Yesterday I wrote about Tony and how it feels foolish for me to go back into a relationship with him when he’s not willing to step off the emotional curb with me.
That, my friends, is the core of the issue.
I can talk about whether he loves me – I think he does, even thought he can’t articulate it.
I can discuss whether he will make progress in being more communicative. Yes, I’m sure over time this can happen, as I’ve had glimmers of hope.
I can hypothesize how much of his issue is the situation he’s in, and whether as he gets less overwhelmed, things will shift.
I can think about getting comfortable with his love languages (affection and quality time) and knowing it is how he shows he cares.
But at the end of the day, at the core of the issue, he’s simply not ready. He is not ready to emotionally go there with me. For a few reasons, which I’ve written about ad nauseam.
To sum up: primarily, he’s tortured and guilty at not regularly seeing his child. A part of him wonders whether getting back with his ex is the best way to solve it. He feels like he can’t possibly have found someone wonderful for him on his first date after his split. He worries he doesn’t yet know how to not have a relationship turn bad. He likes being alone and being able to retreat into his cave when he needs space and time.
These are all valid reasons. Some are things he needs to work through for things to work with us.
And just like I can’t force myself to be happy with him when us being together is amazing but the times apart I feel a keening desire for more, he can’t force himself to work through this quickly just because we have that great connection.
I’m over his emotional unavailability being both catnip and kryptonite. Fighting for someone’s attention is familiar to me, but I don’t like it. I have experienced what it can be like when someone is active, present, and constantly engaged (I have Johnny Id to first thank for that, and Fox is doing a damn good job as well) but not needy, which is a kiss of death with me.
In other words, it’s not that I like Tony because he’s emotionally available. Ironically, I love Tony at a very fundamental level, despite the behaviours that hurt. It’s hard for me to explain why. Perhaps part of it is the familiarity of emotionally unavailable, but I sure as hell didn’t know that on our first date and it was fucking magical.
I don’t love him more because of it, I love him despite it. I am occasionally romantic and spiritual but often my pragmatic and logical side wins out. If I was only a romantic, I would be writing about being soul mates and recognizing – oh, wait, I recall my heart may have done that already.
I love him because being with him is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced with another man. I hoped perhaps that feeling would fade when I took my two breaks from him, but it didn’t. I hoped I’d realize it was just me getting caught up in the moment and rationalizing my decision to stay for so long.
But that didn’t happen.
I know this is why so many of you are rooting for things to work out between he and I. That connection is damn rare. I read Marian’s story of the Australian again as she finished it recently, and the connection she describes is what I would say about Tony, if I could turn off my practical and logical side.
But here’s the real problem. The last man I felt remotely this way about was my ex, Will. We had a very strong, instant, physical and intellectual chemistry.
Now, I know Will and Tony are not the same man. They are in fact quite different. But what feels jarringly similar is when I start to rationalize why I could stay with Tony. It would go something like this:
I have never had a connection with a man like this before. Our physical and emotional chemistry is off the charts. I could spend days on end with him and never be bored. He’s interested in multiple things and will try anything with me, and it’s a very rare quality. Sure, there are issues – like him not being emotionally ready, and he can’t communicate the way I need, and his lack of action will probably make me crazy – but it’s worth it all to have that connection with someone.
Want to hear how I justified staying with and ultimately marrying my ex?
I’ve never met a man before who I considered to be my intellectual equal. He’s interested in multiple things like me which is very rare. We can talk for hours. Sure, there are ups and downs [for the record, my Mother considered him to be verbally and mentally abusive] but I think it’s what naturally happens when someone is complicated and interesting like he is. I’ve been bored with “nice” guys so I have to take the good with the bad.
So, you see why this is a problem for me? How on earth do I know that I’m not doing the same thing with Tony? I KNEW my ex wasn’t the right man for me. I sat crying at my mother’s kitchen table weeks before we got married, talking through what I wrote above. I rationalized and convinced myself this was just what came with being with an intelligent and complicated man.
When I met him, Will was also self-centred and very cruel when he got angry. We had different love languages to an extreme. He didn’t make me feel better about myself; in contrast, I felt he was trying to “upgrade” me constantly so I’d be good enough for him and his family. He had an explosive temper and didn’t know how to argue constructively. While at first our sex life was good, he wasn’t affectionate. He had anxiety disorder, was prone to depression, and struggled with self-esteem. He had an addictive personality and alcohol was not his friend. He didn’t take good care of himself physically. He was generally anti-social but could fake it when he had to. He was not family oriented and had no interest in deepening relationships with my family and friends.
I ignored all of this because he was smart, funny, and interesting. I hadn’t met anyone like him before. I liked the good and ignored all the bad.
I’ve said before I don’t regret being with him for so long because I can’t imagine life without my son. But Liam aside, I know I would have been much happier and much more fulfilled at this point in my life, had I taken a different path.
Back to Tony.
When I have a clear head, I know I should not go down a path again where I justify a bunch of bad (or potentially bad) characteristics in a man because of a “connection”. I also know Tony isn’t my ex and he doesn’t have a laundry list of destructive characteristics. I don’t think he’s ever going to call me a “fucking stupid c*nt” in anger.
But he isn’t in a place where he can be the partner I need. I need someone to put equal effort into a relationship. I need someone to have put the baggage away from their previous relationships. We all have baggage, but his is (quite literally) laying open in his living room.
I need someone who will sometimes put me first. I need someone who wants to integrate me into their life.
But most of all, I need someone whose mind and heart are ready to fully open up to love and all its wonders.