Howdy, and thank you all for your wonderful sweet words of support and kindness. You are awesome!
I've been thinking a lot this weekend, and I have to sort out how much of my bad feelings are self-induced. See, I'm a nut job. There, I said it. Now you know, if you didn't already.
A couple things:
- I was *blindsided* by the end of my 18-year marriage. It's been a few years, and I'm past it, and I was the one who pulled the trigger on ending it, but wooboy, did that one sneak up on me. And the major scar, which is itchy so I know it continues to heal, is trust. I believed my X when he said he loved me and we'd be together forever (uh, right up until the day we weren't) so I have some serious trust issues. Not that I'm not worthy of love, not that I don't deserve it, etc. It's just very difficult for me to imagine someone actually being there for me, for the long haul. Conversely, it's hard for me to imagine committing to someone - but that's more because I do not EVER want to feel so stupid and foolish and PLAYED as I did when X and I split. My heart has an electrified barbed-wire fence around it, and I know it.
- As a result of this, with Greg, I am always considering him with one foot out the door, even if it's not true. All these little bumps in the road, these few months we've been seeing each other - you don't know HOW MANY times I've thought, "well, that's it, I won't be hearing from him again." Many, many times. He has never actually once alluded to us splitting up. I have to be very careful about the voices in my head. :) They are constantly out to sabotage me and my happiness.
So. When it comes to loose skin and weight loss, I have to be super-careful to honestly see what damage HE'S doing to me (which is probably none) versus the damage that I am doing to MYSELF.
Just the facts:
- Shortly after we started dating, after the first naked time, he did ask me if he could ask me something without hurting my feelings. He asked me about the loose skin; whether I had gotten it from losing weight too quickly or because I had lost so much weight. I dodged the questions - I don't think I told him about the surgery at that point, and I did talk about genetics, age, etc. I did not tell him how much I'd lost. I'm sure he wanted more details, I was not willing to provide them. I asked him if it bothered him, he said, "A little."
- Then there was the night I locked us out of my house, and my landlord fussed over me so much when we picked up the key. I told him I'd had WLS. He asked specific questions but did not say anything judgmental or hurtful (he never has). He told me about a woman he worked with who lost over a hundred pounds after WLS.
- We have talked a couple times about my planned plastic surgery. He requested big breast implants. :)
- The other night...oh shit, I wish I had a tape recording of that conversation. I remember being so upset inside, but when I replay it in my mind, he didn't say anything. Weight loss came up. He asked me specifically for the first time how much I've lost. I told him. He made comments like, "That's a lot of weight on a 5'3" frame," and "do you know how you ended up gaining so much weight?" and "I can see how that kind of change in weight could really affect a marriage." I told him that I have come to believe that I was very unhappy in my marriage, but on paper it was a "good marriage" to a "great guy" and thus, I came to believe that it was all my fault that I was so unhappy, when everything was so "wonderful." I told him that I had never contemplated divorce, I truly took all the blame myself and was stressed and depressed. We also talked about the fact that I was in a tremendous amount of chronic pain from a back injury I would later have fixed. (That was in 2004, but I didn't lose any weight afterward, even though I was out of pain.)
- I showed him my weight loss pictures. I did not watch his face when he looked at them. He said a couple things like "what a major difference," and "what an accomplishment, you deserve to be proud of yourself." He did not say it with big smiley happy faces floating above his head while holding out a balloon bouquet, which is apparently what I needed in order to not have his words cut like a knife.
That's the extent of our discussions about weight loss and loose skin. Clearly, he's not verbally abusive, haha. And obviously, I carry around a tremendous amount of self-defensiveness and hurt about this issue. By now, he is figuring out what a nut job I am, because after this conversation, I'm sure he found it a little surprising that I was getting up leaving his bed to go home, saying things like "I am done apologizing for the weight loss and loose skin." He is not my cheerleader with this weight loss. He's a very direct and to-the-point person, anyway, not the cheerleader type. But looking back at what was actually SAID, he hasn't said anything wrong. He's asked specific questions about a subject that makes me squirm, and makes me unhappy to talk about.
I'm not defending him - I really don't know what I'd be defending him from. For his part, maybe there is a vibe there that I'm picking up on. He certainly does not give me giant hugs and exclaim, "I'm so proud of you! I would love you at any size or any skin condition!" It's interesting that my X never, ever said a word about all my weight gain (going from roughly 135 pounds to 263 pounds over the course of our marriage). I'm pretty sure Greg would not be mum on the issue, haha. And isn't that something I lamented when X and I divorced? Had X not loved me enough to give me a reality check?
There might be a vibe from Greg, but there might not be. I'm a head case, remember. I've been doing nothing but self-sabotaging this relationship from Day One. In my mind, he's broke it off one million times. I'm horribly insecure about relationships. There's been days where it's been awhile since he's texted and I have truly thought, "Well, I won't hear from him again." For no reason whatsoever. He's not cheerleading my weight loss, but he's certainly not bringing it up or making offhanded comments or observations or the like. He brought up the issue, which put it on my neuroses-radar to obsess over.
He doesn't like it, I'm sure. He wishes it were otherwise, I'm sure. I don't expect him to love me unconditionally, loose skin or no loose skin, because we've only be dating a few months and it's not TIME for unconditional love. I do think of it like falling in love with someone with a big port wine stain on their face, or some bad case of eczema or something. Like it or not, it takes some getting used to. Like it or not, my body clothed is very different from my body naked. It's fair to have to take some time with it.
There were a couple other issues that night - oh Lord, was it ever a crap night. His nearly 15-yr-old daughter (who just moved back in with him f/t, you may remember) is struggling with me being there so much. (I've been staying there pretty much whenever my kids are gone, which is half the time.) Before she moved back in, I predicted this would be an issue and he was sure it would not be. It is. He sees that now, haha. He was stressed because she has been asking and asking when I am coming, how long I am staying, etc. I was stressed because honestly, I've not been looking forward to going down there nearly as much since she moved in. She is definitely crazy about her daddy and hangs around us constantly - my own 11yo son, who is crazy about Greg, is constantly on my lap when Greg is around. :) It's a subconscious kid-territorial thing, I get it. I have wished that my son would just pee on me to mark his territory and get off my lap, haha. Anyway, that night we talked briefly about that issue, too.
I have another issue that I just cannot even write about, but that's the crux of how this whole ugly night started. Puts me very much in a defensive issue and ripe to be hurt. And now, when I look back on it, I don't even know how we went from spending a quiet evening together (granted, I was already in a bad mood) to me storming out in the middle of the night, practically tossing his birthday cake and prezzie at him (his birthday was the next day). I have to admit that most of it was due to the crazy lady in my head. No voices were raised, no ugly words were used. True to my incredibly unfair way of arguing, I threw in unrelated accusations about things we had never discussed (e.g. "you were not kind to me on the phone this afternoon" and "you have been stopping doing nice things for me"). Ugh, I can fight dirty, bringing new things to the table, much to everyone's surprise.
The point of all this is that as I ponder what it is I want him to say to make it all go away, I can't think of what he said to get it all started. I am sooooo defensive about this skin and weight loss. Very easily wounded. I wish he were more expressive, more supportive, but looking back, I truly think that was his only crime. I wish that he had smiled and hugged me and said how impressed he was. But he lost 60 pounds before we met, and I honestly haven't given a thought about being "proud" of him for that - I didn't know him. That's not the guy I know, not the guy I'm dating.
Anyway, he worked a tremendous amount of overtime this weekend and we spent a few hours together in a couple different intervals. Enough time to enjoy each other's company and cuddle up and be happy. No serious talks. It was just what the doctor ordered. And I am still pondering how much I am going to let crazy call the shots, and how much are real issues between us. Thank you again for your love and support. :)