Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Boundaries, an invitation, and a holiday

One of my struggles has been how to deal with the reality that I no longer wish to have a romantic relationship with H, yet we continue to live together in our home of 24 years. For me, the romantic part of our life together is long over and I just don't see my feelings changing, although I'm trying to keep an open mind. Needless to say, H has been in denial about this for years now. But, in all fairness, I haven't been consistent as I've been racked with guilt and shame about how my feelings have changed for him and about us...and I have wavered.

So, now, I am being consistent. And while he may pout, throw a tantrum (like the kid who wants ice cream before dinner, but mom says no), or try the masterful guilting that only he can do…I hold firm and am loving and kind with him. Oddly enough, I feel much better being around the house and, for the first time in years, I’m feeling more comfortable in my own skin. My hope is that he, like me, will get to acceptance on this issue so we can enjoy whatever time we have left together and in whatever context we have it.

Setting firm, unyielding boundaries is key, but also it is important for me to extend a loving invitation to H: he's welcome to stay with me and I will be there for him, whatever happens. I've been consistent over the years with him on this point: I'm not abandoning him (tho' he may feel that way), I love him, and I will continue to care for him, regardless of how our relationship shakes out.

H is taking a holiday from his anti-viral meds for the Summer. He talked with his virologist about how sick the meds were making him feel and he wants to stop for awhile and "have a life this Summer." Now, this is not without any number of risks, but Dr. says it is better for H to stop taking them entirely than not taking them consistently due to the risk of viral resistance. Having said that, there still is a risk that that he may get sick after a month or two off or that the meds won't be effective anymore if he starts them up again.

I told H that I support his decision to take a holiday. I can see how bad his quality of life is, but I also reminded him about what has happened in the past when he took a med holiday. It's important to me that he knows I support him and that I will be there for him and it's also important that I tell him the history.

I didn't tell him this, but I'm very concerned about him taking a holiday as I've seen what happened before, but part of me hopes that he can have a few months where we can enjoy one another again. And, another part of me just wishes that this means the end of his long, tortuous road of this horrible disease.

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