So, there’s something I haven’t been telling you.
This blog has been pretty much dark since my New Year’s posts, and although that’ll be changing soon (I have some Breaking In posts coming up that I’m really excited about), I think it’s time for me to tell you why I’ve been so preoccupied.
Because it’s… not dishonest, I think, but not very accurate, to be blogging about my writing, and my other goals and ambitions, and my life and how it impacts on that work – and not address that I’m in the middle of a Big Complicated Thing that’s taking up a lot of my time and energy.
I’ve been with my partner, the inestimable Sarah, for over fourteen years. We have two children, both of whom have significant special needs – severe autism and developmental disabilities. We love our children, and our family, and we’re committed to giving our kids all the care and stability that an intact home provides.
But we aren’t a couple. We haven’t been for years.
This process has been been unfolding for a long time, and some of the details are pretty personal, so I won’t get into them here. Suffice it to say that Sarah and I were always incompatible in some ways, and those ways became more prominent over time, as the stress of special-needs parenting, and all the other things that came up in life, and the stresses of managing our incompatibilities all took their toll over time.
We stopped being a couple. We aren’t together that way. But our children need us, and will for a long time to come. We love them and want to do our best. So neither of us is going anywhere.
And we had to figure out what that means, and how it will work.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned – via the wise S. Bear Bergman – that this isn’t something that only we’re doing. Some people call it “nesting” or “birdnesting”, and while it’s not common, it’s increasingly not UNcommon either.
It’s been a long and complicated and sometimes challenging journey, and it’s not over yet. Our relationship continues to evolve. But right now? I often describe us as “co-habiting co-parents”, although that’s a bit clunky. I sometimes call Sarah my Co.
Why am I telling you this now, and not before, or later?
Well, Sarah’s been seeing someone, for almost a year now. He’s a great guy, and really seems committed to being a positive element in Sarah and the kids’ lives, without stepping on my toes. I like him.
I like him, but I also had a lot of feelings to process around this. A lot of pain. Because it was hard to see the relationship that I had invested so much time and energy in changing. I grieved for it, and I felt like a failure. I felt like I needed to keep this private, keep it to myself.
But since the New Year… things have been happening faster. Sarah went social-media public about her new relationship – at my suggestion, because I felt like it was time. Her guy has been around our home and the kids more.
And I met someone.
Yeah, I did. I had one of my occasional “Oh, right, I need to actually make things happen!” epiphanies, and got back onto an online dating site. Bless you, OKCupid.
And after the usual flops and false starts, I made a connection, and it turned into a first date, and it turned into something that’s new, but feels real, and important. With someone who wants to support me in my life, as uncommon and downright weird as it is (as I am).
So, what I have been doing this year, so far?
Not much writing. Not much exercising. But a lot of thinking, feeling, grieving, growing, learning, meeting, coming to terms, caring for myself, caring for others.
And I’m not done. This is, after all, a Big Complicated Thing, and it’s an ongoing process. I have more to do, and more to learn, and there’s my Co and my kids who need me, and a new relationship in the mix too.
But I’m feeling more stable, more ready. Less sad, less afraid. Like it’s time to resume working on my writing and my health. And like it’s time to stop being so damned private about it all.
Regular blogging will resume here shortly, but until then, this is why I’ve been away. This is where I’m at, and who I am, and what I’m doing with the people I love.
COMING UP NEXT ON THE BLOG: Less talk about myself, hopefully. I was thinking about updates on what’s new and exciting for some of my previous Breaking In interviewees! Stay tuned.