I have had a mixed bag of things over the last few days. Mostly, things are good and they are still improving. It is not easy, however, to be living with Danica right now. The situation we’re in is making things exceptionally hard.
Expected and Unexpected Meetups
To cope, I have started leaving the house much more frequently than I might have otherwise done. On the 15th, I spent the evening at the New York City Bipolar Disorder Meetup Group‘s February meeting. I had been looking forward to it since the last meeting I attended a month earlier, but I was especially eager to attend ever since Danica and I broke up.
I didn’t speak much of Danica or the break up at all in the meeting, which took place at a 24-hour diner and was an informal gathering of about six diagnosed bipolar people. Instead, I spent the first half of the Meetup merely listening to others speak and sipping my coffee. I was happy to be there but did not feel ready to socialize just yet.
By the second half of the Meetup, however, I was involving myself in the discussion far more and had managed to bring myself out of my shell. (That is an important skill I am still polishing.) Going out and being with people was an incredibly effective mood-lifter.
I had spent most of the day indoors working on re-implementing the design for the new Maymay Media templates into valid XHTML and CSS. (I’m still working on improving it, but for the most part things are already up.) On the subway ride home I sat and read Designing Web Usability.
A few stops before I had to get off, the woman sitting next to me politely asked if she could take a look at the back cover of the book. She then asked what the book was about and if it was any good. I told her that I was learning quite a bit about Web usability and that it was indeed an excellent book.
I mentioned that I had a spare copy of the book (the copy with the few pages missing), and would be more than happy to give it to her if she was interested. She declined at first, citing the missing pages, but when I told her it was a 40-something-dollar book, she reconsidered. She said she was helping out with an organization’s web site and was interested in learning about the topic. I gave her my card, and she left after thanking me and telling me she’d likely get in touch. That night I finished the Maymay Media design templates and applied them to the site, hoping I would complete the task before she visited the web site.
It has always been reassuring to spot such synergy between affirmative actions in my life and the subsequent opportunities that sprout from those actions. I am not a believer in many things external to myself, but I am reminded of the universe’s enormity and complex organization when things like this happen. Some people call it fate. That’s comforting, I suppose.
Unstable Ground with Danica
I had left for the Bipolar Disorder Meetup before Danica returned home from work that day. She was home when I returned, however. Things got a little rough between us again that night.
She had been speaking to her co-workers, family, and friends about our break up. She told me that when she had spoken with her mother on her lunch break her mother began the tyrade of lectures mothers are sometimes known for. At one point she told Danica, “You see, this is why you really have to know a person before you move in with them,” implying that I have broken some promises and am not reliable.
When Danica heard this, she told me that she wanted to “rip the words right out of her [mother’s]
mouth ” because they made her feel so bad. She said that they reminded her of how much she had “screwed things up.” When I asked if Danica had told her mother anything about why we broke up, Danica said she had begun to tell her mother about Randy but stopped when her mother curtly snapped “Who is this Randy?” She said she doesn’t think her mother even remembers about him anymore, and it didn’t seem to me like Danica intended to inform her anymore.
Security Deposit Scruples
Later that night, Danica told me a bit about what she was talking about with other people besides her mother. She said that everyone was telling her to get the $587.50 security deposit back from me. (That $587.50 is half of the security deposit; I paid the other half. More precisely, I paid the full amount and was paid back a month later.) I sensed that this was leading to a request to recieve the security deposit back; she had said she was thankful that she was reminded to do “all these important little things” and that she would probably not remember to do them on her own.
At first, I was extremely pissed off about this. So I outlined the financial situation very briefly, trying to avoid anything but the numbers:
- My rent used to be $700 per month in our old apartment. One of the reasons for moving to a new apartment was to get a cheaper rent for us both.
- If I could continue to pay half the rent at this new apartment (the same 50/50 split as before), my rent would decrease by $122.50 each month.
- However, now that I would be paying the rent alone, my rent actually increases by $475 per month.
- Furthermore, I have an additional 10 months remaining on my lease. Even when dismissing any other previously-shared financial burden which I’ll now be solely responsible for, that is more than $12,000 of expenses I need to budget for, a majority of which were unexpected.
- Lastly, and I thought that this should have been obvious, a security deposit is collected as insurance against an abruptly-departing tenant which is exactly what she is.
This small rant I went on sent her into tears. I apologized, but it did no good, nor did telling her that I did not intend to be mean, I merely wanted to express my surprise and indignation at the request. She said that she did not actually ask for the security deposit back, just that she had been told to do so by everyone she spoke with. (Which is true, but I could see her lining up the shot from a mile away.)
Again I apologized. Again she said she felt horrible, that I had “fucking crucified” her. At that point I turned my back to her and disengaged. I did not feel that I was in any way overstepping my bounds, and certainly did not feel that I had done such an injustice as she implied.
Despite the resentment I felt, I wanted this subject of the security deposit to never be brought up again. The only way I could ensure that this would happen is by giving up, so I wrote Danica a check for $587.50, dated that day, and marked as “Security Deposit Reimbursement” on the memo line.
As I signed it, Danica returned to the room (she had left to the bathroom before I started writing the check) and emphatically told me to stop it. I refused, finished signing, and handed her the check saying “don’t cash it if you don’t want to, but take the check.” She took it and put it through the shredder immediately. I sighed and said, “At least you can’t say that I refused to return the money.”
Then she went to bed and closed the door to the bedroom, still in tears. I stayed up for the next few hours despite my exhaustion. When I finally went to join her in bed, my shuffling about woke her up. I asked if she went to sleep angry at me, and thankfully she said she hadn’t. That eased my passage into slumber.
An Outgoing Wednesday
All of that happened Tuesday night. The next day (today, er, technically yesterday at this hour of the early morn’) was far calmer because we saw much less of each other.
The Early Afternoon
Danica woke up way before I did. She had gone out and returned with a cup of coffee for me from Dunkin’ Donuts. She tried to wake me up when she came back but was unable to do so. I was exhausted and needed some extra time to sleep.
When I finally did wake up it was almost two o’clock in the afternoon. Danica was on the phone with who I quickly deduced to be Randy. I stayed in bed and couldn’t help but listen to the one side of the conversation I was privy to.
She seemed entertained. I eventually got out of bed, went to the bathroom, and then finally ventured into the living room. I half-expected my presence to effect the conversation. As far as I could tell, it had no effect whatsoever.
Miffed, I went online and did my best to ignore the rest of her telephone conversation with him. I found an email from my father containing an image I wanted to use for the Maymay Media design templates. I busied myself with further web coding for a while.
At around four or five o’clock, I noticed that an acquaintence who lived nearby was online. I did not want to spend the night at home with Danica so I messaged the acquaintence and asked to meet her for coffee. Thankfully, neither of us had anything to do so I got ready (showered, shaved, etc.) and left the house at 6:15 PM to head downtown for a long walk and a cup of joe.
As I left, I told Danica that I was going downtown to walk around the village. I did not tell her I was meeting up with anyone. I did not want questions. All I wanted was some company with whom I could talk and be out in the city with.
Self-Exploration and Questioning
The fact that Danica has Randy and I have no one equivalent is extraordinarily difficult for me. Besides the obvious reasons why this is so hard for me to deal with, there are some subtler ones that are not so obvious. One of these subtle reasons is the fact that I greatly envy most people’s ability to have casual relationships with such apparent ease.
For me, the concept of a “casual relationship” is restricted to acquaintences. For me, the jump between “acquaintence” and “friend” is a huge leap; I have dozens of acquaintences but very few friends. Similarly, there are even fewer people who have ever been held in higher regard than as a close friend: three over the course of my entire life, not including family, to be precise. Danica is one of those three.
I am still not sure exactly why I envy this trait so much. I have pondered several possibilities over the years, but none of them seem accurate. None of them strike that “this is the truth” chord in me. Here are some of the possibilities I’ve pondered:
- Casual relationships enable casual sex; maybe I just want more sex.
- People who have casual relationships seem to be able to make friends easily; maybe I want more friends.
- Casual relationships are easy; maybe I am overburdened by my emotional committments.
- Having casual partners easily enables multiple partners with little responsibility or investment neccessary; maybe I want more than one partner at a time.
- Casual relationships can develop quickly; maybe I want the novelty they provide.
- Having multiple casual relationships is a romanticized ideal; maybe I’m really a drama-queen after all. (Just take a look at the Feminist section of any book store. I’ll bet you anything you’ll find it littered with biographies of seductresses and prostitutes.)
Like I said, none of these ring true for me. I may not be ready to understand why this bothers me. Perhaps I simply need to actually engage in casual relationships and/or casual sex to finally understand what they’re all about.
Note that I do not want a relationship (be it romantic or sexual or both) right now. I need to be alone for a while in order to assimilate my experiences into lessons learned, to grieve the relationship’s loss, and to break up (and away) from Danica cleanly. That last bit is very important.
My previous girlfriend and I did not break cleanly; she called me constantly asking for advice and opinions. Danica did not break cleanly with her ex-boyfriend; they spoke frequently for some time as well. Neither of us speak to those exes anymore for one reason or another. That should be a warning to all couples who break up and even think they may want to remain friends later.
If I may interject a little personal opinion on this personal weblog (and I may), I believe it would do Danica immeasurable good to be alone for a while as well. I asked Danica the other day how long was the longest amount of time she has ever spent without anybody, alone and without a partner for either sexual or romantic satisfaction since she had started dating. Her answer was 1 month (not counting the year of negative sexual experiences due to certain abuse).
This further reinforces my belief that she is a serial monogamist. Each of her relationships ended as a new one was beginning or right before a new one formed. She spent that long, lonely month alone after breaking up with her most recent ex and before meeting me. Between myself and Randy, there was break of a mere negative-seven days.
I strongly believe that being alone for a significant span of time is invaluable preparation for a relationship. It allows one to gain self-reliance, which (perhaps counter-intuitively) is a prerequisite for a successful relationship. Without the experience of being alone, how can one truly appreciate being in a relationship? How can one survive its loss without scurrying to repeat the same errors with somebody else?
The Rest of the Night
Spending the night out was a great idea. The night itself was not wonderful, though I did thoroughly enjoy being out of the house and doing something new. At first I was not sure how I would feel about it but, like the Meetup the day before, I became far more sociable and had far more fun by the second half of the night.
When I got home it was already late and Danica was in bed. I turned on my computers and was glad to see several friends online. I spent the rest of the night chatting and catching up with email and message board postings.
I actually want to write quite a bit more. Unfortunately, my brain is beginning to crackle with white noise and fizzle out of focus. It is late, I have not had anything to eat today (except some lentil and curry dal, a tasty Indian soup), and I do not want to continue missing so much sleep.
Conversation always ellicits insights when it is had with insightful people. These people rock. You know who you are.