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The Life and Opinions of Hirundo Bos, as of the Year 202,

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Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:24 pm

I miss writing here, whether it's thinking out loud or asking advice - or giving it. Slow traffic or not, I feel like I belong here, in a way not many places make me feel. And I do lurk, enough to have a sense of most the people and most the threads. But as I think I've mentioned in the past, for some reason, writing socially (as opposed to my at least in theory professional writing) gets stuck at the bottom of every to do-list, and rarely happens. It's as if I can only have one writing task a day, and prioritize be(com)ing a writer above having a social life. Which, a least for the past few years, I have ...

anyway, except for a few good news-posts, it's been a long time since I've said anything about myself here, and if I were to try now, I'd be caught up in providing all the background, all that's happened in between, because I've never been so good at figure-ground judgements and knowing how much background I can omit. (One of the reasons, I guess, for my social writing problems in the first place.) So I thought I'd make a post about background only, and then, if I find I have more to write, maybe use this as a general purpose-thread for a while, even if it might skip between forum categories a bit ...

So. I'm doing pretty well, in my own little life ... my country is not very hard hit by the pandemic, and social distance is kind of my default mode anyway ... I feel a lot more confident about my (non-social) writing, and on the brink of trying to market some stuff - a poetry collection, a brief article about Dune, and keeping my eyes open for more ideas. As I said in the good-news thread, exciting things are going on with the ttrpg I once coauthored, and that helps my confidence a bit too.

My mental health is fairly well, I'm calm and happy for the most part. My physical health is, well, more sedentary than that of the average chaise lounge, but I'm trying to take some steps towards improving it. I I have fairly good control over my sleep. My apartment is clean enough, at least for me. My eating times are defined well enough to give me structure, yet with enough flexibility that they're not too hard to follow. And with my writing going forward (and my disability allowance to keep me afloat), it kind of feels like I have a job. Except for a bit of social deprivation, I'm pretty happy with most of my life - and so for the biggest change in my life:

Back in February I met someone on OkCupid. We really hit it off, and have continued seeing each other (and texting, a lot) since then. We've been serious about taking it slow, and have just recently reached the relationship status of "we're kind of together". We're also open, non-monogamous, whatever you'd like to call it, and it seems to be a fundamental way of being for us both.

For me, relationship-stuff is pretty uncharted ground. I have been with people romantically before, but in a very different phase of my life: In my early-to-mid twenties when I was angry, depressed og highly anxious all at once, and pretty unaware of the worlds both within and around me; autistic but undiagnosed, didn't measure up to anything, nor really understood the expectations I percieved around me (which may have been somewhat more reasonable than I believed); overwhelmed, frustrated, confused. In terms of emotional and relationship skills, I had little understanding of other people's perspectives, confused boundaries with rejection and judged rejections to be unfair, didn't communicate my own emotions very well, nor preferences, boundaries or needs, nor did I really understand those of others. I was in other words in a not very healthy place, know beyond doubt that I wasn't a healty partner, and think few of my experiences from that time can inform a mental model of a healthy, intimate relationship

I'm in the process now, though, of building such a model. I've also found that I have a lot of groundwork already in place, even more than I have thought; that my work over the years where I've been single have actually paid off. I do have many of those skills now, that I identified before: More theory-of-mind (or a better emulation of such), a much better understanding of boundaries, my own and others, a much better understanding of emotions and emotional nuance, communicative tools to make misunderstandings less hurtful, enough mental flexibility to get not-so-stuck in conflicts, and - maybe most importantly, for the person-I-want-to-be: The confidence to be open and supportive to others.

Which means - there's uncharted ground, but a good place to start from, and if I can keep this thread up, some of that ground is what I'll write about next.
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Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:53 am

Or not.

Because the uncharted ground was that she'd met someone new, and it was turning serious fast, and I didn't know how to process that ... but then it turned even more serious, and she had a talk with new guy about open relationships and he said he was okay with it for now, but might not be in the long run ... and I didn't want to go and wait for that, and/or secretly hope that their relationship wouldn't work out, so that was, kind of, that.
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Post by Enail on Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:32 pm

Oh, what a shame, Hirundo, I'm sorry!
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Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:57 pm

Thanks. I'm, eh, not exactly sure what happened, we both feel it was kind of rushed ... but on the other hand, when things blow up like this, the fault lines were usually there already. And I'm beginning to get a sense of some of them ... sigh. Today, I've felt more exhausted and pensive than heartbroken. But what did happen? Well, they had a chance meeting, knew each other peripherally, hit it off, he went home with her, and stayed for two nights. I felt somehat anxious but didn't know if from jealousy/insecurity, sudden deprivation of normally frequent text messages, uncertainty about what went on or what. Or maybe even excitement on her behalf. Then they met again two days later, and when this time I didn't get any messages at all, and it became clear it would be another 48 hour date, and even after he'd left, messages were few and vague, anxiety went into overdrive. So next time we talked, I kinda hinted I was nervous about it, she said sh was soo in love with him, I broke down crying because she was never that way with me (nor, to be fair, was I with her), and we talked a bit more. And then I asked, "how does he feel about open relationships" and she said he'd said he was fine with, but she would ask him again, and then said "but if he asks me to be exclusive, I'll choose him," which is when I said I didn't want to wait for that, and asked her to ask sooner rather than later, which is what she (and maybe I) feels was a bit rushed.

Which goes for this account, as well ... not my normal writing style exactly.

Oh, and when we met up for the date we were supposed to have, which was now a saying goodbye date instead, and after having de facto broken up, we made some of those relationship steps I was missing in the first place ... she said she'd been coming around to meeting my mother, we had some great break-up sex, after which we told each other I love you for the first and apparently only time. Or not, because she also said about the monogamy thing that "it's okay to change one's mind", which led me to say, well now I'm clinging to that hope, and when I said tearfully "oh, what if after [a vacation I was planning] I come home and we can work something out," looked at her for some sort of yes or no, to which she shrugged, and that was signal clear enough.

But after a few days of mourning, I'm not even sure if I want that anymore, cause while I've been sad, exhausted, had trouble eating etc, it's been nothing close to the anxiety I felt before.

Did I mention I was exhausted?

Anyway, we're still frinds.
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Post by Werel on Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:43 am

Hey, Hirundo, I’m sorry about that breakup. And I’m glad you’re still using this space as a writing outlet. I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts, even when I lack anything substantial to say.
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Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:32 pm

Thanks, Werel. And yeah, they're often quite self-sufficient, my posts ... I feel I do have a lot of questions, I'm just not certain what they are. But questions like - what went on with that overdrive anxiety? How much was jealousy, how much was emotional overload (any strong emotion reads like anxiety to me)? And what, if jealousy, was it about? How can I learn what I'll need in a similar situation, what I can ask for, how to express myself? And did anxiety overdrive create self-fullfilling prophecy? Did I ask to soon about the future? Could we have worked something out with time to think?

Especially as ... everything has been going too fast (which may have been what sent me into overdrive in the first place.

So. Yesterday we had coffee in the park, first time we met since the break-up (though we've texted a bit), and she told me the new relationship wasn't going to great. They'd had a long and painful fight, and she'd learned about some worrying red flags, and didn't quite talk about breaking up with him, but entertained the notion. And I believe I managed to be there as a friend, not as heartbroken ex, and it's good to know that I can be that friend, to her and to others when I feel comfortable enough. (And that she can have such a friend in me, while also I'm not her only confidante in this.)

Now, my emotions afterwards are ... complicated? (Well, obviously.) For one thing, we touched a lot, hugged a lot. And to my body and somewhat drained-out mind, oxytocin + her is as if we're still together. But we're not. But I'm not sure if we're completely broken-up, or more of on a break, whatever the difference might be, and even told her, that with a more even mind, rather than "I don't want to wait", I'd have said "let's take a break while you figure out what this other thing is", which she seemed to agree to. And I talked about the door still being open as a matter of fact, and she didn't exactly seem to mind.

But the time for talking seriously about that is obviously not right now!

But I do find myself obsessing, again, about her and him. Like, I sort of hope they break up ... but distrust that impulse, because either I want that for selfish reasons, or it's me thinking I know what's best for her, which is a bit paternalistic ... and either case, it feels objectifying of me ... but on the other hand, not being selfish feels like making myself small, like, don't mind me or my feelings, I'll just lay quietly in this drawer until you need me (top drawer though, and I'm flattered by that), and I don't think that's how she thinks about me, but it's how I'm disposed to think about myself, which may be the reason I freaked out in the first place. (It's also how my sister worried I'd end up feeling, when I told her about that open door.) And I know that these are just feelings, and I'm allowed to feel whatever I like, though with weaker theory of mind it's harder to remind myself that feelings are only on the inside, and when stressed out, autism gets more pronounced. So I distrust my feelings, and also, worry they might leak into my interactions with her, that I might try to push her to a decision she'll have to make herself (or not, as the case might be), though of course both she and I know I'm not ideally suited to be objective, but at least, I did manage quite well yesterday. And I must take care of myself and not offer myself up too much, which also we both know. And I do know that she is pretty good with decisions like these, that she has a strong sense of what's right for her, a big reason why I l... yeah, sure, okay, love her. So whatever happens, with them, with us, will be right in the end.

I now understand the fb status "it's complicated". (Before her, I was single for longer than fb has existed.)

And I went to a doctor the other day, with overdrive anxiety/racing thoughts, and got prescribed medication that's originally for mania and psychosis, but that sometimes works for anxiety in low doses. On the day I took them, I slept for three extra hours, to a total of ten, then the next day slept for ten more. And I'm not really sure if that was a side effect, or just my exhausted brain that finally got some rest. I have been feeling more like myself since then.

So ... still a bit frantic for answers, but not sure what my questions are or if I've answered them already or whatever. If I were to make requests (which feels awkward to me here in my self-imagined drawer) it would be for some validation, virtual (so non-infectious) hugs, or cute gifs or something.

(And sending good thoughts in return, by the way, to Werel. Things sound pretty stressful for you in rantsthread.)
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Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:50 am

A week and a half later and it’s clearing up a bit, I think, my mind ... fantasies if getting back together are fading, as it would be unlikely as well as possibly unhealthy, and also I’m growing quite comfortable with who I am without her (although I do like the one I was with her) ...

The stuff I wrote about the other guy, the worrying stuff, my mind was boiling for a long time after I learned about it. At first, as one sleep-killing mess of thoughts, concerns, fantasies and emotions. Then, I grew aware of my different motivations: Some self-serving, some misguided, but also, I believe, genuine concern.

The self-serving ones were easy to dismiss, though shameful to acknowledge ... I know that thoughts are only thoughts, but it’s disconcerting to think things incongruous to what I think of as my deeper self. Even more so when the thoughts are about the future, but so intense they feel very present. You know you’re in an imagined reality, but it’s much more vivid than the real one.

The misguided ones took longer to get a grip on. The sense of responsibility, desire to be the rescuer ... I knew these were problematic motives, I knew I had them in me, but it took a while before I realized they were the ones driving me now. (And a while longer, and a lot of verbal self-instructions, to learn to keep in check: "You know you can’t rescue people, and it's not on you to decide who needs it.")

An upside is: I now know my inner male-fantasy Quijote a lot better than before, and feel more confident in my ability to keep track of him among other motives.

And that leaves the genuine concern, which at the moment is also low, maybe because I’m constructing all these future scenarios. So I can tell myself: For all I know, this will go well, if it doesn’t, she’ll have friends who can help out better than I as her recent ex can, and if she does need my support, she’ll ask for it.

Which leaves room in my head to resume the regular heartbreak processing, rediscovering myself (I was getting a bit lost even before the break), creating stuff (I’m getting a grip on writing again, also for the first time in months).
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Post by Hielario on Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:13 am

That sounds pretty miserable. I'm sorry for your loss. I hope the recovery keeps going well.

All of this shows exactly why I'm not interested in an open relationship unless my life and attractiveness change completely.

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