Saturday, December 5, 2015

Of mixed minds

What am I scared of? Lots of things. Yes, a big part of me is tired of this two household situation. I long to be able to fully "be" with my/our kids around me in a home that we all feel is ours. I feel like I would be more equipped to handle things in that scenario. I would appreciate the ability to have connecting time with my partner after we are done parenting at night. I would appreciate being able to cross paths with each other while still being productive in my own home. In other words he's doing one thing while I do another. And conversation goes in and out and there are looks and smiles and touches while still walking through the ordinary responsibilities of everyday life. As opposed to the way it is now where we're either together with no kids or most of the kids and neither one is very realistic. The no kids is nice but few and far between and the most of the kids is always in a sense of limbo or temporary. We are either ignoring them so we can steal moments alone while half of them aren't in their own home and have to entertain themselves or we are managing them but not in their own home. They aren't just living their own lives in their own homes, with a bedroom to go to for some quiet time or consequences or privileges related to that home.

Of course there's the logistical benefit of having only one home's worth of responsibilities and costs and all that. That's huge! And would cut down on stress, but this obviously shouldn't be a financial decision.

So what if he was to say (which I know he's not about to), let's move in together this summer. What would I say? I don't know. I'm worried about a lot of things. And at the same time, I'm also worried that I'm pushing us. I fear that subconsciously I pushed my ex into marriage. It's not like I nagged him to propose to me, but he knew that's what I wanted to happen, and he is/was one to just let life happen to him. I believe his affair happened to him in the same damn way. I don't want to be something that just happens to Gil. I want him to really desire being with me so badly that he is sick and tired of doing without me and wants to convince me we should be crazy and brave and live together with these six kids. But even if he was feeling that way, would I be ready? I'm scared of so many things besides the pushing issue.

I'm scared about money. How do we manage money in remarriage in a way that feels fair and supportive? I don't want to be seen as greedy and looking to be supported, but I also don't want to be with someone who wouldn't want to treat me as his equal and make a joint life for ourselves including finances. I worry about how we do this with six kids in a way that feels equal instead of the three kids who can afford things and the ones who can't.

I'm scared that I'll be jealous of his daughter who I see as unbelievably entitled who asks her father to do everything for her, and he puts up with it.

I'm scared that I'll lose the way I want to raise my boys regarding Shabbat. That I'll have to water things down to accommodate.

I'm scared that I don't want to compromise about the way I want to keep my house which is tidier and cleaner than his and that a) he won't help me keep it to that standard, b) I'll do the bulk of it and feel unappreciated, and/or c) even worse than doing the bulk of it, he'll act like we equally contribute to both messes and clean up. This fear is obviously a direct connection to my former marriage.

I'm scared that he has a few traits that could actually be big challenges down the road. He overpraises his kids, and he's too proud of them for little things. I don't Iike how he gives them dramatic kudos for such little things when their behavior in general has been fairly poor. His youngest is a challenge. There's a lot that I genuinely enjoy about the kiddo, but I find him perhaps even more challenging than my middle ever was. What is hardest for me is that Gil doesn't seem to recognize how he's challenging.  (Or when he does he is quick to make it look like they all have their challenges.) And his lack of acknowledgement is not just because he deals with it so well, but because I think he puts blinders on when it comes to his kids. I really don't think I put blinders on when it comes to my boys. I feel like as much as I love them I'm also probably the hardest on them. There's good and bad to that of course, but I recognize their missteps. It worries me that we would recognize my kids' challenges and not so much his. Or that he is quick to suggest that my boys will be like his teens later and I shouldn't be so proud of some demonstration of positive attitude or responsibility now, suggesting that there is the same trajectory when I know they haven't been on the same path up until this point.
It scares me the way he throws out compliments or affection to them immediately after being critical or at times when it doesn't seem sincere.  I know that he does love them like crazy, but sometimes it seems insincere and I don't want him to treat me that way.
One of the things that I continue to learn about myself is that I hate asking for things. I am so scared of asking for things (supportive acts) that I'm even scared of saying that I'm scared of asking for things because someone will then point out that I do occasionally ask for things and then I will feel like they think I'm on par with people who are always expecting people to do things for them rather than seeing me as someone who is self-reliant and doesn't take time money or energy from them. I can see how fucked up this is, but I don't know what to put in its place. What I want is to have people do things for me without being asked. And occasionally Gil does just that, and it makes my day. Like when he brought me a tea latte the morning I got home from my work trip late at night and had to get to work first thing on the AM. However, the more I observe others I am noticing the most obvious of truths that no one is taken care of without asking for it. Duh. It's the people who demand help from others who get taken care of. I can't think of a single example of someone who is frequently "taken care of" so to speak that doesn't out right ask for people to do things for them. And it's not always over the top obnoxious nor is the giving partner necessary always giving with the utmost enthusiasm. I was listening to my aunts and uncles chit chat and joke over Thanksgiving break and all the couples were talking about making their partners do things. One uncle was teasing my aunt (not particularly sweetly) about making him do some house project. It made me realize there is no help without asking for it. I know this is blatantly obvious, but it's a mountain for me to climb and comprehend. So how do I learn to ask for what I want without feeling vulnerable that I will be less lovable and worthy of love. How do I even have this conversation without my partner pointing out that I do occasionally ask for things and then me immediately feeling defensive and unappreciated for what I think I'm bringing to the relationship? I have to believe that the reasons my partner wants to be with me are other than my self-reliance and lack of demanding nature. Hard stuff.
I'm worried that I don't know when to bring stuff up that annoys me. You're not supposed to sweat the small stuff. I agree wholeheartedly. And if it's a character trait of someone's, than there's no point of being critical. And if it's not polite to point out others' shortcomings in housecleaning or other tasks. So for the great most part I just don't say anything critical. But this "passive positive" nature got me in trouble in my marriage. When is "not saying" something the road to problems?
Ok, past midnight. Must get some sleep.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hello again

Where have 16 months gone? To love, parenting, work, and remodeling, in no particular order.

I'm still in love. Still have big questions and am scared about all sorts of things. But I sure did miss that man when I was just gone with my boys for five days to celebrate Thanksgiving and my father's 70th birthday. And when I see him again it makes my whole heart happy.

I am so grateful to have found him and to be sharing this adventure with him. And I'm getting awfully interested in exploring what the next step might hold. I don't like being apart. Not because I can't. I can. I would just rather blend life. At least theoretically. It does seem awfully messy and full of risk and uncertainty, but there are many moments when I think the benefits would outweigh the challenges.
But I also am scared of pushing. I am afraid that in the most subtle of ways I pushed my ex into marriage. I really didn't, but he was so passive, and he knew that's what I was thinking that he just opted for the easier path. I don't want to push this. I don't want to be the driver. I want to be wanted. But isn't it also important to say what you what sometimes?!? Of course I overthink everything.

I really should go see my therapist again. He said he would go see her with me so we can establish a baseline and also learn together how to tackle parenting challenges as we're working through them. Also, I want to figure out some professional stuff with her. I want to go about twice a month.

I also need to find a primary care doc, and I also need to fit exercise into my schedule and I also need to work really hard for the next three weeks at work.
How am I going to do it all?