Friday, September 28, 2012

What should a relationship be? AKA Me expressing my anger in an unhelpful way

I have a confession to make. I realized the other day that I was unusually angry. I mean, all the time angry. And this scared me. I'll admit, I've used PMS as an excuse for being angry before. And it's true, when my hormones are going BLASDFKJLK;ASDFK, I do get angrier quicker. But I realized I had been this crazy bitch-psycho-lady for about an entire month. And that's not PMS. So I made a pact with myself, and my boyfriend, that I would work on being happier. Not forced happy--that's no good. But I mean, not letting the little things bother me. I realized that a pair of shoes being crooked or in the wrong spot would send me over the edge.

And that's not normal.

So I started letting things slide. It's a fine line - I don't want to lower my expectations and let my boyfriend/friends get away with walking all over me. But at the same time, not every little thing that everyone says has to send me to the point of wanting to jump off a cliff with 100 lb weights attached to my arms and legs.

Alright. That worked. For a day and a half. That's nice. And it's still kind of working, though I also feel the anger brewing. During my time of being happy, I had some time to consider what a relationship should be like. I shared my anger issues with my boyfriend because I trusted him to do a few things. I trusted him to a) not judge me, b) provide me with the support I need to try to be happy and c) be extra understanding while I work through these issues. But I mean, that should happen naturally, right?

So I started thinking about what people expect from a relationship, and why people get themselves into relationships. I mean, it's counter-intuitive, right? You finally get to a point when you're thinking, okay, here I am. I can take care of myself, I'm free from my parents and other authority figures, and now I'm going to...submit myself to another person on whom I will invariably spend money, and to whom I will invariably have to account for my whereabouts, at least some of the time. Someone who will call on me in a time of trouble and whom I will have to support, either emotionally, physically, or financially (likely a combination of the three).


Companionship. Love. Those were my first two thoughts. And then, to feel important. It's human nature, to my understanding, to want to feel significant. Like we matter to someone. And in a universe as large as ours, with so many "bigger things" going on, it's really easy to want to be everything to "one" person. Okay, maybe I can't be everything to everyone, but I can at least be everything to one person, and this will make me happy. And if that works out for a while, and we want to have a kid, then I can be everything to two people. Until the kid grows up. Then it's back to one. But do you follow my train of thought here? We throw away a lot of our own stability and independence to be with someone else, trusting that they will provide an adequate blend of companionship, love, and meaning, and if that doesn't work, TO THE CURB WITH YOU.


So I've been thinking lately as to how to tell when a relationship is "good" or "bad." And my first conclusion was to take sex out of the equation. Is it necessary for a healthy relationship? Yes. Should it be a deciding factor as to whether or not the relationship is good? No. Sex is like the icing on the cake. I'm talking about judging emotions, here. So I've come to the conclusion that, if you can live for a full three days on your own, without your significant other around, and retain the same amount of happiness/contentedness/companionship (with friends/family/etc), and overall feel just as good when they're not around, it's not a relationship worth saving. And that probably sounds a little harsh. But honestly, if you're not looking forward to coming home to them every day, then what ARE you looking forward to? If you're looking forward to seeing the Starbucks guy everyday more than you're looking forward to seeing your SO, then you have a problem. (Okay, bad example, the Starbucks guy gives me free coffee. Sometimes. But still!) A relationship has to be something you want. It has to be something that you're always excited about and happy with -- not just occasionally. It has to be the highlight of your day - every day. Otherwise, you're letting things impede your chance to bond with someone with whom you claim to want to spend a significant amount of time.

And it's hard to recognize this. I can probably talk my brain in and out of this about 50 times per day. But after a period of evaluation, you have to be honest with yourself, and ask yourself those big questions. Is this what I want? Is this fair and equal to both people? Am I getting what I want, and am I giving him (or her) what he (she) wants? If not, then you have a few options, only two of which are good. You can talk about it and try to mend things up (this is a good one - this can work, but isn't guaranteed), you can break up (this is also good - if things aren't working, you're better off apart), or you can ignore the problem, and not say anything at all to your SO (this is bad - this will inevitably create an even deeper schism and eventually things will become irreparable).

So I did some honest thinking, and we talked. I'm trying to mend things, at least on my part. I want to feel important, and meaningful - two things that I don't always feel, and that oftentimes lead me to question, like I was. I think that's why I was expressing my anger in such a negative way. I was trying to sort through things, and my brain saw things that I didn't want to see. I didn't want to see the fact that I feel like I could be a fly on the wall, and disappear for a week and no one would care. I didn't want to see that sharing is nearly out of the equation, that material things are kept track of to such a degree. I didn't want to see that our relationship isn't as strong as a past relationship - despite the fact our relationship is still relatively new, and hasn't had enough time to withstand certain tests. I didn't want to see any of these things that pointed to the possibility that our relationship wasn't good -- because I want it to be good to such a degree -- so instead of confronting my issues....

I got mad.


That's crazy. But, at least I finally realized what I was doing. I realized it, and I tried to catch it, hopefully before it's "too late." And I'm working on it. And, hopefully, I have support in working on this, from my boyfriend, friends, and so on. Because honestly, being angry for an entire month is exhausting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Videogames and attention-seeking.

I figured this would be a timely post, since Borderlands 2 was released today (at midnight this morning) and several of my friends were all enthusiastic about it.

My response? Big. Fucking. Deal.

I guess my response now is a little bit bigger than "big deal." It didn't have to be, but because of something a certain someone said to me this morning, I'm all riled up about it.

Actually, two certain someones.

I'm dating a wonderful guy. I think. It's funny to say that I don't know him as well as I'd like to - I mean hell, we live together - but I find that he "hides" certain things from me. And not simple things, like having to fart (and inconspicuously stepping outside), but big ticket items, like feelings, wishes and desires.

And guess what? It hurts.

After all the learning I've done, and all the progress I've made towards being a good communicator, I felt like someone was driving a steel knife through my heart when he said he wasn't comfortable telling me things, because either a) I'm in a bad mood or b) he's worried what he's about to say will put me in a bad mood. I try to be very clear about my wants and desires. I try to communicate as best as I can, and I'm blatantly honest and open. Sometimes it takes me a little bit to open up, and I'll admit I am a very good liar when I want to be one, but I consistently try to be as honest as possible (even blunt) with the people I care about the most. Which is why it's so upsetting to me that the person who should be nearing #1 in my life feels like he can't talk to me. Ouch.

Anyways, that's not really what this is about. I deduced through my superb deduction skills (ha ha) that something was wrong. I had tried asking my lovely bf several days prior what he thought about our relationship and he said that he didn't think about it much and when he did it was alright. But finally, FINALLY last night I talked to him about being nervous/uncomfortable that he wasn't doing anything by himself, things that he enjoys that I probably don't.

Which brings us right down to it. Videogames.

After having dated/lived with/been with a videogamer for about 14 months, I am pretty used to being ignored in favor of games. Which is exactly what my NEW bf was trying not to do. But what he was doing instead was spending nearly every second of his time with me. Which can get old. Really. I know. I don't like being around me all the time either. So I was surprised that my new bf decided to spend so. much. time. with me. Honestly, it was fantastic. And, ideal. And, it had to come to an end. Because how could he possibly be enjoying himself if every second of his time was spend around me?

Believe it or not, despite the fact that I love being around people, I realize that the world does not revolve around me, and that it's silly to expect people to want to be with me constantly. My ex taught me this very well. Too well, maybe, but that's another story. So I'm used to doing stuff on my own. Although I love the attention, it's not necessary and I know it.

So last night we had a very long, seemingly productive talk about balance. I want to spend time with him, obviously, but I don't want him to sacrifice his wants and desires just to keep me happy. Because, believe it or not, the sole purpose of a relationship is not for the man to keep the woman happy (despite your preconceived notions there). And we agreed that it is absolutely fine, and natural to do things separately. Because sometimes our time is just better spent doing what we want. And I'm not going to play videogames with him (most likely), and he's not going to do... hmm. something that I like to do (drawing a blank!) with me!

Obviously, my main goal was to let him know that it's okay that he not sit at my side at all times. (I have a dog that does that already.) I may not proclaim to like my "alone" time, but somehow I always occupy it and it comes out okay.

Which leads me to today. After having figured all this out, I felt better. I felt like I got it out of the way just in time for the release of this "big" (ha ha) game today. That is, until our walk to work this morning (well, my work, the el for him). The conversation went like this:

D: Are you mentally prepared for Borderlands 2?
Me: Um. Why would I need to be mentally prepared for Borderlands 2?
D: Because I'll be playing it when I get home from work today.

Now, after this whole long talk, which I had to initiate, so that he will have free time for himself, does this honestly seem kosher? I mean, should this be a warning to me? Is it going to be, "Hey baby, I spent all my time with you the past three weeks, now I'm going to ignore you for the next three while I beat this game"?! Honestly? Mentally prepared? I HAD TO TELL YOU THAT I DON'T NEED ALL THIS ATTENTION! The real question is, is he mentally prepared to NOT spend his night with me?

I thought that comment was pretty out of line. Maybe he just didn't think it through well enough.

At any rate, I think the most important thing to me is that we go to bed together. That sounds dumb, but it's always been a big deal, for a few reasons:
1. If he comes to bed later than me, he'll wake me up. Chances are, I'll have to get up to pee, and then I'll spend a long time trying to fall back to sleep.
2. I really enjoy the bonding that comes with the act of turning back the covers, climbing in, cuddling up, and falling asleep next to someone. That's something that I want to happen all the time. Every night.
3. (Now, not so much before) He'll keep my dog up if he stays up to game. As in, the dog's crate is about 5 feet from his computer. And I really don't want my dog to have a bad night. The dog didn't do anything wrong.

So, today's the test. We'll see how tonight goes. Honestly, I anticipate him pretty much playing straight through and not going to bed with me. And then the dog will start to cry. Which either means he'll keep the dog up late (which may result in physical pain, and it won't be inflicted on my dog), or come to bed begrudgingly (which is less than ideal, but better than a crying dog). What would be semi-ok is if he plays all the way until bed, and still comes (willingly) to bed with me. What would be lovely is if he played for a few hours (we only have 5-6 between work and bed) and then spent a couple hours with me. Not necessarily 50/50 but you get the idea.

I just hope that this is nothing life ruining. I still don't understand the complete and utter excitement over a game, playing it "all the way through" as fast as you can, and so on. The appeal is completely lost on me.

I just hope this turns out for the best.