On The Hook, Waiting For The Club*SIGH*
I've been reeled in again, and here I sit back on the hook, waiting to be clubbed to death.
I've described what I've been going through recently in other stories. Basically it's a repeating pattern: I undergo a period of neglect - sometimes for a month or more, the current high score is 8 weeks, the most recent big one was seven. At some point during this period, the resentment and emotional abuse (which I have to endure) sets in. Things flare up - my character is more and more questionable. I become fed-up, and start making exit plans. I can never keep my mouth shut over one or the other things going wrong and we wind up fighting. The fight usually ends with her offering to placate me with sex. Like a fool I accept, knowing it's no longer the epic lovemaking it once was, she simply calls it "letting me **** her" later on during the abuse phase of the pattern. Then, having told herself she's given me what I want (not true), the pattern is reset. She and I are nice to each other once in a while, and can even share a private in-joke or implied reference, but it starts growing colder almost right away.
The last few times the pattern ran its course since that marathon 7-week "dry spell," after she had sex with me and walked away... I started feeling more and more used, empty, abandoned and worthless. After a couple of runs, we had a major fight in the middle of the night, which ended with the bond of trust snapped clean in two. These events are described in other stories (a big part is discussed in "Boing! Splat!").
Then the pattern changed for the worse - mostly because after that fight, she made her usual offer to placate the next day, and after she did, as I still lay on the floor in the half-empty afterglow of lousy sex - she started talking about how what she did (the "infamous **** picture incident") was totally okay, just a joke, and I violated her privacy in finding out about it anyway. That's exactly what broke my trust in her. Now she's basically erasing her statements of empathy and apology over having "conduct unbecoming a married woman." It really wasn't the picture, it was the attitude. And she knew the owner of the offending genital portrait. And asked for more (from a friend, who bagged this person and took the picture).
This pretty much triggered a nuclear standoff between us. My trust in her was snapped clean in two, and her attitude toward me was degenerating into naked loathing. I decided to give her until the holidays were over, but she kept getting more and more awful toward me, and I finally blew up and told her what I was planning to say, and because of what's been going on that's off. Come January we will have The Talk and decide how to break up.
She didn't seem to be taking it seriously. She acknowledged what I said, then went into a sort of denial, the abuse took a pause but there was no acknowledging of the gravity of the situation either. She started avoiding me, and frankly, I was fine with that. Then she sent me a text telling me she wanted to come see me. I was in such a panic! I knew I was going to cave in and accept, after all, I'm Love's Fool. I would do anything to turn this around, and stupidly walk right back into the trap as my common sense was inside my skull screaming at me not to go through with it like a child watching a suspense-horror movie.
I pondered and stalled and tried to think of what I should REALLY say. I really want to break this pattern! It's eating me alive! What do I do? I jumped online and cried out for advice from one of my new friends who's been very sweet and supportive. Luckily she heard my call for help and immediately replied to give me strength of resolve, and I didn't take the advice but it gave me strength enough to compromise and not simply cave in.
I told her I was adamant about breaking up in the new year, but I'm still crazy about her and if she wants to really, sincerely make things right I'm willing to let her try.
She showed up that night as promised, and things were actually kind of different. It wasn't the usual placating sex, devoid of any emotional bond of intimacy it had been for so long... it was kind of nice. Still not "the real thing" but it's not reasonable or realistic to expect that much. But it was just a tick better than "lousy" and "unfeeling." So it was nice.
She's been pretty nice since then, too.
Now I was discussing this with my buddy, and she's going through something similar - not the pattern, but the declaration of independence. And she got the same kind of response.
I pointed out that I've been here before many times in the last year, and when you're with someone who really doesn't care anymore but does have some motivation to keep you, this response means one of three things:
1. They aren't taking you seriously and going back to status quo, but laying off the really bad behavior until this blows over. This is the most dangerous because status quo is what's causing the most damage to you inside.
2. The ARE taking you seriously and it was a wake-up call at last, but we need to keep in mind they still don't necessarily care one bit about your needs, desires, or feelings, but they're still putting in the effort. If this is true, it won't last long unless they make some major changes internally, which is not likely. This requires patience if you really want to stop the toxic relationship one way or another, but still love them and are willing to let them try. And vigilance: this is the best chance of things becoming right again but when things have gone this badly wrong it's a very tiny chance. Keep the deadline and resolve to stick to it. It probably won't be as long as your deadline when you'll know you need to keep it.
3. They are placating you and lying low until this passes long enough for them to plot what punishment to levy against you for your bad behavior (like having needs and getting all wound up about the relationship being one-sided, etc.) - this is another really dangerous situation. They may decide you're not worth keeping for whatever selfish purpose they have anymore, which hasn't been "love" for some unknown long time - and your chosen punishment may be an abrupt breakup well before your declared deadline, or maybe even something even sicker than that.
We both agreed each of us is getting a "#2" this time.
Now I'm doing a lot of nail-biting right now. I'm a dysfunctional goody-goody. Love's Fool. I play my part. We met halfway and I'm determined to play my part, being Mr. Nice Guy. Usually when I get a #2, this is where I'm most vulnerable - she'll make-nice for a while and enjoy all of the benefits of the healing - like getting me to do favors, changing my attitude (did you think I'm totally sweet through all this? huh...), smiles and hugs and all that. But as things progress it becomes clear she's not taking any of the responsibilities of the healing - like returning favors in kind, being actually intimate and often not even bothering to be sexual, listening to my stories and stresses and not just leaning on me for hers, etc. - which resets the pattern again eventually.
Right now we're in the very beginning of a #2, which is the best I can have from this relationship. She's nice to me, isn't showing any repugnance to my intimate innuendos, and even kissed me the other day (that's right: she stopped kissing me years ago). Last night she was cming off a 12-hour shift on her feet from Back Friday and I rubbed her feet, nice and firm with soothing lotion for a good long time, then we cuddled. It was very nice. This morning I realised it was pretty one-sided, but I'm Mr. Nice Guy, remember? Poor thing was exhausted - she didn't get any sleep the night before and pulled a double shift with no chair. So of course I love her and don't mind giving to her. But it was the first sign that this may not be a real healing, it could simplt be another #2 pattern.
Usually I get a #1 as reward for letting myself be talked into staying. I've become accustomed to that, even though it gets worse for me inside every time, but I know I will eventually resist the placating reset of the pattern. #2 is much harder to resist, because she's showing some of the person she once was to me, the woman I fell deeply in love with. I should say deeply and hopelessly - because after time has worn out the passionate, epic love affair it once was, it is not much more than hopeless.
I was really hoping for a #3. After the last few weeks, and the problem with trust being brokedn, a #3 would make leaving a for-sure thing. Now I feel like I've been reeled in, and I'm sitting there on the end of the line with the hook in my mouth, feeling like a total idiot, knowing that the club is coming to beat me to death.