Two steps forward, one step back | Violating my no-contact rule

I made a promise to myself to not contact Tony until next Friday, June 5.

My only reason was I do better when I have a goal / deadline, and it needed to be something that felt reasonable. There was no way I could wait three months, even though I know that’s likely the kind of time he needs. Of course, I didn’t want to face the fact that Tony, being who he is, was unlikely to contact me. Even the therapist agreed regardless of how deeply he feels for me or how much he misses me, he is not going to take action. I know this to be true, because the same applied to HIS CHILD.


All was well. I was feeling strong and positive I could make it until the 5th. My plan was to see him on the 5th if I could, knowing he would have made no progress whatsoever, and it would help me say goodbye for good.

Alas. I fucked up.ย 

Friday night I had dinner at the house of some friends. The husband is one of Will’s oldest friends – they met when they were 11. The wife and I have gotten along famously since we met, and they’ve remained close to me even after the split (some people get weird; they didn’t). The husband shares the love of the sports team that Tony adores.

We talked about Tony; they wanted to know what happened. The husband suggested if I wanted to get Tony “back”, since the schedule for their team’s league is coming out shortly, he’d give me tickets to go see them in their home stadium and I could take Tony away for a weekend. It’s worth nothing he’s NEVER had that opportunity, and when I shared the possibility with him ages ago, he said it was the hottest thing I’d ever said to him.

So Tony was on my mind.

I drank way too much.

On my way home, I got sadder and sadder. I miss him so very much. There are so many things I’ve wanted to share with him these last two weeks. And I’m even sadder knowing he’s probably got his head so far up his ass, he doesn’t feel the same way.

I got home, brushed my teeth, took my makeup off, and crawled into bed. I stared at my phone. It was 11pm. I wanted to call him so bad. I debated back and forth and realised there was no chance he was going to pick up.

But, I called, and he did. He was half asleep. I said I missed him so much and had promised I wouldn’t call him but I wanted to talk to him. He said he missed me too and had a huge week of work and a big day on Saturday. He said he’d call me tomorrow (Saturday).

I said “suuuuure”. We hung up.

I woke up so mad at myself. I knew he wouldn’t call (he rarely did; he’s bad at over promising and under delivering). But now I wantedย him to call. Had I not done it, while I would still miss him and be occasionally angry he hasn’t reached out, it wouldn’t consume my thoughts.

Of course, he didn’t call. I would have be shocked if he had.

I wanted to leave it alone. But I couldn’t. Early Sunday morning, I sent a text:

I’m going to chalk up your not calling yesterday to perhaps you forgetting we spoke late Friday night. I had just wanted to tell you I miss you insanely and hope you are doing well and sorting things out.

I knew he hadn’t forgotten. But I was angry. At least I didn’t say what was really in my head: you fucking asshole, how typical you couldn’t find even 10 minutes for me in over 30 hours. Get your head out of your ass.

He responded:

Thanks. I didn’t forget. I’m just pretty drained right now. It’s been a rough week so I took on more work then I should have – don’t have time for much else right now. Friday was a long day – you caught me already asleep.

That made me more angry and hurt. But I wasn’t surprised – probably the worst thing of all. A part of me wants to say – fuck him, that’s it, forget reaching out next week. I’m done. I want to be done. But I know what I probably need is to feel more pain to really walk away – and that will happen face-to-face when he says yet again he doesn’t know what he wants.

My Dad’s voice, strangely enough, was in my head as I thought about what to say in return: “choose the action that gets you the outcome you desire”. As angry as I am, I know that Tony doesn’t intend to hurt me. Lobbing angry words in a text will just shut him down. So, I went with something perhaps bitchy or passive aggressive, but honest:

I’ve crafted several different responses in my head and none accurately reflect the whole of what I want to say… but they all included “sorry you had a rough week and I hope things get better”, so I will leave it at that. Take care of yourself Tony.

There is no doubt in my mind I will not hear back. Next week I’m likely to torture myself further by asking to see him at the end of the week, finding out nothing has changed, and then perhaps be done.

It’s moments like this where I reallyย want to get back online. I want a boyfriend at times. I want someone to wake up with on a weekend morning. I want someone who can truly be engaged in my life. But I will use my friends, my child, and the kudos I’m getting right now on FetLife – as shallow as they are – to keep me occupied.

Trying to change is a real bitch.

87 thoughts on “Two steps forward, one step back | Violating my no-contact rule

  1. This is just awful, he really is incredibly thoughtless, even if it’s not deliberate, it’s so hurtful to keep referring to being tired and busy at work as a reason for not communicating when you reach out to him. At the absolute very least he could have sent you a text on Saturday. I can really feel your pain though because he means so much to you! He’s not going to change though is he. So sucky.

    • Yes, yes, yes. Incredibly thoughtless and self-absorbed. I want to shake him but I know it will do no good.

      I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated by someone. NIM was similar in his absences, but he didn’t like me the same way. If I saw Tony acting differently with the other things in his life (like dealing with his kid, for example), I would know it was just me and it would be easier to move on.

      But he’s like this with everything and everyone. And it kinda makes me mental. It’s no wonder his ex told him he “had to get his shit together”.

      • Do you think he’s depressed? That kind of inability to give, or to actually get on and sort anything out could be a sign? If not then it is indeed just his personality! When people tell you (and you tell yourself) that you deserve better, that you deserve someone who can be xyz to you, that’s all very well but it doesn’t change the fact that you really want Tony to be that one who treats you better and gives you xyz. Coming to terms with that not being possible is really hard.

        • I’m not sure if he’s depressed…he certainly has some of the characteristics, but he’s also very laid back so honestly I have a hard time knowing sometimes. It’s a good thing for me to be aware of, but I also got sucked in with my ex’s depression and anxiety and then it became harder for me to say goodbye because I felt it wasn’t his fault.

          • I have no doubt about his interest in me. That’s not the issue. He’s not capable of turning it into action – he can’t even do it with his son…so I would be foolish to think it would be different for me.

  2. Oh, Ann. I’ve been there. You reach out and hope they are going to surprise you in a good way and then you just end up feeling angry and disappointed on top of sad. Ugh.

  3. Yup… so many of us share the exact same story it’s insane! Hang in there is all I can say. Think of all the things you would tell your best friend if she had just shared this story with you.

    Then look in the mirror and tell yourself those things.

    • Thanks Marie!! I’m doing just that – writing helps. I KNOW there will be no change. He will continue to infuriate me. I want to say goodbye in person and will wait a week to do so. Or maybe see if I can’t just get it over with sooner than that.

      • Saying goodbye in person can pull you back in. You may want to wait until your heart has started closing back up again before you do that.

        • Just talking to him (as we have now done) has pulled me back in. You are completely right – it will be very difficult. Part of me wants that, I suppose… to feel what I feel like again when I’m with him. Part of me wants to hear him say, to my face, that there’s no change and he doesn’t know what he wants. It will hurt like crazy, which will help.

          And part of me wants the chance to be angry with him so he can see what his idiocy is doing to me. Not that it’s going to change anything – I’m not that foolish – but it might make me feel like my voice has been heard.

  4. Been there! And honestly? You NEED to let this one go. You DESERVE better! He seems incapable of being the person you need him to be.
    Please stop doing this to yourself and stop giving him the power to hurt you so.
    There is someone out there who will deserve all you have to offer. He simply doesn’t. I say this as a friend.
    Kat x

  5. I’m so sorry. God I recognize your thoughts and behaviors in past situations of my own. I’m really sorry. I hope you find the strength or clarity that you need.

    • Thank you Gina. I have the clarity, unfortunately – I know that he won’t be able to give me what I need. Or the day that he can is so far off into the future that I can’t wait with him.

      Being willing to let him go fully is proving to be far more difficult.

  6. When all else fails, go back to doing what you do best. I don’t know about anyone else, but I didn’t expect you to just walk away from Tony and not look back – that’s neither a good nor bad thing but just the way it can be. Without being insulting, one of the things I used to hammer into my children was this: When you make a decision, stick with it and to whatever conclusion it comes to. I taught them this to teach them how not to waffle, to be decisive and, for them, to deal with the consequences of their decisions and that if you change your mind once a decision’s been made, you’d better have a damned good reason.

    And if you screw up, you screwed up; now, deal with it and keep moving forward. I can only hope my lessons to them in this stuck (I know when it didn’t but I expected that).

    Or, what your Dad said makes sense but, again, without being insulting, you can only get the result you want if you have the cooperation of the “object” upon which you’re acting upon – or ya might take actions that you believe will result in Tony coming to his senses and becoming the man you want him to be to you… but that’ll only happen if he cooperates and, sorry, babe, it doesn’t sound as if he is.

    Perhaps he hit the nail on the head when he told you that he didn’t want to hold you back; perhaps he knew then that he was way too deep in his personal hell and dragging you into it with him wasn’t the right thing to do. Still, Ann has to do what Ann has to do; remember him all you want to but once you’ve made a decision, stick to it no matter the outcome.

    • It’s good advice my dear. My Mom said to me today that I may be able to swim with Tony in the pond, but he’s not going to be swimming with me up any streams.

      What I’m really good at is sticking with someone I know can’t give me everything I need. I’m fighting that. I need to find a way to say goodbye for good, and not have him in my head every day. The latter may just be my reality for a while, but saying goodbye I think I can do.

      I think I need to do it in person – as hard as that’s going to be, because of how much we get along. But I need to say things to him face to face, and see in person he just can’t be there for me.


        • I’m confident that he can’t give me everything I want and need. 99%.

          I’m less confident that seeing him is the best thing. I know it will be very hard to say goodbye. I’m not sure that I’m ready…because I know being with him feels really good. I am far more willing to let someone cause me pain than I should be.

          So that second paragraph is what causes the “maybe”.

  7. Ann, I am so sorry. I admire you so much and how you conduct yourself and live your life, so it makes me wonder WTF is up with Tony. Your attraction to and affection for him is so obvious, and I wonder how he can be such a contrast that he has so many great qualities and yet such a dismal failure in life’s basic nuts-and-bolts communication/organization skills. Could his pot usage be a contributing factor to his overall shortcomings? One of my bosses once said that there are 2 types of consultants – cocaine users (fast, efficient, organized, supersized work ethic, creative thinkers, on top of things) and pot users (slackers, disorganized, poor, attitudes, weak work ethics). I was genuinely offended at the time, having never tried either drug so I had no idea if the metaphor was accurate. I was only about 30 at the time, not quite as nuanced in the my own communication skills, so I took him quite literally as he said it in a meeting. As the years have passed and my overall work experience has increased, I can kind of see his point. Tony’s issues truly sound almost like an impairment that cannot be overcome without professional intervention.

    Emotions defy our logic and frequently challenge the goals and rules out head’s lay out. Cut yourself a little slack on your moment of weakness.

    • I think that there are the other type of qualities to each type of drug: You could also say that cocaine users are self-centered, hyper, arrogant, controlling, while pot users are laid-back, go with the flow and more prone to empathy. Depending on the situation, one may be more suited to the situation than the other. The way you present it, cocaine users are the very best, pot smokers the worst of scum.
      I don’t think it is quite so clear-cut…

      • I totally agree, Dawn, and it was not my metaphor. I have zero personal experience with either drug, but I have seen the downsides of drug and alcohol abuse and I feel for those who lose their way. Tony’s shortcomings are truly baffling to me and I simply wonder about the cause.

      • I actually really like Tony’s laid back qualities. They are a nice contrast to me. He’s not controlling at all (my ex was, hugely).

        But it’s a bit extreme with him right now in his personal life. I so wish he could get his shit in order, but it’s not going to happen any time soon.

        • I know. I’m sorry for you.
          But I also know that you will rise above and that you’ll find exactly what you’ve been looking for.

    • Thank you so much, Janelle.

      I think his pot use contributes to his occasional ED issues, but I don’t think it affects his work or his ability to get his life sorted out. I do know his ex was his best friend and they’ve been together since they were 22. It’s quite possible he never had to make decisions on his own before, who knows. He’s definitely way more laid back than I am… but he seems very challenged to be able to move a whole lot forward in his life.

      I’m working on cutting myself some slack, but right now I’m just peeved I opened this door again. I was hoping for another week at least of respite from this decision and trying to figure out how to move on.

      • That makes more sense then. My DH is uber reliable, but sometimes I know it’s partly because I’m prodding to keep him moving along. If I were no longer here my priorities would cease to be husband he’d slack off, until he met someone else and adopted her priorities. But we are both wound tighter in various ways than many.

  8. I am so sorry, Ann. He’s clearly not making progress toward being resolved in a relationship or changing how he prioritizes you. Work is his love and that seems to be his excuse for most of his communication shortcomings.

    I know all of the details in your posts, but the simple truth is that he is a good guy who is not going to meet your most basic needs and wants.

  9. Ah! So *that* is the dumb thing you did!
    Well… no biggie! I’m thinking you needed to do that to move on. That’s all it is. You may have felt guilty about all the great things you had experienced since not being in a relationship with him.You may have genuinely just missed him tremendously. Who cares. What happened happened, showed you that he hasn’t changed his ways in the past two weeks and prepares you for the break-up talk you will have next week.
    I’m sorry about it Ann. Sending you hugs.

    • Yup, that was the dumb thing. And although it’s made me angry, which is helping me move on, it also opened the crack for him to be back in my brain a little bit… and that has made it harder for me to figure out how to say goodbye.

      I genuinely miss him like crazy. If nothing else, the last two weeks has made me realize how real my feelings are for him. But he’s not going to change.

      • I know. It is hard to say goodbye when you have deep feelings. And it is hard to move on. But I also know (by experience) that it’s nice to be able to say goodbye without feeling the need to make the other person evil, without getting so angry at them. There is no need to be angry. It was a beautiful story, and you can continue to keep it intact in your mind. No need to find excuses for breaking up. The fact it doesn’t work out for either one of you is enough.
        Again, I’m quite tired tonight, I’m not sure I make sense…
        I guess what I’m trying to say is that this ‘dumb’ thing may have been your subconscious taking you back to old patterns of needing to find fault in your SO before you can break up, but you seem to be aware that it’s not necessary, you don’t need an excuse. Just finding out that it’s not working out for you should be enough.

        • I don’t think he’s evil and I’ve been frustrated and angry at his inaction, but I’m not overall angry with him. If that makes sense.

          I’m feeling a whole range of emotions about Tony, which I think is reflective of how deeply I feel about him. I know he can’t do / be what I need. Right now I’m struggling with how to say goodbye to him and feel like I can really walk away.

          • I know you don’t think Tony is evil.
            What I was trying to say is that if he was, it would be easier for you to leave him, and maybe that’s why you are trying (subconsciously) to get yourself to be so angry at him. Because that would make walking away easier.
            But you’ll figure this all out. Good luck with it!

          • Exactly! He won’t because he is a nice guy. But nonetheless not the guy able to give you what you need, and therefore a guy you need to walk away from.
            This is a valuable lesson for women like us Ann. It is a tough one, bu it is very valuable ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Damn… His behavior is just too ridiculous. I went out with a guy like him and felt exactly as you do currently. It took being stood up 3 times to finally say I’d had enough. Funny thing is I haven’t seen him in a year and a half, but every 3 months like clockwork he’ll message me saying he misses me. Too bad he can’t promise to truly have time for me because we could’ve been good. I’d say spare yourself that heartache, but it’s never so simple to just walk away.

    • I’m sorry you went through something similar Cara. You are right, sometimes the pain and anger needs to get to a certain point before you are ready to walk away.

      I am trying to get there…I know that there is no hope for him right now…and like you, wish that it was different. I know I need to find a way to just walk away and other than busying myself with dating new people, I’m not sure how to do that.

  11. From the person I’ve come to know, through your writing, you can do this, you’re a strong person even when you’re scared, change is hard, *hugs*

  12. :((

    “But I know what I probably need is to feel more pain to really walk away โ€“ and that will happen face-to-face when he says yet again he doesnโ€™t know what he wants.”

    I get this, I truly do: You want a definitive punch in the face. JUST PUNCH ME IN THE FUCKING FACE, ARSEHOLE!!

    Thing is, he will NEVER punch you in the face. Because he’s not ‘that guy’. Instead, he will wear you into low self esteem and unworthiness with a million paper cuts of ‘too busy’, ‘too tired’, ‘too drained’, ‘too something something’….

    When you meet, he stlll won’t punch you in the face. It will be grand and fun and you’ll have great sex and you will be understanding and he will be ambivalent and sweet, and you will be right back where you started.

    I ITCH to punch you in the face on his behalf (I just made myself laugh) *puts on Tony-mask, punches you in the face*.


    I wish I was wrong. But I’m not.

    Also, *huge hugs*.


    • OMG Ferns I literally laughed out loud. You punching me in the face, in a Tony mask. Oh, the hilarity.

      I’m glad what I said makes sense. I think it sounds dumb when I write it, but it’s true. And you are quite right…he’s not going to do it. His lack of action extends to all things.


  13. Silent a speaks volumes unfortunately. I am dealing with the same exact thing, except you seem a lot stronger than I am.
    Stick to your no contact, here’s why: if he doesn’t come back to u completely on his own, u will never have the relationship with him that you really want. He needs to realize he wants you and can’t spend another minute without you. If that doesn’t happen, you must let him go, and f*ck, that is so damn hard, so painful, but also so necessary ๐Ÿ˜ฃstay strong.

    • If a man truly loves and wants you, I promise you, he would let NOTHING stand in the way. There would be absolutely none of this BS!!! I remind myself of this to keep me from making a fool of myself, and it works… Most of the time at least.

      • Yes, I know this is true. I also see his behavior with his child, and he doesn’t do that… but it ultimately doesn’t matter whether it’s just me or everyone. The impact is the same.

    • Caroline – I broke the no-contact but now am figuring out how to say goodbye for good. You are quite right that him not coming back on his own means it’s not what I need – because he will absolutely respond when I reach out. It’s another form of path of least resistance.

      Working on staying strong, sister!! So sorry to hear you are going through the same thing. Totally sucks.

  14. I’ve missed a whole string of posts here for various reasons. Not enough free time to read blogs. Too absorbed in maintaining my own. The change of the season has been a good thing. I spend more time outside the house with my daughters than I do in front of a screen. I’m down to posting at my own place about every 7-10 days. I had hoped (almost beyond hope) that in the interim you put this Tony business behind you. I was hoping that if I visited this morning, you’d be talking about your son or some other lucky dude who you favored. Having been married for so long, I forgot what it’s like to obsess over someone who isn’t on the same page as you are. I remember these days. Been there and it ain’t pleasant. Hang tough.

  15. GAH! I want to punch HIM in the face, not *you*. Or grasp him by the shoulders and shake him thoroughly.
    Part of me is proud of you for taking the high road in your responses to him, part of me wishes you’d really let him have it. I think he needs a dope-slap, from someone who cares enough to do it.

    Or maybe I’m just still so gd pregnant that I’m tending to violence? ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. “I didn’t forget. I’m just pretty drained right now.” I’ve heard that line or some version of it before. You know as well as I do that that says it all. Stop torturing yourself and move on.

  17. Ann, you have nothing to change. You are you, and you deserve and should expect to want someone to wake up next to and share life’s adventures and even the ordinary things. Tony doesn’t deserve you – and from the sounds of it, he hasn’t earned it. My mom’s swami once said, “you must get rid of the old to make room for the new.” What you need and deserve cannot come fully to you until you close this chapter, however painful it might be.

  18. Oh, and don’t be so hard on yourself for opening the door. (I just read some comments above – I love Ferns comments, she hit the nail on the head). You’re human. We have ALL opened a door that would have been better left closed. The truth is, when you’ve had enough, you will be able to nail that door shut.

  19. Tough, tough, tough, Ann. Don’t beat yourself up for reaching out. You had a connection and you missed him – it’s as simple as that. Start over with your conviction, remember how yucky this made you feel and you’ll be even stronger for next time.
    Yep. You guessed it. Been there and done that…sooooo many times.
    I’m getting all caught up, so I hope you don’t think I’m stalking your blog this afternoon!! xoxoxo

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