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.