answered questions

I talked to Jon about time, and about Lora, and about how I feel about things. It was a productive, exhausting, frustrating discussion.

Jon acknowledged that the time between Lora and I is really unbalanced, and that he’s also not happy about it. He said that one of Lora’s (many) problems is that when it comes to time, she’s not good at thinking beyond (or before) the current day. Meaning that it doesn’t register to her if she spent most of the day with Jon yesterday or is going to spend most of the day with him tomorrow – if I’m having more time with Jon during the day that is currently happening, that is not fair to her, and she pushes for the time to be equal.

This is simultaneously heartening to hear and also makes me want to smack her. And smack Jon.

It’s heartening, because it explains why I feel like I’m never able to spend more than half of the time Jon has free for Lora and me in any given day. At least, as long as Jon is just consistently just going along with what Lora wants (which I also addressed with him, and he agreed he needs to get better at, although whether or not he can, because she has so many needs and pushing against all of them must be exhausting, is beyond me).

It makes me want to smack her (and Jon) because…for fucking serious, we’re all adults here. We’ve all done things like have jobs and need to schedule things around jobs and other obligations. The idea that Lora is supposedly an autonomous adult who is able to manage her life in some way, yet she can’t look past a day when it comes to spending time with Jon…I really don’t know what to think about that. I have deep doubts about calling a person an adult when they aren’t capable of something as basic as this and need to be called on it. Even if it’s the honest truth, and not a bullshit excuse designed to mitigate her taking responsibility for her behavior, it’s just…I’m starting to feel like Jon and I have to be her mom and dad, if she can’t manage something as basic as this.

Which, as a side note, is something that I need to address with Jon, that I didn’t realize until we had this talk. I feel like the way Lora’s capabilities as a conscientious adult capable of making her own decisions were presented and the reality of the amount of coaching, assistance, prodding, reminding, and helping that Lora needs are very different. Not that there was a concerted effort to make Lora seem more capable than she is. Rather, I went into this expecting (from my experience of Lora before we moved in), that while she had some triggers and problems, she was (more or less) a person capable of running her own life and make good decisions for herself.

This is not the case on so many fronts that it’s…slightly terrifying for me. And deeply worrisome, especially if we’re living together. And exhausting to manage.

I don’t want to get into all the specifics, but there are multiple other instances of things that Lora needs help with or can’t manage on her own or finds too stressful to deal with. It’s taken me months to put this all together because…well, because it didn’t occur to me to look for it. But as I was musing over my last conversation with Jon about Lora’s inability to look beyond the actual day that was happening, this happened in my head “Ok, so she can’t look past (or ahead of) the day that’s actually happening. Oh, and she can’t notice when a room is so messy that it’s literally strewn in garbage unless pointed out to her. And she still doesn’t understand that repeatedly calling and texting Jon if he doesn’t answer her within ten minutes  is inappropriate, controlling, and rude. She’s also unable to manage her schoolwork in order to give Jon and I a single day of the week to have alone time for a few hours. She’s also can’t to manage {censored for privacy} so Jon manages it for her. Jon also regulates her {censored for privacy} because if he doesn’t, she wastes it. When she is working, she runs all her money decisions past Jon, because she’s unable to maintain her own budget without someone besides herself saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to things. And when I tried giving her some of my anti-anxiety meds (which she also has a script to, her doc just isn’t as generous as mine) so she’d have a few extra in case she felt like she needed them, she used them all very quickly*

And then a really shitty thought dawned on me. The problem is that I keep treating Lora like an adult, and expecting her to act like an adult, but when I look at all the things that she’s unable to do for herself, she’s really more like a young adolescent. Possibly a young adolescent struggling with chemical substance dependence.

I’m not saying that to be an asshole. I’m saying that because I’m not really sure what else to call someone who is unable to manage their own behavior in many aspects of life.

I guess this side note turned out to be a really large main note.

On the time front, Jon and I agreed that we’re all going to have to start communicating really clearly about time to Lora and enforce the idea to her that she needs to be able to think past the day. So for instance, if Friday I’m working late, and don’t get home until 10, and Lora and Jon aren’t working (and thus are spending Friday together), then Saturday, when I have off, Jon and *I* will spend much of Saturday together, because Lora spent the day with him Friday. So Jon will tell Lora “Liz is going to be working late Friday, so I’m going to spend most of Friday with you. But Saturday, I’m going to spend most of the day with Liz, because I spent most of Friday with you”.

Incidentally, I told Jon that this level of management makes me feel like we have to parent Lora and also that this is way, way, WAY more in the way of needs and guidance than I had any idea I was agreeing to when we moved in together, so deciding if I’m willing to do this until Lora figures these things out for herself is another thing I need to figure out.

Realizing that this is necessary, and having put together a more complete look at the number of things that Lora needs from Jon/for Jon to manage/do for her (and that I will need to manage for her), I feel like I need to talk to Jon about how it even got to this point. How did it get to this point? What was Jon managing for Lora before they were living together? Was her mom doing it? Was Lora doing it? Is Jon actually OK doing all of this for Lora? Is there a plan for Lora to slowly take the reins of her own life and do these things for herself? Is that any of my business?

Answer to that last question – I think it’s my business as long as I need to be responsible for managing her in a way that I wouldn’t expect to manage your average, competent adult. There’s a lot of gray area in that statement and this feels like an extremely gray area kind of problem for me. The most important aspect for me is that if it seems that I am doing things FOR Lora that I would normally expect someone in Lora’s position to do for herself, AND if doing those things noticeably impacts my ability to manage my time and my energy then it is (to some extent) my business.

I really wish it wasn’t any of my fucking business.

The more I dig into what is behind the problems we’ve been having living together, the more deeply concerned I get about the concept that Jon is going to be Lora’s personal caretaker and emotional punching bag for the rest of her life. Which is why I told him that I think he REALLY needs therapy too. I know he doesn’t talk to any of his friends or family about Lora (because she’s asked/told him not to, as the idea of it makes her very unhappy/angry which is, incidentally, another thing that abusive people frequent demand), but I think he really, desperately needs to talk to someone other than me. At the very least, a therapist could help him figure out strategies to put more responsibility for her life back onto Lora. Or (hopefully) help Jon to see how incredibly unhealthy this is for both of them and help create a path away from this unhealthy, dependent dynamic into a healthier one.

At this rate, I think I’m going to need to start to go back to therapy too. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able figure out on my own what I should do. I still think that we’re going to need to move to separate homes again. I am absolutely not willing to make taking care of Lora and meeting Lora’s needs a major part of my life. Given the health issues that I have right now, all this time and energy that goes into managing Lora really bothers me, because I’m low on energy and ability to just take care of myself.

Beyond that, this isn’t how I want to spend my life – had I been aware of what living with Lora was going to entail, I would have told Jon that we should stay in separate homes. I do very much want to live with Jon. I plan on spending the rest of my life in a serious, committed relationship with Jon. I’m willing to open my heart and reshape my life to a certain extent for Jon’s metamour(s) – but what I’m being asked to do with Lora – I really do think it’s well above and beyond what is “normal” to do for a metamour. I’m not comfortable or happy with it. I have serious concerns about what all this dependence means for Lora as a person – and as a consenting adult. I feel blind-sided by how all of this piled up, and right now, it feels like an avalanche of problems that I’m struggling to carefully sort through, hoping that if I move carefully enough, it’ll slowly melt away with time and sunshine before it comes crashing down again.

I have a business trip coming up early next week. I feel very grateful for the chance to get away and have some peace in the privacy of my own hotel room. I think it’ll also be a way to have some badly needed time and space to process and think about these things.

 

 

 

* I feel like this needs a bit of backstory. My doc writes me a 3 month prescription for anti-anxiety meds, because I usually need less than one pill a week. More likely, I need none for a month, then I have a stressful week where I use the pills 1-3 times a day. I always end up with a bit of surplus at the end of each three months, maybe a dozen or so pills. Usually, the way I handle that is that during one of those three month blocks with my doc, I tell her not to write me the prescription, because I have enough left over from the prior nine months to get me through the next three.

Lora takes the same medication at the same dose, but her doctor writes her a much smaller prescription than mine. She runs out much faster than I do, and asks if she can borrow one or two every week or so. Since I’m not always around when she wants it, I thought to myself “I know, I’ll give her a dozen, and that should tide her through for a month or more”. Nope. She went through them in about a week. Which was a lesson learned for me, so now we’re back to her asking me if she can have one every week or so. Although I’m not really happy managing this for her, short of telling her that I can’t get her some of my extra pills sometimes (which I’m considering all the many angles of chosing to do that), it seems to be something that I do have to manage for her, since she’s unable to do it on her own.

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lizeden

polyamorist, cat-lover, hopeless optimist when I'm not being a firm realist.

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