Please bear with me. This stuff is all a jumbled mess and I need to get it out but I don’t know where to start.
Our legal marriage ceremony is in a week and a half. I let anxiety get the best of me and put off getting my dress hemmed by another day. I procrastinated by finally doing some of the other things I’d been procrastinating.
I don’t even know what I’m so anxious about. I know the person who will be hemming the dress, she’s a very nice supportive person and we’ve made clothes for me before. I’m even pretty sure I know what to expect. I’ve driven to and from her house a million times at all hours of the day and night. But just thinking about it makes me feel sick with anxiety.
I know I want to marry Fox and gain the legal recognition for what we’ve felt for some time. But I can’t shake the anxiety, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m boxing myself in. Maybe it’s because we tend to fall into the trap of being each other’s only social interaction for days at a time, and because I’ve stopped doing a lot of things I used to enjoy since we met. But I can start doing those things again; we can and do spend time with other people both together and apart. We just need to make more of an effort to do so consistently. It’s a big problem but I don’t think running away from marriage is the answer. I think I can – I really want to – make it work with him.
Because there are times when it feels so right, like we were made for each other. Lately, those have been the times when we’ve turned off our computers and talked about the discussion questions in our premarital counseling homework. I’m hoping those will be valuable tools to keep us connecting with each other on the important things.
I’ve been playing The Sims 3 to reassure myself that life after marriage can work. The game I’ve written about most recently (Escape to Dragon Valley pt. 1 & pt. 2) started with a recently-married young adult couple – precisely what Fox and I will be in a week and a half. I stopped playing that family because the game kept crashing when I had the wife – who had just become an elder – try to plan her outfits. I started a new game with more of a focus on raising children, but it became nearly impossible for the sims to do anything without being in each other’s way. When the husband/father couldn’t eat breakfast because his teenage daughter was brushing the cat (and there wasn’t really a better spot available where she could have done so) I snapped and deleted my save files for both of the above families.
Just like that, they’re gone.
Now I’m playing a new family in the Sims 3 that started with – you guessed it – a recently-married young adult couple. I put them in a starter house with the goal of moving them to a small but easily-expandable house I had built on a generously-sized lot. They moved up their respective career tracks quickly, largely because they had access to skill books in the library (Moonlight Falls). Before long they were able to afford the house I had built them and start producing offspring, the first of which just grew up into a child. My primary focus is actually on her; the young adult sims exist to provide their children with the best possible foundation for a very promising future. Everything they’ve been doing – their financial success, all upgrades to their home, even the family portraits – all of it is for their children and future generations of this family. The young adults don’t even get memories, only the children do (one child so far, but I intend for them to have two).
I’ve been doing a pretty good job of balancing the parents’ needs, career development, friendships, and contribution to their child’s development. Their relationship with each other is suffering, though. It’s kind of rare for me to have them interact; I think part of it is how the game – especially its artificial intelligence – works, and part of it is mirroring my disconnection from Fox (which ironically manifests in and is worsened when I play the game). The bottom line is that having sims interact, especially in ways that build or maintain their relationships, takes consistent intentional effort. If I’ve learned anything from premarital counseling (and life in general) it’s that real-life relationships are much the same.
I’m wary of putting in that kind of effort because I’ve been hurt in the past. My mother requires a ton of it but tends not to give me what I need in return; if she does it’s at a very high cost. (For example: after supporting me in working through some of my anxiety today, she insisted on taking Fox’s shirt to be pressed without his knowledge or consent.) My father physically abused me. Other loved ones have died, moved away, withdrawn emotionally, taken advantage of me (or tried to do so), etc. I want this relationship to be different; I want to trust that it is. But I can’t. I’m constantly wary. I feel like it will all fall apart as soon as I relax.
And in a week and a half it will be legally binding. Mom says I can still back out; it’s entirely my choice. But I feel like I’m watching a train wreck … while bound to the front of the train.
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