When I wrote about the last big problem between Lora, Jonathan and I; I wrote about it at the end, when it was mostly resolved, and back in a good place. Though it hurts, and is so hard, this time, I want to write about a big, hard thing that we’re in the middle of. So…here we go!
At the beginning of this journey, I wrote that it was very important to me that our bedrooms feel integrated together. We’re a bit over six months in now, and it’s as I feared. The communal bedroom feels like their room, and the spare bedroom feels like my room. Beyond feeling like a stranger/interloper when I sleep in the communal bedroom (which I almost never enter, except to sleep in), I’ve come to hate the other bedroom. I’ve realized that just being in that bedroom fills with me rage and unhappiness and regret. Much of that doesn’t have to do with Lora and Jonathan – it has to do with the past circumstances in which I came to live in this apartment.
Those past circumstances deserve their own post (or series of posts) at some point. For now, the bare bones story would be that I moved into this apartment with different people, and we had a very different poly life plan that we wanted to pursue. It was a life plan that allowed for other people to join us. As I’d just met Jon and Lora, I wasn’t yet sure how my relationship with Jon was going to develop, but if that relationship did turn into one where I would want to share my life and my home with him, there was room in that plan for him and Lora.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way that it worked out. I realized eventually that the hoped-for future with that group of people wasn’t going to be possible. I was hurt and sad about that (as was to be expected). I was also very bitter and angry. The situation fell apart in a very painful way, as I realized that one of the people in this polypod had ways of handling conflicts that seemed not only passive aggressive, but also manipulative and destructive. There was no way to walk away from that individual though; it was all or nothing, and in the end, I chose nothing, because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to share my life with someone that I deeply distrusted.
But back to the here and now, and this situation with the bedrooms. It took months for me to realize that I associated that bedroom, the bedroom that I spent a lot of time painting, decorating, and picking furniture out for, with this failed future that I had planned for years to be a part of. Being surrounded by things that I picked out with a certain group of people in mind, including artwork that some of those people had made, felt toxic and like I was living in the past. It was making it hard to let go of that lost dream, and it kept my anger strong about why the situation failed.
In addition to my feelings about that bedroom, though we did try to integrate a goodly share of our things into both bedrooms, what actually happened was that a little bit of my stuff ended up in the communal bedroom, and a little bit of Lora’s stuff ended up in the other bedroom, and a fair bit of Jon’s stuff ended up in the other bedroom, but most of his things were in the communal bedroom (with most of Lora’s things), which was also where Lora’s computer was set up, so the communal room became the room where she spent all of her spare time, and where Lora and Jon spent all of their spare time together.
The end result for me is that it felt like Lora and Jon had a bedroom that was “theirs”, a room that I didn’t feel comfortable coming into, because it’s also Lora’s personal room, and that the other bedroom, which was more my bedroom, was a room that I despised, because it reminded me of a failed future.
This is not a good way to live.
It all came to a head a few weeks ago, when I finally realized that the spare bedroom has been a mess for months, because I could barely bring myself to set foot in it when I didn’t have to sleep there. I immediately told Jonathan how I felt about both bedrooms, but I hesitated to bring it up to Lora, because she was in the final stretch for her finals, and needed to use all her time for studying. Jon was surprised about how unhappy I felt, and also unhappy that it had festered for so long without me saying anything. And while I feel bad about that, I know (and I told him) that I wasn’t trying to hide it. I didn’t realize how much it bothered me for a very long time. And while it bothers me too that I didn’t realize it sooner, I don’t know how to make myself realize things faster.
Anyways, Jon thought it would be better to talk to Lora after her finals. That way, she could focus on what she needed to finish out the semester, and then when that was off her plate, she’d have more time and energy to deal with this, which was going to be a big deal, especially since part of what I wanted was to ask her to change which bedroom would be her private space room. Also, from Jon’s end of things, he had a bunch of events for work that he had to attend, and was going to be working long hours for the next few weeks, so his emotional energy and time weren’t in a good place either. Waiting until his holiday work was over, and Lora’s finals were over would be the best thing to do.
Unfortunately, reality didn’t follow what we planned.
I was stressing about it last night and asking Jonathan about it, and he asked Lora something that led to having the full conversation about how unhappy I was, and how much it bothered me that her private room was also the communal sleep room. The timing…well, it could have been worse, but not by much. Lora was extremely upset at the idea of moving rooms, and also unhappy, because it felt like this came out of the blue – and she was already worried and stressed about finals. I was on my way home from a very grueling and upsetting day at work, and all I’d been looking forward to for hours was a quiet evening with some significant alone time with Jon. Hearing about coming home to and extremely upset and freaked out Lora, when I was barely holding it together because of my work day, combined with the stress I felt over this bedroom situation was just too much. I had to pull over on the side of the road before I started crying so hard that I wouldn’t be able to see. And at that point, I didn’t want to go home anyway.
So I sat, and I cried, and I thought about everything that I felt like I’d fucked up, and felt guilty about. Why hadn’t we repainted the rooms and set Lora up with her private room as the non-communal bedroom in June? Why did this have to bother me so much? Why couldn’t I get over it? Why did I have to fuck everything up? I felt terrible that I’d kept talking to Jonathan and making him stress about it. I felt guilty that Lora was stressed about it now on top of finals. I felt pissed that Jon had said something to Lora in such a way that he then had to talk about the whole thing. I felt frustrated and unhappy about how hard it is to figure out when the right time was to talk to people, when there were really hard, time-sensitive things happening – is it really better to wait? Who fucking knows? All I knew was that everything felt horrible, and our home was the last place in the world that I wanted to be.
In the end, Jon and Lora did a lot of talking. She calmed down, and went back to studying. I eventually stopped crying and raging and being angry at myself and made it home. Hugs were exchanged between all of us, and promises that we’d all do our best to make it work. Jon and I talked more about how unhappy I was about the current situation, and also how angry I still am about that unattainable future that I mentioned; if it wouldn’t just be making the whole situation worse, I’d want to take a sledgehammer to the walls of that room and destroy it. We also talked about how, if worse comes to worse and we can’t find a workable solution in this apartment, we could always move to a new one and set things up better from the start.
I suppose we left in a hopeful place, but given that there’s nothing any of us can do now about any of it, it feels like bleak and like there is very little hope. I guess we’ll see what happens.