Perspectives

I’m uh, sort of a ladyboy.  Not a lady’s boy, but a boyish lady.  I certainly appear to be a female (a more substantial version of Audrey Hepburn, if you prefer), but there’s a part of my brain that never developed past the maturity of an eight-year-old boy.  This is reflected in the way I dress.  I like my superhero t-shirts and I love my silly t-shirts.

Here’s the thing about being an atypical weirdo: female friends are rare out in the wild.  They either think I’m too weird, or they’re straight up afraid of me.  As a result, 75% of my friends are male.  I can be as disgusting, weird, and as crass as I naturally am, and they aren’t offended.  The problem with this is that befriending heterosexual males can get a little…strange.  This wasn’t so much an issue when I was a teenager or in the first few years of my 20’s because, as PPT says, I get more beautiful every time he sees me (he’s just being kind) or that I’m aging like wine.  The interesting part is that I don’t think I’ve changed that much physically, other than looking like an emaciated old fart wearing kid’s clothing.  What has changed is how I feel about myself.  I’m more confident in my own skin (read: I don’t give a fuck anymore) and that shows in the way I interact with people.

I was going somewhere with this…oh, right, a few of these friends tried to step out of the friend zone and a few of them made it past before I got married.  The problem with dating friends is, what do you do when it’s over?  Do you remain friends?  Or do you both cease to exist to one another?  In my case, we still talk occasionally.  And in the case of one friend, who has always been a friend – nothing more, he wishes that we lived in an alternate Universe where the stars perfectly align for our lives to merge.  It’s difficult for him to differentiate the love he has for me as a friend, versus the love he would have for someone he wants to spend his life with.  To me, the differences aren’t subtle.  I do love my friends.  A ton.  I also realize that what I have with MC is something stronger despite the lack of intimacy (as I mentioned previously, he doesn’t feel this way).

I know I’ve already talked this to death, so I apologize.

In light of this marital crisis/MC post-near death, mid-life crisis, I wasn’t looking for advice on how to handle the situation.  I’ve got that covered.  What I wanted was outside perspective of what I might or might not be doing that is contributing to this problem.  I’m always looking to improve myself.  I can look back a decade ago and see how far I’ve come and I hope the same thing happens ten years from now – that I’ve evolved and have become a better version of myself.

I rallied the troops, a combination of exes and friends, explained the situation and asked what their take is.  What I got wasn’t constructive criticism so much as it was them telling me things like…

“He’s fucking her.  Leave him.”

“Why do you put up with his shit?  He’s such an asshole.”

“You should beat him with a shovel.”

The one decent piece of input I got from the dude I had amazing chemistry with was that yes, sex and intimacy are very important in long-term relationships.  He can understand why it’s a point of contention, but at the same time, he also knows that I can’t so there really isn’t a good solution, other than MC figuring out if he can live with that.  Again, it’s on him.

Another thing includes him being dissatisfied with the way I dress, but he was completely aware when he married me, that I’m not girly.  It’s not part of who I am.  I’m by no means androgynous, but I also don’t spend hours picking out clothing or making myself look like someone else.  I’ll wear a dress for special occasions and that’s my limit.  I used the term ‘low maintenance’ in the past.  Unfortunately, that no longer applies thanks to all of my health shit.  I have to carry a pharmacy and a traveling medical supply store wherever I go.  There’s no such thing as living out of a backpack for a week anymore, damn it.

The main thing I learned by talking to these people, was that their perspectives are biased because I broke up with them, so of course, they’re going to tell me things they think I might want to hear since those relationships ended on good terms and I have to wonder what their motives are.  Regardless, it was nice to talk with them.

After all of that, I came to the conclusion that this is simply a case of MC blaming me for his depression because he doesn’t want to be held accountable.  Being accountable would mean putting effort into modifying the way he looks at the world and his behaviors.  That’s not easy and, at this point, the easy way is the only way he wants to go because everything is so fucked up and difficult in his situation.  I can’t deny that my health has an impact on him.  If it didn’t, that would be a bad thing.  Still, that’s on him to learn how to cope with the situation.  I want to help him with it, and I continually tell him that I’m here for him.  It’s true.  If I were emotionally unavailable, that would be one thing, but I’m not.  He may perceive it that way as a result of shutting me out, but that’s a skewed perception.

He needs to talk to me about everything, especially if it’s about our relationship.  If there’s a problem and I’m unaware of what that problem is (even though I can tell he’s conflicted), I can’t help him.

We did talk, and then we talked again last night after I had some time to think and reset my willingness to take on all of the blame.  I gave him my input that I don’t believe looking outward for happiness is ever going to work for him.  It will probably help if he addresses his depression which is likely chemical at this point, instead of attempting to point fingers.

No one can make him happy.  It does come from within as corny as it sounds.  A person can augment his happiness (or misery), but if he isn’t ‘happy’ when he strips away all of the external noise, nothing will help.  He’ll continue going through the same cycles indefinitely.  I’ll always be responsible for dealing with my own mental demons in order to make myself a decent human and it’s only fair to both of us that he does the same.  Even if we go our separate ways, he owes it to himself.

 

Casualty of chronic illness

One sad yet fortunate thing about life is that no one makes it out alive.  There’s an end waiting for everyone.  The only person I can count on is myself.  My happiness and self-value are my responsibilities.  I can’t expect someone else to elevate me because if they were to leave, where would I be?

I’ve been urging MC to consider going to counseling with me again since he returned from the other side of the planet after the two of us spent a year apart.  I felt a fracture in our relationship caused by a few different things – most impactful was that my health had gotten worse.  Yes, he was lonely since he was no longer living in a dorm with several other people.  Yes, he forgot that I’m his equal, and not just a problem to solve.  Most importantly, he forgot all of those things that made us strong again as a unit after several months of counseling.

I’m a fan of tackling problems before they become crises and this most definitely includes a brush-up course with a mental health professional on how to coexist successfully again.  How to be interdependent on one another while still maintaining the things that make us individuals – which mostly means solving problems and making decisions together by bringing our unique strengths into the fold.

Somehow, he started to see me as a sick person who couldn’t be trusted to think clearly so he started shutting me out.  It wasn’t immediate so much as it was a slow decline over the past couple of years that brought us to the point we’re at today.  He has completely shut me out of his life and found what he has been missing in our relationship in other women.  He invests all of his time and energy into these relationships so, at the end of the day, there’s nothing left for me.  Whether or not he has dipped his stick where it doesn’t belong, I don’t know.  I don’t want to know.  What I do know is how much it hurts to continue trying to pick up the pieces of our marriage and glue them back together when there’s only one willing participant; me.

It hurts that I’m not enough for him when I spend so much time convincing myself that I’m doing the best that I can – and I am doing the best that I can.  I’ve had to sacrifice a great number of things because of my illness and I’ve had to figure out how to adapt to the changes without turning into a completely miserable git.  Knowing how much I’ve had to give up, how much I’ve had to change simply to keep myself away from thinking suicide is the only answer, is it fair to ask him to do the same?  To accept me as I am and to give up things he isn’t sure he can have a relationship without?

When I say he’s giving up things, I mean sex.  He can’t have a relationship without sex, but he can’t have sex because his porn addiction has given him a raging case of ED when the real thing is offered to him.  He has a dick, therefore it makes sense that sex is the epicenter of his Universe (along with himself (and sex with himself)).  I’ve been in too much pain and have had zero energy for years so, in the rare event that I would do it as a selfless act, he said because I didn’t enjoy it, he couldn’t enjoy it – that’s why he had ‘problems’.  Really?  Maybe if he had done something besides lay there, it would have been more enjoyable!  Yep, everything is my fault.  Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.  I may as well spare myself the pain and suffering and claim that I’m asexual, which I believe I am now.

Beyond that, I haven’t been able to talk to him in months.  He isn’t interested in anything I have to say about the books I’m reading, the shows I’m watching, or the stupid shit people do (as read on the news), what my friends are up to.  Essentially, it’s a complete disinterest in all things Kara.  Most of all, he doesn’t want to hear anything about how I’m feeling.  He doesn’t want me to think aloud about medications or theories.  I’m left forcing myself to put a smile on my face and act like everything is fine when I’d much rather being crying because I feel so awful.  It takes a senseless amount of energy to fake it, as most people with chronic illness know.  I’ve found that in the one place I should be allowed to be myself, it’s not okay.  It’s not okay to be human.  It’s not okay to verbalize my pain, even briefly.  It’s not okay to say I’m not okay.

He called me at 11 pm last night, hours after he was supposed to be home to let me know he was out with a “friend”.  This friend was a woman he met at the gym.  They walked the trails for so many hours that his legs chapped and his feet blistered open.  They talked and he told her his entire life story.  He told her how unhappy he is in his marriage.  That he can’t have what he wants with me, that his life is incomplete.  He said more to this woman in four hours than he has said to me in two years.  Luckily, she wasn’t an idiot.  She had uterine cancer a few years ago and knows what it is to be sick and there are certain things we don’t have control over.  Shit, he should know what it is to not feel well – he’s still recovering from open-heart surgery!  He told her about our marital counseling with a tiny, angry Greek woman and it was this woman’s suggestion, maybe it’s time we go back to counseling, that actually made him consider it.

I’m glad she said it, but I wonder why he’s willing to listen to an almost complete stranger about this stuff but he refuses to consider anything I say or suggest.  It has always been this way with him.  It’s almost as though I don’t exist on the same plane as him.  That he has me boxed up as a pile of junk in his mind that he can step around and ignore.

Even after all of the critical thinking I’ve done about him as a person and being fully aware that he’ll be unhappy in any situation given enough time (the grass looks greener elsewhere), I still feel that I’m the problem.  An outlier who can be cut out of the picture as a way to improve the lives of everyone she’s connected to.  I jump to this conclusion based on my fucked up logic.  Emotion doesn’t come into play until I realize how fucked up it is that I automatically go there without a seriously depressed mood preceding it.

Is it worth it?  Knowing that, given enough time, we’ll automatically slide back to this relationship dynamic even if we do patch things up with therapy?  I’ll never be enough for him.  No one will.  In sickness and in health doesn’t apply to some men when they speak their vows because they aren’t natural caregivers.  Marriage is difficult enough when two people aren’t having major health problems.  I know I’m going to lose him to my autoimmune clusterfuck eventually – because this will be with me until I die – so maybe I should stop delaying the inevitable.  Marriage is a casualty of chronic illness.  Maybe I should be in a place where doing the best that I can IS good enough instead of constantly beating myself up over uncontrollable circumstances.

If I didn’t love him, this would all be much easier to handle.

 

Hope

“Despair can come from deep grief, but it can also be a defense against the risks of bitter disappointment and shattering heartbreak. Resignation and cynicism are easier, more self-soothing postures that do not require the raw vulnerability and tragic risk of hope.  To choose hope is to step firmly forward into the howling wind, baring one’s chest to the elements, knowing that, in time, the storm will pass.” ~Desmond Tutu