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.