Belenen (belenen) wrote,

B & I trying to decide if we should stay in a relationship / learning to give / B & 'efficiency'

Right now B and I are trying to figure out if we should stay lovers, and last night we had a short, intense conversation about that. B has been putting the absolute minimum effort into the relationship -- ze will talk with me and work on stuff when I confront zir about actually doing something that hurts me, but creating something more than polite neutrality is something ze hasn't tried to do in any sustained way. And while I can demand respect, affection is something else. I know that ze notices my affection because ze complains whenever I stop being affectionate, but when I AM being affectionate ze completely ignores it. Even intense, sustained affection (doing many special things for several days in a row) produces no more than a slight response (and it's not a languages thing, because we have very similar love languages, and I give in the ways ze likes). We've wondered if it's a chemical thing, if ze needs to go on medication, but ze won't go to the doctor. We've wondered if it's a spiritual thing, but ze won't try anything spiritual. We've wondered if it's an emotional thing, but ze won't go to a therapist. Ze refuses to try any avenue to help, and then expects sympathy for zir numbness/depression/disconnection/apathy. And I have been sympathetic and empathetic and all that, but what it really boils down to is that ze doesn't want to get better at loving me or ze would try SOMETHING. I don't think I'm that hard to love either, in fact I require next to nothing in affection because I do get so much love from so many people that I really don't need much (I'm lucky that way) -- but why call it a relationship if there's no affection (or only one-way affection)? I don't see a reason to, and I won't stay in a relationship out of sheer wishfulness -- no matter how good the sex is (that is the one area where ze can be affectionate) or how much I love zir.

I think that B's lack of giving is caused partly by emotional and spiritual (and possibly chemical) issues, but mostly by simple lack of skill. I think for all of B's life ze has been given affection without ever giving it back, and ze simply doesn't have the skill. B's parents were rather affectionate and required only B's presence; I've been very affectionate and required only respect and honesty from B, so there's been no motivation for B to learn to give. (I don't know how to healthily motivate giving -- I learned from earning approval with giving and later realizing that I enjoyed giving when it was uncoerced. I think/hope that you can find enjoyment in giving through practice) I do think affection is a skill, and I think the heart has a door that only opens outward. However much love you give, that is how much you can accept (though you may be able to accept more than you actually receive). So no matter how much love I pour out on B, only a little is going to actually affect zir because ze only has the doors to zir heart open a little bit. The rest of it is good practice for me and beneficial to the universe, but completely useless to B (ze can't feel it). And I think that at some point ze is going to have to decide that ze wants to learn how to give affection, and stop waiting around for a miracle and start practicing. And not in order to produce some kind of response but just to GAIN THE SKILL. What I need to know is, is that going to happen now? because if not, we need to figure out how to end this. I've been patient -- at some point I have to realize that it's just not going to happen. And who knows, maybe a breakup would be the catalyst B needs.

This is also tied into something we discussed a few days ago. B has prided zirself on being 'efficient' -- which sounds nice but usually works out to being selfishly lazy. For instance, it saves zir twenty seconds of zir lunch to leave the old tea jug in the fridge (with a few drops of tea in it) and just shove the new one in after it, so ze does so in order to be 'efficient.' Of course, what that really means is that I have to take out the new one, take out the old one, put the new one back in, and then rinse out the old jug (because B will never do it, though ze rationalizes that ze'll 'do it later when not in a hurry'). So it creates more work overall, but less work for B. The tea jugs themselves are not a big deal of course, but this is how B does EVERYTHING. So, it saves B energy not to give me a hug every day, so ze actually feels like ze has accomplished something good by not hugging me; not consciously, of course, but that's how ze has made all zir decisions all zir life. Efficiency might be good in a machine or a ninja on a mission but it is worse-than-useless at creating joy or affection. So... B needs to learn a whole new value system for zir life -- putting consideration-for-others first instead of efficiency first. B says ze wants to do it. I know it won't happen overnight but I'm keeping a watch for small signs of progress.
Tags: affection, b - ex-partner, turning points

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