This weekend past, for the first time since December, Jon and I had two days off together while Lora working during the day (Jon and Lora had two days off together during the work week). Saturday was our date night, so Jon and Lora only saw each other for half an hour, between the time that she got home, and we left to go out. Sunday Jon and I spent much of the day together, and then Jon and Lora were supposed to spend the rest of the day together when Lora got home – basically the reverse of what we’ve been doing when I’m at work five days a week.
On Saturday, I became a little worried that Lora was unhappy; she seemed somewhat standoffish when she got home from work on Saturday. It does legit totally suck that she saw so little of Jon Saturday – having been in the same situation myself regularly for the past few months (as many of Lora and Jon’s dates were in the evening, with them leaving a bit after I got home from work) I totally know how that feels. Likewise, I know the feeling of coming home from a long day at work and feeling like the few hours that I get to spend with Jon are paltry in comparison to the whole day that Lora spent with Jon. I’ve been there and I’ve felt that for months.
The unhappiness and frustration went up much higher on Sunday, when Jon told Lora that we wouldn’t be home when she got home – we hadn’t gotten to the grocery store yet and getting back from that would probably get us home half an hour later after she got home. Jon was in the room with me, on the phone with Lora when this came up, and I clearly heard her say “Well what on earth have you been doing all day?!” at which point Jon walked out of the room to talk to her in private. I heard the beginning of the conversation, which was Jon saying (in an irritated voice) “Well, I needed to do the laundry that you wanted me to do for you, and we had to clean, and we needed to finish fixing the light fixture that broke…”. Which is all true. We spent a bit more of the day together doing non-chore related things, but the majority of the day was split either between Jon & me each having some alone time and us doing chores. By the time we got everything done, we were a bit later than we wanted to be to get groceries, so Lora wouldn’t be seeing Jon until about half an hour after she got home. Again – I totally understood the discontent. There have been a number of times over the past few months when Jon hasn’t been home when I’ve gotten home because he and Lora were grocery shopping or at the gym-or, he WAS home, but still doing his alone time for another half-hour to hour. I’m intimate with that grumpy feeling of “I expected to come right home and spend time with Jon, but he’s too busy and I need to wait, GRRRR”
Lora was definitely feeling very GRRR about it, as I discovered when I went to put some laundry away in one of the bedrooms and the…conversation that Jon and Lora were having in the other bedroom got loud. I honestly wouldn’t quite call it an argument; there wasn’t any actual yelling. But there was a huge amount of discontent and frustration and unhappiness in Lora’s voice. And I thought “welcome to my world, lady”, which feels snarky and uncharitable and mean-spirited. It also feels…really true. Everything that Lora felt this past weekend, I’ve felt since mid-December.
I ended up heading to the farthest corner of the house I could and putting music on, because I honestly didn’t want to hear it. I was already simultaneously feeling guilty that Jon and I having our date took away time from when Lora could see Jon and angry at myself for feeling guilty, because wanting to go out on a date in the evening with Jon isn’t a mean thing to do to Lora. Especially when I factor in the number of times that Lora and Jon would go out in the evening, meaning that I wasn’t able to see Jon because of their date. Both of which are TOTALLY reasonable – we ALL like to go out on dates at night, and if we ALL do it, then no one person is getting shafted or deprived of something that someone else isn’t getting deprived of. But telling the part of me that feels guilty whenever I know my actions are depriving someone of something that they want that it really is OK – sometimes it feels like a never-ending battle to convince myself that I am allowed to do things that cause other people to not get something that they want (like Lora wanting more time with Jon). I just have to keep reminding myself that it happens both ways, and as none of us want to stop going out at night, it’ll keep happening and it really is OK.
On the other side of the apartment, Jon and Lora finished their terse discussion and then spent some time together. Lora started on her homework, and Jon came out to help me finish some chores that I’m physically unable to finish on my own these days. While we were doing that, he and I talked about their contentious discussion earlier that night. I asked Jon if there was anything that I needed to know or that we needed to talk about. And he said that it was all fine, and loosely explained the situation. I told him, yeah, I totally get how she’s feeling – because I have felt like that for months. I simultaneously feel sympathy for the way she feels, but also don’t have a lot of patience or charity towards her about it, because if it’s been an acceptable situation for all these past months, then it surely isn’t going to become unacceptable now that she’s dealing with the same circumstances. Jon said that he understood where I was coming from, and that he felt that we didn’t do anything wrong this weekend, nor did we need to change anything in the way we’re doing things. It would just take Lora some time to adjust to this new schedule, with now going to a full-time job that involves getting up early five days a week to put on clothes and be professional with other people, and then come home to spend only half an evening (at most) with Jon (and the rest doing school work or at-home work for her job).
For the record, in case that sounds a snarky “welcome to grown-up-land” thing, I did not mean it in that way in the slightest. I was lucky enough to have a few times in my career where I found long-term freelance work that I could mostly do from home. After I spent few months of working from home in my PJs, having to go back to getting up at seven-thirty in the morning to get ready, and drive through rush hour, and then be suck in an office all day long (with no ability to take fifteen minutes to do some cleaning, or do laundry while I worked), and then battle through rush hour on the way home felt soooooooo awful. I know why people dream about working from home, and now that I can do it occasionally, I have to say, OMG it feels SOOOOOOOOOOO good to do that!
Giving that up is going to be a big, rough, miserable deal to most people. And for Lora (and me by default), giving that up also means spending significantly less time with Jon, which is a further ouch. It’s really a huge amount to adjust to – and exhausting, to boot – doing so much work and school work.
All that said, did I still feel pissy about Lora being upset and stressed? Yeah, I did. Because that HAS been my reality for Jon for months – while I don’t have schoolwork, I do have a physical disability that makes me feel exhausted and makes everything harder to do and also means that I’m in some degree of pain most of the time. So my sympathy and empathy were at an all-time low. As I said to Jon at the end of our conversation “While I do feel sympathy, I really fucking don’t want to hear about it, because I already know how time-crunched and sucky it feels, and I have enough shit going on in my life that I just don’t have the energy to deal with more”. Jon said that he understood and that he thought it would all work out in the end once Lora adjusted. Lora herself had said she felt like things were hard and stressful right now because they were so different, but that she was waiting to see how things felt once she’d had a few weeks to get used to things (and finish school, which will radically ease things for her).
There was one sour note in all this, which was that Jon and I planned on having a kinky romp before bed, but because he lost track of time with Lora, by he came out to come to bed with me, it was too late. I started to write about that here, but I realized that it’s too big a thing to include in this post. So, it will get it’s own post, and I will say that yes, the night ended on a bad note for me, but that the talking today put that bad thing into a better place.
Lastly, the one thing that came out of this weekend that was useful (and important) to me was seeing that really, being home all day together doesn’t mean spending the entire day together. Jon spent two to three hours both days before Lora got home on having his alone time. Also, we both spent a fair amount of time together-ish, doing various chores – laundry, bill-paying, cleaning – all the little things that people do simultaneously so that more gets done over a shorter period of time. All in all, we spent about three and a half hours actually *just* spending time together, focused on each other, and another two and a half hours sort of in each others presence, but working on various projects. And the rest of the time, we each had some alone time. So I got to see, first-hand, that “spending the day in the apartment with Jon” did NOT translate into an all day sex-love-and-pancakes fest where all responsibility was ignored in favor of hedonism. Not that I thought, intellectually that that was going on – and really, knowing that Jon and Lora do regularly go to the grocery store when I’m at work, or I come home and the dishes are washed or the floor’s been cleaned, I knew that couldn’t be the case. But my inner green-eyed beastie was afraid that maybe it *was* and all the chores and crappy things were being saved for when I got home.
All in all, this has both been a learning experience that I appreciated and also a fantastic indulgence of alone time with Jon. I really, really, REALLY hope that Lora also eventually adjusts well and is comfortable with this more-equal splitting of time. I also hope she keeps this current job for a long time to come – not just because of how it works so well, scheduling-wise, but also because she does seem to enjoy it a fair amount and is thriving in this non-retail environment. Her coworker and clients have thus far been reasonable people who are easy to get along with, instead of the russian roulette of retail customer service, where many customers are nasty, power-tripping jackasses. Also, it’s by far the most money she’s ever made (35% more per hour than previous best-paid job – and that’s before the OT stuff), so she’s finally making enough money to feel like she can start to pull her own weight and contribute to the household. Good things all around!