|Playing video games together? First, let us take a selfie.|
The first few weeks after Michael and I reunited, I was in heaven. He was finally in my arms again! I could hold his hand and feel his touch and hear his heartbeat whenever I pleased! I couldn't see myself going back to living and working alone, living off of sparse texts and calls from someone who is more dynamic and real in person than text could ever portray.
After we finished our move and got settled into the new apartment, things changed. It started with little things I did, born out of habit from being alone for so long. The moment I left a room I would turn off all lights or electronics. It had become second nature. This didn't go so well when Michael was in the middle of showering, or watching TV. I couldn't get the proportions right in my cooking. It took me so long to cut down to portions appropriate for someone living alone, and here I was having to adjust yet again. These things were laughable the first few times they happened. After a while, they were annoyances. The issue was my habits were completely opposite of Michael's. Where I had grown used to doing everything alone, he had spent the past nine months doing everything with a battle buddy. This became a point of contention for us early on.
Michael's personality had changed. The way he carried himself, the way he talked, even the way he looked and moved. I saw bits and pieces of the person I had said goodbye to last March, but they were small in comparison to the person he had become. These changes weren't bad. They were simply different from the person I knew. The end result was a feeling like I didn't know him anymore. It is a weird and very heartbreaking thing to realize that the person you are laying next to in bed is almost a complete stranger to you. I'm sure it was the same way for him, as we both went through a lot of changes in our time apart.
From there it was a downward spiral. We started noticing all of the things that had changed, that we didn't like, that were annoying or nuisances to the way we went about our day. We spent more time nitpicking each other to pieces than communicating about what was wrong. I reached an all time low when I realized that I did not look forward to the time in the day when he would arrive home from work; I preferred the peace and quiet and lack of social stress in being alone. Social interaction with my own husband made me anxious. It was in that realization, and sharing it with him, that we realized how bad we had let things get. We made a mistake in trying to shift back into our old rhythm. Instead, we realized, we needed to make a new rhythm, new habits, new everything, because we were new people.
The first step we took was to start dating each other again, and that ended up being the only step we needed to take. We went out and ate, or watched a movie together, or went on urban hikes and talked, or just made time for one another. I would dress up nice for him just because I wanted to, and he would do the same. We made more efforts in doing the little things - spontaneous massages, cooking food for the other, a random keesie (what we lovingly call a kiss) here or there. I have a particularly fond memory of us spending several rainy hours sitting together on our porch, looking out while talking about everything and nothing.
I learned about the man I married all over again, and he learned about me. We finally started sharing stories about our time apart, catching up on months that we never really bothered to fill the other in on.
When we went camping in February, we spent a lot of time doing stuff together. We walked around the little town, went to the beach, made food together. It didn't feel special at the time, but now I'm able to look back on that trip and see fond memories of time spent together.
Everything that helped us was rooted in spending more time with or around each other. In April I moved my computer from the bedroom to the living room, where Michael's setup was. We still don't play too many video games together, but there is something very comforting about sitting right next to your loved one while you both are doing your own thing. Because of that I still have my computer setup in the same room his is in. Also, on the becoming-more-often occasion that we decide to play video games together, we have an easier time communicating with each other. One of those times we played a game together (World of Warcraft) is how I ended up with the picture for this post.
I find myself making more conscious decisions to spend time with him. When he gets home from work I'm more likely to stop what I'm doing and just spend the evening with him. He spends more nights in with me as opposed to inviting friends over or going out with them, something that I had come to hate when we were having problems.
We're in a much better place now. There's more affection, communication, and overall openness between us, and it's affected how we are outside of our relationship in positive ways as well. This was hard as hell for us to go through, but I wouldn't take it away for the world. The end result is a closer, more happy relationship.
Why am I telling you guys about my imperfect life and relationship? Several reasons. For one, it's my life and this is my blog and I want to blog about it dammit LOL. More importantly, however, I don't feel like there are a lot of places in the media that accurately portray relationships, whether its TV shows, movies, or books. I found that while reading or watching romance my own expectations of my relationship became warped and unrealistic. My point is, people don't realize how hard all relationships are, even those that are right for you. That's what make relationships so damn hard. Whether that person is The One or not, you will have to fight tooth and nail for it, and it's only up to you to figure out if you're fighting for a lost cause or a long term relationship. All I can offer is to look at your overall happiness and health. Do you guys normally boost each other up or drag each other down? If you drag each other down, can you fix it? If not, are you sure you're with the right person? I had to answer these questions for myself when I reached that low, and I'm glad I asked those questions. We would not have made it if we had ignored the issue.
I hope that if a stranger comes across this story, or if any of you are going through a rough spot, this will help you through any rough spots you're experiencing with your significant other.