I had a post in draft format prior to my date with Tony on Wednesday. It thanked everyone for their great advice and laid out a plan of what I was going to address (the ED) and how I was thinking about the other discussion I wanted to have.
At one point I said:
And the whole choice verses default thing I’m struggling with so much right now?
I can’t push for an answer. He’s told me what he can. Which is he doesn’t want to date others, he likes what we have going, and he thinks we are doing well. His actions reinforce this. I know he likes me. Do I want to know more? Yes. Will he have an answer different from a few weeks ago? Probably not.
My core dilemma is this:
How do I not let him “set the pace of everything” as one in my sisterhood wrote recently? How do I find the balance between chilling the hell out and being true to my actual needs and wants? When is talking myself out of those needs too much?
How do I make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again?
There is no easy answer. No script. Even if I script my actions and words, I don’t know Tony’s.
Little did I know the conversation that night would go where it did.
Unsurprisingly, there were a host of opinions on what to do with the new information I’ve been given. The general consensus is it’s right to continue to be relaxed and understanding about it, and right to have an internal deadline for a decision. There is clearly a balance between not pushing him, being empathetic to the situation he is in, and taking care of my own needs. I am not going to wait forever like a woman waiting for an affair partner to leave his wife. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.
Some suggested I give him space – as in a break – to sort it out. One suggested I break up with him now because his son’s happiness lies in the balance.
My post yesterday seemed bring up questions like: how do you know if you’ve tried hard enough in a marriage? Is it better to stay under one roof for the sake of the children, even if you are unhappy? How can we deal with the doubts and the guilt after a split, especially as it relates to your children?
It certainly made me think about my core belief that the longer you remain in limbo post-split, the harder it is for your children. I won’t repeat what I wrote in the comments of yesterday’s post, but there are things that Tony and his ex haven’t done which undoubtedly are increasing his child’s anxiety level.
I’m not sure if I ever wrote this, but during the three weeks between telling my son that we were splitting up, and the day I moved out, my son exhibited extreme OCD-like behaviors. Obsessive hand washing, among other things. It was absolutely displaced anxiety and we were prepared that it would manifest itself somehow. When I moved out, we ensured we got his room set up that weekend. We started our routine right away of week-on, week-off. Within a few weeks the OCD stuff ceased.
I also firmly believe it is better for a child to see positive and healthy relationships demonstrated by their parents. Sometimes this is when they are together, and sometimes this is when they are apart. I know some parents think the better choice is for them to stay together “for the children”, but they give little thought to the cold war that actually happens under the roof and the impact it has.
Newsflash: it can really f*ck your kids up. Will’s parents should have divorced decades before they actually did. What they modelled for their children was terrible and it’s taken Will and his sister years to figure out that’s not how healthy relationships work.
Yes, I know this can be a huge debate. It really depends on the marriage. But I have so many friends who in adulthood have said “if only my parents would just have split up, it would have been way better for me growing up”.
But that’s just my opinion. I haven’t shared this with Tony, and won’t unless he brings it up.
So what the hell am I going to do?
Nothing. At least nothing today.
Between now and the party I’m having at the end of the month, I may see him once or twice. Then I’m gone on a sunny vacation with my son, and the day after I return, he leaves until April 20th. We are getting some distance, even if it’s not deliberate.
I presume he’s going on his trip alone, but if he tells me he’s going with his ex and child (it’s to visit a member of his family) then I will tell him we are taking a break and he can check in with me when he’s back. I’m not about to sit and stew at home wondering if he’s making out with his ex-wife. Seriously.
Through all this I have also realized I’m a very good place mentally. As much as I like Tony (and I really do), I know that timing is everything. If he’s not ready, there is nothing I can do about it. If he needs to get back together with his ex, for whatever reason, then that’s what he needs to do. I do not see it as a rejection of me.
Don’t get me wrong. I will be sad if it ends. I will mourn the loss of the man with whom I have amazing physical and mental chemistry. I will miss him.
But I will be fine.