When Relationships Evolve

Michael and I had a difficult conversation yesterday, but one that’s been too long coming. See, when we were focused on survival and learning to cope with various medical stuff, and caring for kids, and, and, and… our relationship changed. Honestly, it changed in a way neither of us ever wanted.

The best words I have for it (and this still isn’t quite right, but it’s what I got) is somewhere along the line we stopped being friends.

Wait, What?

A big part of the problem is that we’ve grown in different directions in terms of the things we enjoy doing. So it’s hard to find things to do together when we do have time. Part of the problem is that between health problems and low spoons, we are often simply unable to spend that time together.

And that causes another problem. Because we aren’t spending much time together in a positive way, a high number of our interactions are when we’re stressed and trying to get stuff done. So I don’t see as much of Michael’s humor, but I see a lot of her bitterness and anger. Michael doesn’t see a lot of whatever positives she sees in me, but does see a lot of my jadedness and no-spoons-to-give-a-fuck. And that’s not a recipe for maintaining a friendship.

A last problem has, thankfully, finally been solved by time. The kids are old enough we can tell them ‘Entertain yourselves for an hour/stay in bed and don’t bother us except for emergencies, we’re having parent time.’

And, that’s a hard thing. It’s always hard with a friendship ends.

What’s different here is that our relationship isn’t based on in friendship anymore. It started that way, but it’s grown a lot in the past ten years.

We love each other.
We care for each other.
We are nesting partners.
We are co-parents.
We are each other’s main support and help.
We are life partners with shared goals and dreams we are working towards together.

Don’t get me wrong. Realizing that we’ve lost that friendship hurts. And I’m grieving it.

But the end of one part of our relationship don’t mean our relationship has to end. Doesn’t even mean our relationship is unhealthy or bad for us.

It just means our relationship went in a direction neither of us expected or wanted.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Michael believes that we can rebuild our friendship. If we make an effort to spend time together, if we make more time for each other, etc etc.

I’m doubtful. More than once over recent years we’ve said, ‘You know, we need to spend more time together.’ ‘We really should start doing date nights again.’ ‘We aren’t spending emough time together…’ And we’ll try for a while, but it never lasts.

And of course, what time and spoons we can get, we always have a dozen uses for. What time we’ve gotten to ourselves has gone more towards the physical side of our relationship, be it sex and/or cuddles. Which, really, we need more. We have other friends we can get friendship-type needs met with. But neither of us really have anyone else we can turn to on a regular basis for sex and cuddles are hit-and-miss.

So I’m not sure I want to try and ‘fix’ this. It seems like an exercise in frustration that will make it harder to get other needs met.

Where do we go from here? I think we accept that relationships aren’t domesticated. They are wild things that grow naturally in directions we don’t expect. We go forward from here, enjoying what we had, and, yes, being sad for what we lost. But also remembering that in any healthy relationship, growth is constant. Maybe once the kids are older and more of are family are in the area so we have more support, we’ll have more time and spoons to spend together. Or maybe we’ll become a queer version of the crotchty old couple who are constantly fighting and seem to hate each other but god help you if you come between them or cause trouble for one of them. Or maybe we’ll grow further apart (hopefully not, but it does happen).

I’ve learned the hard way that I’m shit at predicting the future, including the future of relationships. So… we’ll see what happens. But given everything else we’ve been through, I expect we’ll still be together, and still be glad to be together, in another 10 years.

One way or another.

(After some thought, I’m tagging this Polyamory on Purpose because even though I’m not actively advice-blogging anymore, I’ve known a lot of folks who could learn from this.)

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