Crying During Sex. Or, Why It Sucks When Your Partner Is Your Carer

Glenn and I were having sex. He knew that I’d had a tough day and was working hard to make sure I enjoyed myself. I was, very much so, until I started feeling guilty. He has been so fantastic throughout, well, everything. I stopped being able to enjoy myself. Glenn was working harder to make sure I enjoyed myself. We hadn’t even finished when I started crying.

I fucking hate mental illness sometimes. I feel like I’ve lost what makes me human. Like I’m less then myself. I’m a burden – a person that takes up time when I need comfort and money when I’m unable to work.

It sucks being around people when you know you are losing control

My grandfather is extremely ill. It’s not unlike 2006-2007 – the extended period where I watched my grandmother die from cancer. I was under so much pressure that my brain forget how to act in a normal situation and placed me in a permanent state of high alert. Even when things were calm, my chest would tighten. I would have panic attacks. I’ve felt my mind and body start to return to that state. It is easy now, with medication and awesome doctors.

Still, Glenn bears the brunt of my moods. He deals with tears over innocuous comments. I hate it because it isn’t me. Glenn has supported me throughout our whole relationship. Financially – with the money he inherited after his fathers death. Stepping up when I’m unable to do the housework. Talking me through my exaggerated concerns.

The dynamics aren’t equal. At least for me

Glenn has often said that he doesn’t see himself as a carer. That I’m the person he’s dating that is going through a bit of a rough patch. He is the brilliant person who sees someone struggling and will do what he can to help out. It’s one of the many, many things that draws me to him. I know this. It doesn’t stop the guilt.

I feel horrible for asking for money for things that I perceive to be luxuries. It was difficult to go on holiday with him last year. I justified it by saying that I did the organizing and saved us both a lot of money, therefore my presence was okay. He works hard and I hate bringing him down with my episodes of depression. With my tears of frustration at situations beyond my control.

Because lets be real: Things aren’t equal

I earn less then him because, at the moment, I’m only capable of working 15 hours a week. I struggle with mental health issues and migraines a lot. I’m not contributing as much as I’d like. I know it’s all in my head. My thought patterns might be screwy, but I’m still a smart cookie.

Regardless, I was raised with a very strong sense of fairness though. I feel like I’m not doing my fair share in this relationship. My distorted thinking says that this means that my wants and needs aren’t equal. That I can’t have a say in many joint decisions. I know this is total bullshit but it is something that used to really affect me. It felt like I couldn’t have a choice in positions in the boudoir. He does everything – why should I ask him to make another concession on my behalf? Why should I have a say in how he manages his money? I mean, it’s his money.

In the second year of our relationship, I started freaking out

This was my first big relationship – but Glenn and I had vastly different goals. I have different tastes sexually and there was/is some stuff I’d like to experience sexually at some point.  I want to travel. I want to spend months backpacking throughout the outback and exploring many of the natural wonders of the world. Glenn is more of a homebody.

I felt so guilty bringing up these points. I would be in tears, asking if we should break up. I was/am selfish. I suck the fun out of the relationship. Glenn calmed me down and we had logical discussions about both fronts. That he was committed to the relationship but he respected my need to explore my newfound independence. It was very difficult standing up for certain parts of my identity. Yet it also helped me calm the fuck down.

Listen – a lot of the anxious thoughts are bullshit created by your illness

I struggled with asserting myself in any situation. I still feel less then human. I hate having to rely on people for years on end. But I also have to face the reality – that these thoughts aren’t real and I can change my thinking. One of the best things I started doing was flat out asking Glenn if he was feeling a certain way, or resenting me. He’d look confused, unsure where the question came from, and just say ‘no.’ He was fantastic in how he handled the situation – he’d explain the motivation behind words and actions that I’d misinterpreted. The only way people can get through these feelings are by talking to each other. It’s hard. Yes, the dynamics have changed. Of course they have. You may be overestimating how much though.

~

Disclaimer: I wrote this post while in a good mood. My brutal honesty may cause some of my friends to worry for me. I appreciate it. However, I’ve been sick a long time. I’ve learned how to detach and talk about my feelings – it’s part of the recovery process