When Don Draper and I share a moment

People tell you who they are but we ignore it. We want them to be who we want them to be. ~ Don Draper, Mad Men

I’m at home, after being away for an overnight trip with my Mom, one of her closest friends, and her daughter. We’ve done the same trip annually for 33 years – always to see a show. It’s a weekend of talking, shopping, theatre (usually a musical), more talking, and overall good times. Tony was a topic of much conversation this weekend.

The show was a Friday matinee; I took the day off work.

I hadn’t heard anything from Tony since Thursday mid-afternoon. 

With the first song of the show, I started crying. If there were 20 songs, I cried during 17. Good music has always affected me strongly, and there are some songs which will always make me cry (especially if I’m singing them), but this was unusual for me.

While I knew I was upset about Tony, I didn’t realize how close to the surface all the emotion was. It wasn’t just about him, it was also about work, and missing my son, and some crap with my ex I had to deal with this past week. It was all a little overwhelming. I felt incredibly sad.

At intermission, I turned on my phone to check my work email. Suddenly Tony’s picture filled my phone; he was calling me. He wanted to know if I was free that night. He was going to have his son from mid-day Saturday until Monday morning, and he thought I said I wasn’t free on Friday but he wanted to check. I explained where I was and that while I would love to see him, I wasn’t going to be home until Saturday.

Of course, it’s probably no surprise that his calling me made me feel better. Instead of just disappearing into nothingness, or reaching out with a BS text message, he actually called.

Again Tony was a topic of conversation after the show, and during dinner – and in a weak moment and with some support from a friend via text, I decided to invite Tony to a concert for which I have tickets next Thursday. I sent a brief text asking if he wanted to go. Three hours later he said “honestly – not sure – have a few projects I need to schedule – I should know Monday”.

Part of me wanted to tell him to forget it, but I didn’t.

The next morning, over breakfast, my Mom’s friend and I were chatting – she has known me since I was six years old. I was blathering on about how one knows when it’s a good compromise versus settling, and she looked at me and said:

“Ann, we have talked on this weekend every year for a long time. For so many years, I heard all the ways you tried to make Will happy…”

She said other wise things after that, but they didn’t stick. I’d already started crying. That’s the crux of it for me – my continual justification of bad behaviour and giving without getting what I need in return.

She gave me a hug, and in that moment, I truly knew I have to end it with Tony. I can’t continue to put myself out there with someone who isn’t doing the same in return. I’m banging my head against a wall. I’m frustrated, and hurt. And my frustration grows with every delayed response to a text, every day that does without a phone call. Every time I go to sleep alone.

If I was a low-maintenance plant, I’d still be dying. That’s no way to be.

Now, of course, it’s hard to break up with someone when they don’t call you.

0 thoughts on “When Don Draper and I share a moment

  1. There’s another great quote along the same lines….“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”– Maya Angelou

    I’m a firm believer everyone comes into our lives for a reason. Perhaps knowing Tony is to show you what you really need (and want) in a partner. Sending you a great big virtual hug. Be strong, you will get through this.

    • Yes, I know that quote as well!!

      I have definitely learned some things this time around, that really go back to my marriage and what happened in its early days. My tendency to justify behavior to the extreme, and ultimately, to my detriment. It’s made me think a lot about that, compromise, and my own needs / love languages.

      I’m also in a better place when it comes to thinking about needing to have someone in my life. These are all good things, coming out of this.

      And we did have some fun together 🙂

      • Yeah I bet! They say whatever habits/issues etc you had in previous relationships, you bring into the next. So if agree with that line of thinking, then it would make sense that there are parallels. I always say life is like a roller coaster. When you’re at the top, take a moment and look around to enjoy it. When you are at the bottom, just hold on tight because you will be back on top in no time.

        It always helps to keep a positive attitude and perspective in these situations. And you seem to have both of those 🙂

  2. Ann, I am glad that you are really learning what your needs are. I am sad that you are seeing the definition coming to you through these means. Tony is a good man, but clearly, he doesn’t meet your needs.

    My heart aches for you.

    • Thank you, Will. My heart has been aching a lot this past 24 hours. More than it has in a long time. I know it’s partly about everything else going on…there are lots of changes in my life and although I’m facing them with relative optimism, it’s still a lot for me to be going through all at the same time.

      For example, in this moment, I miss my son terribly. And I went to bed and woke up alone and I miss Tony’s chest and snuggling in that great spot under his shoulder. And I’m worried about work.

      Oh, and my body is continuing to hold on to my food like a starving person. I keep trying to tell it I’m not at risk of starving, but it’s not listening. It’s hoarding.

      • I am not sure that trying to lose wait while undergoing that much stress is the best thing to do. It’ll just add to your stress and make your body retain more food. I think your body is like mine, hoarding food when stressed. I have a friend who is the other way round. She lost 12 pounds since last summer. I sometimes catch myself envying her. Not that I know how much I gain or lose, since I gave up weighing myself…
        What I’m trying to say is: you have so many worries already, you shouldn’t worry about your weight at the moment. Unless of course it would make you feel good to see that you still have some influence on at least one area of your life…
        Hugs XO

        • I totally understand it’s not the best thing to do, but I find the notion of not fitting into my clothes and not feeling sexy stressful as well. Doesn’t help that I was pre-menstrual last week 🙂

          • Ah, yes, it’s that time of the month…
            I know it well too. I totally understand the not feeling sexy being stressful. I experience it all the time still. We’ll get there. We will!
            And I realize what a bad place I was in when I typed this, I just read the worst typo ever. Wait instead of weight? Really? Sigh!

      • Ann, my dear…I understand completely. The stress you are experiencing is brutal on your body.

        That you have optimism during all of the changes (each significant alone) is very telling of your individual strength and resolve. You need to find ways to relive stress (exertion works amazingly for me) while giving your mind and heart time to let go of the pressure.

        You need not worry about work. That company clearly desires to keep you in the fold which tells me that you have the upper hand. Worry about what you can control. Let everything else be taken care of individually. You’re going to be alright.

  3. I am like you. Willing to make excuses for othe people’s behavior and so on even when my heart knows that I shouldn’t.
    I agree with you and Will: Tony is a good man, but he can’t meet your needs.
    I am sorry.

  4. I’m the same too about making excuse after excuse for people, when we want something to work we live in hope of it changing, plus we don’t want to think badly of people. That text he sent in reply to you asking him to the concert made me feel really hurt and disappointed for you. Good luck with going through with your decision, it’l obviously be hard for a while but you’ll come out of it happier in the end.

    • Thank you Vanessa-Jane.

      I know, his response sucked, right?? Even worse because we had a running joke that the symphony was the kind of thing that Batman would attend… so my actual text was “I have tickets on Thursday to the Symphony…would you like to be my Batman?” – which I thought was playful and flirty and I got none of that in return.

      • Well, I am going to take Tony’s side here. Let’s forget about the fact that he’s not making you a priority, and that is not something that you want or need in your life right now. It sucks, I agree, you agree, we all agree.
        But I am wondering: if he genuinely is overworked, wouldn’t it have been worse to have been told that he’s coming only to have him cancel at the last minute? I think that would have hurt me even more.

        • Would have been totally worse. He’s admitted that he overpromises quite often – it’s happened with us more than once… so yeah, it’s better to be honest about the possibility. But it would have been nice for him to be a bit flirty.

          • Yes, it would have been nice. So many things would/could have been nice! Sigh! I seem to sigh a lot tonight. Time for that drink!

      • That definitely makes it worse yes, you were being really sweet in the text and he totally knocked you back – although sometimes that kind of thoughtlessness is a bit of guy thing that we read more into…hang on, I’m starting to make excuses for him too!

  5. For what it’s worth, I think it’s the right decision: it feels like you’ve been working to twist this into something that fits for too long. That doesn’t make it an easy thing though :(.



    • Thanks Ferns. I’m finally done that twisting…I just can’t do it anymore. Each time I try to make it better the effort just hurts more and more. Every time there’s a text message ignored for hours it just makes it worse.

      So, I’m done. Although he doesn’t know it yet, because he’s not actually communicating. Which does kind of make me giggle, when I’m not feeling sorry for myself.

  6. You have to make decisions that are best for you.

    Recognizing what that decision should be, sometimes can be the hardest part. Or is it following through and actually doing it? I think you are going to find out first hand.

    No matter what, be proud that you are aware of your needs and will be all the happier for doing what it takes to fulfill those needs.

    • Thank you Vic. This experience has helped me get to know my needs even better. Which isn’t a bad thing. I know where my limits are and I suppose where I’m willing to compromise and where I’m not.

      Once I’ve made a decision like this, I generally feel better after it’s been executed. I think about my breakups with Ariel and the Giant and it was much better after the conversation had occurred.

      I know I’m going to miss Tony, and many things about him, and for that reason, I am sad.

  7. We cannot not choose your path or how to walk it. Learning about yourself is harder than we like to admit but a necessity in life if we like to keep moving forward.

    Smile at the knowledge you’ve gained and take it with you. A truth often hurts. Big hugs Ann.

    • Thanks hon. I need those hugs right now. It is hard to figure this stuff out, but I know I have to because I want to ultimately find a great partner for me…and not be in a relationship like my marriage that was so fundamentally stressful and difficult.

      I have a hard time believing I will find someone, but I’m working on it. And also in parallel working on the knowledge that I will be fine even if I never find that person. The latter is a bit harder.

  8. I think you’re making the right choice. Sometimes it just takes a while before you get that aha moment and realize you’ve reached your limit. Big hugs.

    • Thanks for the hugs, Hollie… and even though I’ve known for a little while that this is what had to happen, now the pain far outweighs any benefit. I can’t continue this way.

      • It sucks, for sure. I’ve been there. It will get better. And a breakup because this isn’t what you need doesn’t have to close the door on Tony forever…if he deals with his stuff and finds himself in a position to meet your needs in the future, he could always attempt to woo again.

        • There’s a part of me that of course hopes when he starts dating and realizes how shallow the dating pool is, and that the combination of things we have in common is pretty damn rare (intelligence, curiosity, passion, sex preferences, etc), he will come back.

          I know, however, this isn’t really how it’s going to work.

          • I think he will regret not having met your (low) expectations, especially after being given so many opportunities to rise to the occasion. Whether he will take the steps to change his circumstances in the future remains to be seen, but you’ll be better off not always waiting on a man, and being disappointed when he won’t communicate.

  9. I feel for you so strongly because I am the same way. I feel like we live during a time where men see us as disposeable. It hurts like hell, but I still think it’s better to be alone than with a man who doesn’t value me. It’s been a hard and painful lesson.

    • Caroline – your last sentence really resonated. I know many people who would rather get something from the wrong person rather than being alone. I just can’t do that anymore and am forcing myself to act instead of just mosey along with something I know isn’t right.

      I’ve broken up with several guys since becoming single and in a few cases, would definitely have continued if it was 20 years ago. So I see this as a positive thing when we can act on it.

      I’m not sure I’ve experienced the “disposable” thing however…sure, with casual sex perhaps. But not in any relationships. I suspect however it applies to both sexes – I think the methods we can meet people today can limit our connection to the other person. Easy to find, easy to discard. So I can see how that can be someones experience and I’m sorry it’s happened to you.

      • You already know I’m in of those people who keeps sticking with someone for no good reason – someone who doesn’t give in return. I think you have chosen the right path for yourself. You have given it your all but keep coming back to the same place. I’m right here with you….time to move forward with those that can “add value” in the ways we need to our lives.
        I’m just so sorry it hurts. Hugs, kisses and prosecco from me xxxx

    • I am like you and Ann, always trying to find excuses for the other person. And it sucks. But, like Ann, I don’t think I’ve ever been considered as disposable. Not in a relationship. Not that I’ve been in many. But in most cases, it’s been my decision to break up, to stand for what I felt I needed and deserved. Sooo… there may be a few men out there who think women are shallow and see men as disposable… I don’t know. :-/

  10. I’m sorry he has turned out this way. Had he been in the right frame of mind to be in a real relationship, it could have been great for you both. He needs to get his shit in order before he should do anything more than casually date. He doesn’t have the time to give to a woman right now.

What do you think?