I thought I would start a blog about my life post-Beloved. Right now, it's going to be a sad, remorseful, and angry blog. 'This too shall pass' is what I've been told about difficult times and it's true. I guess eventually it will change into something else but that seems so far away right now.
So I guess I will update. Beloved and I broke up on Sept. 26th. She visited me at the end of August and I thought it was a good visit. But she told me in early September that she did not feel we were connected anymore, that we weren't really partners anymore. I visited her in May and she said she did not feel connected then either which was news to me. We agreed to work on our connection, figure out what being partners meant to us and if we could continue being married.
Beloved and I broke up several years ago, mostly over her wanting children and my complete lack of desire to be a parent. We were apart for almost 2 years and after I moved back to where I grew up, we got back together. Our sexual relationship never really went back to what it was before our first breakup.
I lost all desire shortly after she moved in with me - not just for her but towards everyone. I didn't feel any need to masturbate. I had no desire at all, no interest in sex. I still believe that I was going through some major hormonal changes - I was entering my late 30s and I was overweight and pre-diabetic. Her high sex drive didn't change.
But I realize now that there were other factors in my lack of desire. I never really regained full trust in Beloved - that she would stay. So I held back part of myself and I feel that contributed to my lack of desire. Also, we had a dynamic between us where she was very invested in taking care of me, and I let her - to a degree that was harmful. It became more maternal and that drained sexual tension away for me. I didn't understand this at the time. She wanted me to get counseling and I really didn't want to, because I thought it was all physical and, now I realize, I didn't want to face some painful issues. I failed her at that point. Not going to counseling over my lack of desire is one of my great regrets in life. It's one of the few things I wish I could do over in my life.
So our sex life was problematic for several years.
Beloved had struggled to find a job in her field on the East Coast. She finally decided to pursue options in California, where she had more professional contacts. I supported her in this because it looked like the best option for her professionally. Career is very important to Beloved, more important than me actually. I've always known that she would choose her career over me in a pinch. Our first breakup was tinged with that although she never really acknowledged this. I was content to be a close second in her priorities. In our day to day lives, I never felt like less of a priority for her but I knew in a crisis she will pick her career over me.
After a lot of networking and hard work, she was offered a great job in California. Ironically, six months before she left my desire for sex started to return. I don't know why - I think partly my hormonal changes were over. I started to want sex again and our sex life became more frequent. But by that point sex between us was so fraught with emotion and tension, that it was anxious and worrying rather than joyous.
Not long after her move to California, we discussed opening up our marriage. I had told her long ago that I had trouble imagining having a completely closed, monogamous marriage forever. I had actually forgotten that I said that but she remembered it. When gay marriage seemed like it would become reality in many states, we talked over if we wanted to be married or not.
I have never wanted a traditional marriage which felt emotionally like a trap to me. I don't do well if I feel trapped - physically, emotionally or mentally. It is a powerful trigger for me. Beloved is actually quite traditional in her thinking, if not her behavior. I am not very traditional in my thinking but generally act conservatively. For example, I was monogamous with Beloved until we agreed to open things up.
Anyway, we agreed to open up our marriage.
It was my birthday yesterday - I turned 40. I made myself invite friends to dinner and I did have a good time. I'm glad I didn't sit at home and cry which was what happened the last time we broke up. (Yes, she dumped me in the fall both times.)
I was asked at dinner what my goals for the next year are. I don't have any. I was asked what I wanted to see happen in the next year. I got nothing. Nothing to say on either.
My relationship with Beloved was the foundation of my life. And I thought that was a good thing. I can and will live without her obviously. But our 'us-ness' gave my life much of its meaning, and movement. She thinks there is no more us-ness, or what there is is not worth trying to save, that it's hopeless. She might be right. It's a moot point anyway.
I have to rebuild my life and I hate that. Shitty way to begin a new decade.
I would say happy b-day, but that wouldn't fit the mood really :(.
Are you and Beloved now over-over? Nothing to salvage? No couple's counseling, no nothing?
All my sympathies on turning 40. It was an extremely difficult time for me. But then -- it got better. It really did!
Goals for the future? TOOO big and broad. ONE DAY AT A TIME. Be gentle on your sweet self. You aren't going to re-build anything, until you get your foundation right. So make some goals for today, so you can build on that tomorrow. BREATHING is a good start! If you're 40 and a day, and you're still breathing, you are a survivor! :p
You are grieving, and that takes a lot of energy. So don't expect to overhaul your entire life all at once. There is a big wide wonderful world out there, waiting for you, when you're ready. Turn on some Indigo Girls. Peter Gabriel. Breathe. Cry. Smile. You're going to be okay. ;)
I'm sorry that you're going through a really difficult time. :( My breakup last winter destroyed me but it also allowed me to rebuild. I hope that while you're grieving you can find new things in life to feel passionate about. You are the only one who can ever always be there for you. Don't underestimate the power of that.
40 is the new 20.
50 is even better!
Take good care of yourself.
Thanks for the birthday wishes and the condolences! They made me cry and feel grateful at the same time.
@BU, unfortunately, no, we're done. I will find a counselor anyway and wanted Beloved to talk to one too but she was not interested. Beloved, because of her horrible interactions with psychology professionals over the years, thinks most are useless. And the distance makes everything, including couples counseling, more difficult. I think I let things go on too long - she is just out of time for me. It's too late. She stayed a long time but has given up.
@Carma, thank you very much for your sweet words. I hope you take your own words to heart too!
I'm not much of a planner but I am also terrible at living in the present. So I'm trying to be more present and worry less about what I should be doing with myself. It's moment to moment on how I'm doing with that.
I am grateful for my poly community and my 'non-alt' friends - people have been good to me. And I've been trying to stay busy - I went to a book club focusing on books about sex last night. That was fun. I'm focusing on developing new friendships too.
Ironically, I'm fine with turning 40. I'm not happy with the failure of a relationship that I felt was lifelong. I'm not happy with my part in that failure. I'm not happy where I am in life right now. But the age itself is fine.
Again, my condolences on your breakup. It sucks when that happens.
You probably already know this, but the hopelessness might be just the grief talking and will pass. I have a more than passing relationship with grief, and it has come to be a kind of friend - it seems to be the only thing that actually makes something that is or feels like a tragedy better in the end. The truth stays the same, but it feels clearer and more opportunities open up once the grief has flowed past through me. I hope this is the case for you.
May what's coming next in your life and decade be a lot better than the recent past.
SW and I are no longer lovers. We're still friends though. Things got weird for us a month or two ago. His relationship with his girlfriend seems to have ended although he maintains some hope she will reconsider. They are complicated - so much so that I didn't even recognize that the breakup had happened. He told me they were not sleeping together. I assumed that she was figuring out her stuff and they were still a couple. For me not sleeping together isn't automatically the end of the relationship. For him, it was. I didn't understand that for a while.
We hadn't slept together ourselves for over a month. With my relationship with Beloved blowing up, I didn't have time to talk with SW, ask him why. I finally had the chance to talk with him about it a few weeks ago. When we talked, he mentioned that he was feeling dissonance about our sexual relationship. And this dissonance caused him to pull back from sex with me. Given our ambigious relationship - not just casual sex, not committed, friends with benefits, but more - he had trouble figuring 'us' out.
I felt this oddness too. I am so not interested in anything serious right now. He's not over his girlfriend - and that's going to take him some time. Also, both of us, because we had other priorities, other people who were our focus, shielded much of our deeper thoughts, emotions from the other. Not in a dishonest, hiding way but because those deeper thoughts, emotions, were meant for our primaries. I know I deliberately pulled back from actions or words that might have led to a more open emotional connection with SW because that was inappropriate for our relationship. He did the same.
Our relationship was always built around the understanding that we were ultimately committed to other people. Once those people were no longer in the picture, our relationship suddenly became different. Possibilities we had never entertained about the other, became options. In many ways, we are very compatible for a more permanent, more serous relationship.
But in many ways, we are not so compatible. For example, he's not sure if he will be poly long term. He's been monogamous before and I believe he will likely be monogamous again. He's started dating again, and he tends to date 'mainstream' women - women who assume monogamy is the end point of a relationship. I have trouble imagining being monogamous again. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen, just that I have difficulties believing I would be happy in a strictly monogamous relationship.
To be continued...
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