A Savoury Bradbury.

There are easily four topics I’ve had on and off my mind for the last few weeks and none of them are coming out right.

I wanted to talk about the possible moving in together stuff, but really I’ve only applied for a job and haven’t heard back yet about anything. So it’d be easier to talk about an interview prospect, or a job offer before I can stress about the decision about giving the dogs up or not, and whether it’s too soon for Ben and I to be making such a big step.

Then there was the hen’s party I was at a few weekends ago. Fairly tame as far as hen’s parties are concerned, but still loads of fun. Came away with a memory of the bride-to-be shrugging off the potential of a Murphy’s Law wedding (where everything that can go wrong, will), simply stating “I just want to marry him, that’s all”. Thought a fair bit about how my feelings about weddings have changed over the last few years and that ultimately now, I’d be fairly practical about the whole thing: a wedding is a celebration on one day; it’s essentially a party about getting to spend the rest of your life with this person you’ve chosen – why on Earth would you spend so much money on one day, on a party? I sincerely hope that Ben thinks as practically as me; when I tried to make jokes with Peter about eloping and he would say that he couldn’t do that because he knows me and knows that I would want the big party, with the big dress. (Bee-tee-dubs: I’d never imagined a “big dress”). I’m even at the stage where I’d thoroughly appreciate cheap, but expensive looking, jewellery (i.e. ‘the ring’) as long as it meant the money could go towards the house, or a holiday – something more useful than a rock on my finger that I’d worry about losing.

I’ve noticed how comfortable Ben and I have gotten all of a sudden – even though we’re so far apart and that we haven’t seen each other in weeks. Don’t get me wrong – he’s still on my mind every second, just that things have lost their urgency. This is somewhat of a relief really; it’s nice to go back to thinking about me for a bit and doing the things I want to do. Then again, I’ve been immersed in work and job applications lately and it’s entirely exhausting. Which means my sex drive has plummeted. This almost never happens to me. Thankfully the person I want is in another state, so at least the lack of drive isn’t being noticed. That reminds me I’ve got to book flights for next weekend. I’ve gotten a bit lazy it seems.

The final topic-on-my-mind is a bit of a controversial one. I’ve been trying to find a way to discuss the ‘anti-vaccination movement’ and where the concept spawned from. I’d like to go into more detail when I get the chance because the people who fuel such movements (denialists, naturopaths, homeopaths etc) can really do quite a lot of harm with their ‘theories’ and unfortunately people listen to them because of the persuasive power of anecdotal evidence (‘evidence’ in its weakest form I should say).      …I think you can get the feeling there’s more to talk about there, but for now I’m a bit too tired to be able to research the topic to be able to present the debate for a more invigorating read for you all. Another time.


On my way home from work today I was imagining myself waiting to be called forward for the job interview, and striking up a conversation with one of the other candidates (in my mind, likely a mole, since this would be the most logical step for properly analysing candidates: plant a fake interviewee to observe everyone in their natural, nervous state; judgy-mc-judge-pants style.) and when I’m called to the interview I wish the other candidate good luck. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do; because I really am that nice that if I thought they were also worthy of the job then good luck to them; and because if I’m going to have competition for the spot, I want to know that if I get it that it wasn’t just because I was the best of a bad bunch: a savoury Bradbury if you will.

Theory #21: Winning is still winning if it’s Bradbury style, it just wouldn’t be as sweet.

– Dr. Orist.


Ex-Files: Peter’s Pants.

While I would love to be telling you a sordid sex story where someone’s pants may or may not have been the focus, that’s not what this is. It’s nothing of the sort.

This is actually the conclusion, the breakup, the finality, the end to my longest lasting relationship to date.

The short version is that it took five and a half years for us to grow in different directions, we were probably raised differently, and ultimately we wanted different things out of life. It was a shame we didn’t see all of that early enough or we could have prevented each other a lot of pain. But that is life I suppose. At least I have learned from this mistake relationship.


If you’re like me and the stories are the interesting part, here’s the long version.


Perhaps the whole thing was doomed from the beginning.

Peter often said that he didn’t feel good enough for me, and would point out where my words or actions, however subconsciously, indicated that there were things about him that weren’t right and that I was trying to fix him.

I tried reassuring him; I tried focussing on all of the rest of him that was right for me; I even tried addressing the issues head on and said that while I didn’t care, if it was a big enough deal for him to be worried about it, we could fix things easily.

To generalise things, men like to, and sometimes need to, be in charge. Or, at least, they need to be superior to their counterpart women in enough categories that they come out on top. This makes for a happier, more stable relationship, even if it is true that

The man is the head of the house, but the woman is the neck – she can turn the man any way she wants” – the mum in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

So while I was still at university, Peter and I had a fine relationship – his much-less-than-medicore-job (that was perfectly fine for a someone in their late teens) was naturally superior to my waitressing-two-nights-a-week-to-put-myself-through-med-school, and things were simple.

I noticed things starting to go downhill when work started and I was in my internship. Ignoring the fact that I was now in the superior position in both career and money, I kept telling myself that the downturn in events was more about the stress of my work, and all of the complaining I was doing – something I know he hated. There was also a lot of strain financially. I was quite happy to contribute evenly for bills and rent, even though I wasn’t actually living there (mum was still needing me at home, so I tried to balance my time 50/50 between the two houses, with perhaps the larger half of my time spent at Peter’s), but it got to a point where I was paying Peter’s share too because he was having issues with one of the jobs not paying him properly.

(It’s now just hit me that it’s entirely possible that the job was paying him appropriately but that he was lying to me – though at the time I could see no reason for him to be dishonest, so I trusted him. It would explain why he was so mad when I eventually contacted his boss and asked him to call Peter because I had bills to pay.)

With all the extra time I was caught up at work, Peter was getting to spend more time with his friends. Dodgy friends. Friends who dealt with smoking certainly substances that helped to take you away from reality if that’s what you want. Friends who also introduced Peter to the synthetic version.

Looking back now, the spiral into depression and substance abuse probably began earlier in the year, but I had always thought the start of Peter’s slippery slope was towards the end of the year, where the strain of finances and time was much more evident on our relationship. I was also increasingly frustrated by having to do all of the shopping, cleaning, and cooking when my job was much more demanding. He cooked dinner for me twice that year, and one of those was on my birthday.

I had encouraged Peter to go back to university, and though he didn’t want to finish the final semester of the first degree he had abandoned a few years before, he had thought Business was an interesting and safe option and finally seemed to have more ambition – maybe even subconsciously to aim for superiority over my situation.

I offered help whenever I thought I could give it and where I thought I might be useful, but he declined (again, I think wanting to do it all on his own), so I stopped asking about his uni work, and stopped offering help and advice. His grades were quite good, and so I didn’t know that he was failing a subject or two going in to the final exams for the semester. Which meant that when I picked a fight (unintentionally – there’s something about a two thousand dollar electricity bill on your credit card that can make you see red without any rhyme or reason for the timing of other life events) on the morning in his exam week, I was blamed for his failing that subject.

And understandably blamed too. I still feel awful that he went into an exam after I’d started a fight that very morning. But I reserve some of the guilt aside since he was failing the subject to begin with and that I think it was more to do with early depression and substance abuse (things that weren’t really clear at the time).

From then I tried my best to make things as easy as possible for him – we went on a holiday and I tried to not stress about money.

I bought a house, and at the time he told me to make sure I was buying it for me because he wasn’t going to be able to pay for any of the bills and couldn’t expect that of me. I thought that was all he meant by it, but really there was the added layer that he didn’t want to be with me anymore and that I was probably going to end up in a big family house all on my own. He complained often that it didn’t feel like his house and so that he was never going to be comfortable. I probably shouldn’t have reminded him that he didn’t have much of a say in the matter anyway since he wasn’t paying me the minuscule rent that he was supposed to.

So we enter my second year of work (residency), and Peter decides to “take six months off uni” – without discussing things with me I might add, since I would have suggested that instead of focussing on short-term money solutions, that I support him while he finishes uni (and since I’d been supporting him for most of the previous year, this wasn’t going to be a big deal) so that he can have a real job and actually be able to contribute as an equal where the finances were concerned. But no, he’d thought that at least six months of purely working would mean he could earn enough to contribute and get his head back into gear where uni was concerned.

Neither of those things happened.

He said he wasn’t being paid. He also didn’t want me to interfere with trying to fix things with his work. He seemed to get paid every now and then, but that made it difficult to contribute to rent or bills.

The money he did have, he spent on himself. I never came home to the house having been cleaned, nor the dogs walked, nor the lawn mown, never was dinner ready, and only very rarely were any of the small things that I’d asked for actually done.

It became clear early in the year that he was suffering from depression, and I took him to the doctor’s to get help, and helped nurse him through the awful start to the medication. Things seemed to have reached a plateau – they weren’t great, but I was hoping that with treatment for the depression I might be lucky enough to get back the wonderful guy I’d fallen in love with. In any case, it certainly wasn’t the time to be breaking up – he was so fragile and I did my best to help him.

The day before a relatively important job interview, I asked my mum to come and stay so she could drive me to and from the interview (so I didn’t have to put any pressure on Peter in any way). He didn’t want to stick around when she was due to arrive, so even though he was sleep-deprived at that point, he went to visit his dad who lives maybe half hour away. Mum and I were happily catching up with cups of tea in front of us, and I find it’s odd that Peter hasn’t returned home as early as I was expecting. I check my phone, nothing there. As I’m putting it down, an unknown number rings. The voice on the other end of the line tells me that my partner, Peter, has been in a car accident and that I’m not to worry – he’s conscious. (Not the best word to use to a medical person no matter how true that is, because it doesn’t tell me anything in the way of injuries or whether his limbs are attached or not, or even whether they’d be working if they are still attached; nor the severity of the accident and whether I should be panicking more or less right about then. I would recommend “fine” or “okay” for general times, for future reference).

He was fine in the end. Four hours at the hospital with me telling him off when he moved his neck in the collar while we waited for the CT results to clear his head and neck since he’d lost consciousness during the accident. Oh and the severity of the accident? It seemed that Peter must have fallen asleep at the wheel, lost control of the car and it had rolled onto it’s passenger side door and been totalled.

Later we learned that the car had rolled/slid into three stationary cars (occupants all fine), but that two of the cars had been fairly expensive/new, and two (though we didn’t know which) were completely written off. Likely this meant a massive bill. Especially when Peter didn’t have insurance as it was his mum’s car – and she was only covering for CTP. Ouch. We estimated maybe $100-150k worth of damage.

We were then burdened with the task of trying to work out the best way of approaching this problem  –  my initial thoughts were that he could get a loan, maybe his dad and I could be guarantors on the loan, but everyone else was thinking he could negotiate with the insurance companies to be only paying a pittance back at a time because that’s all he’d be able to afford, or perhaps he would just declare bankruptcy.

This was when I raised my concerns with my mum – but I don’t want to be with someone who’s bankrupt for the next five or seven years; I want to be getting married and having kids in that time; I would like to have my partner share the responsibility of my current mortgage with me; I would like to be able to go together for a loan for the next place we’d want to buy and oh-my-god-what-does-that-mean-for-our-credit-rating?

Discussions with mum and her friends only came back with the awful thought – oh please tell me you’d not be counted as defacto, what does that mean for debt like that – do you share it like you would have to share anything else?

While I didn’t think Peter would expect me to take on the burden of his debt, I didn’t want it to be a legal obligation that I would have to sell my house to cover his bills, and then be left with a massive chunk that I would still owe. Especially since some of the money I used for the deposit was from my dad’s last will and testament. It hurt to even think that I might lose that all in one swoop, and even more so when I didn’t know if I wanted to still be with this person – even if they maybe got better from their depression.

I researched and came up that we had to have been living together for two years for the relationship to count as defacto – I breathe a small sigh of relief to Peter: we’d only been together for the less than six months at my house, and even if you added in the entire year before where was half-living at Peter’s place, it would still only total 18months max, so it was okay – I wouldn’t have to sell my house.

His reaction was not what I expected.

He said “I guess we were raised differently then”. He meant that if the rolls were reversed he’d have sold his house and born the brunt of the one hundred thousand dollars or more of debt that would have been nothing to do with him.

We argued.

I don’t even think we agreed to disagree on that one. I was incensed. Especially when it comes out that because it is his mum’s car, she’ll be the bearer of the insurance companies’ bills and had decided that she would probably declare bankruptcy herself. I thought it was interesting that I was raised differently, in that I could never expect either of my parents to take on such a massive responsibility for something that was my fault and that I should have the balls as an adult to stand up and face.

 Anyway. We let the differences in how we were raised slide, and things went back to the stale not-great-but-I’m-waiting-for-you-to-transform-from-toad-to-prince-already.

I did everything that I could. And I tried not to complain about work. Or nag or start arguments about the lack of housework or that I’m never home to find dinner waiting for me. Nor that the finances were even tighter because without a car, he couldn’t work, and his wallet and phone were still in the damaged car, which was still being held in police custody while the investigation was being conducted. It also meant that I was kind enough to lend him my credit card (and then later I even paid the bill for his car to be towed from police holding — all of the promised IOUs for this now non-returned-money live in a box in my head labelled “bad debt”).

I guess the main sore spots of the money of mine that he spent – when the credit card was supposed to be for food or emergencies – was on video games (because they gave him something to do and kept him happy), and on lots of synthetic marijuana.

His substance usage at this point had been sporadic and minimal and mainly with friends on nights off. But with less work, and perhaps less purpose in the mornings, plus a significant increase in his frailty and depression, he said smoking the stuff even on his own was something that enabled him to relax and that he enjoyed, it helped keep him happy.

But the smell made me sick, I didn’t like the person he became when he was high, and I worried about going to work smelling like any kind of funky incense and how that might impact on my medical registration. So I asked him to not smoke it in the house. Then when that plan failed, I asked for not in the bedroom. Then I had to ask not while I’m around. Then I had to add in the proviso not when I’ll likely have time off and want to spend it with him.

That last addition to the smoking rules was created on a Saturday morning before I went to visit my mum for the weekend. I made it clear that I was going to return on Sunday afternoon-evening and that I would love to spend some quality time with Peter since we were rarely getting any time together. I said it clearly – I didn’t want him smoking the stuff on Sunday so that way I could enjoy the evening with the person I love, and not while he’s high.

I sent a text before I left my mum’s that Sunday – giving him just over an hour’s notice that I’d be coming home. I was hopeful that maybe the place would be cleaned (I had kind of asked), but I was mainly hoping that he wouldn’t disappoint me and that he’d have stayed away from the pot.

It was the highest I’d ever seen him.

I walked into my house – unclean and untidy, in the same state I’d left it in. I walked to the bedroom to try to find where Peter was – maybe he’d fallen asleep? He was coming out of the bedroom, holding the pipe in one hand and the lighter in another. His face was slack and quite space-cadet. His eyes were bloodshot and droopy. His mouth was ruminating slowly on what was clearly the lack of saliva that probably meant he hadn’t heard my car come up the driveway, and instead of coming to greet me, he was heading to the kitchen to eat the snack food I’d bought for myself for work lunches.

I couldn’t even say anything.

I saw the redness of rage clouded by an intense disappointment in both him and myself – what the fuck was I doing? (And I rarely swear, so this internal dialogue was quite emphatic).

Even though it was seven or eight o’clock at night, I clipped up the dogs and went for a walk to burn off some of the steam. I called my mum.

I’d been keeping the drug use from her because I didn’t want her to seem him in that way – I didn’t want her to think that there was more to why he wasn’t good enough for her daughter. Don’t get me wrong, my mum liked him to begin with, but I think she’d hoped I was going to fall for someone more successful, or perhaps more good looking, or perhaps smarter, or maybe less flamboyant.

At this point I still hoped the relationship had the potential to be saved if he could only get over the depression then I could have back the same guy from a year or two ago. So I told her they were herbal cigarettes. This seemed less worrying than marijuana, even in its synthetic form. I thought that if the relationship could be saved, that I didn’t want her to look at him as someone who had ever been a pot smoker. (Months later after we’d broken up she said “they weren’t herbal cigarettes were they”. Smart cookie she is.)

I vented for over an hour, with hot angry tears welling but not quite falling, and I can’t even remember what kind of conclusion I came to about it all. Just that I was so angry that he’d done everything I asked him not to. Recently I wondered if he did all of it on purpose. But I don’t really think he was that cunning, nor in the right frame of mind to be able to formulate such a convoluted break-up-plan.

After I got home from my phone call with mum, Peter and I argued. We reached some kind of agreement I think, and somewhere along the way he moved to the spare room to help give me some space. I still got to clean up most of the rubbish that lived on his side of the bed (including two juice boxes that had exploded – orange juice on the wall and cupboard, and pineapple juice on the floor and corner of the bed  = excellent. p.s. physically cleaned the orange juice off the wall some two months after the break up, that was how stubborn I had been, and how awful things had gotten).

This meant that a few weeks later when my mum called me to say she thought she’d broken her arm tripping over the dog on a walk (I promptly told her to call and ambulance and that I’d meet her at the hospital asap – likely about an hour and a half later), I turned to Peter, and explained that if my mum has broken her arm she’ll have to come stay with me for the next week because I had four night shifts to go until my holidays and she’d not be able to cope on her own – which meant that he’d have to get out of the spare room, so I’ll let him know if I’d need him to kindly change the sheets over and move his things out of that room and that I’m sure as a couple of five years we would cope reasonably well with sleeping in the same bed.

Didn’t quite expect the huff that followed. Nor the annoyed tutting/sighs that I heard through the walls when I finally got her home to my house around 1am and our arrival (with mum’s dog) made my dogs bark.

The final chapter of the relationship had opened on a Wednesday.

We had a short conversation because he’d decided, again without me, that he wouldn’t be going back to uni for second semester either. This time more because of the depression and he was just starting to sort of see some improvements. There was more to it, but the rough gist of the conversation was thus:

In a fairly calm manner, I asked when was he going to grow up, when was he going to finish university, when was he going to be an adult and be able to contribute to the running of the household, to the bills, to the mortgage, when was he going to get it into gear and have a job to earn money to show he could provide for me and hence would be in the position to propose and for us to get married?

His half-joking mostly-not reply was that we both knew I was the one in the relationship that wore the pants.

But I don’t want to always wear the pants, I tell him. I want to be equals in this relationship; I would like to not have to go to work if I don’t want to; I would like to be able to continue with time off work when it comes time for me to go on maternity leave however far into the future; I would like to not have to wear the pants, but I don’t have a choice in the matter right now.

He responds. But he doesn’t want to wear the pants either. He doesn’t want responsibility. He just wants to be happy.

(And that doesn’t include me?) Implied, not outright stated.

Conversation concludes somewhat awkwardly and I leave the moment for working out what it all meant for later, because I didn’t want to have to face the facts: what I felt and wanted was that I did not want to be with him anymore, because even without the depression, I didn’t think that he still wanted to be with me, and how on earth was I supposed to break up with someone in a state like his, especially when he lived in my house?

I woke up the day after, on the Thursday – the morning after mum had broken her arm, and Peter and I have another short conversation. Again, there was more to it, but the important part was thus:

He said I get the feeling you broke up with me yesterday.

I do not speak.

He said he’s getting his dad to pick him up shortly and he’ll move out.

That was the end.

Anticlimactic wasn’t it.

It still took him two months to move all of his stuff out of my house.

It was an obvious enough break up that there were no doubts or questions left unanswered, but it was painful and so there’s little hope of returning to something of the solid friendship we had before it all started.

He’s doing quite well now. He’s off medication, looked happy and healthier when I last saw him, and has since moved to the states to work on cruise ship (as part of his mid-twenties crisis).

I think ultimately, he didn’t want to be with me, but didn’t know how to end things when I was completely supporting him, and besides, how do you end things with the person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with? Especially when they’re still of that mindset and that surely there’ll be better days. Horribly bleak prospect to have to burst their bubble. Somewhat fair ’nuff then that he turned to getting high. Wish he had found the guts to put his pants on and break up with me when he first had the thought.

He tells people I broke up with him. I let him take the pity if that’s what he wants. I’d have had to have said it all anyway, he just saved me the trouble.

If you’ve stuck with me until now (I’m sorry and thank you), my theory today might be a bit abstract, but it’s perhaps simple enough for the occasion:

Theory #24: Pants have two leg holes: it’s easier to walk when things are distributed evenly.

– Dr Gigi.

To the wind the caution.

Be careful. Know what you’re getting yourself in to. Take it slowly. Are you sure this is the right thing to do?

It is wise to learn from your mistakes, and vicariously, through the mistakes of others.

I recently read a post by Of Fries And Men that reminded me of a story my mum had told about someone she was seeing when we lived in Scotland when I was five.

The guy was called Nick, and he was amazing. Mum talked about how fantastic he was, he was perfect for her, he was wonderful with us kids, he was everything she was hoping for and at a time when she really needed the reassurance that there are good guys out there.

Except he turned out to be a liar.

About everything. And he had a wife and kids he was lying to on the side. And his name was actually Matt.

And my mum was devastated. It crushed her. It took her a long time to trust again and be able to move on with life.

This, and countless other cautionary tales, serves as a reminder that even when the world seems perfect, it only holds that precarious position momentarily, as it can all come crashing unexpectedly down.

Now a more pessimistic person than myself might make a logical fallacious jump to assuming that my relationship with Ben is on such a precipice, and therefore to tread the ground carefully and take it slowly when uprooting so much of my life.

But I’m willing to risk it. I want us to succeed far more than I fear the consequences of us potentially failing.

If things fail, then you are allowed to tell me “I told you so” or “We warned you about this”.

I will listen to your advice and experiences, but I will not make a decision because in someone else’s previous similar situation it failed miserably. I cannot live my life cautiously and safely and not get to experience it at all.

Theory #23: Regrets are bigger for non-events.

Now it is just a matter of time until all of the pieces are in place.

– Dr Gigi Orist.

Accidentally good bad-advice.

Theory #22: Masquerades make it difficult to be properly seen. Gamble letting your guard down, and there’s always the risk of being hurt, but the prize is being found by the person you’re meant for.

So after my last night shift of the last two weeks (thank god – I’ve been in zombieland for too long now), my (married, male) friend and I went for breakfast at Maccas. He was trying to coach me on how to approach some things with Ben. He’s very perceptive and he hit the nail on the head about my neuroticism. Maybe I’m so transparent anyone could guess I’ve been falling a bit too hard and fast for Ben. Here are some of comments/advice from my friend (paraphrased because the conversation was long):

I think you’ve come across too needy, a bit neurotic. You don’t want to do that. He’s probably experienced that before – you don’t want him to think you’re going to be hard work.

Make your texts shorter, just try it out. It’ll make him want you more.

You want to look cool, laid back, easy going.

You need to have a conversation with Ben about him seeing other people – you want him to think you wouldn’t worry or care so much, and he can tell you about it or not, whatever he wants. If I was Ben, I’d not see other people because someone told me not to (or worse, begged me not to), I’d not see other people because if she said it was okay, I’d feel bad about doing it*.

How do you know he isn’t seeing other girls now? There’s nothing stopping him from going out with other girls while you’re in different states – how would you know if he did anyway and he’s just not telling you because you know you don’t want to hear it? There’s 300+ days a year you’re not together  – he could be doing what(who)ever he wants in that time.

Obviously the thing you don’t want is for him to have a relationship on the side – casually seeing other people doesn’t mean anything*.

I’m worried that you’ll make this big move and things won’t work out and you’ll have messed everything up here just to go and “why not” things with Ben. I don’t want you to get hurt.

While I mightn’t understand some of the *boy logic… His advice made sense – I didn’t want to drive Ben away by being too stressed about everything, and I honestly couldn’t be sure that he wasn’t seeing anyone else. Even right at that moment I imagined him having breakfast with one of his gorgeous single friends.

Initially I was thinking – I can’t use this advice. It’s not me. I can’t make things up and pretend to be this other amazingly cool, relaxed person. I tried that. Bottling did not help. What helped was talking to Ben about it. ‘Cept then I was concerned I might have already made it more difficult for myself because I’d already shown I’m a worrier.

So I tried to formulate the conversation so that I wouldn’t come across too needy, nor too bossy, nor too flippant… and I brought up the whole ‘I realise you could be seeing other people because of the distance, so if anything ever happened you can tell me or not’ thing.

I suppose my friend is like other guys – they want a girlfriend who is low maintenance, someone easy-going and carefree.

I guess I have found the perfect guy for me – one who isn’t like other guys.

Three seconds into the conversation I dropped the easy-going, carefree facade and was my honest self instead. Perhaps it’s some kind of exception-to-the-rule situation here, but instead of having to act like this totally cool/calm/collected awesome chick who’s the epitome of every guy’s dream girl.. when I’m completely myself I get to be Ben’s dream girl.

There was a lot more to the conversation, obviously, but here are the highlights between Ben and myself:

 “There’s no-one else because I don’t want there to be anyone else.”

“You’re everything I always wanted.”

“I’m not the lying type, if anything I’m usually in trouble for being too honest/blunt. I gave up on games a long time ago. I decided that whether people could handle the truth or not was up to them.”

“Alright. I trust you, and I’ll not worry about the what-ifs. We’ll be bluntly honest with each other if we have to be.  …  You might be the one to always jump in the deep end, but I commit for the long run. I’m stubborn like that, and very loyal.”

“I don’t want to dabble, I want to jump in.”

“I don’t want to dabble either. I feel like I’ve already jumped – just haven’t hit the water yet. I just meant you might move fast, and I’m okay to, but I’ll likely be sticking around, if you’ll have me.”

“That’s the idea : )  I’d say so if I wanted otherwise.”

I guess in the end my friend’s advice was very helpful – just not quite the outcome they’d have expected, but it’s certainly the one that has made me happiest : )

I don’t care that I’m letting my guard down completely now – I’m ecstatic: he likes me for me.

Once again, trust your instincts.

– Gigi, Ben’s girl.

Jealous Fire.

Why is it that we often feel more wronged by something done to us, when we’ve done virtually the same thing to someone else?

Theory #21: The closer you are to the fire, the more you feel the heat.


Ben and I met a thousand years ago.

Ok, that’s a lie.

Six years ago.

But it felt like forever ago.

It was at a new year’s party – hosted by a friend of my then-boyfriend, and whose girlfriend dragged a friend along, who brought her boyfriend, Ben. (Not in the least bit confusing. Let’s just go with the ‘mutual friend’ case instead).

We may have both been with other people at the time, but the feeling (at least the feeling I experienced) is something akin to ‘Koi no yokan’ (a Japanese phrase that roughly translates to ‘the feeling upon meeting someone that love is in the cards, in time’).

It was something I ignored, pushed back into the recesses of my mind, but it was his company I was always looking forward to when our ‘mutual friend’ held gatherings over the next three years or so.

And then he moved overseas for six months with the same girlfriend, returned without her and promptly moved states, so we didn’t see or hear much of each other for a long while. He wasn’t forgotten about, just not specifically thought of. So, basically, no Book of Faces stalking.

Then when everything fell apart last year, we reconnected by chance. This time, with both of us single, things were looking up.

But the situation was geographically difficult.

So while we made tentative plans to catch up the next time he was headed home, I didn’t let myself get too excited – who was to say if the reunion was going to be a good one, and then what would that mean when we live so far away from each other?

This was around the time that my friend had set me up with Arnold. While it’s a story for another time, the short version is that it was more a physical connection of convenience than anything meaningful.

When Ben and I finally met up for coffee at the end of October, it was better than I’d hoped for – everything was easy and relaxed (minus the few nerves of course), and when he kissed me the word that comes to mind: sparks.

We only got a small handful of hours together that afternoon, and I think it was written over both of our faces when we parted that we’d have both liked more time together, and wished that we didn’t live so very far away from each other.

As with any story, there’s always trouble. Mine was in the form of gym-junkie Arnold. He had sneaked his way into inviting himself around that night, and I hadn’t learnt how to say properly what I did and didn’t want. I’m not saying he took advantage of me – nothing like that. It meant that he invaded my space when really all I wanted was to reminisce on a kiss with sparks and a wonderful afternoon.

It took until after the next date with Ben for me to officially end things with Arnold – though since there was nothing official to begin with, it hardly felt like it needed an official conversation to break things off.


Here’s the kicker though.

Part of the history that Ben shared with me Australia Day weekend wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to hear about, and I’ve been a bit of a green-eyed crazy person since hearing about it.

That October weekend, he had made it into a bit of a road trip and travelled up with a friend, we’ll call her Bridget.

What Ben told me was that he and Bridget had had sex on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of that weekend, before he and I met up for coffee on the Sunday afternoon.

I’m in two minds about the information. On one hand, I’m glad he told me – he’s honest, we’ve got nothing to hide from each other, so the foundations for trust have been laid. But on the other hand, I didn’t want to know that the weekend we had was (further) tainted, I didn’t want to know that this girl was a contender – whether casual or otherwise (it doesn’t seem to matter to the jealous half of me), and I can’t help thinking that he went back to her on the Sunday night too and was just holding that information back from me.

Ben has assured me that it’s not something that would happen again, that she’s casual about these things, that it was a few years of curiosity that had lead to that weekend for them, and I guess that meant they got it out of their system?

And what’s worse was when I tried to open my mouth to tell him about Arnold, I couldn’t find a way to form the words. Ideally I’d have said “well I suppose I can’t get jealous about that since you weren’t the only one who got some action that weekend”. But I let the moment pass and didn’t get another opportunity.

So really, what right do I actually have to get jealous about Bridget when my situation was no better?


There’s not really anything I can do from here, and I don’t want to bring it up with Ben again or I’ll look even more crazy jealous than I actually am. I think I’ll just have to contend with the little jealous patch I’ve now reserved for Bridget, and hope that when I get the chance to meet her that I can judge the situation better for myself.

– Dr Gigi.

In Termit[e] Tent.

The contact that I have with Ben is intermittent. And by contact, I mean the deep and meaningful conversations that I feel are building on what we have, not simple the hellos/goodbyes/how-was-works/I-miss-you-toos/etc of everyday texting.

But last night I was lucky enough to have had a conversation with Ben that has helped to reduce some of my stress (well, for now at least).

Mostly we were talking about some of the finer details of me moving down – thankfully great minds think alike, so that was one of the easiest set-ups of a Roommate Agreement I’ve ever seen (not completely finalised, but will be easy enough from here).

We also covered Valentine’s Day – and, again, we agreed completely on this topic (relationship is too new, neither of us believe in it as a holiday anyway, we’d rather spend a romantic time together that’s not on a day dedicated to couplings, we think gifting flowers is a waste of money, and so there’s no need for us to celebrate it next Friday) = allover win 🙂

We also touched briefly on my neuroticism and that it seems to be worse at this distance; things are easier when he’s around. I tried to explain it’s less about worry that he’s sleeping with someone (or multiple someones), and seems to be more concentrated on the potential for him developing feelings for someone else, or reigniting any feelings from past someones.

Naturally, he reassured me, and offered that I can talk to him if I have any worries or thoughts.

There was more to the conversation, but basically I came away feeling so lucky to have someone patient enough to be able to handle me, and to know just what to say to calm me down. I’m still smiling, and that’s even after a night shift!

Theory #20: Trust is easier to give when you get a little intermittent reassurance that your trust is well placed.

– Dr O.

Q&A uncertainty.

Can you really protect yourself with love? Is it worth avoiding asking the difficult questions because even if you get the answer you want to hear, everything might still go wrong anyway?

I read this post about how it might be pointless getting an answer from someone because ultimately life is uncertain and people can lie or changed their minds; an answer doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt.


This was, after all, my whole dilemma about whether or not to ask Ben to define what we have (or perhaps what we don’t have).

Luckily for me, I read this post yesterday and not last week, otherwise I mightn’t be able to say, with confidence, that I am definitely in a relationship now.

On Tuesday 29th January, the following happened:

I sent Ben a message with When you have a minute, can I ask you something?

He replied a bit later Sure, what’s up?

Even though I’d been drafting this question all day (or longer, realistically), I didn’t quite have the right words.

Since I took a while in writing the reply text, he rang instead (something he never does).

So he asked me again, You wanted to ask me something, what’s up?

I attempted to steady myself by taking a deep breath in…

He chimes in Oh no, a big sigh, that can’t be a good sign.

But I could tell the words were formed with a smile on his lips, playful teasing.

So I explained that I couldn’t remember all of the conversation we’d had on Australia Day, and that it was probably because I’d had a fair bit to drink, that I remembered asking him, but just not the answer… Am I your girlfriend? Are you my boyfriend? Or…?

He said .. I would like you to be.

He mentioned that he didn’t remember me asking, and that I had obviously been thinking about it a lot more than he had, but he thought we already were together, or at least was acting like he wasn’t available anymore.

We talked for about an hour. I was in an all-smiley-happiness-bliss for the whole conversation.

The following morning I got a text message saying Good morning girlfriend 🙂


So the post ‘The Answer’ essentially comes to the conclusion that ‘the answer is irrelevant, and therefore so is asking the question, and so we should live as happily as we can in the moment’.

I can’t speak for the general population, but I’m not satisfied with that. I wouldn’t be satisfied working in a job with no contract and no agreement about how much I will be paid (or even whether I will be paid). While I don’t need any formal paperwork to say I’m in a relationship, it’s a kind of verbal agreement – and it’s the kind of something we need to hear from the other person so that we know we’re not alone in this, we’re not alone in the way we feel.

Sure, you might get hurt, but you could get hurt without an answer. At least if the response is not what you’re wanting to hear, then you definitely know your place and can move on. And you can also miss out on hearing a wonderfully unexpected answer from someone who was just waiting for you to ask. With an answer you get to live in bliss for a time, whether short or long, you still get to experience it.


So I would say, when the time is right – ask.

As long as you have considered as many of the possibilities, the consequences or repercussions as you can, where exactly is the harm in trusting someone’s answer, in asking? Then you can end that chapter, one way or another. Be optimistic, ask the question, have your answer, allow yourself to fall in love completely and if things go belly-up relish in the experience you got to have.

Theory #19: All roads lead to somewhere, or nowhere. If you’re not after the journey for journey’s sake, might be nicer to ask for a map.

– Dr Gigi.


Society determined the rule: you are not to talk about your ex with your new partner. But I figure that’s more about the post-break-up feelings – either you’re talking about them too much because you want to be back together, or you’re complaining so much about them and/or how it ended. Neither of those situations is great for the new person to have to listen to.

But I wonder exactly how compulsory is this relationship ‘rule’ is supposed to be?

What if you want to know about someone’s ex? Are you allowed to ask questions that encourage someone to break the ex-silence rule?

My mind has been on the Ex-Files. As in… Ben’s Ex-Files.

He’s shared some of the stories with me, but not all of them, and not all of the information I’ve recently become privy to was welcome. As an Orist, there are just some things you do not need to know.

But all the same, I’ve been obsessing about the stories pre-Ben&me – the Prequels, if you will.

It’s not about whether he might go back to any of the exes if given the opportunity – he just doesn’t seem the type (please don’t laugh at me for how lame and naive that sounds).

It’s not about discovering any possible flaws of his – because, as we’ve established, he seems fairly perfect at the moment.

It’s not about learning the mistakes those girls may have made so I can strive to be the perfect girlfriend – I might be insecure, but I’m still my own person: I’ll do what I want to do; I ain’t putting down any eggshells to walk on.

Trouble is, I haven’t been able to quite put my finger on the source of this neurotic obsession with Ben’s exes.

If you’ve not experienced this before, it’s the kind of obsessing that comes with crushes (particularly of the unrequited love category), or in the post-break-up analysis phase: either you just want to know them better, and that includes knowing their past and their people too; or you’re wanting to know their every move to be able to determine whether they’re happy without you and/or if they’ve moved on already.

It’s not quite as stalkerish as it sounds… Ultimately, social media does not help in this phase.

I think I’ve figured it out, on a few levels.

Partly, I’m jealous. I want to know him better, and I wish I could have been with him a million years ago when we first met and it could have saved us both some heartache and trouble if we’d known where this was going. (But I’ve learned things along my own path, and we weren’t parts of each others’ lives then, so I do just have to let this one go).

I’m impatient. And I like stories. They’re pretty much the point of human existence – the stories of our short, insignificant lives. It’s why movies and books are wonderful. But since works of fiction have endings already, they don’t invade and persist in my thoughts quite as much.

And finally, I realised… I’ve not been with someone with a history before. Not for long enough anyway. Mitchell, and Scott were firsts in that category; Peter and I had been friends long enough that I knew his already; Alex, I didn’t get to be with long enough; and Arni, I didn’t want to be with long enough. 

I don’t know whether I should try to explain this to Ben – that since he’s the first guy I’ve been with whose stories I don’t know well enough, I can’t help but try to find out more. Maybe then he’ll understand why this is a topic that exacerbates my neuroticism; and maybe he’ll share more of his history with me.

But do I even have the right to know any of Ben’s stories that may have come before this one with me in it? (And just as importantly – do I even want to know?).

Histories are complicated. They help shape who we are. But that doesn’t mean you need to know and understand any part of history to be better equipped to tackle the future.

This is all especially difficult when you’ve got someone who isn’t big on communicating.

I don’t think I have any theories today; it’s all riddles. Which makes me think of Doctor Who:

“The Silence will fall when the question is asked.”

– Dr O.


So I haven’t blogged since Monday since there has been a lot going through my head, and because of NYR, I’m trying to live in the present and not worry too much.

As you know, my latest mini-weekend away lead to a really big decision – which I’m still sticking with, strangely enough. Talked to my mum about it – gently though, as that’d be a big change for her, and we share custody of the three dogs so there’s a big impact for her too… Also strangely, she was not as against the idea as I was expecting – she was actually supportive, and only cautioning me about the green-ness of the relationship and the logistics that I’ve got to have sorted before being able to leave.

I’ll get back to that though – they’re on my list of things I’m trying not to worry about too much.

However, the main thing I’ve had on my mind is kind of complicated.

Part of the conversation Ben and I had over the weekend delved a little into our past relationships. Not to say that either of our histories is very exciting or extensive, but now my insecurities are back.

And just when I was used to dealing with things on my own with the minimal contact/reassurance from Ben, too. (Except when I’m with him – he’s amazing at completely sweeping away my worries).

I don’t want to go into details, partly because they’re not my stories to tell, and also because I’m trying to focus on the “honesty and trust” side of it all. We each shared things we mightn’t tell other people, but the information has the potential to put in some doubt and could ruin things.

Theory #17: Try not to invent any doubt; be honest and trust where you can; if there are actually things that make you doubt – hesitate like mad until it’s sorted one way or another.

Might be too messed up to give advice to others.

– Gigi.

Selective Honesty.

Honesty is the best policy.

Though I think most people follow the other theory:

Theory #10: Keep your mouth shut about shit they don’t need to hear, so you stay on their good side.

Y’all know I’m a bit on the crazy side. And because I’m fairly impatient – though I think you know this too because I’ve gone on about it just a little bit – I’ve been wanting to breach the divide and give Ben the everything on my honest list.

But my Theory #10 is holding me back: I’m terrified it’ll push him away, and quickly too.

On the other hand my Theory #9 makes a good argument: better that you get it over with, be yourself, and if they’re going to run for the hills, why delay the inevitable?

Though, can there be such a thing as revealing your crazy too early that makes them run when you could give them the chance to get to know you and so they might’ve stayed?

Ben did try to get me to consider that “all’s fair in love and war”, which is a saying I haven’t overly agreed with before – mainly because it’s an absolute statement and they bother me a little. But my thinking is, that if he’s broached the “all’s fair” topic already, I may have a shot with the “Here’s me being 100% honest and now you know my full extent of crazy” and hope it doesn’t make him flee.

Truth is, I don’t have the answer yet. Honestly.

– Dr O.


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