Open Thread

This Holiday Open Thread Needs to Hold Us Over

Your friends at Persephone Magazine are taking some time off. Our families forget what we look like. 

We’ll be back in full swing on January 2, and we’ve got all sorts of exciting things planned for after the break. Several of us will still be around to chat in the OT, answer emails and do some maintenance on the site/server, but barring any breaking news, this will be the last post of 2012.

Thanks for another fantastic year, I’m still convinced our writers, readers and editors are the very best people on the Internet. It’s been nothing but a pleasure to bring P-mag to your browsers every day, and we’re all looking forward to an even bigger and better 2013.

Whatever you celebrate, even if it’s nothing at all, we at P-mag wish you and those you love a happy, safe, and wonderful holiday season.  We’ll see you in 2013!

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

48 replies on “This Holiday Open Thread Needs to Hold Us Over”

My family came in on the 20th and just left a couple of hours ago. What’s that saying, house guests and fish start to smell after three days? Cause its true.

My husband is home for a couple of more days before heading back to his overseas job. He came in as a holiday surprise for us and I can’t think of a better way to start off the new year than to have him by my side.

I am, more or less. I woke up today with some version of the stomach flu that’s been going around here, so I’ve been on the couch with knitting most of the afternoon. But Boyfriend and one of his friends have a fire going in the yard, and I made him pick up a bottle of cheap champagne, so if I make it to midnight I’ll have a warm outside fire and drink (not kissing anyone- it’s for their own good…)

Now I just have to decide between starting on the third season of Walking Dead without Boyfriend or starting an entirely new series that I know he won’t be interested in anyway, like Downton Abbey or something along those lines.

So whatcha knitting?

I’ve been up at the parents for the past few days now and all I can say is SNOW! It’s Mr. Nonsense’s first time really experiencing it and he’s been ridiculously adorable. I took him sledding and it seriously brought out my inner kid. We had so much fun (and no injuries!).

I have had to clear off my car every single day, because it WON’T STOP SNOWING in northwest Indiana. I love it. (I also drove on snow and ice covered roads for the first time. Have never been so proud of myself.) Hope Mr. Nonsense has fun! There’s nothing better than someone experiencing snow for the first time.

I am finally in the Christmas spirit. It is December 29th. My timing is off. Also, I got a kitchen-aid stand mixer for Christmas! From my mom AND my boyfriend. Every year, they are so proud of themselves for the awesome gift they got me. Then they are pissed off because they both got me the same thing. This year, I had none of it. “We have done this three years in a row. Will one of you just send the other one a text message?” And they got a look like they had never thought of this brilliant idea before. (I kept the bf’s stand mixer, btw. It’s the retro yellow version they came out with a couple years ago that I have been coveting.)

Once I used a stand mixer to make icing, I never went back. And its so hard to do without it. My arm just can not stand up to holding a hand mixer upright long enough to get the right consistency. I made a number of cakes over the holidays — including a wedding cake — and could not have done it without my kitchen aid.

Ugh. Relationship crowd sourcing please.

Quick background: My man friend and I decided at the beginning that each of us, neither of whom has stellar relationship track records, would do our best to be honest about the things that come up, admit the possibility is there to be attracted to other people, just be no holds barred, etc. Before arriving in this new place he had mentioned that there is someone from his past he had always had a thing for, nothing ever happened in the end because he screwed it up, they both always wanted it to, bad timing, blah blah. She contacted him years later (about 4 ago) to see what had become of him, they had a lovely chat, he was in a relationship, as was (is?) she. At that time she was living somewhere around where we are now. They are in the same career field and it’s a small one. We talked about it beforehand, no big deal, policy of being each other’s truth, there is a pretty good chance they could run into each other, what would that look like. This was all about a year ago, nothing ever came of it.

I discover today that he has looked her up online on a career registry. I don’t know what to think. I stayed calm, asked him about it, he apologized profusely, said all of the right things, it was just an idle curiosity, all of his actions show how committed he is to us (true), etc.

I don’t know what to do. I know it’s not a deal breaker, but fuck me. The kicker is that I’ve been in a pretty deep funk for a few days so I know I’m not at my rational best, but I don’t know how to put this down. I don’t know how to put it down so it’s not ammunition or poor justification later. I don’t know if the level of hurt I’m feeling is rational. Now I’m home alone, it’s late, and of course my non rational brain is leading me down all kinds of paths of is this a red flag? Is easy forgiveness going to come back and bite me later? Does this change the very nature of our relationship?

Help! I’ve never crowd sourced for relationship stuff before, but my funk addled brain is doing me in.

Does it change the nature of our relationship or is that blowing it out of proportion? How do I put this down?

First of all, you’re not crazy. I had a similar experience with my guy a few months ago. I thought I was okay with something when I was really really REALLY not.

My question for you is what exactly bothered you? Was it the fact that he didn’t talk to you about it first? Or that it happened in general? It’s kind of sounding like the second from this end, and if that’s the case, the nature of your relationship has probably changed. And that’s okay, you just need to communicate it with him. It’s not blowing it out of proportion because it made you feel uncomfortable and that needs to be voiced.

As for it being a red flag, I’d say no. You okay’d it in the past so he probably didn’t think anything of it. You just need to tell him how you’re feeling.

Everyone is different, but one thing that helped me was taking a day to think about things before I talked to him. It helped me wrap my brain around what I was feeling and why, so I was pretty calm when we had our talk. :)

Full disclosure: I just finished a 12 hour shift, so this may be complete shit for advice. I typically have a no serious replies policy after I work, but yeah…

Good luck!

I will fully admit that, regardless of the fact that I am in a really solid long term relationship, I totally Facebook and/or otherwise internet stalk old boyfriends/lovers/guys I totally crushed on. Sometimes a person just pops up, unbidden, into your thoughts and the way to make it stop (for me) is to find out any new stuff going on with them, just without actually contacting them and potentially seeming all crazy-pants-creeper-exgirlfriend. So on that level, I understand your guy looking up past not-really-lady-friend. I would never volunteer the fact that I just spent 30 minutes Google-ing a guy I really liked in college to my current partner – because it’s just an itch I needed to scratch, no helpful or constructive conversation would come of it.

That being said, these actions are obviously making you really unhappy and uncomfortable right now, and that in and of itself is something worth talking about with your gentleman lover. You stated right in the beginning that you both agreed to be honest with each other about things that come up. But first, like nonsensikel said: what about this is bothering you? (which is not being asked flippantly, but as an honest self-reflecting question) Are you scared that he’s going to get in touch with her, she’s going to be single, and he’s going to either cheat on you or leave you? If so, then that’s some serious trust talk that you need to have with him. But I can’t really qualify that since I don’t know what his non-stellar relationship track record is like.

I guess the thing that would make the big difference (again, to me, I can’t speak for you or anyone else, obvi) would be if he looked her up and initiated contact again without possibly talking to you about it (at the same time I can also see the argument of “you can’t tell me who I can be friends with”– but that doesn’t sound like the kind of conversation you two would have based on how he responded to you the first time). Secondly, if he was attempting to hide any of this from you, that would probably be some kind of recognition of guilt on his part- but, again, it doesn’t sound like he was trying to hide it, just didn’t think it was the kind of thing he had to tell you about, and was open to talking about it when you asked.

When you ask “is easy forgiveness going to come back and bite [you] later”, it sounds like it goes back to problems of trust. Trust in a relationship is hard, and it sounds like you both recognize that in the fact that you are actively trying to be more open and honest with each other. So maybe keep that as a key talking point if/when you talk to him about it again (as in: “in the interest wanting to build/keep trust, I wanted to talk to you about [X incident] the other day again”). I also highly recommend looking up a technique called “Clean talk”ing- which I learned about when doing a management and non-violent communication workshop (and which has been *really* useful in my regular relationship). It’s just a way of talking such that you don’t come across as threatening or defensive, but as quickly and clearly getting to the root of the problem so it’s easier to fix with both parties.

In any case, I’m so sorry this is giving you such a mind-fuck! I do that all the time where I just go over stuff WAY too much in my head… Hugs if you want them and good luck with talking to your guy again!

I’m in the midst of Holiday Party Extravaganza. Went to one party (Holiday Glitz!) last night, which was awesome and people were all swanky and sequin-y, have another party tonight (Ugly Sweater and Yankee Swap), then another tomorrow. Now, I don’t drink much at all normally, but last night my friend had made a big pitcher of peppermint white russians in crushed candy-cane rimmed glasses. They were amazing!! But they made me realize that three days in a row of holiday cheer might just kill me by Christmas Eve….

I’m sorry to kind of bring a downer but…oh god.

It’s my birthday (yay). My ex and a former friend (whose bullshit I can’t even…) decided to attack me via facebook images. I’m not even friends with them – they found a picture I was tagged in on someone’s page. It happened so quickly that I couldn’t help reading.

This won’t stay out of my head “if you’re going to be a cu*t, expect the abuse.”

I broke up with him for someone else. I apologised deeply and genuinely, I watched out for his well-being, I let him, and his friends, treat me like shit for months. I lost my friends, I nearly lost my mind.

“If you’re going to be a cu*t….”

I can’t stop thinking that I deserve this. I swear, I never wanted to hurt him. I cared about him even after the break-up. When I got any kind of drunken text I made sure he wasn’t hurting himself. But I broke up with him for someone else. I never cheated, but that’s starting to sound flimsy to my depressed, anxiety-ridden brain. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one. I’m sorry it happened the way it did, I’m so sorry for handling it so badly, I’m sorry. But no-one’s listening.

Oh god, I’m rambling. I can’t stop shaking.

Oh gods, I am so sorry you’re dealing with this right now.

There’s a few things I think you already know, but I’m going to state them out loud.

1. You are not obligated to stay in a relationship, no matter how much someone cares for you or you for them.

2. If you genuinely believe that you would be happier elsewhere, then it is not wrong for you to seek out that happiness.

This one, of course, comes with some caveats. You probably shouldn’t make these choices in the spur of the moment – which, it doesn’t sound like you did. You mention that it wasn’t an easy choice, but despite that, you felt like it was the right one for you.

Also, I believe that relationships should be built on mutual trust, and that if there is a promise of monogamy, this should be kept.

SO, if something like what happened to you happens, ending the relationship is by far the better thing to do over cheating. Rather than lying to your partner, you acknowledged what happened. That is big.

3. Just because someone hurts you does not mean you have the right to be an asshole back.

This one I’m directing at your ex. Yes, I’m sure he was hurt when you left. It’s hard being dumped for another person, even if there wasn’t cheating. HOWEVER, that gives him absolutely no right to treat you like that, especially in such harassing manners.

To me, it sounds like in this situation he is being a bully and an abuser. It has a tinge of “how dare you hurt me? I’m going to hurt you MORE.” He’s preying on the fact that you know you hurt him in order to perpetually make you feel like shit. That’s the *entire justification* of his actions. It’s all “you deserved this.”

But that means that he doesn’t care about your happiness. He doesn’t care about your feelings. He doesn’t even respect you as a goddamn human being like you goddamn are. All that matters, in his twisted vision of the situation, is that you hurt him once. You hurt him because you had the audacity to go to a place that made you happier.

As I said, it does suck to be in his situation, but if he actually respected you as an independent human being that isn’t something for him to toss around when it hasn’t done what it’s “supposed to” in this situation, he would not treat you this way.

At this point, it’s long past mattering what you may or may not have done. That asshole needs to lay off.

You never, EVER deserve someone treating you like that – over MONTHS.

Ditto Silverwane. There is a big difference between being angry and being petty. And it sounds like it’s been a while. I know breakups suck and hurt and can feel like betrayal- BUT you did not actually do anything wrong! You did not act like a “cu*t”. No one *deserves* to be emotionally abused like that. Especially over such a long time! He’s dwelling on these emotions and replaying the hurt and making it worse for himself. You are not doing these things to him.

Really, no one (the ex) should “expect” to be allowed to mete out abuse like that? What place of privilege EVER makes it okay to abuse another person? None. You did not act maliciously when you broke up with him, but he is being deliberately malicious back. Hurt should not be reciprocal. And if he expects to be able to keep hurting you so long as he’s hurting, that’s just opening up a vicious cycle that feeds and justifies his hurt.

Short story: he needs to get the fuck over it and leave you alone.

You did nothing wrong. You didn’t cheat on your ex, and you found another relationship that makes you happy. Most of all, you do not deserve this abuse.

I know the other commenters before me said all this, but maybe more voices will help your emotions… I know my emotions don’t always respond well to logic.

I realize I should have said this earlier, but now that so many awesome people have left equally awesome replies, I just have to add my voice (or just words, rather) to theirs.

First of all, fuck the haters. You don’t need them in your life, and they certainly don’t know what they’re missing. (Or they do and they’re just being dicks about it.) You did all the right things so far — in fact, it’s what I would have done, were I in your place — and it’s on them if they can’t see that. As far as I can tell, nothing you have done is worthy of being called names and getting torn down about. Just remember to breathe, take it easy, and enjoy life, and at least try not to give in to what they think. It doesn’t really matter that much, anyway.

Everyone here has been so mature. So I don’t feel like I need to be. These people suck. They are the worst. This guy does not deserve all this caring and guilt you have over him, because he can’t just act like a fucking *adult.* I bad talked an ex for a while (he really did deserve it though) until someone told me the following, “Respect yourself enough to respect the way you used to love that person.” This guy can’t respect himself enough to move past it, he’s never going to respect you. Fuck ’em. And in moments like this we think of the great Eleanor Roosevelt. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

I know this is late and all, but I do disagree with some of what’s been said here. The thing is, he needs to respect you and your boundaries, and right now he isn’t doing that. But there’s a reason he isn’t, and you know what that reason is. He isn’t being rational, mature, or decent right now because he’s hurt. And when people are wounded, there’s fight-or-flight bits that come into play that make some people try and hurt others back. I’m not saying that it’s okay that he’s insulting you and trying to hurt you. It isn’t okay. But it isn’t reflective of his nature in optimal conditions. You know you’re not a bad person, but you also know that he sees you that way for now.

I know it’s easier said than done to ignore such things, but give it some time – forgive him and move on. At some point he’ll either realize how inappropriate his behavior was or he won’t; you can’t let that be your concern. His actions and reactions are not within your control, and that’s hard. But since there was a precedent set whereas you allowed other people to cross your boundaries for so long, they’re not going to suddenly change. Take charge of the aspects that YOU have control over; be firm with your boundaries, tell others how you feel. Focus on YOU and your well being!

Thank you all so mucj for your replies. It means a lot to me, since I have virtually no-one to discuss this with at home.

I wanted to hear a lot of things, I needed to hear a lot of things and I’m mulling some things over.

Thank fuck for this site. It’s you wonderful, intelligent, compassionate and mature people that make it one of my favourite places.

I have no gif gooey enough to express my love. Please accept holiday hugs and a slice of your favourite confectionary.


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