It was an interesting weekend. A bunch of us, including G, E, B, and I, went to a 24-hour spa, having gotten cheap admission via an online deal. I got to hold Bee as he played in the kids' pool for a while, which was incredibly cute.
It was a *great* experience in many ways, but it also exposed some fault lines. Gia was with Bee most of the time, and it wore on her. She snapped at Eric. He, in turn, got grumpy and didn't want to stay the full time, which upset her further. She confessed to me and another friend that she and he have been having a very hard time communicating lately and that she's growing increasingly frustrated. I offered that I could perhaps babysit more to give them more space to themselves, but she replied that at the same time they want and need that space, they also miss their child every minute he's away from them. :/
There were quiet sleeping areas at the spa, one for men and one for women, and, late in the evening, Gia accepted my offer to take Bee to the women's area in his carrier and rest with him. He and I fell asleep. At some point I was woken up by Gia coming to collect him. I felt vaguely bereft, but too tired to think to do anything about it, like follow her. This is sort of the heart of what makes this relationship hardest for me -- feeling so connected to them and yet being apart. She told me she'd come back to let me know if/when they were leaving, which she did at another point in the night. Later I found out that Eric had been unable to sleep without the two of them and so they had relocated to another room, but Bee had been unable to sleep there, so in the end they'd gone home at 4:30am. Kinda miserable for them.
Our other friends had left the night before, so in the morning it was just me. I enjoyed the rest of the 24 hours on my own, but I was worried about my peeps, and missed them.
The next day I tried to arrange some time alone with Gia for this week, but she couldn't find the time. She actually mentioned her date night with Eric tonight in a sort of "at least we'll see each other briefly when you're watching Bee" sort of way, which I found downright hurtful.
I know it's ludicrous to feel jealous of her time with her husband when they're struggling so badly, but... for fuck's sake, she and I may have spent a lot of wonderful time together in recent months but our last pre-planned, just-us, out-of-the-house real-date date? Was five fucking months ago.
As the day wore on, I realized that I was feeling really bad about it. I went back and forth about whether or not to say something. On the one hand, I was realizing that I was reaching an emotional tipping point where I was going to start not being ok, and I felt she would want to know that and, indeed, that just getting it off my chest might be enough to reverse things for me. On the other hand, it's just a terrible moment to be making requests -- we're in the midst of prepping for the big camping trip, she's starting a new job next week, she and Eric are struggling, she is feeling worn down by Bee's needs, their financial situation is precarious... how could I, in good conscience, as someone who loves her, even think of burdening her with yet another person's needs right now? I mean, hell, I know she suffers from anxiety and that one of the things that makes her most anxious is feeling like she's letting people down.
In the end, it came down to this. Is this the sort of relationship where we can each count on the other to listen, to be there, to want honesty even when it's hard, to accept weakness? If not, what are we even doing? So I emailed her. I tried to keep it relatively concise while being as clear as possible. I let her know that I missed her, that I felt the lack of planned alone time, that I wanted it very much and needed to express that, but at the same time that I saw what she was going through, that I respected her efforts to balance things, and that I'd understand if she just didn't have any extra space right now. Then I held my breath and waited for her reply, dreading the thought that I may have hurt her and knowing that she might well not let me see it if I had.
She didn't keep me waiting long. She wrote back and said that she misses me too, that she thinks of me. She explained that, to her, the time we spend together that's spontaneous, or the time we spend being productive IS quality time (it is to me too, but it's not the same), and she told me how desperately she needs time alone, time with Eric, time with me, time with Bee, etc etc etc. She told me that she appreciates the fact that I understand her situation, and she offered up a possible-maybe-date-time next week.
Today, she emailed me to let me know that Eric is looking into taking Bee to visit a friend once a week, on a weekday evening. I'm so curious... was this something he had already been thinking about, or something she asked him for? If the latter, did she focus on her need for space/time, or did she bring me and my needs up? The internal workings of their relationship are their business, and I will probably not ask, but I certainly do wonder...
Anyway, I have a work thing to do on the evening he'll be taking Bee next week, so that's a no-go for a date. I'm feeling better about the whole thing now -- I needed to unburden myself and be heard more than anything. It would be possible for her to give me a couple of hours to ourselves on another night next week but she was frank that it would be taking away from prep time she needs for our trip. In that light, I'm going to tell her not to worry about it, that I'll help her with prep and that as long as we can finally have a date when we get back from the trip that it'll be ok.
Guys, just in case you weren't aware, dating a married woman with an infant, a full-time job, and time-intensive hobbies is REALLY HARD for all involved!!! Worth it, for me, with this woman, no question whatsoever on that score, but hard.