Saturday, November 11, 2006

Elements of a bad week

This has to have been one of the worst weeks of my life. Besides shock and grief on the relationship front, there were:

- a bad cold;
- a student who came and told me that she had been slipped a date rape drug at a Halloween party - and had ended up in hospital, after passing out in a bathroom and being found by very unsympathetic, mean, judgmental female peers. (The world sucks.);
- a student who handed in veiled homophobic nonsense in a critical response assignment - and I couldn't write "F. F for you're a Fucking Idiot";
- needing to get out of the house I stay at in Uni City on Wednesday night. Since the friends I stay with won't let me give them any money, I feel as if I have no real claim on the space. So when they announced they had a friend coming through town, and did I have somewhere else to stay for that one night, I felt I couldn't help but go somewhere else. I ended up spending over $100 on a hotel.

And then there was the up and down of loss and grief. And not knowing where to put it. Not feeling as if I can talk about it to friends, because it's so ambiguous. GF and I aren't breaking up right now - we will end when I move away, in the summer, for one job or another. We have both recognized, finally, that our relationship isn't sustainable. We are too different - and yes, I think there is such a thing. I've wondered about this for years, and GF hasn't been willing to wonder with me. She came back from her trip having really felt this.

I have written here that I am lonely. She is, too. I don't think it makes sense to be lonely in a relationship. For that reason, and for others, we need to recognize that we're not forever. That we can't give each other what we each need; such very, very different things.

What breaks hearts is that we've tried so hard. I find it breathtakingly sad to recognize that even when you've worked as hard as we have, these last four years, sometimes that's not enough.

And so now, an odd space.

We are together, but see the end in sight. GF has said, "let's spend the next few months being rally good to each other, having a lot of fun together..." This seems right to me, intuitively - though something rational in me wonders if it's not dangerous on some level, emotionally. What with me eventually needing to break away from this and make my life over in a new place, while she stays in Home City with the friends and family and space and routines she knows, to fall back on.

What this means, though, is many months of ambiguity ahead. This week has been characterized by a sense of mourning...and the downs have been profound. If this doesn't settle down a little, soon, I will need to re-assess...perhaps it won't be healthy for me to stay here if it just presses my emotional buttons so much. I can't spend eight months crying.

The other thing is the way this whole thing plays into my job search. Since it is my moving to begin a new job that will instantiate the break between us, I now have profound ambivalence about that. The interview coming up in a few weeks, for instance, is something I feel myself psychically resisting because of what it symbolizes. I need to stop doing that; I need to recognize these as possibilities, not simply as looming loss. How do I do that?


Dr. Crazy said...

Hilaire, what you're going through right now is so hard. Obviously I can't know exactly what you're going through, but I did go through something similar when I went on the market the first time. I'd been living with a man for three years, and yes, there were problems in the relationship, but I do think we loved each other and I did think that we'd make it through the problems. Two weeks after I'd gotten my job offer, he moved out and the relationship was over. I spent a lot of time blaming myself for what happened. My heart was broken, but with time I did get through it. I know you will, too.

And no, you can't spend eight months crying. And you won't. You can't know right now what to do, but when it's time you will know, and it really will be ok. Just try to be as kind to yourself as you can - as good to yourself as you can. (Sometimes it's easier to be good to the other person than it is to be good to yourself, I think.)

What Now? said...

Oh, Hilaire, this is all just so sad.

My concern is that you all have now created this equation in which the final "break" happens because you get a job. My bias would be that the relationship needs to have its own internal timing, separate from job timing. That is, if it's right for you all to stay together being kind to each other for the next three weeks or months, then by all means honor that timing, but don't stay together extra long or leave early because you've goten or not gotten another job. I just don't see (and maybe this is a limitation on my part) how you can feel good about career stuff if it has becomg inextricably bound up with relationship stuff.

Prayers ascending for you.

Sfrajett said...

I agree with dr. crazy. You can't spend the next eight months crying. Also I agree with What Now. This break isn't happenening because you get the job, and shouldn't be postponed till you move for the job. This time you are where you are matters. Don't put yourself on hold. You are so grateful for any space that you take up as little as possible. Why don't your friends let you pay them? Or, why are you staying there? This sounds like a weird sich. Be good to yourself. Don't draw this out. Talk about why you two are really breaking up, and start the break up now if you are so gung ho. At least don't be on hold. I have been the on hold person and it sucks. Look out for you. No one else is going to do it.

You are a good person who deserves to be happy. And you will be. I'm sorry if it sounds trite but you really will be.

Hilaire said...

Thanks, Sfragett. Thanks, WN and Dr. Crazy. I really, really appreciate the perspective. I, too, have started to wonder about the "being on hold"...I think it's too early to. I think I need to give it another couple of weeks and see what makes sense. Really this may be because I am at heart an overly cautious person. At any rate, GF and I need to see how/where we settle when the initial shock passes. It may be that it is too much for me contemplate staying in this...we shall see. It's just that making a break feels artificial right now. Somehow more artificial than letting a break happen "naturally" when I need to move away for a job, which case, she would just choose not to come with me...

But Sfragett, you're right that I need to look out for myself, and to not put myself on hold...that is how I feel *in general* right now, and I don't much like it. I am nothing but my work - and now, emotional stress...I have a complete lack of intimacy in my life for the first time ever (I mean more than just my love relationship) and that feels as if my soul is on hold, I must say...

I will be thinking very hard on these things, and how best to "be nice to myself", as you say, Dr. Crazy, over the next few weeks.

Thanks again, y'all.

MaggieMay said...

Hi Hilaire, sorry it's taken me a bit to weigh in here, but luckily there is much women's wisdom on the internets. I agree with Dr. C and WN and S as well.

I would also add: When I broke up with my finance, we lived together for some months afterwards. It was initially the "sensible" thing to do (because of the rent situation, and other factors), but it became *extremely* stressful and emotionally crazy as the months went on. My point? As they said: take care of *yourself* and think hard about this decision to stay together.

My thoughts are with you, lovely Hilaire...

grumpyABDadjunct said...

First, glad to see you blogging again, I was getting worried about you!

Second, your story reminds me of a breakup of mine. The lonely together thing is actually very common, I think, and very difficult to resolve without either breaking up or doing some kind of togetherness bootcamp.

My heart goes out to you, it is such a painful thing to realize that there is love but not enough connection to sustain a relationship; and that sounds to me like what is going on.

Hang in there, if nothing else at least the term is almost over!

medieval woman said...

Hey Hilaire,

I just want to second the "internal timing" comment that WN made - and it sounds to me like you're aware enough of your own feelings to honor your needs when they become clear. You're mourning for an untenable relationship, not staying in the hopes that you can work it out. I think that's good! But you're also aware that staying in the physical situation can be emotionally dangerous and you're allowing yourself the opportunity to re-assess as time goes on. I think that the initial shock will wear off, as you said, and then you'll be able to see your way a little clearer.

And I'm sorry about the situation with your friends and feeling like you don't have any space of your own. Might you be able to look into truly renting a room in that town for next semester? I know that it will probably have to stay as is for this semester, but maybe you could find something in the line of a true, short term rental for the spring.

Also, jeez, what a shitty week on the school front!! I can't imagine anyone taking your class would submit a paper like that! And what the hell about the date-rape drug? That must have been horrible for your student and that's so fucked up about her being blamed and derided (for what? She *wanted* to be drugged??) by people she should have been lucky to be found by! (Does that makes sense?) - i.e., she was found by a group of women, not the individual who slipped her the date rape drug, and she should have expected some support and safety from that circumstance!

I hope this week is so much better than the last one, Hilaire!!

Bardiac said...


I wish I had words of wisdom or comfort, but alas, I don't. Others were more able, I think.

I'll just add a word of support and good wishes for things to work out for you.

Hilaire said...

Thanks, Bardiac. Thanks, all.

Maggie, thanks for the cautionary tale. I am going to see how it feels. There are sorts of circumstances that make it *crazy* to think about moving now - I would be moving somewhere for just a few months and then moving again, I don't have really any furniture anymore, there's the question of the dog, and it's the middle of the school year - such that I think it might be emotionally and mentally more difficult to move. But I may well be wrong, and I'm very open to that, and am going to see how it feels...

Grumpy, you've diagnosed it exactly. That's precisely what it is...So much love but not enough connection.

And MW, in terms of the place I stay in UNi City...I'm really hoping to stay put there. I'm only there three nights a week this term, and will be there only two nights a week next I would really like to not have to move. It's usually fine...I just sleep there, essentially...I just think I'm in a slightly odd position because of the non-paying thing...But hopefully that won't happen again! But you never know - as I said above, I'm open to changing things up. I think I'm slightly wary because I'm just tired of everything and changing arrangements seems hard. If I can keep on with what I have at no psychic cost to myself, that would be best. But we'll see!

Cheers, all - thanks so much for your support and wisdom.