Monday, July 23, 2007

When All Else Fails, Eliminate Your Expectations

nI've been struggling recently with my anger and disappointment about H's health and its impact on me, him, and our lives together. I feel cheated and impatient to get on with my life (re: I'm very aware how short life is), he's worn out and tired of fighting this damned disease (me too), and our relationship is shifting to that of caregiver and caregiveee (sic), which in some ways is an improvement.

The other day, I was completely frustrated by a conversation I had with H. We've had a major car-repair issue that involved the classic decision: sell it, fix it and keep it, or fix it to sell it. The repair involved a comma in the price and so I was discussing this with H because we always have.

Now, I should know by now not to trust his judgment anymore, but it so automatic for me to ask his opinion and then consider it seriously. Instead of just a car repair discussion, it turned into we need two new cars (long list of candidates) and we need to move…he pulls out a house ad for a nice enough house, but much farther from work and in a less desirable neighborhood. So not going to happen. There is no reason for us to move.

Over the years, I've learned not to expect H to be able to do much physically and over time I've learned that his judgment is failing. What I haven't done is actually say to myself and believe it emotionally, "He's not my partner anymore, he can't be there for me, and I can't depend on him anymore."

Suffice to say that I left frustrated that I couldn't consult him on this decision -- the type of decision that we always discussed prior to acting.

The Buddhists tell us that one cause of suffering is not accepting what IS.

If I think about H as my patient, someone that I can be caring and loving with if I don't expect him to be a partner for me, then it is easier. But if I expect him to be the partner that I automatically invoke in my mind based on 24 years of history, then I will just get more and more disappointed and angry. And I don't like being there either.

Isn't this just the next phase of the long goodbye: having no expectations of him in spite of our long history together? Easy to type, hard to do, especially since my "partner" needs aren't getting met and that drives my expectations of H. No…not just sex (that's easy to get), but the share-your-life-together type of needs.

It's really about gradual losses for both of us and right now, it's also about accepting what is for me.

1 comment:

Y | O | Y said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I started working my way through your archives so I can catch up with where you're at.

A little more about me that will make me easier to relate to...my previous partner of 4 years has AIDS. I knew it when we got together and it has been two years since we parted ways.

I've been through the illness, night sweats, cancer scare, diarrhea, etc. His viral load was about 10,000 and t-cells down to 50. For a while I thought he was suffering from dementia. Between meds and his personality, I was never able to really figure out if that was the case or not.

Anyway, I'm thinking of you. :)