Thursday, February 24, 2005

Back and Forth Like a Fiddler's Elbow...

Well, my thoughts have been swirling around and around all day today, and my emotions have been flip-flopping..... I'm back and forth like a fiddler's elbow, between thoughts, feelings, rationalizations, and fears, hopes, and whatever the hell else....

I had a very particular view of how my world was constructed, and now that has been more or less shaken apart... the genie is out of the bottle, I guess... but what I can't quite nail down is whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing, ... or just a thing. Once you see how the magic trick works, though, it doesn't fool you anymore... that's kind of sad. I'm not sure if its a valid metaphor in this instance, but, I am sort of sad about it.

I know that this whole episode constitutes a 'moment' in my life. What I mean by this is that in everyone's life there are certain moments from which we predicate phases of our existence... before the baby was born, or after the baby was born..... before or after I was: married, had the heart attack/stroke/limb amputated, before or after we moved to or from wherever to the other place.... moments. You consider everything before the moment as one chapter, or episode, and everything after the moment as a new chapter, or episode.

I don't know exactly what it means to me.. but I know that I am now in a new chapter of my life. I feel fairly foolish...

I have felt this before, and regarded them as moments... the first time I was pulling on something as a child, and had the other kid simply let go and let me go flying onto my ass.... the first time I tried to play 52-pickup with someone who wasn't a family member and who didn't care if the cards got picked up or not.... the first time I realized that the big hoohah on the 4th of July wasn't for my birthday... (my birthday is close, and was celebrated on the 4th until I was about eight years old....). They were moments... and they were all necessary to my development. It's too soon to tell if this is a necessary moment, or just one to be endured and gotten through... like when my grandmother died. It sucked, and I got through it and eventually came to terms with it.

I'm not sure what particularly makes me feel the most foolish, but I know that there are a few reasons that come right to the forefront of my mind; I feel somewhat foolish about putting H through so much shit with my emotional upheaval of the household, I feel stupid that she ended up curtailing the communications with G, though I still feel that it was definitely a potential danger area for us. She says that she doesn't feel that it was, but I can feel a sense of relief from her... or a letting down of her guard, by which I mean her guarding against letting the relationship with G become something ... more. So I know that she felt it was as well. I don't want to explore why she would have wanted to continue along that path if this is so... in any case, its a moot point... she chose not to continue, at least for now, and that is something.
I have learned that H doesn't seem to want to let go. Sometimes we should let go of the past in order to be able to exist in the future. You don't take the boat with you after you cross a stream in it. Other times, you have to hold on to things from the past. She has to decide what she must hold on to and what she must let go of. I just pray that she doesn't let something from the past destroy us.

I know that it wasn't easy for her to make that decision, because she is a very strong minded woman, and doesn't take kindly to being forced into any sort of a decision. She doesn't like to be told what to do... by ANYbody.... and I respect that. That is part of what makes her her. And that is who I love.

I feel foolish about having constructed this naive view or perception of what or how our relationship was... I feel foolish and as though I have failed in some way because I tried to be accepting of the situation, and simply could not find a way... In my mind, I found all sorts of coping strategies... but in my heart, and eventually my whole body... I simply came apart. I don't really come apart at the seams... I have faced terrible situations, including life-threatening ones... and have always been able to maintain a relatively calm, rational, balanced frame of mind. This situation was unlike anything I have ever faced. I have definitely uncovered a very weak spot in my character. I have been giving this a great deal of thought in an effort to find ways to mend this, and to prevent this particular weak spot from affecting me so again.

In any case... Bear's world is gone. Its a new world now, and one that I am going to have to adjust and adapt to. This isn't a challenge that frightens me. I am very good at adapting in most cases. I think I will do okay. It may take a little while for me to get my 'sea legs', but I'll find my center and get back on track.

I have these demons in my mind regarding H's past love with this guy. It is an area that I know I have to avoid thinking about. For one thing, it's none of my business. For another, I can already feel from her a projected intent to contact him again in the future. I don't know whether that means tommorrow, weeks, months, or years. But, It is my feeling that it will come to pass. Basically, she will either love me and be true to me, or she will love him and go to him, or have an affair behind my back. In any case, I have no choice in the matter. All I can really do is to be me and do what I know is right, and deal with the eventuality when it comes to pass.

So. I have gained quite a bit of self-knowledge regarding this situation. I have felt feelings that are new to me. And I have thought thoughts and had fears that are also completely new. In the past, I didn't really give a fuck whether someone I was involved with wanted to cheat. If I suspected it, I was gone. Done. Period. No discussion..... whatsoever. Over. In this case, I do care, very much. It would tear me apart and ruin my capacity to love anyone ever again, I think. I don't want to be hurt like that. I don't want to live like that... unhappy, loveless, and bitter. So I fear it.

The major task at hand for me is to re-find my center. Regain my balance and stability. Ground myself, and focus on the resources that I have at hand. My self-esteem is apparently at an all-time low, which has never, ever been an issue with me.... and I think that every component that comprised this whole situation was the very worst that it could have been under the circumstances for me at that particular time. I have gained weight, H pointed out some gray hairs that I had also noticed, I recently had the vasectomy, which affected me psychologically in ways that I hadn't totally expected... There were some other issues that took place over the past couple of years that really took a few chunks out of my self-image, and the last straw for me, I suppose, is that I felt that H was looking for something from G that I couldn't give, didn't have, or that she didn't want from me... and it broke something inside of me.

I don't want to go through this again. I have thought about this, in particular, quite a bit. I have outlined a number of options at hand, some of which aren't actually options, because they are unacceptable to me. As I see it, here is a list of available options:

  1. Accept that H will still have feelings of love for others, and still be able to love me.
  2. Accept that H will be sexually attracted to others, and trust that she will find ways to channel those energies in a positive fashion.
    (NOTE: Since I don't find myself noticing or being attracted to other women, It is difficult for me to feel completely comfortable with this, since I don't entirely understand it... not in terms of loving a former lover, at least. This brings forth a few options specifically targeted at this issue:
  3. Open my eyes and my mind in an effort to allow myself to be attracted by other women. Not in an active way, but in a passive way. Perhaps this will help me to understand whether or not this is a powerful emotion or not, on my own... Knowing that I can be attracted to someone and not have it change the attraction that I feel for H would probably go a long way towards building an understanding of this whole deal.... I'm just not sure that I'm either comfortable, or even whether I would feel attracted towards anyone else. I definitely notice if a woman is pretty, but I don't really think of it in sexual terms. With H, I am just about constantly thinking of her in sexual terms... with other woman, I just don't. I'm not going to be involved with them... they aren't attracted to me, and that more or less seems to be that. I have to think more on this and see if it resonates.
  4. If H decides to re-contact G, I have to decide what that means to me, and how I am going to deal with it. Either, she is contacting him simply to see how he is doing, in which case the seemingly strong draw that he appears to have on her doesn't really fit the situation, as I see it, or, she is still in love with him, simply needs to have him in her life in some form, shape, or fashion, and will not let it become inappropriate, or, She is in love with him or desires him and wants to either toe the line or cross the line. In the latter case, I am facing an entirely different issue, and will have to reevalute everything that I know or think I know. In the first cases, I'm not sure how I feel... typing this, I can feel my body flooding adrenaline, and my heart rate and blood pressure rising.... this is so ridiculous! What the fuck IS this??
  5. I am perhaps too close, and therefore too dependent on her, emotionally. Perhaps I should pull back, regroup, and attempt to find a proper perspective for the relationship. I have been focusing on my weaknesses, and need to focus on my strengths, of which I have many. I have never had any problem finding women who were interested in me, I have only had problems finding the right woman to be interested in me.... I know that I'm not a complete troll, though I honestly feel that way sometimes.... but, that is something that will apparently have to be addressed, especially in view of the fact that it has affected my peace of mind, and my sense of well being. The drawback is that I enjoy the closeness, and don't want to pull back only to discover that I can't find my way back, or that she cannot.
I think there are more options available to me to explore, but I can't bring them to mind just now. I feel worn thin, and still sort of numb, and flat... This stupid situation has been inordinately hard on me, and I can't even explain why to my own satisfaction.

When I was alone, I was lonely, but that was the way things were, and I knew it. There were no expectations, and therefore there were no disappointments. There weren't really very many highpoints either, to be completely honest. I can't really even consider a life without H in it, although if I were to discover that she doesn't really love me, and/or is in love with someone else, I would most likely just disappear. I couldn't live in proximity to her, or the possibility of running into her and some other guy. I would have to go about as far away, to as remote a location as possible, find a hole, crawl into it, and pull it in after me..... and that would be that.

I don't feel like things are normal. I feel that something has changed between us, or with us, or around us... I don't know if this means that we have distanced ourselves, or simply found a new level in the relationship. I know that I don't love her any less. If anything, I love her more. I don't have any explanation for that.... but I do. I think we will be okay. We have faced difficulties in the past, and have always found a way to rally and to defeat or circumvent them in some way. We have always been strong like that, and I see no reason why that would change now.

What has really happened, in fact, is that my eyes have been opened to possibilities and realities that I have never considered before. It doesn't mean that anything has actually changed, only that I never noticed the reality that was surrounding me before. So, this would explain why I feel like a man that has been suddenly, and rudely, I might add, awakened from a dream. The world may not be any harder edged, or crueler, or lessened, or anything... It's actually that I just never took the time to look around me and take notice of the way things actually are.

I think I may have restricted my own feelings, my own desires, my own ability to notice and appreciate various thoughts, feelings, desires, and whatnot.... this left me sort of stunted in my ability to really gain an understanding of what those feelings actually mean... perhaps I need to open my eyes and live a little more fully, and therefore come to a greater understanding of where H is coming from. It may do me some good. I don't know. I will have to talk to her about it, I think....

I have learned that nothing in all the world ever remains the same, because the winds of change touch upon everything.... this doesn't mean that it's bad, only that it can be something fearful until we learn to understand it, and adapt ourselves to the change.

When it comes down to it, we are all really alone in this life. We are born alone, and we will die alone. Nobody can do either for us. It's our own journey, and we have to do it on our own. We touch lives with other folks, and that's a good thing... but we are essentially trapped within our own bodies and minds..... how much do we really ever understand or know about one another. One thing I know is that everybody's story ends the same way.... nobody gets out of here alive, and it will most likely be sooner than we expect. So I don't have time to waste on acting like an asshole.

What is a marriage, really?? What is this thing that we have become.... what does it mean as far as the degree of freedom that either of us have? To what extent do either of us have the right to demand or expect certain types of behavior from one another?? What comprises a healthy balance of closeness and separatedness?? I know that I love the "Us" almost as much as I love H. I would love H even if there was no 'us', but I love 'us' too. I feel like a priveleged member of a very exclusive club. I am proud and happy to be one of 'us'. I love being married to her. I love being her husband. I love my wedding ring, and I love my wedding song, and I love the memories that I have of that day.... I love to think that we are 'married'. I love the life that we have built together... and I love and treasure the time that spend together....

What lies beneath the surface, I wonder?? Does she resent me?? Has she come to think of me as weak, now that I have shown a propensity to become so upset over something that is so seemingly small?? Has she lost some degree of respect for me?? I think that she will be guarded in what she reveals or divulges to me in the future, and I think that our degree of closeness will most likely suffer ... at least until I have learned, and demonstrated an ability to handle these issues a little better than I have these past weeks....

The Buddhists say that attachment is the root of pain. In pain? Break the attachments, and move on unfettered, and pain free. I wonder if there is anything here that I can put to use... if I need to become more self-sufficient, and stronger in and of myself. More independant. More like I used to be. I have to give this some thought.

Can love be qualified or quantified?? If H loves me, and loves one or a thousand other people, does this actually take away any love from me?? Am I getting better or higher quality love or lower quality love??? Is there any such thing?? If I love my mom, I don't love H any less... but what if I fall in love with another woman, or still love a woman from my past.... does that take some of the love that I would otherwise lavish on H away from her?? What about sexual desire, or, for that matter, sex?? Certainly she has been with other men in her lifetime, and now she is with me. If she makes love to other people now, does that take anything away from me if she is still making love to me as often and as fully as she does now?? Or would it split and somehow dilute the love or desire that she has for me?? Or me for her if the situation were reversed...
I know that if I somehow discovered that she were involved with someone else, that it would have a very profound effect upon me. I hope and pray that that is not a situation that I am ever called upon to face. I can say that it is one problem that I will never inflict upon her. She is my one and only love. She may not have been the first, but she is certainly the last.

Why is this such an issue for me?? Why didn't I ever notice that it was before??? I need to know what makes me tick in order to understand this.... so that is another area for some introspective exploration. I don't know why this issue with G bothers me the way it does. On the surface, I feel that it represents a danger to the relationship, but if that is the case, there are many, many dangers.... either the relationship is sound, or it is not. I believe it is very sound, so why do I react in this way?? I'm very confused about this....

I don't know if my background/beliefs are a major factor in this, if it is entirely a self-esteem issue, or what....

I woke up crying in the middle of the night. No idea why. I lay there thinking about it for awhile, then went back to sleep. I feel as though I have lost something..

I dreamed that I was somewhere far away, trying to catch a bus home. There were no seats available, and I just wanted to get home to H. It turned out that I couldn't catch the last bus home. Instead, I was trying to hitch a ride to the train station to get a train to New York City from wherever the hell I was. It was going to be arriving at around midnight, instead of early afternoon, when the bus was supposed to arrive (this makes no sense, I know....). It would take me about two hours to get out to Long Island, where we live, which would mean that I would get home between 2 and 3 AM, and I was sad, because I just wanted to get home to my girl.....

... I suppose that's where I have found myself.... I'm just trying to find my way home to my girl.

In her arms is the best place in the world for me to be.....

I find myself wondering what any of you folks think about any of this....

Here's my blog email address in the event anyone has a thought or a comment that they don't want to leave on a public comment board:

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