My anxiety cure-all

It’s so easy to focus attention on the bad stuff that happens in a relationship – disagreements or concerns that you have with your partner, times that you feel misunderstood or under-appreciated by them, those kinds of things. This post is about none of that.

This post is a declaration of how loved I feel, and how much love I feel. Things have been a bit, well, average (at a stretch) for me over the last couple of months. Friday was a particularly shitty day. I was heading home to catch up on the Bachelorette, knowing my lover had a late meeting and wouldn’t be home until much later in the evening. He hadn’t known how spectacularly bad my day had been when he left the house, he just did this because he knew I’d appreciate it:

(One of my favourite snacks, left for me to discover when I got home.)

We spent yesterday getting drunk and talking about moving to a different country together.

We explored a house of mirrors together this afternoon when he was done with his work.

And I spent almost no time this weekend stressing about my return to work tomorrow. There was too much laughing, chatting, and appreciating his company to get stuck in an anxiety loop.

My life is infinitely better just for having him in it. The stress and the frustration of my worklife is still there, but it is dulled out by being to have sock fights for no reason whatsoever, and by being able to joke about which stranger we’d most like to push into the river, and by knowing that it doesn’t matter what else happens in my life, I have access to the biggest, warmest, most comforting hugs in the world.

Fuck, I love this man.

The problem with the princess bloggers of today

In relation to sharing experiences with friends (or blog-readers), when does an issue stop being a complaint and start becoming a ploy for victim status? Genuine question.

I’m tired of hearing variations of “I do what I have always done and they do what they have always done, in spite of the fact that I’m a good person and deserve better than what I’m getting!” Like, harden up and take ownership for the drama you create in your own life*.

I’m guessing venting about something one or two times is not the same thing as trying to position yourself as a victim / avoiding taking ownership for your own part in your life’s dramas. But three times? Four? With references to and additions to the original vent?

Here’s me, waving my arms from up on my soapbox, imploring you to either do something about what’s bothering you or shut the hell up about it. At some point, it becomes clear that you’re not looking to change what’s happening and instead you’re either seeking or expressing sympathy for the shit you feel has been unfairly heaped on you. Boring.

I was going to say there’s nothing worse, but playing the victim when people call you out on setting yourself up as a victim (cue the “People keep assuming / making judgements about me / making judgements about a situation they obviously don’t understand” lines) is pretty bullshit too.

This is a complaint. And possibly a call to action. I need to find some less “Woe is me” lady bloggers to appreciate. Recommendations always welcome.

*Post written in the midst of an ongoing bout of insomnia. Excuse the lack of concern for other people’s pouty expressions or assorted other takes on tantrumming. Plus, some people should get a lot less coddling. Just sayin’.

Australians all(,) let us rejoice

Australia is in the midst of a postal survey which, for the uninformed, is a bullshit hurdle in the path of marriage equality. Everyone who has enrolled to vote and has ensured that their voting details are up to date will get a piece of paper and a reply paid envelope in the mail. The piece of paper will have a question printed on it:

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

Those who receive the piece of paper can choose whether or not to reply. The options for reply are limited: participants can elect to check either one of two boxes – Yes or No.

Sounds simple enough, but there’s more to this process than meets the eye.

That’s a fairly basic summary of what’s been going on, and an indication of what’s expected to continue for a while yet.

I was a little na├»ve when this process began. I identify as queer but am currently in a relationship with a cis male – I expected that might protect me at least a little from the impact of the No campaign. I’m also quite comfortable in who I am and, though I’ve been feeling a little isolated from the queer community since entering into this relationship (my own doing), I have access to an incredibly large and supportive community of people for support and solidarity purposes.

But this survey has impacted me deeply. Hearing people (even people I love or respect) say that people are entitled to different opinions – as if equality in any form is something that it is okay to have opinions about! – is a punch in the heart. Being subjected to hateful, hurtful, and irrelevant No advertising during the season finale of the fucking Bachelor – a show about a dude who selects his apparent soul mate from a heap of women who compete both for his attention and affections in hopes that reality TV will provide them with an engagement / marriage after just a handful of contrived dates, aka the ultimate in heterosexual fucking privilege – is devastating. And having my social media feeds inundated with vitriolic or ignorant posts by people who should know better (including but not limited to teachers, doctors, activists, and ministers of religion) makes me realise that a Yes result is anything but guaranteed – and that kills.

This is a matter of equality. It shouldn’t be a question posed to the general public, it should be something that the government of the country recognises as both right and necessary. I have heard more people complain about receiving a text message urging them to vote Yes than I have heard people expressing disappointment in the government or disgust at the No campaign.

I am disgusted. I am embarrassed. I am hurt. And I am angry.

And I am not currently in a relationship that is directly impacted by this bullshit survey.

With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair

If it weren’t for you meddling hairs

I hate hair in my face during sex. Hate it. And it took my lover’s attempt to be funny during this morning’s (failed) romp for me to realise how much I hate it.

I hate it enough to go from super keen to nope, no way, in a matter of moments.

I hate it enough to have only ever dated people whose hair was shorter than my own (save for my first boyfriend who, let’s face it, was an experiment that I have never felt the need to replicate).

I hate it enough to be seriously considering shaving the other side of my head just so that I don’t have to deal with errant hairs in my face during sex ever again.

On second thoughts, the word hate doesn’t accurately describe my feelings. I fucking despise hair in my face during sex.

Purposely pushing hair onto my face while we fuck? Dick move.

A niggle at bedtime

Let me preface this with I don’t think my lover is having an affair.

There’s been a niggle in the back of my mind for a day or so, though I haven’t had any clue what’s prompted it. Something’s been off, but I don’t know what.

I was in bed next to my lover and attempting to drift off about half an hour ago. Slowly, lines began to form in my mind.

He picked me up from work on Friday, which is an anomaly but we’d made plans for dinner because we hadn’t expected to see each other since Tuesday morning (he was away for work, but we’d ended up seeing each other on Wednesday night). He was on the phone when I got into the car, and I’d gotten the impression that he’d wanted me to be quiet even before I got in (he gets work calls at all hours so I’d assumed it was a work thing).

I got in to the car quietly and waited for him to finish his call, which was being conducted on speaker through the car stereo. Because of that, I could see the name of the person he was talking to on his stereo’s display – a female friend who he mentioned a couple of times when we first got together, but hasn’t mentioned since. In spite of the lack of mention, I know they’re in touch reasonably often because I read things around me, usually without meaning or trying to. He gets a message on WhatsApp when I can see the phone, and I’ll usually notice who it’s from. I try not to read messages, but I’ll admit to noticing that they sign off their messages with xx.

I trust him. I assume they have gone through something deeply personal and there’s a closeness there that I’m not yet privy to. So far not an issue. (Ending messages with kisses is not something that I do, or have ever done, outside of this relationship. It’s weird for me that people do it.)

Back to the car: I keep quiet, the conversation concludes and she says something like “I’ll meet you at yours at 9.” I don’t notice at the time, but he doesn’t let her know that I’ve gotten into the car. He usually lets friends know I’m in the car (and able to hear what they’re saying) so that seems odd to me now. I assume she knows I exist, but I don’t know for certain that she does.

Conversation over, and we start talking about our day, the things he’s been doing during his week, general catch up stuff. Then he starts listing off what he’s got planned for the next week. No mention of the catch up with the friend he’d been talking to. Noted.

Two other things to mention:

  • He’d recently received a message from a different female friend, which I’d noticed had been signed with kisses as well. All of his messages to me end with kisses and, largely because of that, most of mine to him do as well. Those times that my messages haven’t included kisses have inspired “what’s wrong?” types of conversations.
  • I once dated a girl who was, well, dodgy as fuck. I was at uni at the time and spending most of my nights at her place. One morning, I got up, went to uni, discovered my day’s lectures were fairly uninspiring, and decided to go home (her place) early. I walked in and found another girl sitting on our bed, talking to her. The other girl was clothed. The girl I was dating wasn’t. It wasn’t post-coital, but something was off. Apparently they’d been catching up regularly “just to talk.” I don’t know when, but they did end up hooking up while I was still with DAF. Now, well, I like to know if people are coming in to where I live. I don’t want to experience any more of those kinds of surprises.

Jump forward to me in bed with lines forming. Kisses at the end of messages grabs me suddenly. I have never particularly liked it, but I like it even less now that I know he does it regularly with female contacts. I identify as genderqueer. This wouldn’t be so upsetting if he signs messages to male friends with kisses, but he doesn’t. He has lumped me in with the other women he knows. First of all, fuck off. I do not identify as female, and this feels like part of me has been forgotten or glossed over. Second of all, fuck right off. He has lumped me in with the other women he knows, like I am no different to any of them. If he dies tomorrow and someone goes through his phone messages to determine something about his life, my messages do not stand out from any of the others. More importantly, his messages to me do not stand out either. Finally, FUCK RIGHT OFF. Who in their right fucking minds thinks it’s appropriate to sign messages to only their female friends with kisses? What does that say about what he thinks about women? What the actual fucking hell?! I’m concerned that he treats men and women differently, and that he thinks this is okay.

I roll over, wake him, ask him if we can please stop signing our text messages with kisses. I do not articulate all of these reasons, but I let him know that I know he does it with his female friends and it makes me uncomfortable.

Now that some context has been provided, back to the statement at the start of this post. I don’t think my lover is having an affair. That statement stands, though if I was going through this with anyone else I’d probably have serious concerns. It doesn’t look good.

My lover has a history of being controlled in relationships. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that’s contributing to what’s going on in relation to the friend he’s catching up with (maybe regularly?) but no longer mentioning. He’s quite possibly concerned about how I’m going to react, so he’s keeping it to himself.

That explanation works to a certain point for me. I suspect there might be more to this particular friendship, potentially in the form of flirting that he appreciates and is not comfortable divulging to me or that he doesn’t want to stop. It’s weird I don’t hear about this person at all anymore, even though they communicate regularly and she has potentially even been to my home. It seems like there is more to know here.

And I think that’s the root cause of the niggle. Something’s not quite right. There’s something that’s not being communicated with me, I suspect. It might be nothing, but if it’s nothing then why does he never mention this person?

The first card

Last night, my lover and I went out to dinner at one of our favourite places to get food delivered from. On the way in, we noticed an adult shop right beside the restaurant.

After dinner, we wandered in. Right inside the entrance was a selection of the kinds of things that might appeal for hen’s night or joke gifts, including cock straws and lollipops, sex position card decks, those kinds of things. And that’s where we found this:

Bedroom commands. Heterocentric, school boy-esque commands, sure, but suggestions that could be kind of fun. At least, that’s what we were hoping when we decided to buy them.

Skip forward to a few hours later, and my lover decided to play a card. Not just any card. No, he decided to play this card:

I had to really strongly encourage him to specify what his favourite sex act is (in my mind, the point of these cards is to encourage people to be more verbal with their sexual wants and needs… handing me the card and telling me that I can probably guess what his favourite sex act is just wasn’t going to cut it!).

Blow job. Blindfolded. Done.

New goal: work our way through the deck. Even the cards that lack appeal. At the very least it could help with getting back on track sexually. I’m hoping it gives us some good stories, too.

Making sense of the funk

We finally spoke about the weirdness. No longer the, “Uhm, so, like, we’re not having sex anymore and it’s getting weird and I’m worried this is going to become a repeat of my last (sexless) relationship” chat, although we did start there. We moved on to “talking won’t fix it” / “is now the time to break up?” and then finally “it feels like this is a symptom of something else not being right between us, but I don’t know what.”

We both acknowledged that it’s been just over a month of weirdness – some of that was excused at the time by house and dog sitting duties, but we considered that maybe those things were just excuses and not actually the reasons why sex pretty much just stopped. And then my lover said something that changed the tone and direction of the conversation:

He said that he thought we were comfortable almost to the point of routine, and then he followed up with, “You finish work, you come home, I make dinner, we sit on the couch and watch TV, not just one episode but four or five, and then we get really tired and go to bed.”

I heard: I don’t get any time to myself. I wake up beside this man, I go to work, I come straight home, and I spend all of my evenings with him. Weekends at the moment are filled with work, chores, and more time with my lover. Those few brief hours I do get to myself aren’t restful because they’re filled with other things I need to be doing.

This little introvert needs some time away from everything to be able to relax, unwind, and be the best version of herself.

And suddenly the conversation changed. My lover, also an introvert, admitted to immediately feeling better. This was understandable, and this could be fixed.

I don’t know yet how I’m going to take time for myself, what I can include in my day to help me recharge after having been on for most of it, but it’s my goal to come up with something simple and maintainable. (Any ideas?)

For now though, I’m feeling better. My lover appears to be feeling better. And he was a little late getting to the gym this morning because our sex life appears to be improving too.

The disappearing dirty

A lot of people do this thing where they get clingy if they feel like something’s not working in their relationship. Not me. I back up a bit, and that continues until I either move beyond the perceived issue or withdraw completely.

As always, there’s a reason for this admission. My last post mentioned a deterioration in the frequency my lover and I were having sex. That’s continued, which sucks, but it’s stopped being an issue and has started becoming a problem. I tried starting something the other night and he said no (his prerogative), citing tiredness as the reason but then admitting that he was scared. We talked and I felt okay after we’d discussed what happened and why, agreeing on a course of action, but I feel less okay now.

This is a big deal. I can feel myself wanting to spend less time with him, and that’s not ideal. I caught myself drawing a line in the (imaginary) sand this morning – suddenly remembering drawing imaginary lines was something I did in my last relationship and that it was probably the strongest indication I had that the relationship was nearing its end.

I am feeling… invisible. Scared. Tired. Alone. Lonely.

But invisible most of all.

Chaos and the deterioration of action

There has been a bit of time since I last posted. Since my last post, I applied for and found work elsewhere, quit my job, got sick, and agreed to dog-sit for an unspecified period of time. The usual chaos.

It’s my last week at the old job this week. Part of me feels sad for going, but for the most part I’m really excited about what it’s going to mean for the people I’m leaving behind. Some clever restructuring has created some exciting opportunities for my colleagues, and there’s some potential for me still being involved in a consultancy role. I feel really good about how I’ve left there, and I’m confident that my decision to leave will be beneficial for the company, if not immediately then certainly not too far in the future.

The new job is exciting because it involves challenges that I am incredibly skilled at attacking, and because there is a great deal of possibility for my professional growth as well. The people seem lovely, which matters a lot, though I’m starting to experience the usual anxiety that accompanies my encountering unfamiliar people and environments. Hopefully that’ll pass quickly.

The getting sick and dog-sitting experiences have had an incredible impact not just on my sex life but on intimacy with my lover as well. We cuddled on the couch last night and I suddenly realised it had been a while since we’d done that. Yes, I miss his cock and his kisses, but gods, I miss his presence and our spontaneous affection more.

I’m out of state next weekend – potentially our first dog and illness free weekend for a while – and I’m a bit disappointed not to have an easy weekend with my lover instead. I’m hopeful we spend at least some of the following weekend making up for our current lack of sex (we’re averaging about once a week at the moment, and it feels like even longer in between). I vote for a shared visit to an adult store sometime soon!