Breaking a lifelong habit

There is something to be said for recognizing one’s patterns. With the reactions I’ve had to Tony and all of his unknowns, I find myself thinking back to one of the true loves in my life.

One of the men on my list, we first dated for six months when we were just 12. Yes, you read that right – six months. We remained close friends and got back together when we were 16. But it was never meant to be. We still keep in touch and he gave me great advice when I became single again – having been the first of my friends to get divorced.

One thing he used to tell me when we dated all those years ago is that I pushed too much – for knowledge, certainty, more time, more dedication. It drove him crazy and although he loved me, my pushing had the opposite effect. He pulled back. For those of you who are curious about such things, I am a Virgo and he is a Capricorn.

It occurs to me he was right when we were 16 and some things haven’t changed. I am comfortable that Tony likes me. I don’t think I am being played and other than a nagging need to ensure our next date has activities other than eating, talking, and sex, I trust that when he says he isn’t engaging others, he means it (and for the record I didn’t ask for exclusivity – but given how often I’ve seen him lately, I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not also worried he’s engaging others at my expense).

But when I think about him, I find myself wanting to know about what he wants, what he’s ready for, whether he will need to explore others before being in a relationship, whether I’m the first woman he’s slept with since his split, even what kind of sexual experiences he’s had since he met his ex-wife in their early 20s, and whether I can ask him if he wants to go out with me and a girlfriend visiting from out of town in two weeks – and if he would bring a friend.

I also know that the answers to those questions (except the last one) don’t matter. He may not even know the answers. Hell, I don’t even know what I want from him in the mid or long term.

And I think this is how I get into trouble with relationships. I push before I know what I want. Then if someone gives me what I ask for, how can I turn around and say I don’t want it anymore?

This is a revelation for me.

Many have asked why I stayed with my ex. It’s been hard to answer. I think at least at the beginning, this tendency certainly contributed. Once I started to see some of the emotional and behavioral issues that were a problem, I was already down a commitment path with him.

So why on earth would I push before I know if someone is right for me? I absolutely know that you don’t really get to know someone until you’ve spent some time with them. I like to say you understand what someone is like when you see them under stress or angry. That is the real measure. Not when we are being all happy and saccharine.

All this knowledge is useless if I don’t do anything with it. So what am I going to?

Nothing.

I had a date with Tony last Saturday night that lasted until Sunday afternoon (yes, a part two post is coming). It’s a few days later and I haven’t seen him nor talked to him on the phone. We’ve had a few brief text message conversations since then. We have no concrete plans for a next date.

This Friday I have my son since my Mom left the city for a funeral. Tony told me he’s starting sports lessons with his child early Saturday morning for 10 weeks. So although he has said Friday night will be mine, he also said it could be a problem since he has to be up super early the next day. Oh, and his ex will be there as well.

The weekend after, I have a college roommate coming to stay with me. Perhaps on the Saturday night we can go out and he can join us with a friend. I’m not sure if I should ask or if he’d be weird about it. But that’s the only way I will see him that weekend.

The weekend after that I’m away…as poor me has to be in a sunny locale for a week on an annual awards trip for my division of the company I work for. So I’m not back until that Saturday.

Which means it’s not until the last weekend in January before I will be free and alone on a Friday night.

So if he wants to see me before then, it will have to be an after my son goes to sleep drink and snog at my place. Or come out with me and my girlfriend.

I’m worried he will think I am generally unavailable and he could move on. But there is a whole lot of nothing I can do about it.

I have enjoyed my four nights post-date of getting to bed a little earlier than I got used to over the holidays. I’ve put down my phone and focused on my son in the evenings. I’ve managed to get home a little earlier from work. The men in my phone have been very silent – and I’m actually okay with that for the moment.

I’m still quite likely to freak out at times about the whole thing…but right now, I am feeling resoundingly….alright.

0 thoughts on “Breaking a lifelong habit

  1. Hey, seems like we had similar weekends then!
    And a similar follow up. Except I don’t have the reassurance you do that he’s really into me, except the words he used in his texts. Which are far from nothing, but… it’s little to go on by for someone who likes daily interaction 🙂
    I don’t want to push either. Because, I think I had the same feelings as you when I got married. A whole lot of ambivalence, but hope it would get better (silly me, I was young and dumb!). And thinking I’ve invested too much in this already, I can’t turn my back on it, on him, now. Not to mention the fact that I subcounsciously thought I needed someone in my life, and since I had so little self-worth, I thought I should go with someone who could put up with me.
    That’s the only difference now. I have much more self respect and self-worth. And I know that it’s Ok to pull out of a relationship if I don’t like what I have, what I feel. If it’s not what I need. Now, well, I don’t know how I will handle the whole thing. Time will tell 🙂

    • I am choosing to believe he is into me. Many of you told me so based on what I have described. How into me? Who knows 🙂

      I know it can be different. I have to believe I can break old patterns… And I know you can too!

      • I am making the same choice. Or at least that he was into me based on what he knew. Whether that has now changed or not… time will tell. I don’t believe it has, based on what he told/wrote to me, but I may be blind 🙂
        And whether I am into him is also still a matter for debate! I mean, right now, yes. But in a year’s time? I don’t know yet, so why worry about it too much now 🙂
        And yes, we can break old patterns. We have already by standing up and going out there. At least I have 🙂

          • Yes, I am with you on that.
            Though I don’t know what would make me like him less faster: hearing from him or not hearing from him 😉
            Ah, patience. So hard 🙂

          • The way I think about it – There is an initial “like or don’t like” for me. So Tony has passed that initial hurdle – on the surface, he meets some of my basic criteria. He’s smart, fun, I’m attracted to him, etcetera.

            But there is another layer that takes longer to understand about someone… what are they like when they are stressed or angry? Are they “emotionally available”? Etc. There is no way to know that up front, and it’s dangerous for us to move too far down a path before those things get figured out.

          • I agree about the initial phase. And about the fact that there is a second layer. But below that second layer are probably a third, fourht and even more 🙂
            We will never know them all unless we go down that path. Where I learnt something from the way I used to think is that I now know that at every layer, either person can pull out. And there needs be no pain about it. And there is also no way to know all about all those layers right away since we/they are probably not even aware of what is buried so deeply 🙂
            So aside from going down the path with an open mind and heart, there is not much more we can do 🙂

  2. It sounds like you got this right now Ann, and it sounds like you are correct in your thinking and actions. (right now as in time, not correct) Keep in mind your son is growing every day and it really will seem like a blink of an eye and he will be a man. Trust me here, I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that my babies are almost 24 and 22! I shake my head and wonder how that happened. I think you should trust your self. It sounds like he is quite interested in you. I don’t know but it doesn’t seem like there are other women that he is interested in. Spending time with his ex could be stressful for you, but keep in mind she is exactly that. His ex. Hang tough sister!

    • Thank you Julie! I am unconcerned about his ex other than it demonstrates for me (as do some other things) that he hasn’t fully extracted himself from that relationship. They still share a car and they haven’t finalized their financial arrangement.

      But you are so right about the children thing. I have to reframe my “single parent” situation and resentment of my ex for moving away. I need to see it as a gift of time with my son – and therefore, to spend that time chasing a bunch of guys seems highly short sighted. I should probably write a post about that!

  3. I completely understand you because I probably am the same. But I need to know at which stage a man he is (aka not being emotionally unavailable) in order to know myself how much I’d be investing on him. It is very difficult to know for sure if someone is right for us or not , even years later. so my advice would be to take it slow and see where it goes without thinking too much (for now). His reactions will start giving you some clues.

    • Yessica – yes, I agree… I think my concerns are less about whether he likes me, because sure, I know he does. What I’m unsure of is that emotional availability you mention. And there’s really nothing at all I can do about it. But IF he ends up being someone who could be my boyfriend, then the best thing is me taking my time with him.

  4. Virgo, virgo, virgo combined with super type A personality doesnt do us any favors. But, recognizing, talking about it (which is why I love the blog and everyones opinions) helps sometimes to form your own thoughts. I am exactly the same way and it rarely, if ever, has worked in my favour. I dont know how to control all those thoughts either but certainly having someone to trust actually helps you to recognize that you can slow it down a little.

    But I am here with you. Its a driving desire to know.

    • I don’t think I can control the thoughts – because I do wonder things and trying to stop that part is probably futile.

      However, what can change is the amount of time I spend worrying about those things. And also, not acting on the worries. That’s the big difference – I would normally act on them…ask questions… etc, and that’s the part that I am changing.

  5. I think revelations like that are helpful in that you see the pattern. You may not be doing anything about it right now, but you can carry that knowledge forward, and it just might help you as you wrap your brain around relationships.

    • My comment that I was doing “nothing” was a bit tongue-in-cheek… I am already putting that realization into action. Namely, by not pushing for more information or clarity from Tony, or trying to see him more often.

      It’s really not what I’ve ever done – ever – so it’s new and so far, I’m enjoying the ability to focus on other things.

      • Refocusing your attention to other things is beyond healthy, Ann. This is a great step for you and I am hopeful will be so for Ann and Tony!

        • Thank you. Refocusing is a good word for it. It’s quite true. And just finding space in my head… the last few nights I’ve been home with my son, not checking my phone or worrying about who is or isn’t emailing or texting me. I don’t have dating sites to check. When I put him to bed I crawl into my own, write a post, and sleep. I suspect tonight I’m going to sleep even earlier.

          • You are most welcome!

            I need to find space in my head (it is quite overcrowded right now) and learn about this “going to sleep even earlier” activity to which you refer.

    • Because I have learned that with some men, they never want to actually go out and do fun stuff – outside the bedroom. So for me, I want to DATE. Meaning, dinners, concerts, skating, activities, etc.

      I just want a balance.

      • I understand that so well Ann. I mean, talking and sex is great, but in the long term, I want to be able to share other things with my companion. Share what I like, what I experience. Makes for a more interesting day to day life. I have done the boring life already. I want more now.
        So, Unfortunate, if you REALLY want a relationship… my advice would be make her feel special, make her feel like you want more… because once that first phase of gooey passion is gone, you want to be able to handle the day to day life. And not let it get boring. 🙂

      • This is all something that comes naturally to us. Will and I do a lot together as a couple and as a family. We wouldn’t have much of a marriage if all we did was to talk, eat and have sex. Why would someone accept this when dating or after the wedding?

        What is also healthy for out relationship is that we encourage each other to go out with friends. We both recognize the need for other adult conversation and shared interests and how it keeps us mentally fresh.

        I don’t think that we are boring in the slightest. We love to have fun!

          • There are lots of reasons our marriage is strong, Dawn! Communication being one of the biggest.

        • I would agree the encouragement to have some part of your life that isn’t shared is very important. So many people don’t do that and it can become isolating in your own marriage!!

          What surprises me Savannah is that there are a lot of people out there who don’t have diverse interests. There are sometimes good reasons – time, money, etc – but I’m still seeking that great partner who is as curious about the world as I am.

          • Maybe you have found that person. One thing that I am learning is that Will has much more broad interests than he had when we met. I know that I am changing and opening up, too. What we need to find is not necessarily the person who is exactly where we are but that someone who is ready and open to becoming the person(s) we both need to be.

          • Thanks Savannah. I’m glad you have found that person in Will.

            But it’s way too soon for me to draw any conclusions about Tony. Just that on the surface, there seem to be some compatabilies.

          • It is too early to make such a determination but from what you are posting and what my source tells me, Tony is definitely feeling much to be more compatible and someone worth giving the time to answer such questions.

        • You mean you are product of your parents ET&S? Or that’s what you got yourself into and therefore it’s the situation you are in?

          I think some people are quite content to not do a whole lot in their life. I’m not one of them, and I ended up in that scenario for 15 years. I am not going to repeat those mistakes.

  6. Pingback: Patterns | Domme Chronicles

  7. Just tell him that you really do want to keep seeing him, but it seems like you wont’ have much time. Men like women with busy schedules and don’t like when they rely on them all the time. It’s good that your’e busy. You need to have your own life!

What do you think?