Ramblings of a Cathy
I can't afford to love someone who isn't dying on the stake
Jealousy feels like I'm in a room that is slowly losing oxygen.
All by myself. Laying on my side staring at the blur of insecure thoughts.
Slowly, slowly, devoid of external stimuli. I'm just a person locked in a box with my thoughts, the thoughts squeezing tighter and tighter. Only fixated on the exchange, or reality, that confirms my very deepest insecurities.
I realize it's happening to me very suddenly, and when I know it's happening there's a sense of dread first (because I've been here before and I know how much it consumes me). Jealousy feels like my blood hardening and keeping me in place while my brain is screaming with the truth of my own irrelevance.
The first time I felt it with Steve was NOT the time he subtly flirted with the pretty small Spanish waitress at Trivia Night when we were dating. That night I sat beside my twin sister at an Irish pub with a ton of people Steve only knew. My sister beside me - Christie the most excited person at the table strategizing enthusiastically with his friends. Meanwhile I watched as she bent too low to give him his drink from the platter she held it on. I noticed the nonchalant way he picked up the bottle, and then smile the curly haired waitress made when he ran his eyes down her upperbody.
(That jealousy turns me on! Lol)
It's also not the impulsive side eyes to certain women that he gives when a certain type walk by him - these are characteristic of him.
The first time I felt genuine jealousy with Steven was when I was pregnant with my second - first live born - child. The second pregnancy was a wanted pregnancy, but it was still a feeling that was new for both of us. I became gigantic, unable to maintain the same self-care, irritable... and there was a good amount of time that he either didn't want to have sex, or came across as uneager during the act. (We spent a long time without having sex near the end of the pregnancy).
After giving birth my body was tattered and I had the baby on me all the time. I felt disgusting. And we were also dealing with the looming stressor of having to help care for my dying mother.
For us the days became routine. That's why a few months in he started joining some of our married friends' husbands to play Hero Clix at the local comic shop. It sounded chaste enough, and he would insist on this, but the deviance from our routine - and the fact that he could so easily break away from parenthood while I felt very stuck with our daughter, made me feel some kind of way. He would go, then spend HOURS talking about how awesome it was. It was grating. lol.
So when he was gone I reverted back to one of my old toxic behaviors of spying on my partner... where I'm blind to the fact that that stupid act could breach the trust we've slowly crafted overtime for one another.
It began when I would get curious about the fact that his Google Hangouts account would be fixedly logged into his computer. Open for whoever to walk by and glimpse. During our post-natal period he did the healthy thing and began talking to his friends more. His Hangouts chats spoke about video games, and comics, and computer stuff, weirdly provocative female/hentai pictures, and nerdy memes... Standard stuff that my eyes would just gloss over as I stood a little too long by his computer.
I would feel the tell tale rush as I looked at his stuff, more and more, like if I was unlocking some really overt secret part of his mind... like I was the smarter one. Then I would walk away and feel incredible shame, and watch reality tv with the baby on me.
As he would come home from the comic shop he would brag about how awesome of a time he had. He would only stay for a couple of hours, but he would come back rejuvenated and talkative. I loved the fact that he would unwind with his friends but I still felt unsettled. Left out and used. The fact that my daughter was still super little, and wasn't sleeping all night yet, didn't help. Plus I'm very prone to post-partum depression.
I showed up to the comic shop once, expecting to catch strippers or something in there, and somehow I was slightly disappointed that it was really Hero Clicks that he was playing. He and his friends dominated a flimsy table top in the back of the comic shop, and would throw enthusiastic puns and serious table talk as they animatedly played the game. I was annoyed as I watched... Idk why... so I took my daughter and went to leave.
But before I left I saw her. The comic shop girl. I had known her for a while, but somehow it hammered in and triggered my anxiety when I saw her... being so beautiful and chatting animatedly with some obese hairy nerdy guy. I watched her for a bit, like a creep. Lol
She was SO nice, middle eastern (Iranian), and young. Her makeup was perfect, and she showed the most earnest sincere kindness to me, and to my daughter, when she saw me. I always liked her. She had recently broken up with some older guy (one of those guys that everytime he tells a story about himself it gets ghettoer and ghettoer everytime) that worked there and broke up with her like if she was a random nerd chic -and not a perfect young smart intelligent young woman. Lol.
Although my anxiety was real, it manifested with equal kindness on my end. She was the sweetest.
Before I hugged her goodbye, Steve made it a point to stand behind me and speak enthusiastically about how she's always there on Hero Clix days, and she takes care of Aimee while he plays.
I look at her suspiciously and take my baby from her. Then genuinely say bye to her.
One day he went to Hero Clix after an argument we had. One that made me feel incredibly alone. (Probably one that I initiated as he was leaving to go to Hero Clix, just cuz I'm a petty bitch that wanted him to stay and suffer with the baby with me. LOL)
It didn't take long for me to stray over to his computer... and when I found the messages of him flirting with her on Google Hangouts I fell into the pit of jealousy that I hadn't felt in a long, long time. I poured over them, watching him impress her, watching him flirt - his very specific and assertive way of flirting - him complimenting details about her face... and his inviting her to hang out with him and Aimee. His offering to pass by her house.
Coming back from that was not easy, because I shut down with my thoughts. And his words don't do anything to break them down for a long, long time.
Coming back from that required me to understand that Steven loves me, but he's still a Human Man.
Our relationship - like every healthy married relationship - goes in cycles of attachment. But jealousy is the one emotion that makes me feel hopeless about us ever coming up again.
So recently, when we went to Orlando with the couple we're really good friends with, and also swing with, I was overconfident and thought about absolutely EVERYTHING else about it except the dynamic between the four of us.
Prior to the trip Steven and I had been exposed to a lot of the routine stress of the week, which causes us both to cope in separate ways - him with his friends, his research of new game consoles, anime/mangas, computer things... me with my overextension of myself, my ruminations, and personal moments of mindfulness. (We meet halfway in wrestling, some mundane television shows, and the kids. But we don't have much to talk about outside of that in the more stressful times.)
The night they came by our Air BnB, She was ready for whatever. She was dressed provocative and casual, her full pale white breasts showing in different strategic spots on her cut-up top, her red hair down to her chin, her ass in black tights. Her makeup provacative and making her thin lips plumper. He was dressed in his usual rock look - his red beard down to his chest like a Viking, his hat low, his shirt casually fit - and I wouldn't have it any other way. :)
As she broke out the wine immediately in our kitchen-corner, I immediately ran and hugged Him like an old friend. His long beard tickled my chest and his chest loosened in a hearty laugh as he lifted me easily in the air, and cupped my ass. He's not my usual type. But I enjoy his genuine enthusiasm, how relaxed and desired I make him feel, his intelligence because of how anxious and overthinky he is (like me). I sat on the IKEA Air BnB couch with him, only meant to glance over at Steven. But I felt the recoil at how Steve was standing so immediately close to her, helping her open the wine bottle she selectively chose for the evening. (She enjoys wine like a scholar, and I enjoy wine with her.)
The initial pangs of jealousy are a typical feeling when we hang out with other people, but usually it feels like the initial pang of a vaccine needle going through your skin before you feel no pain at all.
But I found myself watching Steven with her. Studying how casual she made him feel, how loose his jokes became the more she laughed at him. At the fact that she couldn't keep eye contact when he whispered certain things. And as the night progressed, I watched them sit closer throughout our the board gameplay. As conversations became about popular video games, animes, and sciency stuff I saw her keep up the conversation with Steve. I watched her counter his statements with new facts, and watch him reciprocate animatedly.
Nate and I both observed it. Except he was lit up about the calm his wife showed. (She works a lot and takes care of a large household all by herself). It was nice to see.
There was a fire in my gut that wouldn't stop, but my face remained impassive as everyone spoke and I smiled at the right times as I took mindful timely sips from my sweet glass of wine.
Throughout the gamplay I watched Steve whisper little compliments about her, and her eyes light up. I watched her jump up from her seat when she was dared to kiss someone in the table - her arms wrapped around his broad chest, her size small enough to jump at into his arms, and his thick lips meeting hers slowly.
And as things progressed, I watched her have the time of her life on him.
Near the end I felt fatigued. And when they left I felt the void. And I didn't understand it.
I was reminded that I'm not that special. That I shouldn't be so entitled to him. I need to break out of my anxiety/stress and bond with him. I should enjoy things more so that I can share things with him, or even enjoy things about my own lifestyle so that I can share that with him too.