Learning (again) I cannot survive on intentions.

[Part One | Part Two | Part Three]

My bed smelled like Tony and I didn’t want to leave it. We had left each other that morning with a promise of dinner and a talk; Saturday night was a potential but he said it would depend how work went.

He had two overnight shoots the next two nights and I knew it was unlikely I’d hear much from him. I sent him a meme about coffee (don’t ask) and instead of his usual tactic of ignoring my texts, he said “Can’t text right now; talk later or tomorrow. Will text you when done.”

This seemed like progress, or at the very least, consideration. I was pleased by the small gesture.

He was shooting in a very bad area of town and promised to tell me when he was done. Which he did. We had some infrequent texting that day and the next. He told me when he was signing off – again, an unusual but appreciated move.

He shot a commercial; I went for dinner with a girlfriend and then to a sex club (story to follow).

Saturday morning at 8am I asked if he was okay. No response.

I’d gotten to thinking about the things I’d told him. I realized I may have left him with two mistaken impressions. The first was I’d told him I understood walking away from a relationship when you just aren’t ready. When you still have things to explore. I had done it myself with Johnny Id.

But what I realized is if I’d met Tony a year ago and the roles were reversed, I’m not sure I would have walked away. I don’t think I could have ignored our connection and how easy things are when we are together.

The second was I realized we had been talking about a decision to get back together as if it was the last relationship decision we would ever make. I don’t want him to make a promise to be with me forever. I just want him to jump in with both feet and see where things go.

It became very important for me to tell him these things.

Saturday at 11am I suggested a plan for that night. He said he was still recovering and it was too early to call; he may just be sleeping.

Just before 2pm he said “Ann I think I need to lay low and recover tonight. I don’t think I will be very good company. Exhausted.”

I told him I understood but the next night I was free was ten days away. He said the next few days were going to be rough anyway. I said I would adjust my head to not see him in the next bit, and that I had some things I needed to tell him. I also invited him to my next party and also to a big sports event in my city.

It was dopey to do that. I suppose I knew there would be very little chance he would say yes (he declined both due to existing or pending work). But at my core, I want to spend time with him.

I tried to talk to him that afternoon but he didn’t respond. I ended up going on a first date that night (story to follow) but before I left, I let him know I was free the next day until late that afternoon. He said he would call me in a half an hour and I had to tell him that didn’t work because I was going for dinner. I texted him when I got back from my date at 11pm and he was falling asleep and asked to speak the next day.

Sunday I’d heard nothing by noon, so I called him. No answer. He called me later to say the timing wasn’t going to work; he had work he had to do. I tried to see if he would come over after Liam was asleep. Short version of the story? No.

We did talk on the phone and I told him those two things above. He said he understood about the first, but he did think about his decision as if it was for a lifetime. He suggested it was the romantic in him. I told him if we decided to be back together again I had no idea if it would last for four weeks or four months or four years or forty. We just can’t know but the decision would be to take each day at a time.

He still wanted to meet for dinner, but we had no firm date. Wednesday was a potential.

That was Sunday before bed.

I received nothing from him on Monday.

Nothing from him on Tuesday.

Tuesday before bed I asked him why he hadn’t texted me. Instantly he responded with “my computer got stolen out of my car. I’m dying. I do not even have second outside of my three jobs right now”.

I happened be online on POF at the time. As he’s still on my favorites list, I saw he’d been active on the site earlier that evening.

It wasn’t that I don’t want him to date. I really want him to date. But I figured if he had a second to be on POF he had a second to text me. I didn’t mention it. I offered to help with anything relating to his computer. He actually thought to ask how I was doing and finished by saying he was sorry but he was beyond frazzled.

Wednesday was the other potential night we were going to have our dinner. While I suspected it wasn’t going to work, I still wanted him to let me know. So at 6pm I said “I assume tonight doesn’t work since I haven’t heard from you?”. He said “No. Horrible. Dying honestly.”

While I know giving him a hard time may not have been the right course of action, honest to god there is always something with him. Work or dog or something getting all fucked up in his life. I’d had enough. I’d woken up that morning thinking about his being on POF – and not even dating, which as least would have made it better. I couldn’t get it out of my head that he was online there and not even having the courtesy to text me.

So, I took a deep breath and typed this:

“Okay. BTW I went into POF and saw you’d been online yesterday. And you wonder why I think I’m nowhere near a priority for you. I know you’ll say something like it was only 30 seconds but that’s all it would take for you to send me a text. 

I can’t survive on your intentions, but I care far too much about you to say goodbye. I love spending time with you. But I’m going to stay quiet and will reach out again in a while. Please know you can call me anytime.” 

He said:

“Okay cool. I had to logon to change my password. My computer got stolen – it automatically logs me into everything. I didn’t want anyone having access.

I’m sorry. 

I can’t handle this right now. I’m so busy and behind because of the theft.”

I simply said I would let him know when the dating story was published and asked him to take care of himself. He said thank you.

And that was it, once again.

I hadn’t let myself believe it would be different, but I had wanted to have that dinner and hear in his own words what his struggle was. But not at the expense of my feelings yet again. As I said to him, I can’t survive on his intentions.

I won’t say I wasn’t sad. That would be a convenient lie.

But some things that happened between seeing him the week before were certainly helping to dull the pain. I promise to write as quickly as I can and tell you what those things were.

47 thoughts on “Learning (again) I cannot survive on intentions.

    • Yup. I’m not surprised… I experienced a decently high level of detachment this time. Not that I don’t care about him – I’d be lying to try to say I don’t – but I didn’t go into it expecting anything would be different (except for that 5% romantic in me). It was interesting to me to see how quickly I got sucked back in to wanting him to be in communication more than he was…and that’s when I knew that I needed to give him (and me) more time.

  1. 2 thoughts…

    1. I think from everything you guys have a great connection, WHEN YOU ARE TOGETHER, which doesn’t seem like his top priority. Sorry to be harsh. I am starting to call “bullsh!t” on the excuses, and that his intentions are just words that have no meaning behind them but said to make you happy in a moment.

    2. I still don’t understand the dating, the sex club, and everything on your part when you think you might have something going with Tony whom you are in love with. I would think being in love, you would not want to chance things or dull feelings by doing those things. In the end it was the right decision as this was the result. But your decision was before you knew the end result…

    Even though those are my thoughts, I think it sucks that it didn’t work out when it seemed like it had potential to be different.

    • I absolutely agree with you. Ann, I think you are amazing and wise and smart. I love reading your blog and I know I’m not one to speak with what’s been going on in my own life but reading your posts on Tony.. Why not let HIM take the lead or message or email or call you first? I’d suggest give him time and in the mean time do your best to enjoy life (which you are) and move on? Anyway, it’s only life. We are always learning and wanting to do whats right for your heart, body and sexual soul 🙂 xxxx

    • You are right about his priorities. He also processes stress and work very differently than I do. I knock things off like crazy and make stuff happen and move on so I can find time for more stuff. He’s not wired that way. I’ve seen it time and time again. So there have been examples where for him he’s doing something significant (coming over when he’s preparing for a shoot, etc) but for me it seems like less of a big deal because of how I deal with stuff.

      While I’m in love with him, I didn’t contact him again because I thought he’d be ready to move forward. He’s not really a going concern even if there’s a small romantic part of me that would love for things to be different.

      Reality is we dated for five months and this was a challenge. I gave him a few weeks of silence in May. I had one weekend where I thought things would be different and realized they weren’t. Then I waited almost a month to contact him this time knowing that there was a 1% chance of progress… so I wasn’t surprised by any of this, just resigned to it.

      So I can’t just wait around and not progress with my own life and meeting people on the hope and a prayer that he may make the progress he needs to be “all in” with me. Time hasn’t dulled my feelings at all. Neither has being with anyone else – certainly not the sex club incident.

      But if he’s not willing to be on the path with me, my feelings make not one whit of difference.

  2. I’m going to share the three most important words anyone ever told me, and it guides every relationship and interaction I have with every person, be it romantic, professional, familial, friend or otherwise:

    BEHAVIOR. NEVER. LIES.

    Words are easy. People will tell you what you want to hear, or what they themselves wish to believe. They will say all sorts of things, but if their behavior contradicts it, you will always know which of the two is lying.

    Tony has lots of reasons for why he can’t be in regular contact with you or simply follow up on the small promises he makes with regard to communication, but in the end BEHAVIOR NEVER LIES. If he considered you important enough to him, or even respect your time, his behavior would reflect that. But it doesn’t.

    Even if you assume all his excuses about work, computer getting stolen, dog eating the homework, etc. are true, if you were important enough to him he would make the effort. At a certain point excuses are just that.

    BEHAVIOR. NEVER. LIES.

    • Josh,

      I don’t disagree but I will say I know he’s not lying to me. He is genuinely stressed and experiencing these things. He seems to not be able to handle things the same way I can.

      I’m not excusing the lack of communication, because it’s what I need, but I don’t believe it’s nefarious. He just can’t do what I need him to do or be available for me emotionally. Times together are great; it’s the time apart which sucks.

  3. There’s a reason why the say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sometimes, two people have what it takes to have a good relationship but the pieces never really come together and the reasons are all over the place. The harder one tries to make the pieces fit, the more difficult it gets to accomplish this – the classic square peg in the round hole analogy. Yep, if you hammer it enough, you will eventually make it fit but the square peg is now badly damaged and no longer what it originally was.

    Conventional thinking says that one should never “force” an issue – doesn’t take much to figure out how this can be such a bad thing to do. Giving up is too easy and while many things are possible, there are some things that just isn’t a good thing to do, like trying to make that square peg fit into that round hole when it doesn’t want to go in there.

    When it comes to matters of the heart, we often don’t pay much attention to what conventional thinking – or even common sense – might tell us so, yeah, there are times when we wind up beating our heads up against the wall because we can’t figure out why things aren’t fitting together when, at least on the surface, they not only should fit but we want/need them to fit.

    Sometimes, they just won’t fit, not without some modification and said mods might wind up being drastic and damaging. Reading this writing made me think that you’re a hammer and Tony is very much looking like a nail… or he’s the square peg you’re trying to make fit your round hole. The “solution” to this is to not keep hammering the peg – it’s to make the hole big enough to fit the peg easily but snugly so it won’t fall out once it’s been inserted.

    Can you do this? Here’s a hint: Most people can’t; they’ll either keep hammering on that peg (and badly damaging it) or they just quit trying because they just can’t figure out how to solve the puzzle. If you can’t change the dimensions of the square peg, change the radius of the round hole…

    • I can’t do it and it was clear to me yet again. It just feels too bad for me when he’s making choices to not reach out. Or to not get his shit together so he CAN reach out.

      My feelings for him are quite real – they have not diminished with time (yes, I know it’s early) – and I do believe in how he feels about me. HOWEVER, it’s not enough. Reality is he may never get there, and I’m unwilling to yet again find myself in a relationship that isn’t right for me, where emotionally I’m not being nurtured.

      I simply won’t do it.

  4. You certainly can’t survive on intentions, shaky promises, and excuses. I can’t say in surprised, but I’m also sad for you. I look forward to reading about you dulling the pain and hope you’ve got something exciting going on in your life!

    • I am so behind my friend!! Tonight I’m hoping to write about the sex clubs and then some first dates.
      (let’s just say I’ve hidden my POF and OKC profiles at the moment…)

      • That sounds very promising. I’m behind as well. I am grading but keep getting distracted. I’m deliciously sore from some of the best sex of my life last night. I feel like I burned off a shit ton of calories.

          • Adam… I just can’t stay away from that man. He’s the love of my life and the chemistry is insane. To go from not having sex in months to sex like that right off the bat…we are talented together. We are not dating at the present, but are closer than ever. I don’t see a future that does not have him in it. I talk to him all day every day. Maybe we will be old and married one day, or maybe we will just stay “us” whatever that means at the time. I smiled non stop for the three hour drive home today. After such a stressful week I needed a good fuck to right my world again.

          • Well for starters he is married to a woman who is not me. We broke up in May of last year but have gotten closer than ever since. There are a ton of complications and we aren’t willing to eff everything up at this point. Until circumstances change, if ever, we are just gonna be weird best friends who occasionally slip up and fuck all night. We don’t live in the same city anymore (but should by next year) so that makes it easier not to slip back into a full blown relationship. We’ve written off all the rules and I’m not the least bit anxious about it, which is odd coming from me since I over analyze everything. We are solid.

          • I kinda meant it as a rhetorical question lol… Oh yeah that married thing could get in the way 😛

            Does his wife know you are friends?

            And yes my dear I know all about over analyzing 😀

          • She knows we are friends, but does not know we dated last year and does not know how close we are. It is a mess but it is what it is. 🙂

  5. I feel you hard on this. I have a Tony in my life; when we are together, the sex and romance are through the roof, he says no one understands him better than I, no one makes him feel more comfortable or better-able to be himself, but then, when he goes, invariably a few hours later, he slips back into a deeply avoidant person, and it will be days, weeks, before I get to experience the vulnerable, passionate, loving side of him again. One thing that he is never, is reliable. Even when he is at his best, he is unreliable. It’s complicated. I’ve rationalized my position in this so deeply. Like you, I feel like I have to go out and date others, if only to not lose myself completely in this fantasy. But, I can’t emotionally open myself to others. I feel like I’m having to become more like he is – an avoidant player, and I don’t like it.

    I feel like people like Tony and my person struggle immensely with intimacy. They want it, but once they have it, it scares the shit out of them. Women like us either have to put up with their struggle, or move on to (w0)men who aren’t so afraid. For as long as we remain stuck in their struggle, we wont have the means to really attune ourselves to others, though.

    Tony, like my friend, is a people-pleaser. He wants everyone to love him, so he will never tell you what his limitations are. This is too scary for him. Someone above hit it on the head; behavior never lies. It’s tough because Tony probably also wants to believe everything he says.

    The last time I was with my guy and I had a night like the one you had, he told me (mid-way through fucking me for the third time) that he wanted me to spend numerous days in a row with him – to temporarily “move in.” Fortunately, I am wise to his words. I said, “Be careful for what you wish for, because I will do it.” He said, “I mean it,” and kept fucking me beautifully. I knew he didn’t mean it. 12 hours after the date ended, a long weekend ahead of us where I could have easily spent every moment with him, he dropped off the radar, aside from the polite little excuses for texts that you get from Tony.

    These men have some deep impairment in their intimacy centers. They want it, They crave it. They are scared of it and sabotage it.

    and time ticks forward, aging us more, pushing us closer to our graves.

    Ha! I’m an optimist this morning!

    I feel ya…

  6. Ann. You just need to move on. If he was so into you he would make time for a text or a short call but he doesn’t. You’re fretting over him logging onto POF but you yourself managed to get a swinger club visit in. Sorry if I’ve misunderstood the chain of events but that’s how I read it.

    • Thanks for your comment Jay!

      You’ve misunderstood a little and not sure if you have the whole history of the 6 months prior? Perhaps it doesn’t matter, actually…

      I know he needs to date and have encouraged it. I was the first date he went on after his split. I’m not fretting he’s online; it’s about the time he devotes to me. He is into me – I’m not delusional – but it’s more complex than that. He’s simply not ready to be that into me and his actions reinforce that.

      I was quite content to focus just on him and I did so for many months. But when we aren’t dating, I’m going to keep doing my own thing.

  7. It sounds like he has ADHD, but I’m not saying that to be cute. My entire life’s been as you’re describing his behaviors, and I only realized that I have it when my son was diagnosed. Tony’s overworked, overstressed, and had his computer stolen. Put in that situation, I know I’d shut down communication with everyone. You’re very structured and organized. You’re also not as busy as he is, or as busy as he feels he is. Most of the time my brain feels like it’s in a blender, and I feel incredibly busy. It takes several days away from work for the blender to stop. Just because you want text responses in a timely manner doesn’t mean they’re going to happen. The concept of time is different for people who are differently wired; people like you and Tony.

    • Thanks ShellE…this is actually very helpful. I wonder if that’s why the pot smoking helps him…he says it helps him focus. I wonder….

      I tackle far bigger projects and challenges and handle it all far easier than he does. It was hard for me at first to understand him and not get frustrated (I still get a bit frustrated). I don’t think his lack of communication is a lack of caring.

      I forget if I wrote this, but one thing he said to me was he wished I knew he was thinking about me, or even thinking about texting me, even when he didn’t.

      You’ve definitely given me something else to think about as I ponder the mystery that is Tony 🙂

  8. Ann, I’ve been following your blog for sometime now, mainly because the similarities between our life experiences are uncannily similar. You see I too have trodden the same path, divorce, the dating sites, the swinger clubs, the crossover between the two, I’ve been on millions of first dates and have had the same internal debate about at what point do I mention my freshly discovered sexual self. Along with the club visits and one time offers I have had several ‘Tony’s’ on my journey. Each times the sexual chemistry has been incredible, the intellectual stimulation equally as good and both times this continued for months to the point where in my head I was ready to commit myself and convinced myself they felt the same. Sadly for me (or them!) they didn’t. One was happy with friendship, keeping me at arms length but when we were together socially it was as if we were the closest couple you could ever meet. Kissing in public, holding hands, etc,etc and the sex was amazing. The other it turned out, was married to his job, and still is. The frustration on my part ate away at me and It took me a long time to reconcile myself to the fact that although they seemed to show one thing by their physical actions, actually what they really wanted or could actually cope with was something entirely different. My conclusion to this would be that some men seem to have the ability to compartmentalise things in their life, single men that are on swingers sites more so than most it’s the nature of the game after all, and those on dating sites are often on swinging ones too or are on multiple dating sites, which to me speaks volumes about their commitment intentions. Happily I have finished that wild ride, come out the other side, and I’m still exploring my sexual adventure, but now with the the right man by my side. We didn’t meet on one of these sites or in a club and I will say this, when you meet the one (and you will) you will just know. You will not need to question how he feels or behaves, you will not be blogging about the internal arguments and excuses in your head. It will just happen effortlessly. You will not need to chase him, he will be there and will love spending time with you for who you are. He will not be making excuses before your relationship has gotten off the ground. I never believed it would for me but it happened and when I least expected it. Reading your blog I have sometimes wanted to shake you by the solders and tell you to ditch it all, leave POF etc and find yourself. Focus on yourself and your kid and relax. Leave the dating anxiety for someone else. Easy to say with the benefit of hindsight I know. You’re a beautiful intelligent woman, never forget that. Give him space, don’t contact him, immerse yourself in something for you. If he wants to be with you he WILL make the effort.

    • Annie,

      Thank you for such a heartfelt comment. It’s very touching 🙂

      I know he’s not the one for me – at least not in the place he’s in today. It’s hard to walk away from the good stuff, but I have to take the good with everything else.

      I feel like I’m in a good place when I know that I’m unwilling to settle for someone who can’t be emotionally available to me and make me feel like a priority at least some of the time. I lived in an emotional desert for so long…I’m comfortable there…but I know it’s not where I’m meant to be.

      Thank you.
      xo

  9. “My bed smelled like Tony and I didn’t want to leave it.”
    Love that line.

    Hang in there, Ann. This too shall pass. At least you’re strong enough to withstand Tony’s mood swings.

  10. I think you need to let the line out a little and cut him a little slack. He seems to be feeling a little pinned in with work and now that he got his laptop stolen, things may be caving in on him. I know that you don’t want to lose him but don’t smother him.

    • He’s getting space from me again. Because it’s what I need… I can’t be half way and I don’t want to just become some obligation that reminds him he’s failing at something.

      I have to move on, I was doing pretty well for the first few weeks… so I’m back to my original timeline.

  11. Ok, I see your point about this guy now. ( I am new to your blog, will try to catch up a bit. ) If he wanted you to be a priority you would be. Your gut isn’t lying to you. I’ve never said no to a woman who was on top of my priorities. Even when I was buried with three jobs…

  12. Wow, im back again for the tenth time trying to catch up, haha… and i still find that I do not like your boy Tony too much because he’s such a pussy. You deserve better. 🙂

  13. Am I the only one thinking “Ann, he’s just not that into you..”??

    Whether someone is working, had a computer stolen or [insert excuse here], if they’re interested in you, they’ll msg you. I message people when I’m on the toilet sometimes, or I stay up way past my bed time chatting to people I’m interested in. I often msg people with one hand while I eat a sandwich with the other. Other people msg while they’re waiting in line for their coffee. Or call and put it on loudspeaker while they drive.

    I know you really do like him but it sounds like it’s one sided. You’re chasing and he’s letting you. And excuse my profanity, but he’s a c*nt for it. He either needs to say he’s not interested in a relationship with you anymore, or is totally swamped with work and doesn’t have time for a relationship anymore. But he hasn’t said either and instead has a bunch of excuses.

    Some people can’t end things because they don’t want to upset you. So they just turn into dicks and wait for you to end it instead. Personally I think this is more damaging than just being honest. And ann, I could be completely wrong but I’m putting him into this category.

    Either way, it sounds like you’ve had enough so good! I wish you all the best for finding a guy who will chase YOU. I want to see you with a guy who will send flowers to your office and make you blush and the other girls giggle. I want to see you with a guy who will send a car to pick you up for a date when he’s running late from work. Those men exist and it’s about time you got yourself one. Much love sunshine, mwa xx

    • Thanks so much Goatie. I don’t know if that’s the case…but it can certainly seem like it. He could be astonishingly good at faking it when we are together.

      I’m choosing to believe he really does care for me, based on everything I’ve seen and experienced, but I know it may not be the case.

      Regardless, the outcome is the same. He can’t be there for me in the way I need. For too long I survived on his intentions. I can’t anymore…I knew that a month ago but I just wanted to check in on him and everything I experienced reinforced what I already knew was true.

What do you think?