Now that I’ve been back home for about a week, I can say that we’ve had a really good week – at least, as far as I can tell. Jon and I spent nearly all of last Wednesday together, as we’d discussed, and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (which I was working), I was able to come home and spend much of the whole evening with Jon, as he and Lora spent their time together in the morning.
So far, everything seems reasonable and smooth. I’ve asked Jon for clarification a few times on how time is working, mainly to make sure that I know what’s going on and if we have something in particular that we want to do (like watch a specific movie) that we really do have the time for it. Asking for clarification sometimes feels tense and I worry I sound too micro-managy, but the more we do it, the more relaxed and…it feels more like it’s just double-checking and confirming, versus being suspicious, if that makes sense.
Happily, Sunday Lora did go out, so it was a relief to see her sticking to something that she said she’d do. Which isn’t to say that she never does what she says she will. Since the three of us had our major talk about the verbal abuse that Lora was in the habit of flinging at Jon, there hasn’t been a single time that’s happened while I was in earshot. Given the way that Jon seems a bit more relaxed and at ease, I’m guessing that it (or the overall situation) has improved. I’m not yet convinced that this isn’t just a good streak that will taper on in a week or two, but it is a good sign, especially when coupled with the changes that made our alone time be more equal again.
If Lora is upset about the changes (which I think must have decreased her time with Jon somewhat), she’s voiced them to Jon only. I haven’t heard any high-volume screaming matches while I’m home, though I have occasionally heard stressed voices having a disagreement. As long as I don’t hear anything that I’d take exception to (like name-calling and other abuse), I keep my ears tuned out and let Jon and Lora work out their problems themselves.
Jon and I have also had a few more serious talks about the overall situation. I think the most important one was a discussion about how Jon definitely is depressed and that he’s also really stressed at the idea of us going back to living in separate homes, and what that would mean to him. Those are both really large things, each worrisome for all of us in very different ways.
When it comes to the depression…I feel like that’s still a very thorny subject. Jon is very open to therapy and medication for other people. I don’t see any overt signs that he’s opposed to either of those things for himself…except for the part where he doesn’t seem to have made any progress in finding himself a therapist, and doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. I didn’t actually directly ask him what he’d done so far to find one, but when I asked him if he was going to find one, he said yes, and also gently let me know that he felt like I was nagging him. I definitely don’t want to nag him, so I’m considering letting the matter rest for at least a few weeks and then asking him directly what he’s been doing to find a therapist – that would yield more of concrete information to me, as if he says “umm…just looked a bit”, then we can discuss how he admitted over a month prior (projecting this a few weeks into the future, mind you) that he could really benefit from a therapist, but hasn’t taken any steps to find one.
Hopefully though, it’ll be more of a conversation where he talks about what he’s done to find one and/or has already let me know he’s going to see one, which would be hugely reassuring to me.
About the possibility of us moving into separate homes again, I told Jon that while it was excellent and extremely comforting to me that the past week had gone well, a week of things going well doesn’t make up for months of things slowly going awry. I’m still not convinced that living together is going to work for us – and Jon is really scared that I won’t be and we’ll move apart. We addressed some of his concerns about us living apart and what that would mean. The two things he brought up were that he hates the idea of having to go back to driving at least an hour (depending on traffic) between homes. He also told me how much it means to him that the three of us are able to sleep together – he teared up when he was telling me, so it’s obvious that it’s a hugely important thing to him.
I let him know that, we were to live in separate homes again, we’d absolutely make sure to live in the same neighborhood. With luck, we’d be able to find homes close enough that walking (or even a short bus trip) would be feasible. I don’t see why doing that would be an issue, and it’s something that I would put at the top of my priority list, if/when we look for separate homes.
As for sleeping together, living apart is no reason to not sleep together, as far as I’m concerned. Before we all lived together, we occasionally slept all together. If we moved into separate homes again – especially homes that were close by each other – we could still sleep together. Not as much as we usually do these days (which is three nights a week). But we could surely manage at least one night a week, and maybe even alternate a week with one night of us sleeping together and a week with us sleeping three nights together.
I know that Jon badly wants this to work out so that we can continue to live together. I…feel ambivalent about that. I want it to work out too, but only if it feels really good and not like a constant struggle, or like I need to continuously monitor/help/assist Lora with a lot of things. The past week has been a lot easier with that too – Lora went back to the doctor, and is trying a new, stronger medication to help control her anxiety and OCD symptoms. It’s too early to tell if it’s working, and one of the side effects (especially at the beginning) is that it makes people tired – a tired Lora is a Lora who sleeps more and gets upset less. While that’s good, it’s too early to know what it means for the future. I’ve been on medications in the pat that were helpful, but left me so exhausted that I ultimately had to discontinue them, because the fatigue was so great that it outweighed the benefits. I hope that doesn’t happen with Lora and this medication.
As for myself, I’m using this time to take care of me more, and enjoy our home’s more peaceful, relaxing dynamic. Health issues have continued to be significant for me, so having some space to rest and tend to that means a lot to me. It may sound negative of me, but given Lora’s previous outbursts (which to me, seemed to come from nowhere), I’m going to be tentative in my confidence that we’re going to have some better times now. I’d rather keep a bit on alert for more negative things to break out than assume that it’s going to be fine and then have a rude awakening when things go poorly. I know that it’s easier for me to cope when I expect bad times and am disappointed (ha! I could do with more of that kind of “disappointment”), than when I expect good times and am disappointed.