If the answer was “yes, I’m done”…then okay, I can perhaps give him the time he needs to work through his stuff, and be patient with his crap communication skills. But if the answer is “I don’t know”… then how could I continue?
I’d been trying to have a conversation with him since Saturday afternoon. Finally, Monday night, the time came. On the phone, we caught up on each others weekends. Turns out his ex’s grandmother is very sick and will die any day. So instead of Saturday being spent hammering out their parenting schedules, he drove her and their son up to see her grandmother. Same thing on Sunday.
I almost couldn’t do it, but in a pause in the conversation (we can talk for hours) I took a deep breath and said (something like):
I need to ask you something. Are you done with your marriage?
Of course, he said he didn’t know. So I explained while I could put up with his slooooooow progress with getting his life back in order, and even his lack of communication, I couldn’t keep going forward if he hadn’t even made that one, critical decision.
I told him it was impacting his ability to move his life forward, to be in a relationship, and it made him unable to give anything emotionally. I wasn’t sure how he thought he was ready for a relationship, but he wasn’t.
He said I was absolutely right.
I wish I could write dialogue like David Mamet… the only person I’ve come across that accurately represents how we talk to one another. Our thirty minute conversation had long pauses, stops and starts, and there’s no way I can put it all together the right way.
However, here are some highlights.
- I told him I would do anything for him, and I can’t have our relationship continue to be largely one-sided. He said he knew what I was willing to give / do.
- He agreed his communication skills were never his strong suit.
- He didn’t realize we’d been dating for five months – and I reminded him only in the context that it seemed a reasonable timeline to get a few things sorted in his head.
- He again said he didn’t want to hold me back – and I quite firmly said the only thing he was holding me back from was really allowing myself to feel what I felt about him. That I had dated enough to know what I wanted. And that every day (quite literally!) I was making a choice to be with him. And I needed to feel the same from him.
I asked him what he wanted. He said he didn’t know. So I told him what I wanted to do: give him some time and space. His first response was “that’s probably a good idea because I will need to spend more time with [his ex] given her Grandmother’s situation”.
I asked why that had any bearing on my giving him space. He explained he would be spending more time with her. I repeated my question. He said “well, it’s not like she and I spend time together the way you and I do”. I thought – sure as hell better not! And because I’m not sure I’ve said this recently: Tony has never expressed a desire for his ex-wife – everything has always been in the context of his son, and the family unit. He was consistent again in this conversation.
He said it’s hard because he wants to see his son more often. Which of course I understand.
When he said “well, it doesn’t mean we can’t hang out” or something to that effect, I said, “no, actually we can’t do that. I love the time I spend with you and always have. I do not want to misinterpret spending time together, and intimacy, as meaning something you don’t intend. So no, we won’t be seeing each other for a little bit.”
Which was really hard to say.
I was struggling in the conversation to be precise about the length of time I wanted, or how we would break the silence. He wasn’t in any place to come up with parameters. Reality is, it probably doesn’t matter. When I said I was afraid if I just left it that he would call me when he’s ready, I worried I wouldn’t hear from him in a year. He said “I couldn’t wait that long to see you”.
So, I explained that I would call him in a few weeks. That he could call me any time he wanted. I said “I don’t want to call you too early and bug you” and he said “you’ve never, ever bugged me”. He was sincere.
I asked him to promise me just one thing – that if he slept with anyone, he’d use a condom, since he hates them. He said that was fair, and he would. But then said it’s not like he’s “going to look for people to sleep with”. Of course I couldn’t resist and made a comment about how he was unlikely to find someone as adventurous as I was…which led to me telling him a story about a Transsexual who friend requested me on Fetlife but I didn’t think Tony would find attractive.
I’m not sure whether to say it’s over. I have never ever before done something like this: purposefully let someone go I care so deeply about, in the hopes they will come back. I know if he doesn’t, then it’s not meant to be, and I’m truly at peace with that.
But I already miss him so damn much.
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