11 years

Lady and the trampJan and I have been together for 11 years today! A long time. Unfortunately, he has choir practice tonight so we won’t be celebrating until the weekend.

Apparently, if this were a wedding anniversary, it would be steel.
In German, numbers made up of repeating digits are calles Schnapszahlen (in maths, they use the English term repdigits. Boring!). The term Schnapszahl comes from the fact that in lots of dice games if all the dice added together make a number with all the same digits, the person who rolled it has to drink a schnapps. Sounds like a much better gift than steel to me 😉

So much has changed since our last anniversary, and I’m really looking forward to starting a new adventure together. Here’s to (at least) another 11 years!

The difference a day makes

Last night Jan came home early. So early that I hadn’t even thought about what to cook for tea yet! Then, instead of working some more, he washed the dishes while I made eggy bread and we sat down together to watch two episodes of Farscape, snuggled up on the sofa. I don’t know whether he figured out for himself that I was feeling lonely and neglected or if somebody told him (he never reads my blog, so that can’t be it), but however he figured it out he acted on it, and it was lovely. It’s amazing the difference that a few hours of quality with my boyfriend can make! Now he just needs to hurry up and finish his thesis so we can have regular couple time again…

A decade is a long time…

This is where most people wpuld insert a photo of themselves with their significant other... but I'm pretty sure Jan wouldn't like that, so here's a heart instead.
This is where most people would insert a photo of themselves with their significant other… but I’m pretty sure Jan wouldn’t like that, so here’s a heart instead.

So, the boyfriend and I have been together ten years today!! If we’d been married for that many years, we’d be celebrating our tin anniversary (you’d think the first round anniversary would be something a bit more exciting than tin!). I’m pretty sure one of us deserves a medal for managing to stay in a relationship for this long… although I’m not entirely sure which of us 😉

Jan has a paper due first thing tomorrow, and it’s an important one because the conference it’s for actually bears some relation to his dissertation (unusual… most of the time he’s forced to work on the projects that actually bring in the money at the expense of his own work), so we won’t really be celebrating. He did say this morning that he doesn’t think he’ll have enough time to finish it – which really sucks – but I suspect he will try anyway. Also, I woke up this morning with what feels like the beginnings of a cold, so I’ll probably end up in bed with my water bottle and a pile of tissues by 9 pm! Jan is planning on working on his paper from home though, so we should at least be able to eat together.

Ten years! Double figures! Who ever could have guessed that something as a year abroad romance could have lasted this long? I certainly didn’t expect this. But I’m glad we are still together.

It’s all good!

Day 51 - Together
Together (Photo credit: Cristiano Betta)

Jan has been back from South America for a week now and since then things have been really good between us… and (TMI alert!!) not only because we’ve had some fantastic sex 😉 It’s like nothing at all has changed, but everything has. He’s still working late most nights and I’ve been doing overtime before running around like a headless chicken every evening, trying to get to the post office (I might as well move in there!), do shopping, write Christmas cards (finished those now, thankfully!) and  keep semi on top of the housework. But when we finally do get to sit down together, it just… works. We’ve even has a few serious discussions on topics that we don’t necessarily agree on (nothing to do with our relationship) and haven’t argued. That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to most of you, but believe me it is! (I’m not very good at stating my opinion without getting loud and argumentative!).

Yesterday, we spontaneously decided to go to the Christmas market together. Jan hadn’t been to it yet this year, so we went and we both agreed that the atmosphere is much nicer now that it’s moved (the place it used to be is currently a giant construction site!). We drank Feuerzangenbowle under the trees and talked about nothing much… and it was just nice (there’s that word again! My GCSE English teacher would have a fit!). Of course, spending the afternoon not doing work means Jan didn’t come to bed until the early hours of the mornin, but having him to myself for those few hours in the afternoon more than made up for that. 2013 hasn’t exactly been my favourite year ever, but I’m hoping this is the start of something good that will continue over Christmas and beyond!

Snippets

Monday Blues
Monday Blues (Photo credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page)

The epic what-we-did-in-Ireland marathon seems to have temporarily robbed my of my blogging mojo, so instead of a proper post, today I’m just going to give you some random snippets of information:

  • Today it was hot and sunny for practically the first time since we got back from our holiday (well, with the excpetion of the day after our return). Being the fool that I am, I left both my sunhat and my sunglasses at home this morning. You would think after this incident I would have learned my lesson! Luckily my route from work to the tram stop can be walked in the shade, and back in Karlsruhe I took the tram home… even though it’s only one stop. Tomorrow, rain is forecast again. So much for summer!
  • I know I promised you biscuits (cookies)… and I will be posting about them in the near future… as soon as the very idea of uploading photos to my blog doesn’t seem like a monumental effort. I’m sure you don’t want a post about biscuits without pictures, do you?
  • At the weekend, Jan and I had a very long and very draining conversation about our relationship. I still have no idea where things are going, if anywhere… but he did say the last 3-4 months have been great, which makes him think he does want a future with me. Buuut generally he still doesn’t know what he wants. From our relationship, from life… he just doesn’t know. I’ve agreed to stay until Janaury… again (sound familiar in any way?). Because I’m weak I actually think we make a good couple and I hope things will work out between us. Also, I can’t actually afford to move out right now, so once we get back from our trip to England I’ll start saving up so I can actually pay the deposit on a flat come January!
  • Tomorrow is the quiz and I’ve never felt less knowledgeable… except maybe last month. Ick.
  • It’s only Monday and already I feel like I’m behind on this week’s work. So. Much. To. Do! I think I need another holiday already…
  • Speaking of holidays… only 18 days until I fly to England for a week! I really need to get a move on with finding a dress for the christening…

That’s all I can think of, and I have to get in some exercise before I start cooking, so this is where I leave you. Proper post coming up tomorrow… maybe.

 

Nine years on

Love ? I love love love you.
Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Today, Jan and I have been together for nine years! Unbelievable. At the beginning, I never expected us to make it this far. I was on my year abroad, I’d recently broken up with someone else and my longest relationship until that point had been less than a year.

We’ve had our struggles and ups and downs, of course – starting when, after six months of being together, I had to go back to England to complete my degree while Jan went off to America for a year. Ironically, I had previously broken up with someone because I couldn’t handle being in a long-distance relationship – and the distance in that case was only between Northumberland and Nottingham (sorry Jay!!). However, neither of us wanted to break up at that point, so we agreed to try, and somehow it worked! Despite the fact that we only saw each other once, for precisely one week, between my 21st birthday in August 2004 and my graduation in July 2005 (my dad bought me a return flight to America as my Christmas present in 2004).

Long distance love
Long distance love (Photo credit: Dvortygirl)

After another year of long-distance – this time with me in Austria (read that carefully – it’s the one without the kangaroos) and Jan back in Germany, I decided that seeing my boyfriend an average of once a month wasn’t enough for me and made plans to move to Germany.

And now, almost six-and-a-half years later – I moved back in September 2006 –  here we are celebrating our 9 year “anniversary” (I wish I could think of another word for that…). I wonder what the next year will bring?

(Apologies to those who already know this story – probably not many. Pinklea maybe? I’ve gained a few new readers over the past year and I felt it was worth repeating).

In which I overshare about my sex life

NOTE: If you have a problem with the whole sex-before-marriage thing (sorry, but I’ve been with my boyfriend nearly 9 years, living together for almost 3. You really think we don’t do it?!) or just don’t want to read about other people’s sex lives please feel free to click away now. Consider yourself forewarned – and don’t blame me if you get to the end and feel offended! For the rest of you… read on (I promise not to get into too much detail…)

So, over the course of our relationship, the boyfriend and I haven’t always had sex as much as I would like.

No Sex
No Sex (Photo credit: djwingsia)

Obviously during our two year long distance relationship, not much of anything was happening, but after I moved to Germany I expected things to pick up. Which they did, at first but gradually “it” happened less and less often. Then at some point we would talk fight about it, things would improve for a while, then it would dwindle again until we were doing it maybe once a month.

So, a few weeks before Christmas, after getting nothing for almost two months, I told Jan I was thinking about coming off the pill once all the ones I still had were used up – after all, what was the point in protecting against immaculate conception? (Of course I was going to finish the packets I had left – I pay good money for those suckers! Welcome to any country that’s not in the UK…). Not the best start to that conversation, I admit. Inevitably it ended in a fight (you can’t make start a conversation with those words and not hurt your man’s feelings..), I cried, then I had to go to work. Yes… I have great timing.

The next day, I sat down and wrote a letter explaining everything I wanted to say. It had to be a better option than blurting things out without thinking about what I wanted to say, right? I left the letter for Jan to read and (again) went to work – I wanted him to read it when I wasn’t there, so he would have time to recover from his first reaction and really think about what I was trying to say, rather than getting defensive in the heat of the moment. Later, he thanked me for writing the letter. Then we each agreed to work on what was bothering the other person (basically, he says he’s sick of always being the one to initiate things, while I say whenever I try to initiate anything he doesn’t seem interested, and even things that have worked before never seem to work a second time. Like I said, oversharing…). We then went away for Christmas, sleeping in beds at other people’s houses, and I started my period, which didn’t help… so still no sex.

Then, 2 weeks ago, while in bed, I asked him what I would have to do to turn him on. Unbelievably, his first response was that he didn’t know! (How am I supposed to know if he doesn’t?). He then countered by asking what I’d been trying. Apparantly I was too subtle though – he hadn’t even noticed me doing those things!! In the end I did get a few ideas. But the next time we did it, he was the initiator again… so on Friday night I decided to take the bull by the horns (oo-er, I’ve just realised how dirty that sound in this context!).

Romantic film icon created from Nuvola icons
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Jan got home, I was finishing off the white sauce for the lasagne while the washing machine beeped furiously. Stress! He immediately offered to hang the washing, allowing me to finish tea. I finished preparing the lasagne, stuck it in the oven, and went to the living room, where I found Jan hanging the last item of washing on the airer. Excellent! I saw my chance and started kissing him. Passionately. After a few minutes of this (plus a bit of neck kissing and… other stuff), he asked “Is there anything you would like”. My response “Well… we have half an hour…” I’ll leave the next bit up to your imagination…

… we finished just in time for the lasagne to come out of the oven. I guess I do still have an affect on him after all…

Why am I telling you this? I know I’ve complained on here before about being sexually frustrtaed and worried that my boyfriend no longer finds me attractive… so I thought for once I would tell you something positive… plus I wanted to tell someone, and I don’t really have anyone other than my blog to discuss my sex life with. (HA, I won’t tell my friends, but the Internet is fair game? I’m so not normal…). And if you’ve got this far and are offended/bored/amazed at my stupidity, well, all I can say is I did warn you at the beginning. I make no apologies… I’ve felt happy and confident all day today, and that was something I wanted to share. 🙂 (But I sincerely hope neither my mother nor any of my colleagues ever comes across this blog…)

p.s. One of the suggested tags from Zemanta for this post is “human sexual activity”. Well, yes I should hope so! As far as I’m aware neither of us are dogs. Or aliens…

The state of my relationship

Those of you who have been reading for a while are probably wondering what’s going on with my relationship since I made this decision earlier in the year. Or I could be flattering myself and you’re not actually interested ;-). For those who don’t know what I’m talking about and don’t want to go and read my previous long (and – I see now  error-filled) post, in a nutshell I told my boyfriend of nearly 9 years that if he couldn’t decide what he wants from our relationship by the end of the year I would move out. To quote myself in the post I wrote at the time if, by that time, “he still doesn’t know what he wants, then I don’t think he ever will“.

Well, it turns out I am weak. Jan has been trying really hard recently to show that he does appreciate me and what we have. He has been calling to let me know when he’s on his way home, letting me know when he’s going to be late and I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve actually eaten together in the evenings!! If you’ve been reading for a while you will know actually getting to eat a meal with my boyfriend is a major deal!! He has also said he enjoys living with me and wants me to stay. He is still unable to tell me what he wants and if there is any chance of our relationship going anywhere. Despite this I’ve decided to stay – because I’m not ready to be single (once we break up, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll want to find someone new). Because I love him. Because we have argued so little over the past few months and life has just felt good. Because I am too weak to do what is best in the long run

...Hope...
…Hope… (Photo: ĐāżŦ {mostly absent})

knowing it’s going to hurt me right now. And because, deep down, I still have hope – that he will eventually want to settle down with me, that “eventually” will turn out to be sooner, that we can somehow find a way to compromise and make things work. Hope is  a bitch!

I am aware that, by making this decision, I have basically given him free rein too do what he likes. Obviously I don’t follow through on my consequences, so what reason does he have to believe me in future? I am also aware that I’ve basically forfeited my chances of ever getting married or having children. Please don’t rub that in – I’m having enough trouble coming to terms with it anyway! But even if I decided to leave, I’m not sure I would even want to be a mother any more. I’m 30 in less than a year and the last thing I ever wanted was to be an old mother. Having my first child when I’m already past 30 is just not for me. A second or third child after 30, okay. But the first? How old would I then be then by the time any more came along? And while it’s fine when they’re babies, the only reasons I was in any way able to get along with my parents as a teenager was because they were young enough that I felt they could understand (I wouldn’t have wanted to have kids as young as they did though – my mum was only just 20 when I was born!). 25 was the perfect age for the first child, I thought. Upon reaching 25 I realised there was no way it would be happening any time soon and changed to the very vague “before I turn 30”. Now that I’m coming up to 30, I’m becoming less and less certain that I am even cut out to be a mother. New borns terrify me (they look so fragile!) and if I never have any children I can’t mess them up for life, right? If I were to get pregnant by accident then that would be nice, but since that is highly unlikely I would rather be in a childless relationship with someone I love and genuinely enjoy being with than live alone with neither children nor a boyfriend.

As Tina Dico says, not much is so much more than nothing. And despite how this post sounds, I am happy right now! So even if failing to stick to my decision is weak and I may be making a rod for my own back in the long run, right now I choose being happy with my non-comittal boyfriend over being miserable and alone. I’ll have plenty of time to do that for the rest of my life.

Heart Candle
Heart Candle (Photo credit: Bob.Fornal)

A mini breakdown… and a potential breakthrough

An hour ago, Jan called me to let me know that he’s not going to mak it home before the early hours of the morning (he’s working on a paper, deadline midnight and needs access to the computers at work to run the tests he wants to write about). He’s been working on the paper for about a week now, so I wasn’t really expecting him home at a sensible time tonight, but the fact that he actually bothered to call put a huge smile on my face. While this may not seem like a big deal to many of you, his not calling is exactly the kind of thing we disagree on. We’ve agreed that, once our evening meal is ready, I won’t wait around too long for him, but will eat alone leaving his portion for him to heat up later, and while this means I get to eat at a sensible time, when he neither calls nor shows up I can’t help but feel it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind. He, on the other hand, says it’s not that he never thinks of me when I’m not there, he just loses track of time and it doesn’t occur to him that I’ll be cooking tea already. So him calling me as early as 6 o’clock is nothing short of a miracle.

This comes on the heels of a bit of a mini breakdown on my part yesterday. I have to admit, I have slightly crap timing – Jan was actually doing some work for the aforementioned paper at the time and was about to get ready to go and meet his choir for a warm up before a festival they were performing at. But after being ignored by him nearly all morning, then catching him on a forum rather than actually working on the paper, I burst into tears, told him I wouldn’t be coming to his festival and stormed off for a shower. Yeah… it’s not exactly something I’m proud of. But… we talked, Jan said he had noticed my getting rid of things and preparing to move, and he does want me to stay, he just doesn’t know what he can do to make me want to do so, especially since he still can’t see his way to offering me any kind of long term commitment. And I told him it’ not like I’m looking for a marriage proposal… or even a commitment to stay with me forever without a bit of paper, but I want to feel that he’s at least willing to give us a proper try, not just drift along the way we have been doing. So, he has promised to try and show me that I am important to him, even if he can’t make a decision to save his life and I’ve promised to communicate more, and let him know what’s actually bothering me rather than saving it all up and letting everything out out once. That method only leads to arguments… and tears (mine, not his). So back we go, for another try. But he has said he wants me to stay… which isn’t quite the major decision I’ve been hoping for, but I feel it is a breakthrough, of sorts. Baby steps… And today, at least I get to go to bed happy.

Clearing out

Recently, I have finally faced up to the very real possibility that, come January, I may be moving out of my lovely flat.
It’s been five months since the boyfriend and I had one of the worst conversations I’ve had to initiate in my life, and so far not much seems to have changed. Despite Jan promising in July that he was going to make an effort with our relationship even if he couldn’t bring himself to do so in any other area of his life, nothing much seems to have changed. We have been arguning less, but honestly I think that has more to do with the fact that he’s been even more busy with work than he usually is, and it’s difficult to have an argument with someone who isn’t actually there. He did say he had missed me and the flat felt empty when I went to a four-day seminar for work a few weeks ago, but that’s not exactly a declaration that he wants me to stay. and conversations about the future are still, well, non-existent if I’m honest. So I decided it was time to start mentally preparing myself. But rather than focusing on the fact that moving out will mean the end of my relationship (I’m not quite that brave yet… even typing those words was difficult), I’ve been concentrating on how I’m going to fit all my posessions into a place that will probably have much less space. And I came to the conclusion that I probably couldn’t… I’m sure I didn’t have this much stuff when I moved in here. Where did it all come from?! (Actually I know the answer to that one – the Internet mostly. I knew I shouldn’t have found myself a new hobby that involved buying things and storing them at home!) It was time for a clear out! So two weeks ago I went through all my clothes, ruthlessly sorting out things that I knew I was never going to wear again and had only been holding onto for sentimental reasons, throwing away holey socks (including the ones with the rubber ducks on that I loved. That was a bit of a heart wrenching moment… and yes, I’ve just admitted to get emotional over a pair of socks). This week, it was the turn of my books. Those of you who have been reading for a while will know how I feel about books. I LOVE them! While other girls dream of walk in wardrobes and entire rooms full of handbags, my ultimate aim in life is to have my very own library. With soft read sofas and chairs, a mahogany desk, beautiful shelving and books, books, books. But books are heavy, and so some of them have to go. I’ve been gradually taking books off the shelves, rearranging the bookcases and moving things into a carrier bag all week, and gradually I’ve got to the stage where everything actually fits on our three bookcases, whereas before things were piled up on top of the neat rows of books, stacked in front of them etc. Then, today, I placed a number of books into a smaller carrier bag (there’s no way I could have carried the larger one!) and walked around the corner to where there’s a public book cupboard (an excellent idea by the way!). There, I deposited the 11 books I had brought with me and returned home with a much lighter load, but a heavy heart. Getting rid of books is like cutting ties with old friends – not pleasant! But now that a few hours have passed I’m feeling a little better about things. I know those were books that I didn’t really enjoy that much and probably wasn’t going to read again any time soon – I won’t say never, because you never know. And I can always buy more books, sometime in the future. Instead of being a crazy cat lady I’ll be the mad old woman who filled her entire house with stacks of books. And maybe when Jan sees all my stuff gradually disappearing he’ll realise I’m seriously and actually start start trying to figure out what he wants.

I think I’m really starting to understand the meaning of the phrase “hope springs eternal”…