Only women bleed (unless hormones)

After a few months of stress and anxiety relating to the IUD situation, the bastard thing was finally removed today. The doctor waved it around in victory with an excited gleam in her eye: she expressed far better than I could what a relief it was to have gotten it out.

I had the Implanon removed a couple of weeks ago as well. It was far less dramatic an extraction, but it has resulted in an additional two scars on the underside of my arm. I’ve noticed a couple of side effects of the sudden decrease in hormones coursing through my system, and suspect I might experience a few more in the coming weeks. Boo.

What does this all mean? Well, apparently my fertility should return to whatever is normal for me sometime quite soon. That certainly makes the whole pregnancy thing a little more possible. I’m in my late 30’s so it’s kind of a now or never deal, though I’ve never been pregnant so there’s also a chance that now could also be the time that I find out that never is the reality.

Outside of that, I am looking forward (uh…) to getting my period again, and to bleeding on and off for a while as my body adjusts to being able to bleed again. Should be fun.

In related news: if I could do the life thing all over again, I think I’d want to be a dude.

People only get away with what I let them get away with, and other things I know to be true

I’d be pretty easy to cheat on, I think. I don’t know how I feel about that. Part of me reckons it’s a good thing, I’m pretty trusting, I don’t need to know all the details when you’re out late unexpectedly or messaging someone else at odd hours – there is literally no skill involved in deceiving me so why not just be honest? Another part of me is not so sure, people in general are pretty deceitful, maybe making it so easy to get away with cheating on me means that I potentially just attract really lazy partners.

I’m not sure where I’m headed with this post. I don’t think it’s actually about being cheated on.

I remember being told things at the start of the relationship. Part of it was related to having to schedule time together – “I have a meeting on Wednesday, and I’m going to the gym on Thursday. How about if we catch up on Friday?” Oh yes, the joys of not living together. Now, not so much with the details. I know he’s busy every night but I have little to no clue with what. Last night he went to a pub to watch a choir performance in a different part of the state. I didn’t actually piece all of that together until he got home.

Should I ask questions? I don’t know. I’m interested to know how he spends his time, but I’m not interested in having to pull the information from him. I miss the reassurance of having him tell me what’s going on in his life without needing me to drill him for the details. I miss having him want to tell me about his life. Maybe he misses me asking questions? I don’t think I’m asking fewer questions in relation to how much is being shared, though.

He’s on a boat tonight. Maybe no cell service. I expected him home by now. I expected him home a couple of hours ago. Maybe plans have changed and I haven’t been updated. Maybe not, but changes of plans without updates are becoming a thing. I don’t know when “does not freak out when I hang out with my friends” became “does not need to be communicated with.”

I am a little sour tonight. I’m a little bit hoping he is cheating on me: at least then he has a reason for choosing not to share his world with me. A shitty reason, sure, but something other than “I didn’t think about how this could affect most of the people in the world you.”

One month reduced to a few short paragraphs

A whole month without posting. Let me summarise what you’ve missed:

First stage of dental implant surgery. High doses of multiple antibiotics. Thrush. Facial swelling. A bit of pain.

Tonsillitis. More antibiotics. A fairly strong case of oral thrush. Three weeks of pain / discomfort. General exhaustion.

Very little sex. Like, none. Having a banged up face and a pervasive fungal infection does have a bit of an impact on the ability to engage in action.

Today: an appointment with my endocrinologist this morning. She’s given the thumbs up to me starting to try to get pregnant. Apparently (and surprisingly) I am a rockstar at pump-free diabetes management. Good to know.

An appointment with a gynaecologist this afternoon. There’s that whole IUD-with-no-visible-threads thing to get taken care of, and then an Implanon to remove. I do not expect that one or both of these issues can be dealt with today, but I am hopeful it won’t be long until these are no longer things that I am managing.

Not a very sexy update, I know, but you’ll hopefully let that slide.

Red flags

This post is inspired by this list of 8 red flags to watch out for when beginning to date someone. FYI, I agree with the list. I also have a couple of additional items to add, based on my experiences.

For those not wanting to click the link, the red flags identified in the article are:

  • Justifying their bad behaviour
  • Their not talking through issues
  • Consistently having your boundaries tested
  • Their sense of entitlement
  • Your gut feeling that something’s not right
  • Everything is about them
  • The way they speak about their exes
  • They regularly deny, criticise, or dismiss you

These all sit pretty well with me, but I don’t think the list includes everything it needs to. I would add:

Saying something different to you compared to what they say to others. This is a bit of a tricky one. My lover, for example, partakes in extreme compartmentalising. There is the professional him, the social him, the professional-social him, and the him that I get to see. He presents himself slightly differently depending on the context, but I don’t think what he says (or what he means) is context-dependent. One of my exes – a cis-female who I dated for a few years – used to plan our wedding in talks with me and then argue against same sex marriage in conversations with friends. That was both confusing and hurtful. I didn’t know what she actually believed, and I had trouble trusting the things she said as a result. Red flag!

Feeling tired after spending time with them. No, not “We’ve done so much together and I really need to sleep” tired. More “Hanging out with you is fucking exhausting” tired. Conversations are an effort. You’re fighting to make yourself understood. There’s not enough laughter or enjoyment. Spending time with them is an effort. Red flag!

What have I missed? What are your red flags when you start dating someone?

When hormones go bad / how Dirty got her groove back

It has been a while since I was supposed to get the IUD removed. I’ve booked an appointment with a different gynecologist to hopefully get it taken care of, but the earliest appointment I could get was in March.

In the meantime, I have both an IUD and Implanon – both are hormonal forms of contraceptive, so I’ve been basically doubling down on hormones since the first week of December. On the upside, risk of pregnancy is pretty minimal. On the downside, OHMYFUCKINGGODS THE HORMONES.

Libido? Virtually non-existent. Mood swings? So often. Weight gain? Not sure if it’s entirely related but it’s definitely a thing. Unexpected bleeding? Seems to be dropping off. Tiredness? All of the time. Sleep? Now a mythical creature.

Basically, life has been much more of a challenge than necessary. As a result, sex has been a lot less regular (as mentioned here and here). On top of the hormones, I hadn’t been feeling 100% for a couple of months and my lover had been thoughtfully (but annoyingly) deciding not to burden me with his desire for sex. Things felt pretty miserable.

And then I read this. Sex every day for a year? Well, hell, sex a few times a month would be nice at this point. I proposed sex every day for a week to my lover. We both wanted sex. I was certainly feeling its demise. Let’s just agree to do it.

We came up with a couple of rules – it couldn’t be at the same time every day, it was still okay to say no if sex wasn’t wanted, and we each had to direct at least one of the experiences (ie. determine what was going to happen). Then we were ready to go.

After a few days, we had a chat about how things were going. We were both enjoying action, and we’d each noticed some positive things that we attributed to our improved sex life (like feeling more secure in the relationship and appreciating the anticipation of sex again). A couple of days later, we were becoming more affectionate with each other and also agreed to extending the week of action for an unspecified period of time.

It’s still early days (our week’s not up yet) but this appears to have been a successful experiment for us. At the very least, I’m feeling better and I’m pretty certain my lover is as well. And the sex? We’re having fun with it again. I didn’t realise how much I had been missing that.

Wait and see – said no emotionally intelligent person, ever

“I’ll just wait and see…”

Ladies, gentlemen, and all others reading these words, let me introduce you to one of the worst phrases in the dating and relationships world. Chances are fairly high that you’ve met before, but maybe you haven’t yet identified the sheer fuckedupedness of the phrase. Let’s try and change that.

John and Kate met online. They had a pretty good first date, both saying they’d like to see the other again. Kate tells herself she’ll wait and see how long it takes John to ask her out again, believing that will give her some kind of indication of how much he likes her. John, on the other hand, waits for Kate to organise their second date because he organised the first one.

Or how about Libby and Mike: dating for a few months when Mike’s birthday rolls around. Mike comes from a big family where all kinds of fuss is made about someone on their birthday. He doesn’t tell Libby, but he expects her to organise something special to mark the day. A day of surprises, including time with his friends and family, is his ideal. He waits and sees what she comes up with, feeling hurt when Libby’s carefully chosen gift doesn’t come close to what he was hoping for.

There are more examples where those came from, but the year’s almost over and it’s time to move on. Waiting and seeing in relationships (or potential relationships) is the 2017 equivalent of smoking to promote good health. It’s not particularly clever.

Here’s what I propose:

Move past the passive aggressive waiting and seeing that seems to be permeating the dating and relationships world, and get down with actual, genuine communication. If you want something – or if you don’t want something – articulate it. “I like you. This date has been fun. When would suit you for a second date?” is a fuckload better than waiting for someone else to contact you to organise a date that you really want.

It’s not about giving someone else the masterplan for how to get into your heart or your bed. It’s about realising that your time is precious. “Uhm, actually, I think we’d be better as friends” can hurt to hear, but it takes a lot less time and heartache than waiting for someone else to make a move that you desperately hope they will make.

Stop waiting. Love isn’t a game. You either gel with someone, or you don’t. Be honest about who you are and what you want or need, and let yourself discover if the person / people you are dating are capable of providing what will nourish you.

Let’s leave waiting and seeing in the past, where it belongs.

Is it abuse?

I read an article that discussed domestic partner violence in relation to pregnancy. Scores of women seeking advice to determine if what was happening in their lives could nestle (un)comfortably under the banner of abuse. The article didn’t really address the question, or offer a direct response. So, here… let me help:


If you ask the question, whatever prompted the asking is abuse.

If it makes you uncomfortable, if it creates feelings of self-doubt or lowers your self-esteem, if your sense of security is threatened, if you find yourself making excuses for something that feels wrong – you already know the answer.

And maybe that’s part of the reason why you asked the question.

We talk

Whenever my insecurities or anxiety prompt me to write something about the parts of my relationship that I find challenging, there is almost immediate follow up in the form of a discussion with my lover. My last post was no exception. We spoke as soon as I got home from work.

I started by sharing that I was feeling emotional distance, and letting him know that I appreciated the ways he had been helping me lately (driving me to doctors’ and medical test appointments, though I should have also mentioned that I appreciated that he had been listening to me talk about health related issues for a while too). He’s shared that he does things for people to show that he cares for them and I wanted him to know that I’d noticed him doing things to support me. I also shared that I had noticed we were touching less frequently and that when we did it sometimes felt like we were doing it to fulfill some kind of assumed expectation.

He reiterated some things that he’d shared earlier: that he was aware I am in pain and that he doesn’t want to do anything to cause further pain. “I’m not treating you with kid gloves, exactly,” he said, “I’m just…” And he paused while he seemed to be trying to find the right words.

“Not treating me like me,” I ended the sentence for him.

“Oh, well, that’s kind of shit then, isn’t it?” And it felt like that’s when we started to make sense of some of the things that had been going on but hadn’t yet been articulated.

Other takeaways from the conversation:

* My lover asked, “What do you need me to do to fix this? And what do you need us to do?” I responded honestly that I’d only been considering what I could do to fix things (and that the only thing I’d come up with was to start the conversation). I have a genuine belief that if we talk about the things that are bothering us, we are capable of figuring out the cause of any issues that we have and that, often, that will help us to resolve them.

* I asked my lover if he was okay and he responded honestly: “Not really.” He shared that he’s been worried about me and that he’s broken down about health concerns a couple of times. I understand why he hasn’t said anything to me about that, but I’m also a little disappointed. We’re the best version of us when we’re being honest about what we think and feel, even at the risk of hurting or upsetting the other person. I dislike that he’s felt it necessary to hide his concerns from me, and I’m hopeful that this is something that might change in the future.

Since the conversation, the distance I was feeling has disappeared completely. It feels weird to say but I think this is true: making myself vulnerable to my lover, and respecting when he makes himself vulnerable to me, seems to provoke quick and mostly painless resolutions to the issues we face. It’s not necessarily easy to do, but it hasn’t failed us yet.

All of the distance

A week ago, the only thing I would have said I needed was a little more (or any) action. I brought it up with my lover and he said something along the lines of knowing I wasn’t feeling the best and not wanting to do anything that would hurt or upset me. We had a quick chat about how that meant he was effectively deciding what was best for me without consulting me. We both said we wanted action and… nothing.

Last night was weird, but explainable. He had a midnight showing of Star Wars so slept for a couple of hours in the early evening. I woke him at ten, when I was preparing to go to bed, so that he could get ready to go. We said goodnight but it felt off. The kiss was short. Perfunctory. I figured he was excited about the movie, brushed it off.

And then I woke when he was climbing into bed after the movie. We kissed. Short. Perfunctory. And that felt weird. Maybe he was tired. Not wonderful, but still explainable.

And then I had a few minutes before my alarm this morning. Recognising that he was awake and wanting to reconnect, I started stroking his torso. “You don’t have to do that, you know,” he said. I was confused. “What?” Apparently I didn’t need to touch him like that because it wasn’t relaxing for him, it was turning him on.

I withdrew my hand. After a sense that something was lacking, first sexually and now emotionally, I wanted to just let him know that I was there, that he was loved, without any innuendo. This was not sexual for me.

And apparently he thought I felt I needed to do this, that it was completely sexual in nature.

I cannot remember feeling more lonely or less visible in recent times.

I could not leave the house fast enough this morning, and I am really not looking forward to going back.