I haven't updated this for ages. Life has been rather tough on a number of fronts.
My work has long been a source of solace and stability in my life. I am very lucky. I've had the same job for 15 years. Most of my colleagues are people I get along with and I have a few good friends from work. My work fulfills my need for problem solving and complexity - it has never become boring in all the time I've been there. And it pays well enough that I can afford to work part time giving me space and energy to pursue other interests.
Sadly, the company I now work for does not value a long-term, committed workforce and they are trying to send our work overseas and have spoken to us about redundancies. This stress is ongoing - the constant fighting between employer and employees shows no sign of abating. I'm finding this draining and depressing. My colleagues are all the same.
While this is going on, I'm facing the real possibility of losing one of my loves. We have been together for 11 years and having him in my life has led me down paths and given me experiences that I would never have envisaged. And now he is very old. His life is winding down. He has been undergoing a series of medical tests for some minor ailments.
I also see in him signs of cognitive impairment. My Dad suffered badly from dementia before he died this year and much of what I see in my love is similar. When I talk to my Mum, she tells me it sounds similar.
So bound up in trying to support my love as he approaches the end of his life are tough feelings of revisiting the end of my Dad's life.
My SO and I had a very tough few months. We eventually reached a position where he was annoyed with me for being overly demanding of him and I was annoyed with him for being too aloof and for ignoring me.
I told him that he didn't have to do or change anything at all about his life and that I would support, love and be friends with him whatever he chose. But at the same time, our relationship wasn't providing me with enough time or support and that unless we made changes, I would stop being a partner to him.
He took time to think about things and decided that he could make more of an effort. And so we are working on things. We have a new agreement around spending more time alone together and we are both trying. Mostly it's going okay.
I was helped in realising that really I was carrying too much of the burden of the relationship. I was trying to get rid of my feelings of insecurity believing that they were all triggered by me. In fact, things were not so simple. My SO has a long history of those closest to him feeling like they are not important in his life. One of the greatest sources of sadness for him is that many of his very closest friends are not as close to him as he would like.
I have a good relationship with some of these people and the ones that I know tell me that they too have often felt unimportant in his life. They cite this as the reason for the lack of closeness, saying that they had to back away eventually because they were being drained by providing love and support to somebody who very clearly didn't feel the same way about them.
Talking to them about what was going on helped me to gain a lot of clarity. I feel sad for my SO. I understand some of why this happens to him and what goes on that triggers it for him.
I love and support him. At the same time, I have been clear with him that if he is unable to keep up his side, we cannot be partners. We can be friends but not partners.
He is trying and for the moment, that is enough.
Strangely, knowing that the feelings of insecurity and of not being important were not coming entirely from me has gotten rid of most of them.
I'm so much in love with my SO and I hope we can work things out.
I feel now very positive about romantic relationships. If my SO and I were to break up, I think I would seek dating partners and romance and sex in my life again. I find that I like having my SO as a partner and would seek a relationship of that closeness and attachment again. Makes me smile because for years, I've just not wanted to engage with relationships of that intensity.
I've started going to a running class. One that welcomes my running partner. My running partner is one of my canine loves - we have built up our fitness together and we run together regularly. A friend of mine found a cani-cross class nearby and I've been going along to it. The class is fabulous and I'm getting lots out of it. Lots of different dogs at it - some teeny and some enormous. Very supportive, happy atmosphere.
I'm spending lots of time with my family and my various friends too. Getting lots of support and love from them which is wonderful - especially as things have been tough this year. Have been doing lots of getting together for walks, dinner, drinks, camping trips, conferences.
And I'm realising more and more how attracted I am to women. I'm nearly 40 and have always considered myself to be totally heterosexual. And now I'm not so confident about that. For the moment, this isn't really impacting much on my life other than adding an extra element of enjoyment to some of my friendships.
Thankfully I have several friends I can talk to about it if I need to.
So - life is both dreadfully stressful and excellent for me just now.
I'm taking care of myself - making sure I have lots of time to myself, that I am gentle and careful about what I take on and try to do. I'm aware of why I feel tired lots and why I might not be able to progress everything that I want to as quickly as I would like.
I have an acceptance that I will cry lots just now and that some days I'll just want to huddle at home with the dogs, watch telly and knit. That's all fine.