For once I don't have much to vent about, so I decided to post a positive update.
A month or so ago, my SO and I were at a point where I was ready to leave for a few days. We were getting into frequent fights (mostly about skids) and it eventually came to a head. Which prompted a big discussion where I made it clear that things NEED to change, or we weren't going to make it. I really wasn't sure which way things were going to go, but I was looking for houses to buy for myself, just in case. Here's the deal- my SO is capable of change, which is probably what has kept me putting up with some of this skid nonsense for the past 3yrs. When issues have come up in the past, we are (eventually) able to work through them, and he has made many changes, especially regarding skids. He's a stubborn ass at first, but he usually comes around.
Anyway, there was a small list of things I felt he/we could work on- like us (him) needing to make time for us to talk when we have skids, since our schedules are so opposite and we have such a small window to interact...It can really feel like we are not connected. I told him the way he talks to me when he is upset sometimes is unacceptable to me. I also said I feel like he is not putting much effort into our relationship. I asked him if he can honestly say he's really trying? Very rarely does he go out of his way with gestures to show he's been thinking of me or cares, and I reiterated that my love language is receiving gifts (and giving gifts), and that I'm constantly doing things or buying things for him and the skids just to show I care. I want us to do nice things for each other and make the effort, because that is one thing that keeps relationships alive and healthy, and that's how I feel loved. When the conversation was over, I felt like we had made good progress and he really listened to me instead of getting defensive.
Since that talk: I honestly can't even get over the change in him. We have disagreed on things, and I have watched him work to remain calm and say "I don't think we should talk about this now because I'm too upset", rather than the "I would think real hard about what you say right now!" statements of the past. He comes into the kitchen to chat with me every night when I get home from work, and has sent SD away when she is sitting there listening to our convo. Several nights, we have been enjoying talking so much that he stays up past the time he usually goes to bed for work just to keep talking to me. The other night he cleaned the kitchen. He spontaneously booked a hotel for us Saturday night (no skids this wknd!), just so we could have a night away. He bought me my favorite candy bars, which are elusive. He ordered me a surprise online, then couldn't wait for me to get it so he ended up showing me what he got me- a t-shirt from the NBA team we follow. He stayed up way past his bedtime to give me a massage because as he was heading to bed I mentioned my shoulder is so sore. He's been very generous with compliments and affection- he can't get enough of me. For the record, he isn't the kind of person who will suck up or love bomb me after a fight. We work through things and make up, yes, but he doesn't go over the top to make up for his behavior, so this isn't a pattern of "Fight/make up". I feel like he took that conversation we had a month ago to heart and has now been implementing the things I said we need to work on.
It makes me excited and hopeful, yet also cautious. These new changes aren't a pattern yet, so it isn't second-nature to him. It requires effort, and we all know that sometimes things that take effort can be left by the wayside and forgotten about. I hope that's not the case, but in the meantime, I'm happy...WE'RE happy, and it's great. To top it off, skids have been really good, and the last time we had them I wasn't counting down the days until they left. Don't get me wrong, I 100% enjoyed not having them this past wknd, and this morning I was happily walking around the house in my bra since they weren't there...but it's nice to not dread their arrival. It's amazing how if I feel loved and not like I am in competition with skids for attention, I don't mind them as much!
Fingers crossed it continues!!