Jon is back to working regularly, and our time management issues continue to go much more smoothly. It’s interesting, because Lora and I are seeing much less of Jon now, as he’s back to working ten to sixteen hour days three to six days a week. There are a lot of days (like yesterday and today) where I won’t actually spend any time with him at all. When he comes home, he kisses me goodnight before he goes to bed. When I get up, I go kiss him good morning while he’s still sleeping. And that’s the sum of our interactions.
Meanwhile, Lora often spends anywhere from one to four hours with him, depending on exactly what his work hours are. Previously, when we would get to a day when the three of us were free, Jon would be splitting that free day equally between us, because Lora wouldn’t remember/acknowledge the days when she and Jon spend time together and I didn’t.
Now Jon is keeping an eye on things like that (and he and I are communicating about it clearly and regularly), and when it’s happening, he’s making sure that some of the days when he and I both have off, he and I are spending more than half the day together, to even that out. I really appreciate it, and I’m feeling more secure in that it’s OK to speak up about this, and that I’m being treated fairly and more in line with our time was spent last winter.
Last winter, our schedule went like this: I wouldn’t see Jon for two days (when he was staying with Lora), but then the next two days, he stayed with me and we could spend the whole evening together (or on the weekends, we could spend a whole weekend day together – something that nearly never happens once his work starts up, as he usually works at least one weekend day). This past holiday season, I did see him every evening, but it was for half of the evening at most, and those times were regularly interrupted by Lora. Many evenings, I saw him for only an hour or two, because Lora also wanted to spend time with him in the evening (despite spending hours with him during the day), and he also wanted some alone time. So this is what the day looked like (and Jon confirmed this is what was happening):
- Jon would get up around eleven
- Jon would do some puttering around on his own, but spend most of of the day (noon ’til seven-thirty) with Lora
- I would get home around seven-thirty. Jon would want to do an hour of alone time.
- Jon, Lora and I would hang out together from eight-thirty ’til nine.
- Jon and I would hang out together from nine until eleven-ish (with Lora frequently coming by to say hi, or ask Jon a question, or need him for something).
- Jon and Lora would hang out from eleven-ish until 1ish then go to bed (I went to bed around eleven-thirty
Comparing that with last winter, where I spent two days in a row spending time with Jon from when I got home from work around six (I frequently worked later on the nights he was with Lora, so I could come home earlier on the days he spent with me), until I went to bed at eleven-thirty, it’s a huge difference.
Now, a typical daily schedule looks more like this (since Jon is working again, I work later on the days he’s out working).
- Jon gets up around eleven
- Jon and Lora hang out/do chores/spend time together from noon ’til five
- Jon takes some time for himself from five until around six-thirty (I usually get home around six and do my alone time thing then, or hang out with Lora a bit)
- Jon, Lora and I spend time together from six-thirty ’til seven
- Jon and I spend time together from seven ’til eleven-thirty. Lora is much more aware of giving us time to be alone & doesn’t interrupt as much
This feels about a million times better and much more in balance with the way last winter was, time-wise. Most importantly, it feels like I am spending enough time with Jon to feel connected to him and like our relationship is growing and progressing and has the space and time to have fun and have serious conversations. To relax and be silly. To receive and give support.
So, in light of this, I let Jon know that I was feeling a lot better, and while I would love to continue to have as much of his company as I have been having the past few weeks, if there are things that he feels are more squeezed out than he’d like them to be (time with friends, alone time, time for personal projects), I’d be willing to shift some of our time around to accommodate those things. I also mentioned that I knew Lora was still very stressed as she hadn’t found a job yet, and if he wanted to spend more time with her, I wouldn’t interpret that as taking away time from me that I felt I really needed with him.
Jon said he’ll definitely take the alone time/going out with friends things into consideration, but that he doesn’t want to take me feeling better for a few weeks as a sign that everything is now totally fine and that the time management problems are solved. He also said that Lora is feeling really sensitive and watching really closely to be sure that we’re having about the same about of time with Jon, so suggesting that he spend more time with her would really upset her and stress her out.
That last part concerns me because…I still find it…I don’t know the word…disheartening…upsetting…disturbing…that she didn’t realize what a huge time imbalance there was before. And because it seems like another indicator that she only had two modes in a lot of things, which are: a) don’t notice them at all OR b) be hyper-vigilant at all times.
I agree that all of our time management problems shouldn’t be pronounced as “fixed” yet, and that we still should be more vigilant and very aware of how our time is being spent. I hope that in the future, we’ll have a more fluid time, where Lora and I both at times feel comfortable enough with the time we have with Jon that we’re ok if the amount of time he spends with one of us is slanted for awhile, because that person is having a harder time and feels like they need more time/support from Jon – though with Lora, I’m not sure if that is a state that exists for her, as long as she has to share him with someone else. I know that, for me, there are times when I feel like I’ve had “enough” time with Jon. Enough means that I feel connected to him and solid in our relationship. It means that we’ve had time to do all those things I mentioned up-post (like being silly or having serious talks). It means that while I would definitely love to spend more time with him, I’m not going to feel deprived or like our relationship isn’t being fed enough if we don’t have more time together.
I haven’t gotten the sense yet that Lora ever feels like she and Jon have enough time together. Between the times I’ve outright heard her say she isn’t having enough time with him (even when they were spending far more time together than they are now) and the times I’ve heard her mention something as a concern that means maybe this relationship isn’t going to work for her, it seems like there may never be enough for her. I’m not sure if that’s something that I should be concerned about, or if it’s something that I should leave for them to figure out.
The main reason why that concerns me is that I don’t know if things feel better to me, but worse to Lora. As far as I can tell, both from talking to her and from how her moods are lately, it seems like she’s in a better place too. If being super-vigilant about time is something that helps ease her OCD (which she has, and is on medication for, this is not conjecture on my side) by giving her something to focus on that is quantifiable and she’s…I don’t know how to put this. If Lora is always feels like she and Jon doesn’t have enough time together, and she doesn’t feel exponentially worse now that they’re having less time together because I insisted that Jon’s time was split more equally between the two of us (the way it was previously) then should I feel guilty or worried about her unhappiness? Should Jon? Or is this something that Lora needs to figure out for herself and decide if it really *is* enough for her to be happy in these relationships, the way they are now?
In the meantime, things have continued to be quieter (in terms of Lora and Jon fighting) are more fair (in terms of time). I have noticed an increase in energy and good feelings inside me. I’ve been able to go back to doing some hobby things that can also foster energy and good feelings in me. Jon feels happy to be working (and making more money again). Lora is still looking for a job (and a therapist), and I will continue to hope that she finds a good one (for both!) in the next few months. When she had a job last year, having her out of the house more (and making money) did all of us a lot of good. And I know she felt better being able to pay for some things herself, and feel like she was pulling her weight more.
Hopefully, this good streak will continue, as long as we all stay aware and mindful of each other. I will continue to muse upon some of my larger concerns about Lora (like her inability to self-regulate a lot of behaviors) and suss out my feelings on living with someone who needs a lot of guidance and monitoring. I’m still not sure that the three of us living together is the best thing for me long-term, but I feel like I have more breathing room to think about it rationally and without a lot of negative experiences choking me. If nothing else, that will give me the peace of mind to know that I’m making my decisions from a place of strength and extensive thought, instead of a place of extreme stress and a need to get away now, before I become damaged from what’s going on.