It's been an intense few weeks!
First, MrFarFromRight, thanks for your thoughts and for sharing your experiences. I read your posts shortly after you put them up, and while I hadn't taken the time to respond before now, your parting words about glorying vs. worrying have been playing in my head. Also, I've gotta try that thing with the wooden tube.
Some recent things:
I went on an out-of-town excursion with Gia and Eric to visit a friend and to help them build a piece of camping equipment that they've wanted for a long time. It'll be a tight squeeze for them and a kid. I had fun and learned things and enjoyed the time with them. I also felt hella bummed out and tired by the time the weekend was over. I just kept thinking about how weird it felt that I was literally helping them build something with no room for me in it.
During the trip we were staying at our friend's dad's place. Out of respect for the dad, I didn't consider sleeping with Gia and Eric -- they took the spare bedroom upstairs, and I volunteered to take the futon in the basement. But the more I thought about it the more depressed and alienated I felt.
Finally, I talked to our friend and he said that his dad would not, in fact, care. So I worked up my courage and went upstairs. I was practically hyperventilating so I had to give myself a minute to calm down before I could knock on the spare bedroom door and ask if there was room for me to sleep with them. They said there certainly was, so I got my stuff and crawled in between them. I was still having a little trouble slowing my breathing and Gia noticed and commented on it. I wasn't ready to talk about it then, but I brought it up to her the next day and shared how scared and weird I had felt.
It's been a long time since I've been that deeply physically affected by something emotional. It comes down to two things, I think -- 1) fear of rejection (what if they said they'd actually rather sleep alone?), and 2) fear of not knowing where things are going and not knowing if there's much figurative or literal room for me in their lives long-term.
As for #1, the fear of rejection... I'm pretty sure that the pain I felt from not even *asking* for what I wanted was worse than just getting gently denied would have been.
And #2? Well, I obsessed over it for a lot of the following week. I said some pretty harsh things to myself, like -- Gia will never love you like she loves Eric, and Eric will never love you at all. This will always be true and it will always hurt you. You deserve someone with whom you can be primary, and they aren't it. And in the meantime you're denying yourself the opportunity to find a relationship that can be a deeper partnership because you're spending all of your time and energy on something that's not going anywhere! You're a loser! Never mind the fact that I don't even particularly *want* a primary partner right now... negative self-talk knows no logic. :P
Finally I said to myself:
Look, just SHUT UP. There is NO WAY to know where this is going! No way for anyone involved to know! The baby's going to change everything anyway, so why even try to forsee the unforseeable? So, ok, if you can accept that you can't know the future, how do you feel about the way things are now? Do you want to leave Gia? Of COURSE not!!! Not even a little! So shut up and stop running around in these mental circles. It would take much more than a little insecurity to make you leave your girlfriend, who you love and who loves you, while she's pregnant and more vulnerable than she's ever been!! Here's the deal: we'll revisit this three months after the baby is born, k? Until then, just... chill and enjoy the beautiful thing you have.
It helped a lot, actually. I calmed down considerably after all of that. Then I spent some time with Harry (new-ish sexytimes friend mentioned in a previous entry) and that helped too.
The following weekend, I helped throw a big, crazy party at another friend's house -- the whole thing had been Gia's idea and, with the help of several of our other friends who also contributed a lot of time and energy, it went GREAT. There was lots of potential for awkwardness -- Harry was there and parts of the party were quite sexy and the question of where people were sleeping was totally up in the air. And yet... I felt totally fine. Gia liked and respected Harry, which meant the world to me. She and I spent a lot of time together at the party, and people very clearly knew that we were a couple.
At the end of the the party, after most people including Harry had left, Eric asked me if I wanted to go back to their place to sleep. After the events of the weekend prior it meant SO much to me that he asked. I thought about it and told him that, no, I would just stay at the party and sleep on the super-comfy guest bed there. I love being close to them, but I sleep more soundly with a little space.
Since then, I've continued to be in a good mental space. There is a smart, creative, funny, beautiful woman who loves me. Her smart, creative, funny, beautiful husband is my friend. And that is MORE than ok! MrFarFromRight is absolutely right on that score.
I've also thought a little more about the idea of telling Eric how I feel about him. I'm now leaning heavily towards face-to-face, and to a compromise between casual and scripted. I'm not going to worry too much about the time or place, or whether I'll use a lot of words or a few, but I'm committed to the idea that when I know I need to say it I'll say it and explain myself in some way. I did come up with a very simple, direct way to get across what I want to communicate --
"I love you. I have for a long time now. It doesn't change anything. It's not a request, it's just a statement of fact."