I've made a decision: I'm letting go.

I’m sitting in my living room, which I slightly restructured yesterday morning. Listening to 60s music on vinyl. Drinking a coffee.

I’m alone on Mother’s Day morning. My bed was empty except for me. Liam is having brunch with his Dad and Colleen this morning. I’m not seeing him until later today. And today would have been my 12th wedding anniversary.

Seeing the positives is a wee challenge in this particular moment. But I have a latte, good music, a carpet now free of the red-wine stains from a party weeks ago, my french doors are open, and the birds are singing.

It’s perhaps been a month of waffling about what to do about Tony. I’m done waffling.

The bottom line is, I want him in my life. I’ve gone through all the different options in my wee analytical brain. No contact for a period of time, ceasing to be exclusive, or a full breakup. There are pros and cons to all of those. But at the end of all the analysis, I keep coming back to these truths:

I like him. A lot. We share intellectual and physical chemistry. We have the same philosophy on how to experience life. He’s willing to help me continue my sexual exploration. He makes me laugh. Extended dates are comfortable and easy.

He makes an effort to see me, even when it’s inconvenient.

Yesterday I thought I had gotten to a place where I was ready to step away from him. To tell him I care about him deeply but can’t continue this way, and I hope that if / when he sorts out his shit, I hope he gets back in touch with me.

But then, he showed up, in a horrible mood. At first, I thought kicking him when he’s down wouldn’t be nice. Then I realized, as he told me what was going on (he’s shooting Mon and Tues this week) that he was coming to see me because he was making me a priority. He even said it – “I knew I had to come see you. I had to water my cactus, and if I didn’t, I’d get a talking to”. The latter was in jest, but he was right.

We ran a couple of errands to knock some things off his list. We had lunch at a local pub. Then we hurried back to my place to give him some endorphins to help with the stress. It was f*cking hot. He’s trying some new things each time, which is good. Afterwards we took a quick shower together and I sent him back out into the world.

And later, as I helped my friend Katharine shop for materials for a renovation and we sorted through my various options and my state of mind, I realized I’d made my decision.

I am not going to break up with him. 

I am going to let go. 

You see, earlier this week I went back onto Tinder, opened up my OK Cupid profile, and spent some brief quality time with Jason. The reason I did this was two-fold – the first was to see how I felt about the possibility of other men. The answer? Blah. Sure, there are a handful who look and sound appealing, but I don’t have the inclination to pursue them. I also frankly don’t want to wade back into the sea of highs and lows, excitement and rejection.

The second reason – and far more important – was that I need to feel wanted. The cycle of being rejected (in various forms) then going back online to feel better, has got to stop. It’s a drug. And while I haven’t been online for months, I recognize the pattern and it needs to be broken.

Bottom line is I have a lot of shit to deal with right now. Change in routine with Liam, getting used to Will being back in town, finding a job, worrying about my Mother’s financial situation, trying to fit back into that damn purple suit. It’s no wonder I don’t want to add boyfriend instability to the mix.

I need some stability, but more importatly, I need to deal with the root cause of my frustration with Tony’s inability to be completely emotionally available to me right now. The solution isn’t get rid of Tony and replace him with someone else. The solution is to free myself from the desire to have my needs filled by a man.

Yes, if this sounds like philosophy, it is. Socrates said “from the deepest desires come the deepest hate”. And Buddha taught that the root of all suffering is desire – specifically cravings / misplaced desires.

To be clear, I am not going to remain with Tony if he doesn’t continue to make an effort. And I will, at some point soon, tell him at a minimum I need to know he’s done with his ex. I completely recognize he may never be the partner I need. He make take too damn long to sort out his shit. I know all these things. I am not putting my head in the sand.

But I can’t be oscillating every day about what to do. And, it’s not the thing I need to focus on right now. I need to focus on me. Not whether he’s texted me in the morning. I can’t control him, put him on a performance improvement plan, or expect him to change.

What I can do is let go – not because I don’t care, but because my time is better spent figuring out what the unhealthy patterns are in my key relationships. Creating the life I want to lead, man or no man. Learning to salsa. Remembering how to use the leg press. Working in my new baseball glove. Finding a job.

I am not going to pressure Tony. I will remain a stable presence and will continue to nurture this relationship. But I will work on letting him give me what he can, in his own way, and let go of the non-stop desire for more. To let go of the deep-seated belief and desire that he should be my main source of comfort. 

I know this will not be easy. I’m wired to fix things I think are broken. I’m wired to crave the attention and affection of emotionally unavailable men. I would still like to have sex every day, more than once.

When I read what I’ve written, I know it all sounds lovely but putting it into practice will be torturous.

And that’s exactly why I know I need to try.

0 thoughts on “I've made a decision: I'm letting go.

  1. Wow! This is hitting so close to home. I just may have to write my own post!
    I’m glad you decided to shift your focus. I guess that therapy session did help after all 😉
    Good luck with implementing these beautiful thoughts. I can tell you it’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth trying 🙂

    • My dear – what is it about this that resonates with you? I can’t read to read your post 🙂

      And yes, the therapy session was good. She didn’t share anything that was a surprise, but she validated some of the things I was wondering (my ex could be a narcissist, yes my emotionally unavailable father would impact my relationship choices, etc). And certain the latter got me thinking about my deep seated needs when it comes to men.

      Ultimately though, I just know I need to get to an even better mental place right now. And choosing to walk away from Tony and just replace him by someone else seems rather pointless.

      • The need to not count on a man to take care of our needs…
        It may be a while still before I publish that post. I have been working on two different ones these past few days, and have just made it home from my trip.
        I agree that walking away from Tony if it’s to replace him with someone else is probably not the best move right now 🙂

        • Yes – that final thing was really the kicker. Letting him go and jumping right in to finding another didn’t feel right to me. Either of those things… so we shall see. Practicing letting go is interesting, and a challenge. So it’s probably good for me 🙂

  2. On a different note: I feared I would spend Mother’s day alone last year too.
    Now, the divorce agreement, which is in place even though the divorce isn’t final, states that children will be with their Mother on Mother’s day and their father on Father’s day.
    Which sounds fair too me.
    I am sorry that you had to wake up without the love of your son there to sustain you on this special day!

    • It’s a good arrangement to have. Will did text me after I put up this post to ask when I wanted to get Liam… turns out his brunch was earlier than planned so I ended up getting Liam for lunch. We went out to eat and spent the afternoon together, then went to my Mom’s.

      I would have been happier waking up with Liam or Tony. Having neither was a bummer.

  3. Letting go is so so so hard to do. I think you’re making the right choice here. Sounds very heathy and centered on what matters most here: you.
    I had to make the same decision of letting go a month ago, which led to me walking away a week ago. Fucking hard decision when you know all that the man has to offer you. But what he can’t: his whole heart, is kind of a deal breaker. Brian couldn’t let go of his ex either, so I had to let go of him. I was fine with him grieving and being sad, but not fine with his indecision of should he fix their marriage or not still.
    I refuse to hold his hand through that roller coaster decisions making. It wasn’t fair to anyone. Especially me. Just the same as this isn’t fair to you either.
    Here to help you stick to your decision.
    Happy Mother’s Day!!

    • Thank you Lily!! I’m sorry to hear of the walking away part, but you are so right that being in that roller coaster isn’t good for you at all. It’s why I know that if Tony can’t make that decision, I will need to do the same. The rest, I think I can work through and be patient.

      I know it’s possible he just won’t ever be emotionally where I need him to be. But I have to give it a chance, while I work on dealing with my own crap.

  4. Wise choice. I admire your strength Ann. I know this was a hard decision. I think all women have to learn not to let men be their main (or only) source for happiness. I had Two great loves in my life, and I think this was my downfall in both relationships. I love too much and too deeply. I want a lot in return too, but this always backfires and makes me come off as clingy and needy. I need to learn to keep some of that love for myself, learn to be my own best friend.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you 💋

    • Thank you Caroline! I’m not sure what the right balance is between having / needing someone to make you happy, and getting it yourself. I’m definitely independent, and don’t want someone around all the time, and don’t want to just be “taken care of”. But there are times when I need someone to be here emotionally for me.

      I think it comes down to whether you are engaging in behaviours / relationships that do you more harm than good. What I believe I can do with Tony is reduce the harm – not by allowing him to not give me the basics of what I need, but instead by relaxing into what he can provide and finding some of the emotional support elsewhere. Ultimately, I want emotional support from a boyfriend as well, but I’m hoping this gives us some time.

      Maybe 🙂

      Happy mothers day to you as well!

  5. First, Happy Mother’s Day to you! Next, sometimes, a relationship is about working with what you have at hand and then, if possible, improving upon it more than having an expectation that your intelligence tells you ain’t gonna be immediately taken care of without some work. Then it’s all about deciding whether or not you wanna do the work.

    It’s not about settling for less than what you want; it’s about not getting caught up in the instant gratification thing a lot of us get hung up about – “I want what I want and the way I want it and I want it NOW!” Such things take time and work – relationships don’t develop all by themselves and you don’t always get what you want when you want it. So idealism takes a bit of a back seat to reality – Tony has promise and potential so it’s easier on your mind (and with all the other shit you’ve got going on) to be able to accept what he can do instead of expecting him to immediately deliver everything you want in this when you know he’s not able to at the moment.

    The thing that has always “bugged” me about women – and I mean no offense to you or any woman reading this – is that y’all expect us to always be emotionally available to you when you should know that men, well, we don’t do emotionally available all that well. We know that y’all need it and some of us do manage to get it right… but a lot of us don’t and especially if we have some shit fucking with us. I can do emotionally available… and even I get unavailable at times – just the way life goes.

    I applaud you for hanging in there with him and for wanting to do the work! You obviously think he’s worth the effort; otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this conversation ’cause you’d be long gone from him already.

    • Not surprisingly, you have hit the nail on the head. You said it better than I could. And yes, I don’t care to be the kind of woman who is just blindly demanding. High standards are one thing… but I also need to try to respect his pace and his progress. At least for a little bit longer 🙂

      Thank you!

  6. I am right here with you every step of the way in any form you need. I know you can do this.

  7. “The solution is to free myself from the desire to have my needs filled by a man. ” YES!!!! I’ve been waiting to hear you say this the last few months…It will be tough, but you seem to be a smart woman and I have faith that you can accomplish this. =)
    p.s. I hope the choice to be alone this morning on Mother’s Day was your choice…cause man, it’s the one day it’s suppose to be all about you as a Mom!

    • Thank you Lisa!! I’ve known for a while that this was part of my journey, but I reached the point where I’m ready to work on the next stage.

      And no, it wasn’t my choice to be alone this morning. I would have liked Liam or Tony to be there with me. But I did end up getting Liam earlier than expected, as Will’s brunch turned into breakfast. But on the positive side, it gave me time to write!

      • Well shoot, that’s totally not cool you didn’t get to spend the entire day with Liam if that’s what you wanted…I am glad you got him earlier than expected though!

  8. I’m so glad you made a decision honey.

    Sometimes the indecision is the hardest bit. It’s like a weight lifts off once you figure out what you are doing.

    And either way, I think and hope that you’ve come to some kind of balance with him and how he fits in your life and hopefully you can hold it out.

    • Thank you, Sharn. I’m not sure what will happen, obviously, but you are so right that just making a decision is helpful.

      I’ve put a giant post-it note on my medicine cabinet which says “LET GO” in big red letters. Might have to put them in a bunch of places. Background on my phone as well, probably. My nightstand. Places where I’m vulnerable to that pulling, relentless desire to get something emotional from a man. It’s not that I never want it again, I just want to be free of it driving me to make a decision that could potentially be to my detriment.

  9. just a thought , why dont you join some recreational classes ! and I am Glad you made a decision , you know what making decisions is easy and respecting them for life is difficult !

  10. I like where your head is right now. You are taking some time to think things through and you are recognizing that relationships are messy and require a lot of work. You have so many stresses on your life, that letting go is the best thing for you in many ways. Kudos and Happy Belated Mothers Day!

    • Thank you, Maggie. I don’t think it should be tons of work at this point, but if I didn’t see such potential, even with my eyes wide open, I wouldn’t be giving it a chance.

    • Thanks. I need it… I’m approaching this like the meditation my yoga instructor taught me. When you are trying to clear your mind, if you start to think about something other than your breath, you just recognize that you are doing it, and clear it from your mind. It’s kind of the same thing…when I feel that pull of needing something, desiring something from him, I’m doing the same thing. Only 24 hours but so far it’s been working!

  11. Liam should have been with you on Mothers Day Ann. Period. It sounds like you are dealing well, and your ideas are just what you need to do, I don’t know why I couldn’t find the words, but you did! I found myself nodding along while I read, and thinking “yes, isn’t that what I told you?” but I think that is what I felt, and never quite got it into the right words. Maybe if we were sitting and talking I could have gotten there, but with just my words I didn’t quite make it. I want to hug you, I am happy with your conclusion, (obviously I think you’re right)

What do you think?