For the last year, I have been very excitedly looking forward to moving back home to be closer to the people that mean the most to me. For one year, I have been making plans, and sticking to an insane budget. And for one year, I have been communicating relentlessly with my partner about the plans that went hand-in-hand with this move and transition.
To say that this move (oh, that word) has been easy would be a gross misstatement. The thing that know one ever tells you about merging your life with another person is how profoundly off it can be. No one ever tells you just how hard things are when you’re a grown up and you’re trying to do grown-up things.
“I thought that this would be easier.”
I have said those words out-loud and I have thought it quietly to myself more in the last month than I have at any point in the last five, ten, fifteen years. And tonight, as I sit here on the couch, watching Scandal, and actively not sleeping for yet another night, all I can think to myself is how I thought that this would be easier.
Last year, I briefly touched on this weird, uncomfortable issue of intimacy, as an adult. As I have found myself enveloped by this wonderful and new relationship, the topic of intimacy has been something that my boyfriend and I have come back and back and back and back to. We have had countless conversations about this. We have, and really it was me, cried about this. We have tried to figure out solutions and we have set goals and all manner of things to address this.
And yet, I thought that this would be easier.
Two people who are stupid in-love with one another. Two people who feel so intensely about each other.
This is something that I keep thinking about day in and day out. I mean, sure, matters aren’t helped by the fact that I’m dealing with a yet-unresolved medical issue that means who even knows what. And matters aren’t helped by his medications. And matters aren’t helped by the self-esteem issues that seem to plague both of us.
In spite of the nearly daily conversations that he and I have about sex, or the lack thereof, I still feel sad and ugly and unloved and angry. I’m angry because I am not ugly. I am sad because I am not unloved. I am unloved because every single one of my advances is rejected or ignored. I am ugly because my partner won’t initiate anything under any circumstances.
This horrible and painful feedback loop has been created, where all of those awful feelings just become me. I cry in the shower, I cry when I should be asleep, I cry, I cry, I cry.
Now, don’t get me wrong— Right now, I am feeling a lot of emotions that have every bit to do with my sense of self-esteem. But also? Right now, I can’t help but wonder why when every other single thing is so wonderful, why isn’t this one crucial thing just failing.
Rather than sleep (because I desperately need it), I am wide awake, ruminating over the things that hinder a relationship, and the things that keep it going.
Sex in and of itself really isn’t anything. Unless you’re trying to have a baby, but that’s another thing entirely. In the context of a committed and monogamous relationship, it’s something else completely. It’s seriously the one and only thing that can and should be kept between the two people in that relationship. So when it’s lacking or nonexistent, well.
To provide some context as to why this is so important to me, I have fought long and hard to be able to enjoy my sex life. I have overcome the kind of traumas that get you onto Oprah, just so that I could have a guilt-free orgasm. So, to find myself in the healthiest relationship I can imagine, and have this glorious part be completely lacking.
Maybe it is my naiveté, or who even knows. But I thought with everything inside of me that once the ridiculous 1,200 mile gap was closed to just across the room, that everything else would just fall into place. In my naiveté, I never imagined that things could possibly be this difficult. I couldn’t possibly fathom that we would be facing the kind of problems that couples face in those weird late-night commercials.
And now. Now, instead of sleeping next to the man I love, adore, and want, I am wide awake wondering, yet again, what is wrong with me and this and us. Wondering just why it isn’t as easy as the songs, the books, the movies tell us it is.
And for another night, I am reading up on ways to encourage intimacy in relationships where it all seems to just be lacking. I’m listening to the man I love sleep while I think on all of the ways that I can be better for him so that this “issue” corrects itself before I go crazy. Because I’ll be damned if I’m not going down without a fight.