnight and our little group of friends yelled “Happy New Year!” I felt this sudden and huge wave of relief.  Really, that’s sort of silly: who knows what 2011 brings?  Maybe more stressors, different stressors.  But I find a lot of hope in this: we made it through this last year, and we did a really good job.  The chances of all of these things happening in the same year again are probably not very high, but, regardless, I know we can handle it.

Being engaged and then married has been an enormous blessing throughout all of this.  When things get hard, I know that there’s someone by my side, someone on my team; even when we’re having a rough time in our relationship, we’re in it for the long haul.

So here’s to 2011, with hope that it is full of love and new beginnings and is only somewhat eventful.  Happy New Year, you guys.

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Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, other, Relationships

In Which the Prettiest Cat in the World Scares Us

Remember when I talked about how getting through the hard stuff is how I knew my wife was the one?  Well, let me just say: Thanks, Universe, for the reminder.  She has been the best through all of the stuff that’s been going on for the last week, even though she’s the only person I can take it all out on.  I have been incredibly grateful for that, for how she’s still here and still being supportive even if I am snippy with her about leaving piles around the house.  Because, you guys, she DOES leave piles around the house.  They’re just, uh, next to my piles, so really I have absolutely no ground to stand on on this one.

Well, last night I realized that it’s not just that she’s there to prop me up when things get hard.  Last night I realized what a team we are, and how much we can do together.

Last night, the Prettiest Cat in the World started vomiting, so Turtle called me at work to ask me about it.  Thanks, Piper, for doing this while I am still employed! Nice job!  I was all, “Oh, no biggie if it’s just once or twice, just keep an eye on her, she probably ate too fast.”  Word of advice: ask questions first, gently dismiss your wife later, only after considering the evidence.

“Bird! It wasn’t once or twice or food.  It’s been six or seven times.”

That’s a lot of times.  I went home after work and we gave her pepcid and tried to give her fluids (turns out The Prettiest Cat in the World is also the Sharpest, Pointiest, and Most Stubborn Cat in the World), and then we decided to get ready for bed.

And then The Prettiest Cat in the World started vomiting blood.

We ended up taking her to work, where my awesome vet met with us and took a look at her and helped us give her fluids.  It was questionable whether she had anything in her stomach, but she stopped vomiting, and we decided to watch her overnight and go to an emergency clinic if it seemed to get worse.  This morning, she woke me up asking for food and is very upset that I won’t give her any.  Not as upset as she’ll be when she realizes we’re going back to the vet for a recheck.  Muah! Ha! Ha!

What I a grateful for in this whole thing, besides an awesome vet who is willing to go back to work at 10pm, is an awesome wife who is just the best partner.  There was no arguing, no “you do X, I’m busy doing Y!”, no questioning what we needed to do.  It was just, “Okay, we have to make sure things are okay. Let’s go.” mixed with a lot of reassuring (“Well, maybe we WILL spend all night at the emergency clinic, but it’s going to be okay.”) and a few jokes (“This is what happens when we try to go to bed on time.  We’ll be fine if we plan to stay up ALL NIGHT.”).  We got home and we made things happen.  Turtle learned how to squeeze a bag of fluids to make them run faster.  I learned that Piper is the BEST cat to xray.  Even if she did try to bite me when I tried to give her fluids.

I think this picture accurately captures our relationship: I hug her, she tries to turn invisible.

Has anything happened lately that has reminded you of how awesome your significant other is?

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Filed under Menagerie, Relationships

Hope and Healing

I had big plans for this weekend, involving festivities and relaxing, and then getting back to blogging on Monday with a clear mind and a lot of thoughtful things to say.

One thing that’s funny about blogging is how much personal stuff I do share, how much I can say about the bumpy parts of my relationship with my wife and finding balances with my family, how much detail I am willing to go into about dealing with depression and therapy and medications and even sex.  Well, the funny thing is when and how I am able to share all that: after the fact is fine, after I can parse it out and look back on it and it’s already a story.

I know I wrote a post called “the short version” last week, but this version is that I am feeling a lot and I don’t know how to say any of it. I spent a lot of last weekend visiting my dad in the hospital.  Don’t worry, folks! He made his escape, we returned his dog, and all seems to be returning to normal (though he declined our offer – nay, our plea – for him to take Daphne home with him tonight).  But this weekend my grandfather went to the doctor and was in quadruple bypass surgery within 24 hours of that visit. Will you, internet people, please send my family healing thoughts?  I would really appreciate it.

Seeing my grandfather and wife interact this summer was one of the best things of the whole summer.

Anyway… here’s what else happened this weekend: on Sunday we picked out our Christmas tree and it is naked in the corner of our living room except for the one ornament that we found and couldn’t not buy.

Really. How could we leave that at the store? We couldn’t.  It needed us almost as much as we needed it.

Our other purchase was the stocking to complete our little family.  Piper has always had a stocking and Daphne got hers last year.  Look, folks, I know the pets don’t care, but I felt guilty not having one for Jake, so I bought this:

What’s that you say?  It looks a little like Jake but has too many eyes?

Ahem. Problem solved with a pair of scissors and some sheer brute force (yes, they sewed AND glued those eyes on!).  Also, my sewing skills require some work, but I think it’s pretty clear that the fish says “Jake” (and hopefully is not read as “Jaxe”, which I was worried about).

Are you starting any holiday decorating or festivities?  Weekend highlights?  Please share!

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Filed under Home, Relationships