Reset mode

I just got a huge, much-needed reset and I feel SO much better!

I went to a concert last night with a friend of mine. You may recall her as the woman I was supposed to go on a date with and then I backed out at the very last moment. We’ve still continued to talk and are becoming genuine, real life friends.

There was a concert for this artist named Halsey and I really wanted to go but Dylan wouldn’t go with me. She had tickets for good seats to go and had planned to go with another friend. The other friend backed out because she wasn’t feeling well and asked me if I wanted to go. I said yes, of course I did!

So I met up with her and we rode together in her car. I actually felt comfortable enough with her to sing along to the 80s alternative music in her car. To give you an idea of how huge that is, I have many people I’ve been friends with for 20+ years who have never heard me sing because I am normally pretty self-conscious about how bad my singing voice is.

The concert was just absolutely amazing. The vibe of the crowd was like a cross between a gay pride parade and a pro-choice rally. The singer led us in chants of “fuck Greg Abbott” (our asshat governor) and “fuck Ted Cruz” (one of our asshat senators.) She also had a lot of statistics on the screen behind her about the safety of legal abortion compared to childbirth, especially for POC.

She is well known for having had an abortion herself and also for having a kid of her own and she said that we in the crowd gave her hope for the world her son would grow up in.

Everything about the night was so great and empowering. The merch guy commented positively on my A Tribe Called Quest shirt and when I asked for a t-shirt in a size XL, he suggested I get a medium or large instead.

There was a girl in the bathroom who asked me if I was a mom; I said yes and asked why she was asking. She said “moms just know how to fix stuff” and asked me to help her pin her dress because her boyfriend screwed it up.

I went back to Cat’s house afterwards and at first I thought I might stay the night but I didn’t because I don’t sleep well if I’m not in my own bed. But we were both wired from the concert and talked for a couple hours.

While I was there talking with her, I got a message from the guy I was with the other night and he said there were things that he wished he could have done to me.

I responded by saying, “Mmm yeah, you really missed out.” A little cheeky maybe but honest. I’m not going to interfere in his partnership with my friend now that I know how she feels.

I just feel so much more confident about myself. I’m discovering that people actually really do like me and want to spend time with me because I’m fun and I’m honest and I show that I care about them. (For example, I didn’t have to pay Cat back for the concert ticket but she asked me to pay for parking. I knew she had a bad back so I paid extra for closer parking.)

I hope I can hold on to this feeling when I start feeling low again. I really don’t think my life is over yet, even though sometimes it’s unbearably hard.

I choose to think (despite not having any evidence of it) that I’m making these new friends and having these experiences that give me more confidence in myself because I think it’s what J wants for me. I think he would want to see me coming into my own and being more vocal about what I believe in and having more confidence and more friends.

Maybe someday things will work out right for me after all.

Everything is bleh, part two

So as though I didn’t have enough complicated stuff to deal with already, there’s the other thing that’s really upsetting me: the fucked up, horrible state of the country right now.

I hate it here—especially here in Texas—and I want to get out ASAP. I have the money but where would I even go? I guess I’m going to get a passport very soon because that’s pretty essential to being able to get out of here.

But what about my career plans? Can I even still be a therapist anywhere else? I’ve looked into it and haven’t found much. If that’s not a viable career plan, can I really support myself if I leave the country?

Maybe I could move to a blue state and life would be better. But “they” (always the infamous “they”) say that you shouldn’t make any major such moves in at least the first year after losing your spouse.

I can’t believe it’s already been almost half a year since I lost J. In so many ways, it feels like I’m just doing worse and worse without him. My kids still don’t fucking have jobs. I never, ever predicted that.

I don’t feel hopeful anymore at all. I don’t know what my future holds or if it will even be good.

I just don’t know how or why to keep going. J left me here alone and everything sucks.

Everything is bleh

I feel like I’ve fucked everything up. I hope my therapist will make me feel better tomorrow.

My friend who’s in the poly couple is upset that I asked her if her partner would be open to having a thing with me. Now that I know that it’s not going to go anywhere, I really, deeply wish that I had just kept my stupid mouth shut and I hope that it won’t have a permanent impact on our friendship (which has been long-standing for years.)

I also realized that I don’t really understand polyamorous relationships at all and honestly I don’t really think they’re for me. I know all the arguments in their favor, the most compelling of which is that it’s unrealistic to expect one person to meet all your needs.

I particularly think that’s true when you have a spouse who denies your need for sex and intimacy but doesn’t allow you to get those needs met elsewhere. I’ve been in that situation before, as have several of my friends, and I just think that’s profoundly unfair. Sex is such a critical part of marriage—it’s what separates a marriage from roommates, after all—and for one partner to essentially tell the other “you’re not getting any and don’t you dare cheat” is horrible and unfair in every way.

But I also realized that I am definitely not polyamorous. I’m sure it works for other people but I am not them. From my perspective, it just looks like wanting to have sex with lots of people. Even from my discussions with him last night, his partner (my friend) is getting lots of regular sex from multiple partners and he’s not.

It’s not my place to judge whatever arrangements they have or say that they’re not working for them. But that’s not what I want for myself.

I want monogamy again. I want the emotional safety of one partner. I want to try my hardest to meet their needs and for them to do the same thing for me.

I can say that in my own experience (not speaking for anyone else), when J and I finally worked through our issues and focused on trying to make each other happy, it worked. I didn’t want anybody else.

Sure, occasionally, someone would turn my head—or more accurately, capture my imagination with discussions that were stimulating and exciting. I had that with my friend Chris for a while. But it didn’t ever go anywhere and I didn’t feel like it needed to.

But the real problem I see now is that I’m not sure how easy—or even possible—it will be to find another relationship like I had with J. I don’t want a poly relationship and I certainly don’t want someone who’s going to lie to me about me being the only one. Polyamory is at least worlds better than being with someone who’s cheating on you behind your back but it’s still not what I want, either.

I feel like I’m still attractive and I’m comfortable in my own skin. I believe that I have a lot to offer in a relationship. But I’m losing a lot of hope that I’ll ever find it. I fear that I’m destined to be alone now that I’ve lost J and I’m way too young for that.

Yuck

I slept literally all day yesterday. And then I had two separate discussions that both upset me and honestly just made me miss J more.

One was with one of my best friends (I don’t feel comfortable calling her my “best” friend anymore.)

I told her that I had been feeling suicidal on Wednesday and she flipped out on me. No compassion whatsoever. She has personal experience with losing people to suicide and she thinks it’s always extremely selfish.

I tried telling her that I’m training to be a suicide counselor and she asked me if I could actually do that because I have had suicidal thoughts. Um, yeah? Of course I can (and I was a bit insulted that she questioned that, to be honest.)

I know that what most people who feel suicidal need is to talk to someone who’s not going to freak out and immediately take them to the hospital, like she did when her daughter and husband expressed similar feelings. They just feel like they can’t keep living because it hurts too much.

By talking them through it and possibly distracting them from their thoughts and focusing on coping skills, they can often get through it.

Only when people have a plan that makes them imminent risk (like having the means present and a plan within 48 hours) do we get involved with an involuntary hospitalization.

She didn’t want to understand that and honestly I was so upset by her calling it selfish to even have those thoughts. I think it may have put quite a bit of distance between us. I do deal with suicidal ideation fairly often and haven’t made any attempts because I have people who listen and don’t shame me for having those thoughts.

I had suicidal thoughts on occasion before I lost J and now they happen with more regularity. And now I’ve apparently lost one of my closest friends because she’s unwilling to try to understand and help me get through it.

On another note, I’m still talking to the male person in that poly couple I know and it seems like everything is going to go well. Except for one thing.

I have something I’m able to do sexually and he really doesn’t like it but it’s not something I can stop. He wants to work with me on trying to stop it and that frustrates me immensely.

It’s not something every woman can do and I already feel embarrassed about it. J liked it so I didn’t need to hold back. Now I will. I just wonder if that means this isn’t the right guy for me. A lot of men actually really like it but not him and now I feel even more self-conscious and ashamed of what my body does.

I feel like I’m back at square one again and that just absolutely sucks.

My re-entry to sexual life

Well, this is a big shock. I’ve been all over the place emotionally this week.

I got a Monroe piercing (well, technically a Madonna piercing because it was on the opposite side) on Tuesday when I went out with Dylan and Sav. At first I felt liberated because I’ve wanted one for at least 15 years and J never liked them, so I didn’t get one out of respect for his preferences.

But then I got to feeling very irritated by wearing it and that irritation was like a constant reminder that J’s not here. So I took it out today. Dumb, dumb, dumb (both that I got it in the first place and that I wasted the money on it.)

I felt desperate and suicidal on Tuesday night after I got it and then all day on Wednesday.

A local friend of mine who I originally met through my online mom’s group 20+ years ago dropped everything and took me out for tacos and margaritas and I gradually started to feel a bit better.

The friend I loaned money to made her first payment yesterday, which was a huge relief and was a load off my mind.

Then I happened to ask another friend who’s in a polyamorous relationship if she thought her (male) partner would be interested in something with me. I’d briefly met him once before and I knew he was cute and nice and safe.

It turns out that he is interested and he will be a very safe person for me to get those physical needs met. He knows that I am probably going to cry after at least the first time and he’s willing to just hold me while I cry.

I know that he’s both emotionally safe for me and physically safe (both in terms of pregnancy risk and STIs.) I really couldn’t ask for better. I know going into it that it will just be something casual that we’ll do for however long it keeps being mutually beneficial to both of us. Maybe it will only be once or maybe it will become semi-regular; who knows?

For now, I am extremely grateful that it’s someone I kind of “know” and more importantly I can trust that he’s safe because I trust my friend absolutely.

At first, I thought my younger two kids wouldn’t be okay if I brought him to my house (well, at least I expected that Dylan wouldn’t be okay with it.) But he surprised me by saying that he was fine with it as long as I used discretion about it, by which I assume he meant that I keep the noise down and don’t walk around naked. LOL He presented that in terms like he does the same for me as well.

I really couldn’t ask for better. Then I discussed it with Chloe and not surprisingly, she reacted even better than Dyl did. She said that she knows that I will never forget J and she understands that I’m not trying to replace him. But also that she would never expect me to stay celibate for the rest of my life, either.

I talked to her a bit more in depth, including telling her his name and how I know him and the fact that he’s in a long-term poly relationship. She knows a lot more people in poly relationships so we talked at some length about that.

I do have to say that poly relationships are probably the biggest change to the dating world since I met J way back in 1993. On the one hand, at the present time, I still think I’m wired more for another monogamous relationship some day. I don’t intend on being a permanent part of this particular poly relationship and I respect the concept of a primary relationship that’s still polyamorous.

But at the same time, I also recognize the many benefits of a poly relationship. For one thing, such a relationship would have enabled me to be a lot less miserable during many years of my marriage, because I still absolutely loved J but it was very hard to be in a sexless marriage. I have a couple of other friends that are in similar sexless marriages and both would probably benefit from opening up the marriages (although one of them is with a partner who is way too jealous to make that work.)

As best as I understand it, poly relationships seem mostly to be about wanting your partner to be happy, even if sometimes it’s someone else meeting their needs. One of my friends has acknowledged that I would be a perfect partner if his wife were to allow him to open up the marriage. We’re very sexually compatible and get turned on by some of the same things, which are not very common.

They don’t have sex and he just deals with it by masturbating. I’m proud of him for not cheating to get his needs met but at the same time I think that’s an exceptionally shitty thing to do to someone you love. They just tell you that you’re not going to have sex anymore and you’re just supposed to suck it up and suffer. How is that fair?

That sounds fucked up and certainly there are people I’ve known who don’t do it well at all. But I’m meeting more and more people who identify as poly and I am growing to have more respect for it. I have known for a very long time that it’s nearly impossible for one person to meet all of their partner’s needs and I’m not sure how realistic of an expectation it is. If this is one of the changes to the dating world, I think it has potential.

Certainly I have a lot easier of a time respecting someone who tells me they’re poly (and I can confirm that it’s true) than someone who claims to be monogamous but is actually cheating on their spouse. I’ve already encountered that and I don’t respect it at all.

I’m probably going to end up writing an article about this and maybe even submitting it to that woman’s magazine/website about dating issues. It’s just too fascinating of a topic to me.

And on the bright side, it looks like I’ll get laid soon, which I sorely need. I’m sure it will be emotionally complicated but I can’t think of any better circumstances.

Round here

I’m just thinking of this band I always listen to when I’m depressed, the Counting Crows (also known as the Country Cows, as my husband thought the writing looked like it said on the front cover. Or maybe that was me and I falsely attributed it to him.)

I’m not even listening to it now because it has such a powerfully negative impact on my mood. It just speaks to depression like nothing else does. I haven’t listened to it since one of the trips back from dropping off Dylan at A&M. It doesn’t matter; I know all the songs so well, I don’t even have to hear them. Simply thinking of them is enough.

I just keep thinking about how much better it would be if I weren’t here anymore. Life without J feels so empty and pointless.

Dyl could have my car. The kids could divide up the remaining life insurance money.

I wouldn’t have to worry about my friend paying me back, which I’m not even sure she’s prioritized her budget to be able to do so. I probably most likely have to write off that money as something I’m not going to get back. I thought she had changed but apparently not that much. I guess she gets to benefit from J’s death and my very well-intentioned generosity that I really couldn’t afford.

I wouldn’t have to worry about how to live without J, which I’m not at all certain that I’ll ever get over.

There is only the fact that my kids would have to find me, however I decided to go out. I know that would emotionally scar them and they’ve already been through so much with losing their dad.

But I admit that in a lot of moments like these, the importance of that fades. I can convince myself that they would be okay and maybe even better off without me.

I just feel like what I have to offer the world pales in comparison to my pain. I’m disabled and I’m not sure I can get off of it. I’m always so, so tired, even though I changed medications to a less-sedating one. I don’t know how to get from here to where I need to be or even if I can.

I have all these ideas of things I would still like to do but no energy to even think about doing them. I just want to go to sleep and never wake up.

Swing low

I’m on the down swing again. I’m sure that a big part of it is that tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’m just really missing J.

We were supposed to get together and have a celebration of his life yesterday. It turned out that it didn’t happen, in part because I slept until 4:00 but a bigger reason was that Amy didn’t feel ready for that yet. So we postponed it until December for J’s birthday.

We’re all dealing with his loss in our own ways. I think she’s feeling a lot about Father’s Day like I was about our anniversary. It’s all just a lot and we’re not ready to confront the reality that he’s gone.

I’m also really regretting loaning my friend that money to get her out of debt. I know she intends to pay me back but hasn’t started doing so yet. She said she was going to start repaying me this month and she still could; the month isn’t over yet.

But the cost of gas and groceries have gone up a lot and I know she’s dealing with that too. She’s dealing with a lot of stressful stuff right now and I know she’s aware that she promised to start repaying me and probably feels a lot of anxiety about it.

I just don’t know why I gave/loaned her the money. I really felt like she needed my help (which she unquestionably did) and at the time, I felt like I had a lot of money.

I don’t feel that way anymore, though. I feel panicked af about all the expenses and the kids not having jobs yet.

And there’s also the fact that my friend is posting memes about her “best friend” and tagging other people in them. I know that she’s one of those kinds of people who has several “best friends” and I would probably be one of them. But I admit that it still gives me a little pang to see that and also makes me just want to kick myself for once again being too generous.

I really have to learn a sense of self-preservation or it’s really not all going to work out okay for me.

Meeting new people

So I went out to dinner with my new friend yesterday. It was a pretty good time. We hugged each other when I got to the restaurant.

She was noticeably more reluctant to open up to me but eventually she did. I could pinpoint the moment when she seemed to relax and let her guard down more, though not what preceded it.

We stayed for nearly two hours and we probably could have stayed much longer, just talking. But I heard a guy sitting near me sneeze and it wigged me out. She noticed it, too. We’re both vaccinated and boosted but Covid is still going around and it makes me nervous (her too.)

I’m not particularly physically attracted to her. Not that she’s ugly or anything; I just didn’t feel that spark of attraction. For that reason, I was really glad that it wasn’t a date per se.

But I’m glad I went and it seems like I have a new friend, which I can always use.

I don’t know when I will start actually dating again. It doesn’t seem like it will be any time soon. I really, really still miss J a lot. I know he’s not coming back either way but my heart is still much too broken to think about someone else.

New friends

I’m not doing a whole lot better yet. I’m still really riding an intense wave of grief. I’m sure that a big part of that is that this weekend is Fathers Day and we decided to do our small, intimate immediate family (and significant others) celebration of J’s life.

I also made it through two rounds of the application process for a remote job with a major insurance company. I still don’t know if I can get up and work standard business hours but I may try yet again.

My application to grad school that I can do online is also finally submitted and it’s for the fall semester. But they said they’ll review my application and IF I’m selected to move on, they will reach out for an interview.

That just sounds way less promising than I expected so I’m going to be pretty nervous until I hear more.

The one really good and positive thing is that I have continued to talk to the woman I was going to go on a date with last weekend, even though I told her I’m really not ready to date yet. She decided it’s still worth getting to know me.

I’ve gotten to know her a whole lot better this week. She said she would be willing to be a non-sexual cuddle buddy and she has done it before but of course we have to meet and see if we’re comfortable together. I am pretty sure I’ll be comfortable with her because I can get a good read on people online but we’ll see if it goes both ways.

I like her a lot. She already seems like she’ll be a good friend. And she’s given me a nickname, which I have not experienced much. She calls me “Hollywood,” which is actually pretty ironic because I’m so not a Hollywood type of person. She was actually surprised that nobody has ever called me that before.

I’m super exhausted this week and tomorrow is going to be an extra exhausting day. I have an in-person appointment with UTSW psychiatry for their treatment-resistant depression unit, which may enable me to try ketamine treatment.

And then after that, I need to take my laptop to the Apple store. I have a new kitten and he’s so adorable and brave and affectionate. But he’s also destructive and he bit the corner of my laptop screen and now my computer display is all fucked up, so I need to get it fixed. It’s going to be a long and exhausting day.

But I only have one more week of Dylan’s driving classes and then maybe I can rest.

Waves crashing in

I was hit by another sudden, unexpected wave of wanting to die yesterday. I don’t really know what caused it. Maybe it was related to not being able to go through with my date yesterday, I don’t know.

All I know is that yesterday, I really overwhelmingly didn’t want to be alive anymore. I still don’t.

I told my best friend yesterday that I just really needed someone to hold me. Nothing sexual at all, just hold me. She said no.

I get it; that’s probably a weird request. At the same time, I would definitely do it if someone asked me.

I asked Dylan and he also said no but he did give me a hug, so I guess that’s something.

Nobody ever talks about that aspect of widowhood, when you just really miss being held and getting that tangible, real reminder that you’re going to be okay.

There’s nobody who is willing to do that and apparently it’s way too much to ask. I’m just so incredibly lonely and scared by just about everything.

I want someone to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be okay. They won’t, of course. And I just really don’t feel like everything is going to be okay.

I’m having lots of fantasies about my own death. I’m thinking about what I would have to get done in order to set up a good life for the kids. I’m not at all convinced that they wouldn’t be just fine without me.