Although I continue to call my boyfriend Papa Bear for the purposes of continuity on the blog, he is not my “Daddy” anymore. He hasn’t had that title for months. When we began dating and I first asked him to consider the role, we both knew it would be experimental. He had no experience, and I’d had nothing but bad experiences. What we realized several months ago, is that he cannot have that place in my life. It’s a personality thing, and also a circumstances thing.
He is protective and he is loving, but he is not strict. It’s hard for him to tell me I’m not allowed another drink, when he knows that I am drinking because I’m in pain. It’s hard for him to tell me I can’t have random sex, because it’s hard for him to know if he’s saying it to protect me, or to protect himself. One thing he has been working on–reading books about, and has made an appointment with a therapist about–is his people pleasing. He has a very hard time saying no.
That is why, even if he were single, he would not be able to be my Daddy. But combined with the fact that he is married, and The Wifey’s personality and needs, it is just impossible. People pleasing hurts everyone. He cannot be devoted to being there for me when I need him, when at any point The Wifey may simply tell him that he is not allowed to be.
He may stand up to her one day (as he has, and continues to do), but if he wants to maintain a relationship with her, he cannot always tell her no. It hurts him deeply to disappoint her. He feels that it is his job to make her happy. That is something they are working through together, painfully and inch by inch, but that means that I know I can’t depend on him to comfort me or talk me down or hold me at any given time. That doesn’t mean he never does those things–he does, of course–but if I can’t count on it, then he can’t be my Daddy.
I don’t feel like this has affected my identity as a baby girl very much. I still curl up with my adult colouring book and a plate of cookies. I still play. I still buy myself kids’ shows on DVD. I don’t know if I need a Daddy. I don’t feel like I do. I feel like I need love and support and a listening ear and good advice and people to spend time with.
This week I went out with a baby girl friend. We had mexican food and sangria, and then went to a haunted house. We held hands the whole time and laughed at how scared we were. When she got home, she texted that she was in bed with her blanket and stuffies. It is awesome to have someone to be little with.
I’m exhausted. Its the time of year when it stays light out until 10 o’clock at night, and my brain cannot convince itself to get a decent sleep under these conditions. The kids’ bedtimes have already been pushed back by an hour and a half, because they cannot sleep when it appears to be the middle of the day, which means even less precious downtime for me.
I am getting over the flu. I have cramps. My children’s bickering is giving me a headache. The Husband and I cannot seem to patch together a functional relationship. He is overworked and underpaid and stressed out and depressed. I am emotional and sick and tired lonely. Whenever we try to have a conversation with each other, we either get interrupted by shrieking children, or we end up getting our wires crossed. He does not know how to communicate his needs. He was raised to put himself last. As such, it is nearly impossible for me to get him to agree to take time to himself. He feels like he has no worth (due to his inability to find a decent paying job), and therefore that he does not deserve self-care, or to be taken care of.
I have tried to explain to him that he is going to burn out completely and be no use to anyone if he doesn’t take care of himself, but he won’t listen. We have had screaming matches over me trying to convince him to just STOP DOING HOUSEWORK and STOP OCCUPYING THE KIDS and go do something for himself. I wonder if martyrdom is a form of self-harm? Is he trying to run himself into the ground to punish himself for not having a career yet? I’d ask him, but he’d just say he doesn’t know. Getting him to open up about his feelings is like pulling teeth. He doesn’t like to talk about how shitty he feels. It kills me.
I don’t feel close to him, so when he tries to be there for me, I brush him off. I don’t know how to talk to him about my feelings when he is constantly tense and agitated. The best we can do is, on the nights when he isn’t working, open a bottle of wine, and laugh and talk about things that don’t have to do with our lives. I know everything would change if he could just catch a break, work-wise. And I hate to admit it, but I’m getting frustrated.
I don’t understand. He is smart. He is good looking. He is educated. He has amazing references. Why can’t he find any sort of career? It hurts me for him, and it hurts me for our family because frankly we could use the money. But more than that, its his self esteem. Its hard to be a good lover when your self-esteem is in shreds.
Tonight he insisted on taking the kids out for me. I had horrible cramps and was crying from other emotional garbage. He had planned on taking a bike ride when I got home from work, but decided he’d occupy the kids for me instead. I couldn’t convince him otherwise. So while he did that, I did the dishes and took out the garbage–his chores. When he came in I was washing the dishes and crying. He asked why I wasn’t resting. I told him that this is the only thing I can actually do to show him that I love him. Lessening his load a little bit. He thanked me and gave me a lingering hug. How sad is it that that is literally ALL I can do for him?
He takes the kids out for me. I clean the house for him. Is this what relationships boil down to when you have little ones? I would kill for an in-law within an hour of us to take them once in awhile. I would blow the first executive to offer him an office job so he wouldn’t have to work nights.
Its been a few weeks since Papa Bear and I decided to see each other less often, in order to focus on quality of time over quantity. I wish I could say its been going great, but actually, I just don’t know how its going to work yet. It seems we picked precisely the wrong time to change things.
The first Saturday of our new schedule, I was sick. Last Saturday I had a training for work all day, and Papa Bear had guests in from out of town. I saw him for maybe 45 minutes when he gave me a ride home from work and we stopped for an ice cream sundae. I did see him on Sunday for a couple of hours in the afternoon. This Saturday I also have a training, but will be able to see Papa Bear in the evening, and then we are going to a concert on Sunday.
I have been terribly lonely. There were some changes at work, so I am no longer working in the same part of our center as where I started. I’m super sad about that. I clicked really well with a lot of my co-workers in my old building, and though I get along fine with the people in my new one, its not the same. My new supervisor is also really high strung and unable to just go with the flow and trust us to do our jobs well, so its stressful. It’s like living under a microscope. It makes me really sad because I used to LOVE my job and now I feel like its only okay. I know that ultimately I’m there to earn a paycheck, and it could obviously be a lot worse, but I just wish she would chill the fuck out and not be such a buzz-kill. Our field is very relationships based and its hard to form strong relationships when you’re constantly looking over your shoulder. Sigh.
I was also becoming friends with people in my old building, and I don’t think I’d ever hang out with anyone in my new building outside of work. It almost feels like its back to the drawing board, friend-wise. I know I can still hang out with my other co-workers, but it’ll take more effort to feel like we’re still connected since we don’t see each other every day. I guess its worth a try, though.
I do know that I need to build other relationships that don’t revolve around sex and romance. I guess I feel like my need for companionship is most easily met through lovers, since they seem to be easier to find than platonic friends. There should be an OkCupid for friendships. OkBestie.com?
I have been crying a lot over the past few days. I feel like the little in me is back at the surface. I feel alone and then all of a sudden I’m crying in the bathroom and I acutely recall what it was like to be five years old. I came home crying from kindergarten one day, because the older kids on the bus had been mean to me.
I remember being the new kid in my 5th grade class, sitting with my head down on my desk at recess because no one wanted to be my friend.
Being picked on in Jr. High.
Not being invited to the party in high school.
So much pain, all rolled up in rejection and the need to belong.
I never outgrew those girls. I still carry them with me. When I feel alone, I don’t just feel the pain I’m experiencing right now–I feel the combined swell of every time in my entire life that I was ever on the outside.
That is a huge part of being little, for me. That I haven’t really changed–just collected more layers. I’m still five. Still ten. Still twelve.
The Husband had tonight off. So even though it wasn’t our scheduled day, Papa Bear offered to come take me for a drive. He knew I was hurting and really needed to just be held and listened to. We drove out into the country, cuddled in the back of the car (I like doing this for some reason–maybe the small space makes me feel safe), and I just talked and cried. He listened and wiped my tears and held me.
Afterwards he bought me dinner, and I felt a little better.
I’m hoping I’m all cried out, at least for now.