Rethinking What I Want Out of Life

I always thought there were two choices in life — work your ass off and live a comfortable life (not luxurious by any means, but have enough to afford a house and a basic middle class lifestyle without a totally crazy commute), or opt to work less and/or do something meaningful (i.e. create art or help others.) Accepting my new truth—that you can work your ass off and not be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle–has led to a major reality wakeup call and revisiting the age-old question: what dafuck do I want out of life?

Now that I have a child, I definitely see things differently. For starters, I’m sitting at a cafe this Sunday morning writing a blog post on my own. Pre kid, I could take all Sunday enjoying solo time. Now, every minute I spend on my own that isn’t at work feels like I’m missing the little time with my son that I have to be a mom and bond with him. This morning, I’ll be at this cafe for under 2 hours, but I question the use of every second of my “free” time. I’m also primarily here to catch up on work that I didn’t finish during the week, especially one deck for an important meeting tomorrow.

I know I can figure out how to be more productive at work, plan better in advance, and mostly avoid these weekend work sessions. I can’t, at least in my current career/job, get hours during the week to go to the park with my son, or teach him things, or enjoy those lazy afternoons and cuddles and naps together. I come home from work at 6-7 and am exhausted. I hate the mom I am then. I try to engage but don’t have the energy. I count the minutes until my son’s 9 o’clock bedtime, when I can slip away to my room and mindlessly browse the internet until I fall asleep, and then wake up to do it all over again.

The money right now at least feels like it’s worth it. I’m making more than I ever thought I would in a single year, at least if I figure out how to keep this job. It’s not forever–I have two more years of stock vesting and then I’m back to a pretty good but not amazing salary. And that’s fine too. But I don’t see this lifestyle being worth it for anything under what I’m making now. And, at some point, if I could actually make what I’m making now ($400k-$500k a year–crazy, I know, esp for someone who never made more than $190k previously) I’ll have saved enough and I won’t HAVE to work as much anymore. But I won’t sustain this level of income. Even if I keep this job, I’ll be back to $200k a year–which isn’t BAD–but it isn’t enough to get me to early retirement. My company definitely doesn’t value my services enough to give me a major stock refresh (I mean, they’re on the verge of letting me go, so I’m not surprised.) But this impacts how much I’ll make in the future, and makes me wonder what I will do after these two years are over (or sooner, if I get fired from this job, which I’m hoping I can avoid!)

The stock market crash this week hasn’t phased me much, but seeing $100k or so disappear from my networth kinda felt like, oh well, that money isn’t real anyway. Nothing is real. I live in a one bedroom apartment and cannot afford a house. Well, I can afford a house if I can continue making $500k a year for the next 30 years. Which won’t happen. I mean, if I was actually good at my job and could move up to a VP-level role in the next 5 years, it’s realistic I could make $500k a year for the next 30 years. But I don’t want to be a VP, even if I could. I see how much work (time) goes into being successful at that level and don’t think it will ever be worth it.

I can do this until I’m 38. And I’m all in on trying to keep this job for 22 more months. I want to do this by delivering my projects on time and making all stakeholders happy and not overcommitting to anything. I don’t think I can do this because my creativity is not consistent and I go through long phases where I get stuck, especially without being able to collaborate with others (i.e. I have to come up with three directions for a video script right now and figure out how to present these in a clear way and I feel kind of lost, despite having 3 general ideas.) I don’t know how to do my job and my whole coaching plan centers on being more confident in my work and upleveling how I communicate my ideas to everyone (which means do not ask other people to collaborate until you have something polished to show that you believe in.) I just want to sit in a room and brainstorm with a small group instead of solving these problems on my own. But it’s hard to group write and that doesn’t really work either.

Anyway, I’m not going to be a VP. That’s pretty much the short of it. The short short of it is I’m walking a fine line between failing miserably and keeping my job longer than the length of this coaching plan. I am still unclear if the coaching plan is a “protect the company to document everything wrong I am doing” and a plan to actually help me succeed and learn how to be a better team player. The stress of wondering which is true makes it even harder to do good work. I wonder–should I be looking for another job? Am I missing the memo here? Does my boss think she’s being kind giving me a 5 month coaching plan so I have a lot of time to find a new role while I finish up some key projects and the departure is a win win for everyone? If that’s the case, I wish she would tell me. But of course, she can’t tell me that. So I’m left to wonder. And stress. And distract myself more from getting my work done. It’s not good.

The best I can do right now is forget about the coaching plan (other than the actually helpful guidance on how to be a better employee documented in it) and just do my best to do my best. That’s the best I can do. I’ve already missed a deadline, though, because I freaked out about not knowing how to solve for feedback on a video and feel like I’m spinning my wheels with the editor on it vs being able to give clear direction and wrap the project up.

I’m just frustrated. Not with work, but with myself. With my role and career. Because there are moments where I feel like I’m in my element, that I’m delivering good work. That I’m offering something to the company with my unique viewpoint and skills and abilities. But mostly I just feel like a total cluster. And everyone else sees that. I don’t know how I can, in the next four months of this coaching plan (and beyond) change that. I have some ideas how to fix parts of this, but I’m already perceived as a mess and it’s next to impossible to redeem myself.

The easy answer is get a new job and start over. But, there are many reasons to stay at my current company. I like the company. I like our product. Did I mention I’m making $500k a year? My boss is actually a wonderful, inspiring woman who I am, as Insta-influencers would say, #blessed to have as my supervisor (despite that she is kinda over my #hotmess nature), I like my coworkers, I think I still have a lot to offer to the company, and I don’t want to leave. I’ve said I’m not leaving by choice (in my brain, every. morning) and I mean it. They have to ask me to leave. I don’t want them to ask me to leave. But I don’t want to start over.

Amidst all of this, I am getting a new boss. A new boss who is basically being hired to do my job since I failed. It may be a good thing if new boss can help me learn how to do the things I need to do in order to succeed in this role, and give me a framework for how I can lead better in the future when I do take on a new job outside of the organization. Maybe this is a great thing! However, it’s just going to be another layer of politics, and I can’t imagine someone coming in will be happy to have me on their team. Typically I get a new boss and they throw me under the bus immediately to buy them more time to fail (last company new boss fired me then left the company eight months later!)

Well, that’s life right now. I’m trying to just take it one day at a time. I feel better knowing I have ~$1M in stocks (though also knowing that could drop 20-30% next year is kind of scary.) I’m putting all my RSU vesting straight into my downpayment account and hoping housing prices come down in the next year as well, so we can get a good price at least. And, I’m going to try to keep my job, somehow.

Hold On for this Very Bumpy Ride

22 months. I hate to wish them to go by fast–because who the hell knows how long I have left on this crazy earth–but if I can survive at my current job for 22 months a world of life possibilities will open up. I won’t exactly have achieved financial independence (FIRE), but I’ll be close enough that I can take more risks in my career, take a step back as needed, and really focus on what types of companies I want to work for (and what I want to DO in life) and not so much on the money.

Yes, in two years, it is possible my husband and I will be approaching $2M in net worth. This seems ridiculous given just 15 years ago we had next to nothing. I am so grateful that this is possible, yet it has put me in the worst state of terror everyday fearing I will lose this job. 22 months might as well be 22 years right now. It feels that way. I don’t see how I can take my current tasks and succeed in them enough to achieve my targeted tenure. But maybe I can pull it off. I’ve lasted this long — haven’t I?

I’m trying. I’m REALLY trying. I know my boss sees that. But is it enough? And how can it be enough when I’m handed projects that are impossible at worst and next-to-impossible at best? My role is so all over the place, I have no idea what I do, which makes it hard to figure out how to get good at it. Well, it seems what I do is try to keep my job and to do that I need to make people like me by delivering quality work that effectively reflects what everyone else wants. My opinion doesn’t matter. I am nobody. I am the executor of everyone else’s ideas, great, or not so great. And I better not question them or complain or try to recommend something better. Nope. Just, shut up, heads down, GSD, pray I make it to my next vesting date.

That’s 8 more vesting periods, if you’re counting (who’s counting?) 8 isn’t a huge number. It feels more achievable than 22 months. It will soon be 7. Seven is close to six which is close to five which, if you ask my toddler, is somewhere near two. These are just weeks. Weeks that provide me a lifetime of security if I don’t go crazy and spend my earnings like a nouveau riche lotto winner. I can do this. I know it will feel so incredibly good at the end of this rainbow where I get to my fully vested pot of gold.

You know, it’s sad in a different way than my past career flubs. I actually like my boss. I want to help her succeed. I want to be a good employee (I mean I’ve always wanted to, but I haven’t always fully respected the people I work for.) I respect her a lot. She works her ass off. She deserves her success. She tries to be a good boss. Unfortunately, I’m not able to help her win. So instead of flat-out firing me, she’s bringing in someone to basically have my job title… and I’ll report into them. This is going to go splendidly, right?

With a new boss coming in next month, a handful of impossible projects, and a performance plan that will be passed on to him or her to introduce my work ethic and talent in the absolute best light ever, I’m kind of fucked–but I’m going to try to make it work. As I do. As my former colleague and I used to joke–I’m Katniss. I’ll survive. Somehow. At least until the sequel.

I Was Put on a PIP (Personal Improvement Plan) and I’m Going to Beat It.

I thought the job situation was improving. Sure, I struggled a bit to meet a few deadlines, but I was getting on top of all of my projects. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’ve been let go from jobs numerous times, so my current pickle is not exactly surprising. Nonetheless, it’s pouring salt on a long-time festering wound that I’ve been trying to heel, and I’m equal parts upset about it and wanting to fix my problems and be a survivor at my company, at least for the next year.

Looking back on the last year–the year that was officially reviewed–it is easy to forget how in January of 2019 I had just come back from maternity leave and was still pumping 3x a day at work. I pushed out some of my maternity leave to take later in my son’s first year, so I actually was out 6 weeks in 2019 beyond my typical PTO. Nonetheless, none of this was mentioned in the review, in writing or otherwise. Instead, I got handed a “coaching plan” which is a nicely phrased version of a PIP which is a nicely phrased version of you’re going to be fired soon and we’re just covering our behinds.

Many of my friends have advised me that this is writing on the wall and there is no use to trying to address the issues in this plan… it’s far too late at this point to recover. I should be focused on finding a new job. Maybe they’re right. I could regret doubling down on my current role and trying to fix the issues noted in my PIP. So many are subjective, it’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever successfully “pass” it. But there are some changes organizationally happening on my team that might help (or hurt) and my gut tells me to give it my all, wait it out, and see what happens. I’ve accepted I’ll never get a promotion in my company, but I don’t need a promotion. I need to survive and collect the RSUs that are rightfully mine if I’m able to stay. It’s that simple. Just. Don’t. Get. Fired.

My boss SEEMS to want to help me, but I’ve learned long ago to trust no one. I mean, I trust that she’s going to do what is best for the company and her career. If I’m not what’s best for the company or her career, I’m out. The big question is–am I already out in her mind, or can I come back from the dead like one great big corporate zombie that everyone loves?

The whole thing makes me feel ill. It’s hard to sleep and concentrate, so that makes it extra challenging to recover from my issues in the office. I’ve reviewed my PIP multiple times and have come to the conclusion that the issue isn’t my missing deadlines or failing to collaborate effectively with others–it’s that I can’t actually do my job. It’s not the type of job one gets training in–you’re either good at it, or you’re not. And I’m, well, I’m good enough to get by in it if its not my primary responsibility, but it’s pretty clear I’m struggling with the fundamental requirements of the role.

BUT. But. I’m also thriving with parts of the role–I don’t want to toot my own horn (because it’s rusty and busted anyway) but I can’t think of anyone else who would be successful in this role. It’s not because any of my individual tasks/projects are so difficult that no one could do them… it’s that my job is so allllll over the place that it would be hard to find one person who can do all of these projects even remotely effectively. I wear many hats, which seems to work in my favor, until it doesn’t. The hats go flying and no one cares enough to catch them.

I’m in such an emotional roller coaster right now I’m trying my darnedest to hold it together. I need to. For my family. For our future. For my self worth. And because I really want to know–am I failing at this role because I’m not good at it OR is there something else going on. Can I be successful at it? I have some pretty specific marching orders. Even if “success” in these areas is as subjective as whether that dress is blue or gold, I can at least focus on trying to do what the plan says. I can meet deadlines by better project managing and getting people involved in these projects my earlier on. I’ve learned that I need to see myself as a project manager versus creative. I am not the expert here. I am the consolidator of expertise. This kind of goes against the next bullet in the PIP which is have a strong viewpoint about my work and believe in it–but I can do that without it being my viewpoint. Turning in quality work will be challenging because I always make stupid mistakes (I miss the details, thank you ADHD, and sometimes miss stupid things like when I used the word tantamount and meant paramount and the VP caught it and did I mention I’m an idiot?) Other than that, I just need to pay attention in meetings. Ok, I can do that.

Everything above seems simple. If I just show up at work early, leave late, make sure that I’m project managing vs creating then, well, maybe people will stop hating me so much? I don’t know if it’s possible as whenever I turn something in everyone has SO MUCH FEEDBACK on it and wants to change what I’ve written. I don’t disagree with their feedback, I just wonder why I can’t think of these things myself so I can deliver something they would actually like. That’s my real goal and I don’t think I can achieve that… which is why I know I’m long for this career in general. But if I can hold my breath and hang on for dear life for the next 2 years, it will be an incredibly bumpy ride, but also incredibly worth it. I hope I can.

Serious Career Transition. It’s Time. Almost Time.

I had a heart-to-heart with myself this week. Self: it’s not them, it’s you. You hate your career. You hate your career because for the past 15 years your job has been to promote what someone else has built, instead of building it yourself. Plus, you suck at promoting. You like to come up with ideas and build them or manage the building of them (more managing the building of them.)

I want to wake up most every morning and be excited about MAKING each day. I want to work alongside people who are builders. I get along with these people better. Generalization, but I’ve found I enjoy spending time with engineers. Why? I like logic. People on the business side of the house are not so logical, even if they think they are. Business side is all about making the impossible possible. That drains you. You are under resourced and expected to deliver nonetheless. There is no “finished.” Not that there is “finished” in most tech these days given everything is software with constant upgrades and bugs and whatever, but a least you can put something out that people use and probably feel some sense of completion and that you built something or were part of building something.

You know what’s not rewarding? Taking a product that someone else built and then making people feel something about your brand so they buy your product. I want to make the product. I want to fix the product. I want to make the product great. Period.

If I get fired, I’m going to dig into my savings and go to some sort of coding bootcamp and try it out. If I don’t get fired, then I have a little more time to learn something. I have no fucking patience so I’ve never managed to teach myself how to code beyond HTML. I think maybe if I start drinking a shit ton of coffee a day that will act as over-the-counter Adderall and I can learn something. I want to build a more accurate rent-vs-buy calculator than others online (although I’ve seen a few good ones but it’s not super easy to adjust all the variables) so that’s project #1 I think. An idea. But maybe I’ll do it. One never knows with me.

Buying a House in Silicon Valley (Spoiler Alert: LOL)

It’s been two years since we sauntered into our first open house. I brought us to a home selling for $1.7M list, and that would inevitably go for at least $1.9M more than that. I brought us there to see what we “couldn’t afford” expecting to be at least somewhat impressed.

Nah. The 1300 square foot 3br/2ba house on a 5000 square foot lot needed a lot of updating. Thus started our ongoing and continually more depressing adventures in buying a home in Silicon Valley.

Who the flying fuck can afford a $9k a month mortgage? That’s what these houses cost if you put down 20% (if you have $360k or so lying around for that.) It’s just frustrating that I DO have the $360k but a $9k/month mortgage for 30 years is not in the cards for us. On my husband’s salary we can afford about $2k a month which leaves me with $7k to cover–and god forbid one of us loses our job (given I’ve been fired 6 times it’s bound to happen.)

So we’re not really going to buy a house with a $9k mortgage. Either we have to save up a lot more for a giant down payment to get the monthly mortgage to about half that–or we’re not buying here. And… we are probably never buying here.

This makes me very sad, but I’m trying to get over it. It’s upsetting to know that where I raise my child/children will not be a home that will be filled with memories for many years to come–or that we won’t be able to make our home really ours in the way you can when you own a property (even though it’s a pain in the ass to do so and really is that how we want to be spending our time or money?)

Well, I definitely feel we’ve outgrown our 800 square foot $2500/month one bedroom apartment. I’m ready to move yesterday, but hubby wants to keep seeking out the perfect home–one that we can buy with his parents. Together we can pool our money and afford something and then live happily ever after on the same property, or so that’s what he’d like me cheerfully accept as our real estate fate. I hate to be Debbie Downer, but I’m not into the idea of living on the same property as his parents. I just want our independence and to deal with it being tough together as a team and I don’t know, maybe I romanticize that a bit but living so close to his parents just doesn’t appeal to me. Down the street? Fine. In our backyard or attached to the same building? Eh…

The problem is that if we’re not going to live with his parents, I have to figure out a strategy to earn more money for the long term. I basically just have to assume my husband’s income is $0, in case it is, and somehow come up with a plan to afford $9k a month, or something, that would be a realistic mortgage here.

Why don’t you just move? Yea, thought about that… but husband is committed to staying in the Bay Area, and I’d like to stay here as well if we can make it work. I’m starting to look at housing options in the east bay but I really don’t want to lock myself into 1.5 hr commutes each day in massive traffic.

So the most likely option is that we’ll look at houses until late spring then rent a bigger place by summer. House rentals are about $5000-$6000 a month, which will be hard to stomach, but that’s better than $9000 a month and at least if I lose my job we can get out fairly quickly. PLUS we can keep the $360k that would be stuck in a downpayment working in the stock market. Maybe houses will continue to go up in value here as much as they have in the past 10 years, but I doubt it. Who knows. I just think putting that much money into a downpayment is giving up on gains that one could have in the market. It’s worth it, for so many reasons, but if we can’t make it work I’m just trying to remind myself of the positives. Like, we can pick up and move for better jobs. We can rent in a crappy school district then move to a good one in 4 years when our son is old enough to go to kindergarten. We don’t have to deal with the many costs of home ownership. And such.

Yet I still just feel fucking depressed about not being able to afford a house. I know we’re not the only ones but it’s one of those things that makes me feel like a failure, even though I know not being able to afford $9k a month doesn’t make me a failure. I mean, it DOES, because I could be a VP already and spend the next 30 years earning $250k plus annual raises and bonus and whatever, but instead I’m insecure and can’t get my shit together to convince anyone I’m worthy of keeping my job, and I can’t convince myself of it either. I guess that’s the big issue. I’d like to completely change my career but doing that all but guarantees buying a house is impossible. It’s just all kind of nauseating to be where I’m at (and where I’m not) at my age–doing so well financially, yet also it not mattering at all.

 

Happiness.

Today, I went for a long-ish walk with my son. It took forever to get out of the apartment but we finally headed out around 10:30 and I walked to coffee, then a local dog park, then a children’s clothing store, and got back home around 1pm.

As I was walking home, despite having a headache due to my new diet, I was amazed by how happy I felt. I mean, happy as in, content. As in — half way between my two weeks off from work (office shutdown over the holidays), I actually feel relaxed and able to enjoy life. Fuck, it feels good.

It got me thinking–I really am tired of this Bay Area life (more on that in my next post re: housing costs and current status on that adventure.) But what the hell is the point? I do LOVE the Bay Area in terms of its climate, closeness to so many awesome places, various downtowns and things to do, etc etc, but at the end of the day, I just want to be able to have time to go for a long walk with my son when the sun is still out, or to spend time with him indoors if it’s too cold to do that.  Or a drive somewhere. Just have, you know, time.

Time to spend with my family. Time to exercise. Time to eat healthy. Time to BE healthy. Time to make new friends and nurture existing ones.

I’ll certainly miss our friends here but the reality is we see our friends so infrequently we could live on the moon and pay for a roundtrip back and forth to see our friends as much as we see them now and it would still be cheaper. Ok, not the moon, but like, Indiana. Or Pennsylvania. Or Guam.

Committing to a mortgage here, even if we move far as fuck away from my office to find something “affordable” (ie $5k a month) and turn me into a lifelong supercomputer so I can afford to pay that mortgage for 30 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that won’t make me happy at all. I want to sit in a house with a fire and a backyard and just be with my family. I haven’t really had time to spend with them. I’m exhausted when I get home from work, and just want to sleep on the weekends too.

I still want to make it two more years here, getting as much of my stock as possible. It won’t hurt to have more money in the bank if we do move elsewhere. I just don’t know how to convince my husband that we should do this (or heck, to convince myself we should do this.) There has to be a better way to live life.

The Real Wealth: Fixing My Health

My weight has yo-yo’d from 120 to 180 (225 if you count pregnancy) for the last 15 years. A “healthy” weight for my height is 108-145lbs. I’m 170-ish right now.

Whenever I tell someone that I want to lose 50lbs they always say “you’ll be skin and bones” but I know that’s not true. I was a size 6 at 120lbs–thin, but not exactly skin and bones.

Now that I’m older and post baby, I’ve largely given up on the dreams of looking good in a bikini (for the record, I never did, and unless I splurge on major plastic surgery, I never will.) But — I’m extremely committed to getting back to a healthy weight (120-130 is my goal) and doing this in a healthy AND sustainable way.

I’ve recently found Intermittent Fasting and seeing the results of others truly inspires me. It feels like the kind of lifestyle change I can stick with–although it will be hard on my (non existent) social life to not drink after 8pm, with a 12-8pm eating and drinking period. But that’s probably for the better anyway–I can have a glass of wine with dinner, I don’t need to be binge drinking until the wee hours of the morning. I’m not 21 anymore and it seems every time I drink I do something stupid anyway. Not flattering on a 21 year old and certainly not flattering on a 36 year old.

It seems people are able to lose substantial amounts of weight on IF without majorly changing their diet or exercise routine. I’m going to do something a little different on IF — I’m going to make sure I’m eating ENOUGH calories. I want to eat 1800 calories a day of generally “clean” foods and go for walks and see what that does for January. I’d love to get under 160 by Feb 1. If I stick to IF, I feel like I can. Sticking to it will be a huge challenge, but y’all know me, I love a good seemingly impossible challenge…

Financially speaking, being healthy saves so much money over a lifetime! I’m still pissed that my life insurance costs and arm and a leg and both my butt cheeks because I have depression (fuck you insurance companies) but at least I can minimize the cost of medical treatments later in life if I get myself to a health weight (and I might even save on not having to pay for infertility treatments to have kid #2 — a goal for next year, post losing some weight and getting my mental health in order!)

Networth Check-In Before End of Year

I just ran my numbers for the year and realized that I crossed the $1M threshold on my own (not counting my husband’s smaller nest egg) and I feel like I should celebrate somehow. (Blows a party horn alone.)

I have a fairly unique way of calculating networth so I consider this a false victory… my before tax total account value is $1,127,789 BUT after I factor in probable taxes (conservatively) my total networth is $845,052. Wah, wah.

Still, $845,052  AFTER TAX in networth isn’t so bad at 36. With my husband’s savings, we’re close to $1M total.

I’ll feel much better when I get to $2M after tax networth, but that will take a while. However, right now I’m on track to hit $1,869,286 before tax (solo) in two years and $1,215,801 or more AFTER TAX in two years as long as my company stock holds close to its current value (TBD.)

I will do a more formal breakdown at some point but just pausing to smell the fiscal roses and celebrate with my fellow readers who have been following my blog for many years (and new readers as well.) When I was 22 and had less than $10k in my bank I thought $1M was an impossible feat to accumulate let alone $100k. That was a long time ago, but on my worst days when I feel hopeless and like I’m a total failure, I just need to remember where I came from and how I’ve somehow held it together to build some sort of stability in my life, at least to cover a few mental breakdowns. Go me. (Blows party horn again.)

The after-tax breakdown is as follows:

  • Cash – $144k
  • Debt – $3k
  • Investment (Taxable) – $457,951
  • Retirement (Roth) – $69,355
  • Retirement (IRA) – $144,580 (assuming 50% tax rate)
  • College Savings – $32,455
  • FUTURE RSU AFTER TAX Next 2 Yrs – $370,749

Trying to feel accomplished because I feel like a big ‘ol failure these days.

It Might Be Mania As Well

I figured out I’m bipolar. I’m uncertain how to manage it. I’m hypomanic or manic right now, I think. It’s unfortunate I’ve had to come to terms with my delusional thinking. I prefer, after months of deep, self-hating depression, to actually believe I am desirable again. To think that people ARE looking at me and undressing me with their eyes. I don’t know why that makes me feel so good, but it does.

It’s the energy. The heightened sense of everything. The racing thoughts. The super focus paired with the I can’t think about anything else. The being turned on by just about anything. The shaking of the espresso machine. People’s murmured voices. Christmas music. Pans being washed. The rush of water. The edge of a chair cutting into my shoulder. Everything.

My therapist only sees me once a month and has not seen me manic yet. I need more therapy. I signed up for an app that provides $300 a month chat with a therapist. It’s not helping.

I’m on the verge of a thousand mistakes. I’m headed to getting fired as I do during these episodes. I feel beside myself and deep inside myself. Music helps or hurts I’m not sure. I listen to the same 8 seconds of a song on repeat and come close to exploding in my seat at work as I clench my legs at my desk. I’m not supposed to be getting off. I’m supposed to be writing an article. Doing any number of projects I’m behind on. But instead I’m listening to music and holding myself together. Smelling the scent of humans around me, those pheromones. I can’t focus. I can’t do anything to stop my mind from racing racing racing.

I’d pay for some intimacy right now. But that would be a bad idea. I’m completely devastated from proving my thinking is indeed delusional. I’m not off the deep end, but I want to be. I want to be held down and used. Sometimes. Because life is short. Because I’m manic and need something to quiet this energy. Raw, intense, angry, everything—-not this make believe world not this Puritan respectable everything —- I am hungry to taste it all.

I rub my finger over the edge of a lemonade cap, scratching my flesh, and I want to feel more of it.

But I know this all isn’t real. I need to stop all of it. I need serious therapy and should just pay out of pocket for it. Or I should get in a car and drive who knows where and find a body to throw myself against and let myself be used let myself crumble into flesh perhaps—- I can’t and I won’t but i can’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t refuse anything right now. Thank god I’m unattractive.

Why is Couples Therapy So Damn Expensive?

Based on the conversations I’ve had with many 30-something married friends lately, it’s safe to say that most would benefit from couples therapy or sex therapy. From minor communication issues that cause resentment over time to straight up dead bedrooms, most couples can use help, especially at the vulnerable stage of a marriage when kids are introduced.

It’s unfortunate, then, that this type of support is so out of reach for so many couples who need it. My insurance does not cover this kind of therapy, which means if we want help (and we need it) we are looking at $300-$400 PER SESSION for a therapist to tell us how to resolve issues that need solving.

When you husband doesn’t want to touch you, it’s an issue. It impacts your entire life. For someone like me, it becomes a personal mental health issue. It makes it impossible to focus. I take responsibility for some of the problem—-I work a lot. I’m tired a lot. I fail to keep my things organized and be on time to events and airports, which makes my husband sad. I’m trying to fix all those things. But all I want is for him (/anyone at this point/ok not anyone, I’m incredibly picky, but someone) to actually be attracted to me and want me. He says he is, but actions speak louder than words.

And, about words, there are none. He’s not much of a talker to begin with and I get that, but so many of the fights we’ve had over the years have stemmed from me being disappointed that—-even if I’m dressed up and looking my best—-I never get told I’m beautiful or sexy or whatever. It may be I’m asking too much, but I’m insecure to begin with and the I have a husband who would rather watch porn (or other people playing video games) than touch his own wife.

It’s unclear if couples therapy can improve any of these issues, but I’ve realized this is not just a small whatever problem in our relationship, it’s a major, major problem. We are basically roommates and best friends right now, and as wonderful of friends as we are, the intimacy is just not there. After two years of this, I have to cut myself a little slack when I see how I’m reacting and where my mind goes. (I have not cheated. I do not want to cheat. I do but I don’t. I want to fix things. But I’m going crazy and as a woman with a high libido (hate that word btw) it’s severely impacting my life. And, no, I can’t just handle it “myself.” I do that plenty. I crave passion and a warm body and desire and all of it. And instead, I have a cold couch and, if I play my cards just right, maybe I’ll be allowed to go down on my husband.

Well, this is the most TMI post I’ve written on this blog, and I haven’t written in a while—-welcome back readers! It really fits here, though, because getting the help we need will cost a lot. Can we afford it? Sure. We can afford $1200-$1600 a month to learn how to desire each other again, but maybe instead we should put that $ to moving to a 2 bedroom apartment so we have a bit more space. Having our toddler sleep in our bedroom isn’t exactly helping things…

But it’s not just that. It is that I should have probably paid more attention to chemistry and intimacy before committing to marriage. Because I thought, after growing up with parents who HATED each other, the most important thing was to find a partner who was my best friend. And I did that. And we’ve been together 14 years and when we were young and carefree we both would, if I remember correctly, have fairly equal sex drives and our frequency of touching each other was never an issue outside of my always wanting to feel more desired and wanting spontaneity.

When we moved in together, things went downhill. Then we got married, and had a kid. And I got more stressed as the breadwinner and mom —- because no matter if a guy is the SAHD (or part time SAHD) the emotional labor moms do is real (dude, our kid is not ok in size 5 shoes when he is a size 7. This isn’t an aesthetic thing, it can cause him foot issues in the long run.) Our son is living on bananas and bread —-maybe we should get his iron levels checked. Did he get his flu shot this year? If mom doesn’t think about these things, they just don’t happen. Husband is good at completing assigned tasks but project manager of the household he is not. And because I also play the traditional male role—-breadwinner, keeper of the household finances, planner, etc, I’m just so overwhelmed and irritable and THAT doesn’t help our sex life because who would be attracted to a woman who can’t keep up no matter what she does —- who feels like she can’t be a good mother or wife or employee, and isn’t even, well, fuckable.

I never used to understand but it’s pretty damn obvious why people end up having affairs. It’s just hard to lust after someone who is your business partner (because let’s get real, that’s what marriage is), especially when you disagree on how that business is being run. You may still even find the other person physically attractive (for the record I find my husband hot) and the amount of resentment that builds up over time makes it hard to want to be intimate with that other person. It’s easy to long for the simplicity of intimacy without that baggage, even if you realize that if you were with anyone else for 14 years with a young child you’d prob be back in the same exact spot of a similar spot to the left of this one.

So couples therapy supposedly helps with all of this—-getting you to communicate healthfully as married people so you can be intimate again. I think. And sex therapy helps if you have unmatched sex drives or levels of kink or other dynamics at play (in our case I think we are actually too similar as we both lean dominant and that is a challenge—-funny enough I’ll go rather submissive with the right style of intellectual, articulate domme —-but that’s a whole other persona that isn’t in the cards for our relationship.)

This is important stuff that doesn’t get talked about enough because we live in such a puritanical society filled with porn addicts and dead bedrooms and frustrations and the rare married couple that, for both parties, have healthy communication and have pretty good sex multiple nights a week, or more. For the rest of us, we get by. We try to fix things. We give up. We say—-maybe in a few years when the kids are older, it will get better. Sometimes it does. Often, it doesn’t. Often people get divorced and they say they’ve just grown apart. Nah. I don’t believe it. They’ve just stopped trying to be something they aren’t to make a relationship work that in their head made sense at the time when it felt like one ought to settle down and have kids.

I’ve heard so many stories from friends to. Husbands who were abused as children who have extremely high sex drives and some kinks that upset their wives (one found a male coworker who wanted to have a threesome with them and presented this idea complete with a video of the man taking his pants off.) Others are SAHM who are married to brilliant avoidant men (typical on-the-spectrum engineer types) who do little around the house and have wives who do too much and feel under appreciated as stay at home mothers or part time workers as the men think they bring home the bacon and do enough around the house so their wives should be grateful (funny enough my situation is likely closest to this except I’m in the male role!) Or the relationship where the woman married the alpha man because she wanted to be all “red pill” wife but then she realized she too was under appreciated and her husband fails to spend time with the kids as he can’t do emotions and he leaves that stuff to his wife.

ALL relationships take a fuck ton of work and selflessness and you have to be willing to remember why you fell in love in the first place, esp on the nights when your partner is being “unreasonable” and you can’t convince them otherwise. And, for it to work, they have to also give you that. I think. I mean, what do I know? I’m sleeping on a couch talking to strangers on the internet at 3am because I feel lonely when my husband is asleep in the next room. I am the one trying so hard not to fall into complete self destructive mode because I just want to feel alive again.

For $1200-$1600/month (on a talented sex therapist), maybe I can. In the meantime, someone tie me up right and don’t let me do anything I will most certainly regret.

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