Secondly, I am having a major life crisis that neither therapy or friends can advise me with complete raw honestly, and although I haven't written a "Dear ESB" about it, I have read other letters with somewhat similar root situations and comments with valuable information which have helped me along my way. These letters from desperate women are possibly their last stop before making a major life-altering change, and there's something about the community you've built here which fosters that. I would like to think I would never let myself get to that place, however, at this juncture I am at my breaking point.
I’m engaged to, in an ideal world my ideal mate, the guy who if you told me I'd be with forever when I was younger I would have shit myself.. but he's not who I thought I was getting. The person I thought he was when we met is not the person I am with now, and possibly I am not who he thought I was too.
We had a quick moving-in and a quick engagement, but we've now been engaged for about a year, and due to extenuating circumstances I haven't started planning the wedding. Friends all around are getting married and dating and in love with their partners, and I am just meh for myriad reasons. Everything is just.. almost right in theory, but just not quite right. The idea of us together is better than what we actually are.
I have been in several significant relationships, he has been in few. I am a bit younger, he is approaching 40 and very ... well very much an "old habits die hard, you won't teach me any new tricks, I'm a peter-pan kind of stubborn person" man-child.
We are both in creative professions and work odd hours which leaves little time and regularity for dates, regular plans, etc. We both maintained that we had never been in love before being together. We were friends for years before becoming romantically involved. We were both heavy drinkers when we met years ago, he has since cleaned up completely (no alcohol/smoking/drugs) and I still imbibe occasionally, but his sobriety has been a crutch which allows him to willingly avoid social and community engagement with myself and friends (not going out on New Year’s, leaving weddings early, avoiding dinner parties).
We currently live in Chicago, where he has no friends or community, and I have old history. He has made no effort to meet people, find his own community, etc. citing that we are only here temporarily so why should he bother.
When we started having some problems we went to therapy together (both he and I have been seeing therapists separately prior), but after a few months, our therapist doubled his rates, and although I thought we were making progress, we kind of haven't put in the effort to find a new one.
And here's the big thing that I an't get over: A few months ago a stone fell out of my engagement ring. It's a family ring, fairly old, so not totally unexpected. As it's kind of an awkward every day ring anyway, we had talked about getting me something smaller for every day wear.. He took it in for repairs, and I forgot about it.
One night a few days later (three days before our anniversary of our first date), I was planning to meet some newly-married friends for dinner at the restaurant where I work (my partner had never been to this restaurant in the 12+ months I had been working there despite my asking).. I asked if he would join us. He said no. He then walked into the other room, came out with a box in his hand, and said "if you're going out, you might as well wear this." All casual like....
It was a gorgeous ring, similar in style to mine but smaller, more appropriate for every day. It was exactly what I wanted. I asked "where did you find this!?" he said "I had my eye on it for weeks and finally got it at the place I took the other ring for repairs!"
We tried it on but it was too small (which I thought was strange because he knows my ring size and if he had been planning on it for weeks then why not get it resized, right?) so I asked if I could wear it around my neck tonight so I could have it on, and then we would take it to get sized tomorrow..
His response was... well basically he was astounded that I was still planning to meet the friends, thinking instead that I would just stay home with him. I was astounded that he wouldn't want to go celebrate with friends who were just married. The argument escalated, and it came out that he had just found the ring by accident the day before (which is why he hadn't sized it properly yet) and that he was planning on giving it to me for our anniversary days later, I was baffled why he would give it to me in such a casual way, feeling almost like he just didn't feel like I was giving him enough attention by wanting to go out that night so he gave me the ring early to keep me home. Selfishly.
I never went out with the friends that night.
I wore the ring until mine was repaired and then I took it off, put it back in the box, and explained to him that every time I looked at it I just thought about the bizarre and strange way he gave it to me, and that it would be really great if he could find a more loving way to give it to me so that the energy attached to it was more.. LOVING.
I don't need anything special.. It could have been wrapped up in a Christmas present. It could just be a quiet moment in our home. It could be on a walk or in bed for all I care, just not "... you might as well wear this.." I know we were already engaged but it just seems so lazy.
For all the other problems we have I think stem from laziness. Or at least a lack of effort on his part to build a life with me that is engaging, inspiring, and full. I don't need to be perfect like one of those couples who have engagement portraits done or blog about the bread they just made, but I live a passionate life and I feel like I've lost some of that passion since we have been together. My friends have noticed it, my family has. The ring is symptomatic of a larger problem, and it just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I believe on some level that I love this man, I love the potential he has within him that I truly believe he is unwilling to tap into because of his depression, anxiety, sobriety, or laziness. We all have problems and I suffer from some of the same ills. I am not martyring myself, nor am I blaming him for everything. I'm just wondering how much of this is me being crazypants and how much of this is something I am unwilling to be OK with for the rest of my life. I don't feel like I am the best version of myself when I am around him.
Maybe that's my answer.
Anyway, I don't know if you will even publish this and/or if you even are still going in this direction on the blog or whatever blah blah blah.. I just.. I don't know. I think I just wanted to write this all down to see if it made more sense in black and white.
It doesn't, BTW.
so yeah. sorrryyyyyyy
The ring part, whatever. You can’t throw it back at him and demand that he give it to you LOVINGLY. That’ll never work.
The guy part? Drop him right this very sec.
Collage / GIF by Ernesto Artillo