This is going to be difficult.

I’ve been doing well focusing on Fox and am excited to see him on Sunday.

It was Tony’s birthday on Friday. He knew I knew this fact, as we had talked about plans for jointly celebrating our birthdays.

In deciding my course of action regarding him, I knew I had to make a decision whether to send him a “Happy Birthday” text. For all he knows, nothing has changed in my approach to him. While I didn’t tell him I had changed my mind about not contacting him regularly, given our last two meetings it would be reasonable for him to think I would reach out to him again.

I may have forgotten to mention it, but he came over the night before I left on vacation. We went for dinner to my favorite Italian restaurant, talked non stop, and well, you know the rest. He put my bags in the taxi I took to pick up Liam to get to the airport.

Back to my decision. Even if he and I weren’t seeing each other, if he didn’t text me to wish me a Happy Birthday I would be rather hurt.

I’m not angry at Tony and have no desire to treat him badly or punish him – he hasn’t been maliciously neglectful, he’s just unable or unwilling to give me what I need.

I firmly believe you get back what you put out into the universe.

I decided to send him the Happy Birthday text. I sincerely hoped he would say “thank you” and that would be it. I knew he was shooting that day so it made me think my plan would work.

Yes, really, I hoped the conversation would die. I don’t know yet how to deal with it if / when he asks to see me. I don’t know how to make it about me and my needs instead of telling him he’s “failed”. I don’t want to be tempted.

I sent the text early that morning. Said simply “Happy Birthday Tony. I hope you have a great day and are appropriately celebrated!”

A couple of hours went by and I breathed a sigh of relief. But of course he did text me back, a comment about something that went wrong that morning at work.

I deleted the text and didn’t respond. He didn’t continue the conversation.

Until late that afternoon:

“When do you come back?”

After freaking out a little and asking a sage friend for advice I simply said “tomorrow afternoon”.

He followed up immediately with “Cool enjoy your last night πŸ™‚ Have a good flight back.”

To which I simply said “thanks”

That was Friday. I haven’t heard anything since and I’m dreading when I do. It’s just a matter of time.

I need to be ready.

58 thoughts on “This is going to be difficult.

  1. Seems like our relationship experiences are following some freaky same wave and pattern. Whatever you do, stick to short replies like you’re doing and all will be fine. You may however want to send one text saying you’re now seeing someone else, and need to put your dates with Tony on hold.

    He’ll understand.

    • I’m not sure I would tell him that via text, but I do understand where you are coming from.

      My decision about him isn’t really about Fox. So I’m not going to use that as the reason I can’t see Tony…but I’m not going to hide it from him if it comes up.

    • Thanks Annabelle… as I said to Marie, my dating Fox isn’t why I can’t see him anymore. So certainly I’m not going to keep it from him if I need to tell him, but I’m not going to use that as the reason.

      • It feels like watching one of those horror movies where the kids decide to investigate what’s in the chainsaw shed instead of running away as fast as they can and the viewer is yelling at the screen “What are you doing??!”

          • Nope. No contact means NO CONTACT. Consider your own words. You wrote this just 5 days ago:

            “I haven’t texted him, and won’t.”
            “As my Mother reminded me, I don’t owe him anything.”

            So your vow not to text him lasted all of a couple days. And apparently you did feel like you “owed” him a birthday wish, despite the fact that doing so broke your vow not to text him, and again opened the lines of communication with him.

            And the next time you vow not to text him and do so anyway, I’m sure likewise you will have a “good” excuse for doing so. At a certain point it’s easy to rationalize every decision to go back on your vows to yourself and tell yourself that this time was the exception.

            To be honest, as a reader of your blog, while I want to root for you as the protagonist, I find myself frustrated with your seeming inability to stick to the resolutions you make with regard to your relationships. It’s like the aforementioned horror movie crossed with “Groundhog Day”.

          • Well I’m sorry to frustrate you so but do appreciate you rooting for me. I can see how my Tony stuff would be annoying but generally speaking it’s pretty big for me to be walking away from a relationship (albeit in stages) that’s not good for me. It’s a very different decision from what I would have made before.

            I will say, I knew when I wrote that post you referenced that the birthday text was a consideration, I just didn’t get into it.

            And you may roll your eyes at this, but the decision to send that text is quite different for me than contacting Tony to move things forward – to see him again or hope for something to have changed.

            So what I haven’t done is reached out like I did in recent weeks to say hi, can I see you, etc., and that’s what I meant I wouldn’t be doing going forward.

            This decision is also not a “no contact” decision. I had no intention of ignoring Tony if/when he reaches out. This is different from my prior decisions in that I’m not waiting for him to sort anything out at this point. It’s about my own behavior and my own mindset – which is that I know I can’t be in a relationship with him at this point.

            Because of that, I can send him a text and wish him a happy birthday and not feel that sense of hope that it’s going to be different, or a keening desire for him to be in contact.

            So imagine me as Bill Murray as he learns piano…he may be stuck repeating things, but he’s making great progress πŸ™‚

  2. I think it was fair to send a Happy Birthday message. You care about him and it’s a natural, kind and caring thing to do with a friend. You will hear from him eventually but don’t stress over your response to it right now. Just react the way you have been, and reach out to your support peeps as needed. You will be just fine! Can’t wait to hear about the date with your Fox!

    • Thanks hon. I guess that was it – NOT wishing him a happy birthday just didn’t feel like me and I felt it was unkind.

      I do want to be somewhat prepared because when I don’t know what I’m going to say, I say too much, and not necessarily stuff I should. It’s not that I want to censor myself but I do want to be careful with what I say and how.

      But I hear you that I shouldn’t stress out about it…

      And yes! I will write about Fox as soon as I can. Hopefully will have something up in the next 24 hours.

        • If I need to, I will tell him that I’m dating someone else exclusively (yes, we agreed to that last night). Because a slow fade by always being busy isn’t my style at all. All that to say, at some point I will probably need to tell him why he’s not hearing from me. If he never asks, then I won’t. It’s unusual for me to not be clear on a plan of attack so I obviously need to noodle a bit more on it πŸ™‚

          • I was true to myself and gave him some caveats – which I also wrote about briefly in a previous post πŸ˜‰ but we talked about it and I will certainly share the conversation.

          • Looking forward to reading!
            I know about the need to be able to play with others in his presence, that would probably be a must for me too πŸ™‚

          • OK now I really can’t wait to read about last night!!

            It’s always hard to know exactly what to say to someone you care for especially when you really want things to have turned out differently. The “eternally busy” won’t work as its just not genuine and it won’t feel good long term. Good luck figuring out what to say..its a tough one finding a balance of giving necessary information without turning it back to his failure to step up.

          • You are exactly right. Eternally busy doesn’t ring true (because it’s not) and I would hate to be on the receiving end of that. I need to say something and figure out what exactly to say. I don’t want him to just hear “you’ve failed at keeping me” nor is the fact I’m dating Fox the real reason.

            I need to think about it, obviously.

  3. I don’t know…It seems a little fishy that you didn’t share with us “followers” that you saw him the night before you left for vacation and that he saw you off. It think that is pretty big.

    I understand wanting to wish him a happy birthday, but don’t think you should of based on your previous post about not contacting him anymore. Maybe it would have been unkind, but like your mom said, what do you owe him. Just seems like a good excuse for yourself to reach out. I also think it would have been more effective to show that your not all about him by not sending birthday wishes.

    I disagree with the other comments about telling Tony your seeing anyone. First off, your not, and second like you have said, you need to stop seeing Tony not for any other reason except you no longer want to see him.

    On the other hand though, I think you must or should really tell Fox all about Tony. I don’t think your being fair or nice to him at all. From everything you told us this guy really likes you, wants an exclusive relationship, and is a genuinely good guy. Yes, you told him about the sex club and you told him about Tony before, but I doubt you told him that the night before you left for vacation you had your ex-boyfriend stay over. I think that speaks volumes to where you are mentally. Your so worried about not sending Tony a birthday note, because it would be “unkind”, but it doesn’t seem that you are worried about being unkind to Fox who is nothing but kind, respectful, open, and responsive to you.

    I am sorry if this is harsh or direct, but I think it needs to be said. It is just my perspective from reading your blog.

    • I did write about it, Fred…I just couldn’t remember in the moment of writing this post. So nothing fishy at all…there’s no intent to deceive as I have nothing to gain from doing so.

      As I said to Josh, my post about making a decision to move on wasn’t about no contact. I had no intention of ignoring Tony if/when he reached out to me. But mentally I’ve gotten myself to a place where I am done with a relationship with him.

      My decision was about ceasing to wait and to move things forward. I’m not proactively texting him to get together or asking him how he’s doing – and you may choose to not believe me but sending him a happy birthday text was not at all some veiled attempt to see him again.

      I can only do what I think is best, and not wishing a man I love and who I dated for 6 months a happy birthday seems callous and uncaring; two things I am certainly not. I definitely wasn’t going to use it as an opportunity to send him a message that my life doesn’t revolve around him.

      Is your issue that I fucked someone two weeks ago, or I fucked someone I loved? If it’s the sex, prior to having an exclusivity conversation I have no obligation to share my sexual encounters with someone. I didn’t lie to Fox. And nor would I expect him to tell me if he had sex with someone. I don’t care to know, frankly.

      When it comes to my still being connected to someone I love? Sure, that’s more complicated. I told Fox I had trouble saying goodbye to my last boyfriend, that I was in love and he wasn’t ready and it was very emotionally difficult for me.

      When Fox and I talked about Tony while I was away, I was honest with him without providing details that are no longer relevant and would hurt him unnecessarily. Why no longer relevant? The last two weeks I’ve made a big decision with regards to being able to finally move on from Tony; that’s what matters for Fox at this point…I’m open to something wonderful with him, and he has my attention. We had not agreed to be exclusive when we had the conversation.

      And of course I’m concerned about being kind to Fox. I’ve told him more about myself, my blog, my sex life and my past than I’ve told any other man I’ve dated. I’ve risked him walking away by being honest with him – I want him to know all of me and accept me for it.

      All that, Fred, is because I respect and care for him.

      • Well I think it is safe to say we can agree to disagree. You asked what my issue is…It is that you fucked someone you are in love with two weeks ago. Not loved. History is history, referring to your comment below. Two weeks ago, yesterday, and five minutes ago might be in the past but they are not history in my opinion. So yes, you say now you are breaking contact with Tony, I don’t think that makes it history.

        Yes, I think you hit a nerve, but I don’t feel it is gender based. I think it is based on every guy or girl that have been into someone and think they have this connection then to find out they are still in love with someone else. Then to find out they have recently been with that person even though we were building something. It would make me question what we have. We have all been there. And like you say below it causes pain. My thing is why are you doing things that have the potential to cause someone else pain? So I think that is why some, including me, would be protective of Fox. And besides for not wanting him to get hurt, I think we also don’t want to see someone that we think is good for you get away.

        But we can agree to disagree…

        • I also apologize if you did write it in another post. That was quite a few posts ago and I didn’t remember it. I was going based on you saying I might have forgot to mention…

          • Well you assumed an intention based on that. Which wasn’t true and wasn’t fair. There is only one thing I’ve deliberately kept off my blog and that was due to the pain it would cause someone. I’m not the kind of person who avoids the truth – exactly the opposite.

        • Perhaps I am just finding a way to justify my actions but here’s how I see things. And perhaps I will write a post about them to further work through it, since you’ve definitely given me things to think about…

          My love for Tony isn’t going to be history any time soon. I will love him forever, honestly…it’s just that time will eventually push that love beneath the surface. So when do we say it’s the right time to pursue something with another person?

          Is it early for me to be committing to someone else when my feelings are so fresh? Yes, absolutely. Things with Tony are still raw and I’m recovering from them. Can I change the timing with Fox? No. Should I delay with him further and make him feel I don’t actually really like him? I don’t think so… it may make things worse and wouldn’t be reflective of my feelings for him.

          Maybe I can compartmentalize too well, but my feelings for Tony and Fox have nothing to do with one another. I could see if I was somehow using Fox to “get over” Tony, but I’ve dug deep and it’s not what I’m doing. I didn’t decide to end it with Tony because I’d found Fox.

          All that to say, I’m dating Fox and building something with Fox based on his own merits. I could see it being awful if I kept seeing Tony on the sly; I will not do that to Fox (or myself). I could see it being hurtful if my feelings for Tony prevent me from being open to love from Fox; I made the decision about Tony for a reason and the timing isn’t coincidental.

          So yeah, while I have made decisions about each of them without consideration for the other, I have put my final nail in the Tony coffin precisely because I want to ensure I can be emotionally available for Fox. He’s worth trying for.

          • I am glad I have given you things to think about. I wasn’t trying to offend you by using the word “fishy”. Dawn D. explained my intent perfectly. (Below comments)

            I think you raise a great question…”So when do we say it’s the right time to pursue something with another person?”. I don’t think that anyone can answer that question for anyone else. That is something you have to reflect upon and be honest with yourself when you look for the answer. People, friends, in your case your followers, can only share their thoughts to show you different ways to look at the situations based on there experiences and how they reflect those experiences in correlation with your writing. But in the end, you are you, and you need to personalize your rationale based on you and not anyone else.

            And for the record, I think you are being honest with yourself. I also think though, that being internally honest with ourselves can unknowingly be guided by our own wants and needs. And in forum like this where you get so many people opinions, when one of those opinions agree with your perspective, it cements your feelings without looking at it from other perspectives. It doesn’t make your perspective wrong, or make the other right, but I think it is important to look at both. Does that make sense? I know what I am trying to say here but I am not sure it is coming across correctly. But since I am going on a tangent, I will stop.

            Additionally I don’t think you are with Fox to “get-over” Tony. I think an important question to ask yourself though…If Tony came running back to you, said his marriage was over, and was ready for you, all of you? Would you leave the Fox to be with him? I think that answer can explain where your heart and mind truly are…

            Either way…I am looking forward to your next post as you are now exclusive! It might explain more to me…

    • As a blogger myself… I would just like to say that this is Ann’s blog. She doesn’t *owe* us anything, certainly not telling us about anything she doesn’t feel like saying.
      I find your comment about it being fishy that she didn’t share a bit… fishy?
      I don’t expect anyone to tell me (us) things they don’t want to share.
      It’s really their decision, their choice.
      If it’s something she didn’t feel safe/ready sharing at that time, then it’s Ok with me.
      I suppose that maybe you think that, by hiding something from us, she was trying to hide something from herself… All I can say is that, being a blogger, sometimes it happens. And you don’t always realize it. But still… it’s part of the growing process, and we all have our own pace, don’t we? Otherwise, life would be pretty boring I think. πŸ˜‰

          • She doesn’t owe us a thing. If anything we owe her for allowing us into her life. Your right again she has every right not to tell us everything. I also thought though that this was a open blog for feedback and our thoughts based on what we read. I honestly meant fishy in much less harsh way than I believe you are reading it. It is the problem with writing or texting. I meant it more in the way you explained about hiding from herself. I should of explained it better. I apologized later for being direct/harsh in what I was saying in regards to telling Fox.

          • It’s all good! I guess I reacted first to the ‘fishy’ comment, then cooled off a bit myself enough to realize that you meant it the other way πŸ˜‰
            You are right, writing sometimes poses problems like this. But the good thing is that we can discuss them openly and clear any misunderstanding πŸ™‚

          • I am definitely open to thoughts and criticism, even if people think they sound harsh. Even if I don’t like them and/or disagree with them, they always make me think. Sometimes, I realize I’ve not well articulated what I’m trying to say, and other times, I realize I need a course correction.

            And yes, sometimes we just agree to disagree.

  4. when he asks you out just be busy…every time – he’ll figure it out and he will either ask you/do something about it or just let you go and if he does then you’ll know – but trust he will be back at some later date – they always are

    • Thats what another friend suggested as well… it’s true for this week so I will just take it as it comes. I want to be honest and kind and direct, as I’ve always been. It’s just not something I’m looking forward to.

  5. Ooh Ann – tough crowd! Hugs. Is it me or does it seem like the woman understand your struggles in letting Tony go and the men don’t? I get it and have struggled with it. Your blog has helped me personally and I’m glad you share it. Hang in there!

    • Spencer, it’s pretty funny… I noticed the same gender differences!! I’m not sure what I’m triggering here but I think I’ve touched a nerve.

      In the past I’ve always wanted full knowledge – who was your last, when, what happened, how is she different from me, etc etc – and all that knowledge got me was pain.

      I now take a different approach, which is that while someone’s history is interesting, what matters is the here and now and the future. Once a relationship is established and I’m secure I may inquire more, but not up front.

      If the tables were turned, I wouldn’t want to know that Fox just ended a tortured relationship that he was having trouble with. I wouldn’t want to know he’d seen her after he and I had met but before we agreed to be exclusive.

      What I would care about is whether he’s moving on and free to focus on me. That any residual crap is being dealt with and won’t stand in the way of him being able to commit to me or (perhaps) fall in love with me.

      So that’s the approach I’m taking with Fox. Let’s say a few weeks from now I realize I’ve been lying to myself this whole time and I’m incapable of moving on from Tony, then I’d tell Fox about what’s going on. To tell him about it now would be presuming failure on my part, and cause him unnecessary pain and worry.

      I’m so glad to hear I’ve helped you… it’s a great side benefit to helping myself as well xoxo

    • I too noticed the same thing.
      I too thought that sending a birthday wish is different from sending a text to figure out how he’s doing.
      And I agree, Ann, I think what is important, is that you feel there is a difference. And I agree that Fox doesn’t need to know now. Let things proceed first, then you can always see what he wants to know. After all, he may not even *want* to know. As long as after you’ve had an exclusivity discussion, you focus on him, which is your plan for now… I wouldn’t say anything either.
      But that’s me, a free thinking woman. Which may different from what others think πŸ™‚

  6. Based upon my limited knowledge of Tony(from your blog), I don’t think it will be an issue… unless you make it one. “If” he texts or contacts you, give him the courtesy of a polite reply but don’t be engaging or extend the conversation. Just of thought.

    All the best,

    • Thanks Coop. I do think I need to treat him with the respect and care that I have for him. Meaning, I can’t just ignore him or say I’m always busy or some such excuse. I do need to face it head on and not leave him wondering, simply because his turnaround time is way longer than mine πŸ™‚

  7. I don’t understand the logic behind doing a ‘fade’ or planning to tell him that you are ‘too busy’ over and over because you don’t want to say ‘I’m done’. Surely most of us have been on the receiving end of that crap and it causes nothing but confusion and hurt.

    I get that you don’t really want to close the door (which I assume is the justification for it (vs *most* people’s reasoning which is cowardice hidden behind a pretence at ‘being kind’ (hint: it’s not kind. Ever.)), but this ‘unless he asks I’m not going to tell, that’s not the reason’ stuff is so weird to me.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s the reason or not: A man you love/d deserves to know that you’re done and that you’re seeing someone else. You would deserve no less if you were on the other side of this. Perhaps more than that YOU deserve to be done. The half arsed dicking about keeps you in the ‘Tony zone’ which is why this ‘what will I do if’ stuff is bouncing around in your head when it should be in that back drawer already.


    • Ferns, in responding to some comments and thinking more about it I have come to the same conclusion. It’s why it doesn’t feel right to me – I can’t do some slow fade or just be busy and not tell him. What I will do though is wait for him to reach out… Right?

      • I like this. I agree. He deserves to know if he asks. But only if he asks. And I wouldn’t tell him you’re busy either, simply because it means you’re not closing the door on the relationship, he’s not closing the door on the relationship, and no one is happy about it. Plus you’re lying. Unless you really *are* busy. But really, if he asks, he probably deserves to know!

      • I’m glad for it: good for you :).

        If it were me, I’d proactively contact him and tell him what’s what so that I can definitively close the door and put it behind me, so no, I wouldn’t wait for him to reach out. But then, I like to be in control of how things go down (quelle surpris!) and I can’t bear to passively wait around for someone else to make a move and then be in ‘reaction’ mode (well, unless I really don’t give a shit but if that’s the case then it’s not rattling around in my head which is where you are: STILL (and endlessly) in this limbo).

        It seems to me that unless you are proactive about it, this will hang over your head and if/when he contacts you, it’s likely that the cycle of the last few months will start all over again despite your best intentions.


        • It’s a very good point you raise; thank you. In the moment I’m somewhere in the middle… knowing Tony, he will contact me when he has the headspace to talk to me. So on the one hand, I could wait until he contacts me to then tell him, because I know he’ll be able to listen.

          On the other hand, I don’t want to wait a week or longer for this to happen, for all the valid reasons you raise. I need to move on and I feel like this conversation is hanging over my head.

          So maybe I’ll give him another 24-48 hours and reach out if he hasn’t done so. I will ponder.

          Now I have to figure out what I’m going to say.

          • Ann, Respond only if he contacts you first. Do not initiate. If you want to engage do so only after he reaches out to you first. After that, I’d say what I commented before. Otherwise go quiet.

            Obviously I’m only a guy… What would I know ?

            Your blog(life), your rules.


    • Thank you Will. I know this is the right thing for me, there’s really no question in my mind.

      My only residual question – and it doesn’t make a difference to my decision – is whether he will ever be ready for a relationship, and if I’ll ever know.

      • It is good that you recognize your needs independently from someone else and are not willing to allow yours to be superseded. Letting go of Tony and his ability to be ready for a relationship is good for you. He isn’t ready now and doesn’t show signs of closing in on that.

What do you think?