Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dusting the Sidebar

I've revisited the links on my sidebar to weed out dead or less useful links. Among those impacted: Spirits Using Me
  • Updated a broken link for Western Pennsylvania Family Center
  • Removed links for book authors Weiner Davis, Schnarch, and Glover. The material on these sites seem to become heavier on the glitzy marketing and lighter on substance. Probably a sign of the times or the fact that I'm just so sick of what marketers do.
Larger Voices Calling

Links to the following websites have been removed because they have gone private.

  • Never Judge a Book by Its Cover (Wordpress)
  • Reality and Redemption (Blogger)
  • Unsolicited Advice (Blogger)

Surprisingly enough, it's only the Blogger-hosted Digger Jones sites that have gone private. The Wordpress blogs remain. On the other hand, Cat's Blogger-hosted "Never Judge" site remains accessbile, but dormant.

Probitionate in Situ is accessible via click-through on the Blogger-provided NSFW consent button.

I removed the link to Incurable as it appears that this blog has been shut down.

I updated the link to Difficult Relationships.

Of all of these blogs, only Drunken Housewife and The Edge of Vanilla continue to post on a regular basis. The Eyes Have It resurfaced a few months back to lament a marriage lost.

I remember when the Diggersphere was a much livelier place. I kinda miss it these days.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Late Night Listening XLIII: Silver Lining

There’s no starting over
No new beginnings time races on
And you've just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going
Looking straight out on the road
Can't worry 'bout what's behind you
Or what's coming for you further up the road
-- First Aid Kit
"My Silver Lining"
Stay Gold

You know if I'm writing a Late Night Listening post, I must be in a dark space. :-)

Before I talk about the bad, I will start off by saying that today was a productive day for me in terms of domestic tasks. I did get some housecleaning done, and the kids were surprised by how much better things looked than last week.

I'm in one of those stuck frames of mind where I feel like I don't have the physical and emotional resources to cope with life in a balanced way. It's a struggle for me to avoid letting an awful narrative take root in my consciousness. It's the narrative that argues that no matter how hard I work, scrimp, and save, there will always come along a circumstance where I will lose ground that can never be made up.

It's been a month since I used my sixth and final free EAP session through my employer. They helped me to get past the feeling of utter futility that I had been struggling with since the murder of a coworker back in April. And with my counselor's encouragement, I worked to get involved with a monthly writer meetup to give myself some contact with others.

I think I am suffering from depression. I know that I need to do something about it. I know that depression can warp a worldview to the point of self destruction. I don't think I can talk myself through it. While trying to reframe the situation and de-isolate do help some, it's not enough.

I probably need medication, but nothing has really worked for me. I did fluoxetine, the hometown favorite, back in 2002 - 2003 and that just made me sleepy. After a year, I felt like I was just in a fog all the time. In 2010, I tried escitalopram, and that just killed off sexual pleasure and gave me diarrhea. Went to desvenlafaxine, but the insurance company said that they wouldn't cover it, so we went to venlafaxine, which also killed off sexual pleasure, which just left me in an even crankier state. I gave it another try in 2013, but my new employer's insurance plan wouldn't cover it, and the generic unisured price was so hight I couldn't afford it. I don't know if I have enough runway to continue trying new medications.

My relationship with my girlfriend has undergone a downshift, and I'm not sure how much of it is circumstance, and how much of it is her pulling back. Up until the early part of this year, we would see each other once a week to eat dinner at her house. We'd go to her church on Sundays. On alternating weekends, when we didn't have the kids, she would come over and spend the weekend with me. Since spring started, we've spent only a couple of nights together, and I can't remember the last time we had a weekend to ourselves.

Depression makes it easy to fall trap to the narrative that she's pulling away, and I've had more than one weekend where I've been consumed with loneliness and preparing myself for the possibility that she might reach a point where she doesn't want to be with me anymore.

In reality, I know it is more complicated than that. When we first started dating, both of her kids would go to her ex's. When she was in eighth grade, the older child started hanging out with a couple of girlfriends of hers, spending weekends with them. When her father had to move out of his rental house and into a mobile home, she stopped going over there altogether. Over the past seven or eight months, she stopped spending weekends at her friend's house, which meant that my girlfriend couldn't spend the night anymore on those nights.

Over the past four or five months, the ex-husband has been cancelling out on weekends with his son, claiming that he had to work or didn't have enough money for food. Despite promises to make up the weekends, that never seems to happen. Many times, the ex-husband doesn't even give notice that he's cancelling out.

I could deal with these things by themselves. Granted, she could take him to court for not upholding his part of the custody agreement, but there are other signs that make me wonder. For example, there have been two or three times over this period where she and I did not have kids, and when I asked her if she wanted to spend time together, she would either remain non-committal and say nothing or say that she had other things to do, like go grocery shopping.

I restrain myself, trying to keep the insecurity in check. I double check my behavior to make sure that there isn't anything that could make me seem needy or smothering.

One of the evenings when we had dinner, I told her that I missed our "us" time. She said she did, too, but she said that she thought it was temporary. I didn't ask for clarification on what her notion of "temporary" was, and maybe I should have. I don't see it coming to an end in the near future. If her ex-husband keeps ignoring his part of the agreement, it will be a long time indeed because the son is only 12 years old.

Recently, my girlfriend said she started taking a series of classes about homeownership from the local neighborhood housing partnership. Her sister took the classes a couple of years ago in the process of buying her own house. She said she didn't have any definite plans, but she does currently rent a house she's been in for the past seven years. I know that the landlord had approached her about buying the house.

The voice of my insecurity whispers to me that because she's said little about these classes, that she's planning to go her own way eventually. I'm mired down with my own house, and their isn't enough room for her and the kids here. There isn't enough room at her house, either.

That voice grinds on me in my loneliest hours and it saps me. It is corrosive and it plays to my deepest fears that I cannot be loved wholly because I am stretched so thin as to be a good catch. I can escape it temporarily, but I can't silence it, and I hate that.

As for work, I'm at a point where I'm ready to look elsewhere. I'm stuck for a couple more months maybe because I was conscripted to be the tech lead on a highly visible death march project. I'll write more on that on another post. My radio station is playing this song, and I'm drifting off to sleep.

That song never grows old.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Of Spreadsheets Between the Sheets

I try to avoid the clickbait, but a couple of recently published stories on Huffington Post about disgruntled spouses keeping spreadsheet logs of their moribund sex lives were just too much temptation for me. Read them at your own peril.

Although it's been eight years since I started this blog and seven years since my marriage experienced it's fatal cracks, these articles made me stop to think about just how much dissatisfaction with my sex life consumed my existence back then. Same goes for many of the now defunct blogs on the sidebar. In a way, we were all keeping anonymous prose logs of our own frustrations.

We don't know the full back story of the spreadsheeting spouses, and there might be plenty of blame to go around. Regardless of the level of exclusivity within a relationship, our choices to be sexual with our partner should be consensual, not forced out of an asymmetry of power or coerced through guilt and resentment.

I don't buy the communication-is-the-key mantra usually arises in relationship clashes. It is indeed necessary, but not sufficient. I believe that for an intimate relationship to sustain itself, there has to be an agreement on what constitute the foundations of the relationship. If there isn't a willingness to find that common ground, the relationship becomes a toxic power struggle, usually based on who can get and withhold the most.

Looking back on what was my own marriage and seeing X's relationships since then, I realize I wasn't a good fit for her. The things I thought would make her happy, didn't. She's definitely attracted to people who look and act very different from me. I just wish she would have felt more freely to tell me this earlier on in the relationship, because the facade was painful and puzzling to me.

I have more to write on where my life is currently, but I'll save that for a separate post.