Fraying at the Seams

I am so fortunate that I have discovered a world through blogging of others who share my disease and the challenges we face because of it. I am still struggling, on a daily basis, and I am exhausted by it. My partner is still here, though our time together has not been as idyllic as I had hoped. Tensions between us, his ex, his son have encroached on our slice of paradise and I am at a loss of what to do to make it better.

He does not trust me – why should he? I had an affair 5 years ago, when we were apart for the summer. For me, it was not the physical desire, but rather a need to have someone close to me, to find comfort and a companion to keep the isolation and my crazy thoughts at bay. He was much younger than me (call me a cougar) and I became enraptured with his singing, when we met during an evening of karaoke. He sounded just like Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, a group that was seminal to me in my early 20’s and I found myself wanting to relive that period of my life. Before the insanity ensued. Before I lost my husband. Before the world became chaos.

My partner left me for the summer to spend time with his son 2,000 miles away. I was alone and scared and could feel the walls closing in on me, even though I was expected to get up everyday and be a sane, high-functioning professional at my job. It was agony. My partner was too absorbed in his life in New York. He had no time for me, or the thoughts that constantly “spin” – as he calls it – through my mind (I have since told him he is no longer allowed to use that word when it comes to me and my brain, that word is mine and mine alone). I felt abandoned – which is something I suffer from ever since I lost my husband as suddenly as I did. Add abandonment to the docket of issues that plague me. I was also drinking heavily, as that is/was the only way I know how to keep the demons outside my door from gaining access.

I was not sexually attracted to this boy. I just wanted company. I slept with him once – simply because I thought I had to – that it was compensation for him spending time with me. It was terrible and lasted no more than 2 minutes. I tried to cover up my transgressions. But my partner eventually found out the truth and was ready to leave me, several times. I accepted this as my punishment. I spent 2 years allowing the guilt to overtake me and destroy any belief I had in myself. I accepted the castigation he put me through – the constant questions that never seemed to end; the need for every detail of the affair (as if I could remember most of it because I was drunk throughout the entire liaison, as well as not wanting to relive my shame); the unspoken punishment he exuded with every movement of his body, the way his eyes looked at me. I was a harlot. I was not the woman he fell in love with – the woman he said he had always dreamed of.

I never kept my disease from my partner. I told him I was bipolar the first time we spoke – it’s only fair that someone who finds you attractive or interesting knows that there is a huge jigsaw puzzle whose pieces don’t fit, living inside my brain. He accepted it as if it was a cold – but I don’t think he understood it. Some days I still don’t think he does. And that is when it gets hard. There are demands that I feel I cannot uphold to be the partner he desires. I try, god knows I try, but most days I am too exhausted.

He may be leaving soon – due to his son needing him more than I do – to get away from his mother – and to me that is more important than him staying here, even though he grounds me and makes life more meaningful that when I am alone. But still, he does not trust me. Does not trust that I will not start drinking again, have an affair, do something juvenile and dangerous – and then lie to him about it all. Sadly, this is how I have always lived my life. When your father is a minister, and tells you constantly through words and actions that perfection equals love, lying and sneaking around become a part of your life, your makeup. And after 18 years of living that way, growing up that way, having my brain influenced by this, it is difficult to change. I don’t lie because I like to. I lie to save others from the idiotic things I do, to keep them from the hurt and chaos I create.

I love this man, my partner. I do not want to keep disappointing him over and over and over again. But I question if I am too much of a burden, if the weight I put on him is too much. Perhaps I should let him go, although it would be the one of the hardest things I will ever do. But maybe he would be happier with a woman who is more stable than I am, who does not tire from a day of work and needs her solace. A woman who is outgoing, ready to explore nature at the drop of a hat, who laughs at life and does not question the darkness that surrounds her. I feel so heavy to him, and know the moment he leaves, he will begin to question everything I do, from afar.

So I live in a prison – one that we have both made. When we are together, for the most part, life is blissful. When we are apart, the questions begin again and I feel like a hostage in my own world. I am trying to create a life here, in this new place. But our past, and my past mistakes, constantly eat away at us. He will interrogate me over every place I go, every dinner I go to, every event I am required to attend. I cannot guarantee that I will not fall again, once he walks through the security gate at the airport and leaves me here alone. But I don’t want to put those shackles on him – they are my own to battle through.

So my question is thus: are we fraying at the seams? Or is it just me?

© Sorrow & Kindness

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