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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bloom where you are planted

Bless him. Ethan hassled today because it's his day off and, in addition to transferring some music from vinyl onto CD, he's got to take Ava's clarinet to be mended (more on that later). Currently he's 'pottering' on the computer and reading the news and later he's going to the cinema. It would be a lazy dream day for me but he's just said (and I quote): 'I'm fed up of rushing around'! Am trying to understand things from his perspective and see how dropping a clarinet off on his way to the cinema is rushing around (whilst I tidy the house, bake a cake for a friend who's just had a baby, collect Oliver from pre-school at 12.30, write this blog, look into bouncy castle hire for the school summer fair, put the clothes away and have guests arriving to stay for two days at 1pm).
But, we're different. What's a hassle to him is normal for me, and vice versa. I feel that Ethan comes in for a slating far too often on these posts (although, to be fair, they are supposed to be my vents, therapy I suppose, on living with a guy with Aspergers). Anyway, I am all too conscious that, as the neuro-typical side of the partnership, I drive Ethan crazy a lot of the time too. Here are some of the reasons why:
  • I sent him a text the other day while he was in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to deal with his anger issues. (Actually, I sometimes feel it should be me having those sessions. I spend my life shouting and screeching at the kids. The reason for the broken clarinet is me - snatching it off Ava in a temper when she couldn't put the cork grease on and, as a result, dropping it on the floor and breaking one of the keys. I then blamed her, and the boys, for making me cross in the first place!). I fired a quick 'Argh' text off to Ethan. Just as a way to relieve my tension. I got no reply. And when he came home he was really annoyed with me. From my perspective, it was just an 'Argh' - a vent, something I'd fill him in on later. From his perspective, he didn't know what the 'Argh' referred to, it immediately made him feel stressed, he felt distracted that the 'Argh' had arrived while he was in his CBT session while he was trying to focus on that. He saw it as me being thoughtless and stressed and passing my stress onto him at a time when he really needed to not feel stressed. I get that. But I also feel sad that I can't be myself and express myself with Ethan in the same way I would and can with anyone else. Anyone else would have texted back something along the lines of 'Oh no, what's happened?!' and I'd have replied and it would have taken some of the pressure off the situation. In Ethan's case, me expressing myself just led to more stress for both of us. Oh dear, this seems to be turning into an attack on Ethan again. So, next annoying trait of mine for Ethan, is:
  • I'm frequently highly emotional - stress, happiness, sadness, joy, anxiety. I am a cocophony of emotions, all laid out for all to see. It's too much for Ethan. He frequently has to get away from me for a while!
  • I talk too much (as this blog shows).
  • I criticse too much and praise too little. In relation to Ethan. To everyone else, the opposite is true. Which also really hacks Ethan off. 
  • I'm far too influenced and worried by what other people think. Ethan is able to shut off this part of himself. Or maybe it's not there to start with. 
  • I don't always tell people the truth. For instance, I told my aunty that I loved the pottery pig with his head stuck down a barrel that she gave me for my birthday. As a result, I've ended up with a whole family of pottery pigs in various predicaments to adorn the bottom of my wardrobe...I mean mantlepiece. I should have told her that pottery pigs really aren't my thing and have asked for the money instead. This is what Ethan would do.
I guess the thing is that, in every relationship, there are issues that each person has. Particular hang-ups and areas they struggle with. There's always cause for friction. And two different people will always have two different approaches to doing things - whether Aspergers is present or not. I'm hanging onto the belief that, if I packed off tomorrow into a new relationship, I'd just be walking into a whole new set of problems and challenges. They might take a while to surface, but they'd come. That's the nature of two different people trying to live as a single unit.
The statistics for people staying together in arranged marriages are far higher than in our 'love' marriages. And, OK, maybe it's because these people don't really have a choice. But I think it might also have something to do with the fact these people go into these marriages knowing that the relationship will be hard work. Not expecting to base their marriage on the fluffy (and fleeting) emotion of love and attraction. Knowing that their marriage is based on commitment rather than love. Hopefully the love will come but the glue is the commitment they have made to each other. I read a great excerpt about this on Facebook. It said: 'I'm not saying you couldn't fall in love with someone else. You could. And temporarily you'd feel better. But you'd be in the same situation a few years later. The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person: It's learning to love the person you found.'
So I'm going to bloom where I am planted. This picture makes me think of Ethan and I. In a hard place, but doing our best to bloom...together (and trying not to choke each other in the process!)

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