Wednesday, July 27, 2005

How to Torture Your Partner

Sunday it was H-O-T, hot. Since I don't like the a/c, we sweated about the house all morning. I reminded Partner about a meeting I wanted to attend with her later in the day-- a meeting through the local lesbian mom group. About three minutes into the car ride, I said to Partner, "Oh, yeah, I just brought along directions to the 'trying-to-conceive' meeting I've been talking about it. They leave right near the church." Here's where the windows went up in the car, and the a/c switched to on-- but somehow, it seemed like it was getting even hotter in the car. Partner turned instantly crabby. What the hell? I mean, I'd been talking about this meeting for a month, and how I want to go connect with other baby-seeking lesbians in Ann Arbor. (Here is where I get really crunchy and lesbian like-- "Oh! A meeting to process and share! I wanna be there!")

Partner said to me, "I'm going to need some time to pay some bills at our house. And I need to go to Aunt's house soon too. She's been expecting me." I could sense resistance, and tried to keep to our plan of being gentle with each other and the world in our highly stressed and unnatural hormonal state. I stayed calm. Spoke in reassuring tones. Told myself that not everything needs to be a fight. Then she added, "Plus, groups aren't really my thing. I hate groups. I hate talking to people about private stuff. I have all the support I need between your family and mine." I nodded, explained my position, tried not to seethe, thought to myself the whole time, this is not about you! I want this! Finally, as we pulled into the church lot, she said, "No one there needs to know about my fibroids." Fine. No problem. Totally her business and I have always respected that. (We had a long discussion about writing about it on here before I started posting.)

Here's a self-disclosure thing about me-- I can work around emotions. As highly emotional as I am, it's a necessary skill. If I am really upset, I can put it aside for awhile, get on with the task at hand, and then go back to being angry. Partner has a harder time, so the entire time we were in church, I could sense her energy. I tried to be gentle, but I could just feel her disengaging more and more. It was bugging me. It was making it harder for me to put the emotion on hold. She kept poking me with her spiny and sharp energy.

What do I do in this instance? Be calm? Continue to sing? Or flee the sanctuary and go cry in the bathroom? Did you choose the last option? Then you'd be correct. I had a little pity party for myself until I heard the bathroom door open, whereupon I went back to church and gave my partner a lot of teary glances. (Me! Me! Me!) I barely made it out of church and into the car, whereupon we both let loose. Argument galore. It kept going right into the parking lot of the bookstore where we sat with windows down and stonewalled each other. The emotions, the real heat of the day-- it was all like a convection oven, until finally, in the middle of my ridiculous tears, Partner started to cry too. Hard. In between spurts, she admitted to me her fear. One she's had since I brought up this meeting up. And what a total fuck I am for not even thinking of it.

She said to me, "Don't you think that it might be difficult for me to sit in a room of women who are talking about having babies? That it might not open some horrible emptiness in me? That the fact that I cannot do this and want to will hurt?"

Jesus. Yes. And it hurt me hearing her say that. I felt a gash, a rush of emotion so strong it had to be some sort of endorphin response. You know the feeling, like your extremities go numb? I just thought my poor poor darling oh my god yes of course of course oh shit oh shit oh shit. Of course it would fucking be awful. Horrible. I nearly catapulted out of the driver's seat to grab her and hold her as we both cried hysterically together. My selfishness made me blind to something that has got to still be a grave struggle. What a shit. (Can I tell you, I am crying here again about this.)

We ended up at the meeting, slightly worse for the wear after our serious tears (and a few Bloody Marys, coz doncha know booze heals). But we went together. We went with a new understanding of what we both need in this process. I have felt in the past few weeks some little wedge between the two of us, just a small one. I was ready to blame our cat who's been enjoying a daily pee on our marital bed, but clearly that wasn't it. Since Sunday, I feel closer than ever to Partner. I feel like we are someplace really new and honest.

But I hope I never torture her that way again. God help me. It's the worst feeling I have ever had.


Blogger ~cj~ said...

Oh Katie, I read your blog and my heart goes out to you and your partner. As usual, I have a few things to share and comment on. :) First off, very heartfelt - it really shows that you and your partner care for eachother so much. In today's world - that in its self is such a huge thing. I still think what a lucky baby to have two caring and loving mom's that want them so much.

I once had a "fight" with Erick that raised similar thoughts and feelings... It was on our wedding anniversary this year. It took a major blow out with me sobbing and slamming down some canned good on the counter for him to really see where I was coming from. It wasn't because he didn't want to - it was more that he too was caught up in where he was at that he didn't see where I was at. And... vice versa. One of the best things about fights or blow outs like that is the ability we have to come back together and move forward. I sometimes like to think of it as "relationship tune up" as you have to take part of the engine a part to get it going again. Sure it costs a lot, labor and parts, but in the end its worth it to keep moving forward.

I can also relate to where your partner is. You had previously posted using the term "less-than". I think that is appropriate here. I miscarried last fall twins - in all the doc appts, check ups, ultra sounds - everything was good. And then one day no heart beats. Something I wanted so badly... I just couldnt have. It wasn't because there wasn't want, there wasn't adequate care, it just simply was how it worked out. Many tears were shed, and I went through a time of feeling MORE than inadequate... I can't even have kids right. (I had a lot of preg issues with Thea and am on bedrest now with this one.) Some strange voice in my head will tell me that its natural to have kids, just like walking - and I can walk, but I have issues with having kids. This must make me "less-than" and that is not the case at all. Our bodies were designed to do things - and some of us are special models and can do other things that some models just can't... its very hard looking at someone else, and not being able to be the same, when you really feel you should be. Then again, it is imperfections that make us "human".

:) I think that you two are well on your way to motherhood - all of this work, pain, and desire will pay off tenfold. Then, you will have an all new set of worries and work ahead of you.

10:43 PM  
Blogger amyesq said...

Isn't it amazing the kind of stuff this dredges up? Please please don't blame yourself for this. Partner didn't forwarn you and as much as we'd like to think we have ESP to our loved ones' feelings, we don't. Kudos to her for finally coming clean, though, so you guys could work through it together. The road is so long and so tough and so fraught with crappy obstacles that there are bound to be more in the future. It is how you treat them - with love and respect and caring like you did - that matters.

I am glad you are back on the right track. After all, I would hate it if you two were fighting when I came to hide myself from my problems in your guest room. :)

1:29 PM  
Blogger Career Guy said...

Katie, Wow-this post just struck me, showing how much you love each other. To be able to have it out like that and come to such realizations--your commitment to each other is total and wonderful. You are so lucky to have each other.

10:04 PM  

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