Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Loosening Boundaries?

Boundaries are tricky for me.

I think it's hard to enforce them because there is always this part of me that is in denial that this is my life. I don't want to have to enforce them because I don't want this to be happening. There is a place in my heart where I hope I'll wake up and realize this has all been a dream. I'll wake up and get married, having had this dream that will totally prepare me for my future. And my life will ROCK.

My life does rock though. And even though some days really suck, I feel really good about my life overall. Don't ask me about that on a bad day, though.

Back to boundaries.

Boundaries are specific to everyone and every circumstance. After last week's relapse, I had to really dig to figure out exactly what my needs were to help me feel safe. Part of me wanted to have him sleep on the couch indefinitely, but that was more out of punishment than my own safety. I wanted to punish him (and our couch is unbelievably uncomfortable to sleep on) and really make him feel sorry for what he has done.

That line of thinking just made me sad. I don't want to be an angry, vindictive person. But I have felt unsafe and insecure, so I knew I needed something. That something ended up being physical space in the time of trauma (asking him to leave the room while I thought and processed and had me-time) and emotional space in the form of reduced physical intimacy. I knew I still needed his physical presence in general, so asking him to sleep on the couch indefinitely would really just be an unnecessary punishment for us both.

Part of my boundaries also include safe, emotional communication. I need him to be a safe space for me. Thus, we had a long conversation (and multiple conversations) about how I was feeling and how everything was affecting me. Over the years of this stuff, he has learned how to be a safe emotional space for me, and I am grateful he listens and absorbs what I am trying to say. He also gets a chance to talk and I try to listen and absorb what he has to say. This practice helps me feel like he really is in recovery and is remorseful, rather than just going through the motions so I don't leave. And when we are able to be a safe space for each other, I feel like we are making true progress, even though there are bumps in the road.

Right now I'm getting to the point where I'm trying to figure out how and when to lessen these boundaries. Things are going well enough that I may not need this huge wall up. Sometimes I want to kiss him, really kiss him. Because of all the things that make me love him. But then the fears roll in, and I don't want to go through the emotional battlefield I faced last week again. It's happened too many times, and it's always painful and hard.

I'm not really concerned about figuring out this boundary thing. I'll do what I always do, which is to take it one day, one moment at a time. Our relationship will progress and things will fall into place as they should.

I guess the tricky thing is am I ready to put my heart fully on the line again? Because when I take that jump, I'm putting myself in a position to fall again.

I'm a believer in being vulnerable and taking risks. If I don't fully live, I won't fully love. And with every painful experience, I see how deep that love can be. I don't want to lessen my ability to love because of my fear of the pain. Unfortunately, pain and love go hand in hand.

But I'm also a believer in being smart and safe. I won't take unnecessary risks. I'll take the risk when I feel like it will produce something of great value.

So at this point, it's all about timing, safety, and security. Eventually I'll get back to where I want us to be. Maybe it will even be later today. Maybe it will be next month or next week. I'll throw some caution to the wind as I start making my way up to the place to jump.

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