Multiplicity of Patches

We went East for Thanksgiving. This trip was different than our last though we traveled to and from the same places. It seems unfair to compare the two because were different people in July.  We were shining and new and gleaming for everyone to admire. We were full of possibility and dreams. We talked of forever and marriage. Our excitement was palpable.

Then we moved in together.

It seems cohabitation has worn us down. We’re disconnected more than connected. We struggle to communicate despite many long and painfully honest talks. We hear from friends that the first year is hard yet no one really warned us before we made this leap. I suppose we would not have listened as we were full of love song- “la la la loooooove is all you need.” Do I regret the decision to join my life with Mr. Darcy? No. Do I feel at a loss as to how to make us better? Yes.

This is a difficult ordinariness.

Who I am and who Mr. Darcy is for the most part is a good balance. The things each of us are not we can find in the other. But for me, sometimes those very things frustrate me. I realize that I am not easy to live with. I own that and apologize for that and then at a certain point I have to stop apologizing because all feel about myself is that I am wrong and worthless. And I am not worthless or wrong. I’m just really hard on myself and that spills over into my close relationships. Living alone allowed me to not have to test out the changes I’ve been making and yet still claim I’d made them. Uh, yeah, it doesn’t actually count unless you are DOING IT.

That means I’m practicing all over Mr. Darcy.

I try every day to ease up. To soften. To let go a little bit more. I’ve told you it’s scary for me because my coping mechanisms have kept me safe and all of this requires me to essentially trust fall into the arms of Mr. Darcy. Being in a relationship is kind of like learning to do a handstand and I’m still at the point where all I can do is kick up half-way. I cannot yet get to a full unassisted handstand – in metaphor or in reality.

The bottom line for me is that I want to be in a relationship where both people feel like their best selves. Where we feel supported and thriving and inspired. Where the other person is their pillar, their safe harbor, their cheerleader, their mirror, their human hammock, their happy. As much as fighting, disagreeing, miscommunicating is trying and taxing and frustrating, I want those moments to help us build a stronger foundation. I want it to be productive and impact the overall good of us. I don’t want to lose sight of why I made the leap – because he is a good man who is smart, honest, kind, generous, loving, funny, silly, affectionate, supportive, full of integrity and a strong character with a dimpled smile that lights my heart. Because he is my person.

“Young lovers seek perfection. Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches.” – from the movie, How to Make an American Quilt

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37 thoughts on “Multiplicity of Patches

  1. Oof. This sounds very tough. I’m sorry you’re having to go through it. But I think it’s good that even in the middle of it you know that he is still your person. I hope that helps you–both of you–figure out how to make things better.

  2. “[I want a relationship} where the other person is their pillar, their safe harbor, their cheerleader, their mirror, their human hammock, their happy.”

    This is exactly what I want, too. But you know what? For most couples (or maybe every couple?) life gets in the way sometimes and we struggle.
    I think you’re doing a wonderful job talking about it, saying out loud what you’re feeling and working through it. That’s the way to go.

    All the best to you guys!

  3. Bill and I are still adjusting to living together. Realizing that we don’t need to spend every moment together when we’re both home was a HUGE step for us. I like that we can both go to separate areas and just be. Now, if he’d just realize that the kitchen is MY DOMAIN.

  4. I am not a fan of “all you need is love” after the break up of a nearly 3 decade marriage, I realized I needed more.

    It looks to me like you have the right idea’s. He completes you, and you him. You fit together like yin and yang 🙂 You already have all the things I (and I would guess so many of us) long for! (friendship, compassion, respect…)

    Keep working on the rough patches- no body is perfect and we all need to accept each other, especially in a relationship, warts and all.

    Anything worth having is worth working for!!

    Hang in there. Hugs!

  5. Hugs, lady. Every relationship is hard work (friendship included) but living with a man is a whole ‘nother level. I love that you guys are working at it, though, and trying to make the tough times count for something.

    Hugs and hugs and hugs.

  6. I love that quote. And I love your honesty. And I believe in you and Mr. Darcy. Keep hanging in there, and keep talking and doing what you’re doing to let him in, and vice versa. It will all be worth it.

  7. Oh, sugar.
    True story: I was thinking very seriously about getting back in the online dating game. Every version of my profile resounded with, “I’m not, I’m not, I’m not.” Which could have just as easily be summarized with “I’m not perfect.” God forbid.
    I hope you afford yourself the same patience the two of you have together. 🙂

  8. Sizz, I’m pretty sure just by the fact that you wrote a post like this means that you all will get through it. Living together is indeed hard. You have to learn what little quirks you can live with and which ones will make you eat your head if you have see it one more time. I’m a neat freak, Scott is not. Those first few months for us, lord as my witness, it took all my strength not to kick him in the shins.

    But seriously, the phase will pass. This statment: “It seems cohabitation has worn us down. We’re disconnected more than connected. We struggle to communicate despite many long and painfully honest talks.” sort of sounds to me like you guys are talking without really talking because you’re afraid of rocking the boat. Just rock it. Put it out there and you’ll all be stronger because of it. 🙂

  9. Living with someone is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, ever. You’re forced to deal with their ugliness, but more uncomfortable than that is the fact that you have to deal with your own. There’s no solace, no place to go that’s just yours where you can lick your wounds. It’s terribly hard. I wish you and Mr. D the best as you work this out…I have faith that you can, and that you’ll come out better on the other side.

  10. “Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard…”
    (Not much of a Coldplay fan but this line seems to fit eh?)

    Shit you not, we had a weird fight this morning over sugar. 18 years and we still bicker from time to time. People are hard, relationships are hard. You’ve lived on your own for a long time, and now there is someone in your space. (And in this case it really was YOUR space.)

    In my case, I guess we’ve learned to pick our battles. What do you blow into a Big Thing, is anything really a Big Thing?

    My only advice is to really place the relationship as a priority in your lives. This is worth working out.

  11. I think that is the sort of relationship most people want and the key (which you two are doing) is keeping open communication. Hang in there.

  12. I could write you a novel about this post but I will keep it short. I don’t know specifically what things you are finding frustrating about living together but I’d start with cutting yourself some slack. Living with anyone, even the love of your life, can be a frustrating endeavor. My husband leaves his dirty clothes in the same pile each day and never puts his dishes in the dishwasher…which I find infuriating. BUT when I get in the car, I realize he always keeps it gassed and he takes the garbage out and does a myriad of other things that I may not take the time to do. The point is- there is a balance and I think that this example goes through other facets of the relationship too. I ask myself, “do I give as much love and attention as I require”? “am I providing the support he needs”?

    I found it interesting when you talked about your “best selves”. I think about that idea of my best self a lot and I know you do too. I have glimpses of time when I feel like a really good version of myself but never really best. And I think that is pretty ok too.

    I think you will find balance.

  13. i’m glad that you shared this, sizz. a lot of couples i think go through this. i know we are. it’s not always easy, that’s for damn sure. it’s about finding that balance, right? some days are going to seem to come so naturally, everything fits just right, you can’t imagine any other way. other days, it will be like a shitstorm flew through. communication as you mentioned, is so important. you and mr. darcy seem to have the core things there in your relationship, and i think that is what matters most. you will work through it. good luck getting there…and know that there are others out there that are feeling the same way.

  14. Thank you for your honesty. I think a lot of people feel like admitting the difficulties that come with a big change is akin to admitting defeat when really, it’s acknowledging that some things are just worth working for. And you two love each other. You two will choose to be together, to remain in love, even as you go through the growing pains of stretching that love. You are a wonderful person, Sizz, one who isn’t afraid to look at the whole picture, even when that picture isn’t as pretty as we’d like. And I am rooting for you.

  15. Ah let me throw in my two cents. Are you sure you have enough physical space for the two of you to comforably co-habitate? I’ve lived in a apartment in your neighborhood and found that most of them are ideal for one person and “cozy” for two. Cozy being a euphemism for fucking on top of each other all the damn time. Also, I too adore my husband, love him to death, and our first year together under one roof was war. War within myself, war with him, war trying to be silent instead of nasty, war trying to break the silence to be honest. And then something happened. I’m not sure it was anything he or I did exactly. It magically got ok. I love magic.

  16. Aw I’m sorry to hear things aren’t going too well. I feel very spoilt and lucky now cos although the first few months were rough for me and Ray, things calmed down pretty quick. I think the previous commenter might be right: actual physical space might be the problem. Ray and I live in a very big house so if we did ever need to get away from one another we know we could. Maybe it’s time you two found a place that was you two together, instead of him having to move into your single space?

  17. It’s hard, isn’t it? And no one really warns you, like you said. I think when you’ve lived alone it’s even harder. Suddenly every moment is about the “us” instead of the “me.” It’s hard to cultivate real downtime.

    But I guess this is what we have to go through to get through, right? You have to experience the lesson to learn it. You’re doing such a great job. Your perspective always seems so great. And Mr. Darcy seems like such a sweetheart, I’m sure he’ll be eternally patient as you continue perfecting your handstand. Mr. W is much the same, thank god.

    I knew exactly what your headline was from the moment I read it. I LOVE that movie.

  18. We went through this exact same thing when we moved in together. Beforehand, things were wonderful and exciting and new, and then I moved in. I went from an almost 1000 sq ft apartment where I had the whole place to myself to living with someone else in a teeny apartment that’s barely over 500. I was miserable, we fought, I got rid of a lot of my stuff and became terribly resentful for it. There were days where I would disappear for hours because I couldn’t stand being home and nights where one of us would sleep on the couch. It was so very hard. But we made the commitment to work through it, and we did. We’ve been living together for a year and a half now and we’ve since turned this tiny place into our home and it has become a wonderful, comfortable place for both of us. I know you both are so committed to each other and I know you’ll both work hard to get through this time. I’m rooting for you both!

  19. I know for certain you guys aren’t alone. I think every couple newly cohabiting learns this. One day it’s grand and perfect and then, bam! Something happens and you ask yourself if either of you will survive another day. In the past hair in the sink has caused me to swing from peaceful love to irrational thought. And all the “we’re yin and yang” quotes in the world cannot snap you out of that– we just have to work our way out of it. The only key I know of is working together, and it sounds like you have that. Much love to you both! You’ll move forward.

  20. living with a man (even/especially? the one i love) and not forgetting myself over it has been (and still is) one of the biggest challenges of my life so far. unfortunately love is not all you need but it does help with all the other crap that comes with moving in together. he’s your person. you will make it. ❤

  21. i agree, the first year of living together is hard, at least it was for me. it is a struggle and will be, until someone gives a little…especially if you both had a great sense of self before this happened. not saying that you give into someone, but just be open to the differences.

  22. I think recognizing all of this (and talking about it) is a great step. Relationships are hard. You don’t have to be perfect, obviously he doesn’t expect that, but I realize it is more about YOU thinking you need to be perfect than about him even noticing you aren’t.

    Finding your person is tough. Once you find him it still isn’t easy, but now you have someone to go through the hard stuff with (does that make sense? I hope so!)

  23. Sizzle, now, I don’t know Mr. Darcy so it is possible I am way off the mark here but Mr. Darcy does not now and has never thought you were worthless. Have you accepted that Mr. Darcy loves you completely? In order to do that, you have to believe that you are worthy of love, even when you aren’t your best self. You know how even though Mr. Darcy isn’t perfect that he’s perfect for you? And you think he’s the most amazing person? He feels the same way about you. And you need to be comfortable with that. Are you?

  24. living together is a challenge. and relationships are mirrors to show us the best and worst in ourselves. At least you want to recognize these things and work on them, thats saying a lot for you. most people are happy floating through life as they are.

  25. I think every single person who read the post yesterday agreed on the same thing: living with the significant other is hard. It’s harder at the beginning, it gets better but it’s never perfect.

  26. Practicing all over Mr. Darcy — that sounds kind of dirty.

    On a serious note, ‘their pillar, their safe harbor, their cheerleader, their mirror, their human hammock, their happy’ — it sounds like you ARE getting all of this, but it just happens to look a little different on the surface than you think.

  27. Interested to hear more about this as you guys work out the kinks. I’ve resisted moving in with boyfriend for this reason (and others), but I’m sort of pseudo living there while my kitchen is being redone. I love being around him all the time, but I feel like we’re just coexisting – not really talking, just in the same space – and I”m frustrated and nervous about it. Normal? I have no idea.

  28. Interesting post on marriage, and some advice for arguing: http://insicknessinhealth.blogspot.com/2010/11/is-marriage-good-for-your-health.html

    Anything I have to say about arguing seems to require a ton of background information, and there’s not room for a book here. The synopsis: I’ve finally gotten to a personal space where I can let my partner know how his behavior affects me without me getting all bent out of shape that he didn’t just “know” without me saying anything. I’ve finally gotten to a space where I’m not so blown away emotionally in the moment of an argument that I can now metaprocess about the argument during the argument. It is sometimes enough to take us out of the argument for long enough that we can get some perspective. My partner is not able to do this, and I’m OK with that…things are not always equal, and don’t need to be equal. I’ll say things like: “We are not letting each other finish our sentences”, “We have different definitions and expectation of: politeness, cleanliness, etc.”. Lastly, I took a class in listening (at work) a few years ago, and that discipline of really listening to what the other person is saying has made a major improvement in the quality of my personal an professional relationships.

    Really enjoy your blog…your work to transform yourself is profoundly nobel work.

  29. Because love and how we manifests it to our loved ones changes, doesn’t mean it’s worse, it just means it’s different. This is another phase in the relationship development. Keep your eye on the love aspect of it all, and you will be ok. I’m cheering for you!

  30. I love your honesty and your way of expressing yourself.

    I worry that my issues with myself will cause me to forever push away a good man…must work on it.

  31. oh yeah. let’s just say that our idea to get engaged, plan a wedding (40 FREAKING DAYS FROM TODAY), move me 1200 miles, combine households, (me) become co-habitater AND step mom, make animals not kill each other, start new job, get him back in school after losing his job and improve his long neglected and painfully small house in the space of the last 6 months…. well…… i DO love him, but damn. and apparently every other individual on earth is just blissfully fucking in love, so it is i who is the monster bitch from hell! OMG as they say.

    hang in there momma. i think we both know that good guys are hard to find and shit takes work. as long as i know, and i do completely, that i want to be here and do this and he does to…. well, i am going to try. and i do think it will get better and it is damn hard to live with someone when you aren’t 14 and all googly eyed and have nothing and no history or life experience.

    yeah, and that whole get a bigger place thing…. seriously, when you guys can/want to/whatever get into a larger, you are not in charge of everyone elses disaster type place…. RUN!!!!! 🙂

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