Oct 042013
 
his-toothbrush-my-place

“Toothbrush Love” © 2010 by Hadeel Omer
Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license [CC BY 2.0]

J and I have been together for two and a half years, but the only thing he’s allowed to keep at my place is a toothbrush.

When he stays here on weekends, he brings a bag with clothing and toiletries, his laptop, briefcase, and assorted work materials. He takes it all with him when he goes. He’s not permitted to leave behind any evidence of his contingent existence here.

Even when I buy him clothes, (when I want him to dress a certain way for a dinner, an event, or just because,) he has to take them when he leaves. I don’t want them here.

I never wanted it to feel like he was moving in. I have nothing against living with someone (I’ve lived with partners before and I’m sure I’ll do it again), but it was never a viable possibility for us because J’s place of employment is too far away — the drive isn’t feasible during the work week.

Imagining him ‘living here’ just on the weekends felt artificial and sad to me. Any small reminders of his presence would mean I’d feel his absence that much more when he was gone. Besides that, the ubiquitous threat of J leaving meant that any of the creature comforts that accompany shared lives ultimately felt less like comfort and more like delusions and denial.

I guess my refusal to let him keep a few things here was my attempt at keeping some distance — a futile attempt to keep our lives from intertwining more than they already had. For the record, my attempts at obscuring his absence and buffering the impending loss have been wildly ineffective.

Since there’s no point in trying to maintain my distance, I’ve decided it’s time to make some changes and give J more of a place in my home.

Along with more of a presence here, this will be his first weekend under new house rules.

 

  4 Responses to “he’s allowed to leave his toothbrush”

  1. Keeping the other at a distance, both physically and emotionally is simply, as you point out, a classic expression of the fear of loss.

    Now that the loss you have feared for so long seems inevitable, and you’ve faced it, it’s logical to abandon a strategy that was designed to help you to ignore it.

    Hoping that you really enjoy the time you have together, and that the removal of the barrier gives it even greater intensity.

    • Now that the loss you have feared for so long seems inevitable, and you’ve faced it, it’s logical to abandon a strategy that was designed to help you to ignore it.

      I think it’s logical. The way I see it, there are three options: 1) break things off to avoid later/greater hurt, 2) dive in head first and deal with the consequences later, or 3) don’t do anything and risk deterioration of the relationship while it lasts.

      I’m taking option #2 to the best of my ability. :) Bring on the intensity!

  2. How exciting and scary all at the same time change can be. I think that this is is a great change, and since the previous strategy has been ineffective, you may as well bite the bullet and see what can be accomplished for you both.

    • I’m thinking of it all as a grand experiment! It’s not going to end happily, so I might as well see if I can’t suck some extra happiness out of it before the end, right? :)

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