Yes, an incendiary title. So what? I was pissed.
I’m writing this from the balcony of our hotel room. Ann St. Vincent is in Jamaica with my boyfriend Tony and I don’t regret my choice one bit. More about why in an upcoming post. Apologies in advance for typos or lack of my usual editing.
When Tony first told me about going out for dinner with his wife that night, I was stunned. I was conflicted in wanting to talk about it and also just wanting to get off the phone. My son Liam was in the next room and I wanted to be measured somewhat in my response to Tony.
But he could hear the sobs in my voice, just under the surface, and wanted to talk to me. It’s not worth recounting the entire thirty minute conversation, but he talked about how the guy who inviting him wasn’t someone he told anything personal to, the invitation went to Mary’s house, he cared about me so much, etcetera. I’m NOT for one moment excusing the decision.
When I told him it was like he had his cake and was eating it too, that he had the best of both worlds – a wife and a mistress – he said “how can you say that? I have you who are sad and angry, and it’s not like things with Mary are good. I have the worst of both worlds.”
I said I had always worried at some level that the reasons I hadn’t met his child, or his friends, or been talked about was so the could leave his options open with Mary. He immediately said “you want to meet my son? No problem!” Part of me wondered if that was just to placate me.
I asked him to please call me that night when he got home. While he’d promised me there was nothing physical going on between them, I knew I’d feel better hearing from him after dinner with her. I didn’t want that additional doubt to add to the rest of the shit storm in my head.
He called me that night when he got home and we chatted about nothing for 45 mins. I asked how the dinner was; he talked about the food, and I realized I didn’t want to hear anything else.
He came over the night after, walking into my house to give me a big hug and made reference to me as his gorgeous girlfriend (and on a side note, he’s probably called me his girlfriend 20 times in the two days of our trip so far).
I didn’t bring any of the shit up about dinner with Mary. It was Christmas Eve and frankly I didn’t want to deal with it. But once I lay in bed with him beside me, my thoughts started racing up and I couldn’t sleep. It took me forever to fall asleep and I woke up at 4am, tossing. He woke up and could tell I wasn’t anxious. He asked me what I was thinking about so I told him.
I said it was super uncool that he did that kind of stuff with her. I said I’d been thinking about why she would go to that dinner with him and the only conclusion I could come to is she still believes they are a couple at some level. And that if so, it means he’s not just passively accepting some situations but actively promoting that idea in her head.
I also said I can understand why he wouldn’t have said anything to her before about dating; he doesn’t want to hurt her AND he knows that if he tells her he’s risking having the door he wants kept ajar closed.
He tried to tell me the reason he couldn’t tell her about me was it was the holidays and I said that was bullshit; it’s been 18 months since they split and a year since we met.
I also said it’s not Christmas, or him being private, or being in a gossipy industry (all things he’s said as to why he’s ultra cautious about telling some people about me). Those are all bullshit reasons that hide the root cause, which is he doesn’t want to shut the door on his relationship with her. He’s not ready, and he knows if he told her about me, someone he considers his girlfriend and has been dating for a year, it would be over.
I said I know there is no resolution in the moment (as in, that night, or the next few days), and that I don’t control him, but it has to be resolved for me.
He listened patiently to everything I had to say.
He said lots of nice things.
He said I was right about all the stuff I said. We talked about his son and his being tortured. He can’t see a resolution to how to feel like a good father and also be fully divorced. All he sees is kicking his son out of a house, not seeing him as often.. I reminded him he deserves to be happy; that splitting a marriage is somewhat selfish but raising a child in a house with a dead relationship isn’t better for children.
He said I’m wise and beautiful and I make things complicated. Meaning, his decision about what to do. He said he wished he knew how to make me know that he thinks of me all the time. I reassured him I don’t doubt how he feels about me.
I said it was unfair to Mary and me what he was doing. He said he’s not stringing anyone along and I said well you are, you’re stringing Mary along. Now, some of you may say he’s stringing me along…but he’s been honest with me about his challenges and not with her.
I said I communicate with others with honesty and openness and think about what if I handed my phone to him, would it reflect what I’ve told him. I also said I felt like he couldn’t say the same thing about HIS phone. I said I think he lies for convenience and to avoid conflict.
He said he thinks he and Mary are in a “don’t ask don’t tell” phase. He also said he’s not being physical with her at all.
What I find fascinating about my response to Tony (and his to me) is that these conversations occurred before and after sex; here I was, telling him about how sad and angry I was, but being naked beside him in my bed, both of us got so turned on we had crazy 4am sex, and then continued the conversation. I suppose that may have been a mixed message. I even told him my body was a traitor.
The next morning he left early and we didn’t talk about it before he left. I feel in my gut he’s opening up a bit more. He’s told me his best friends know about me, some people he works with know, and he talked about me and the trip at one of the staff parties he went to the week before. He’s referring to me as his girlfriend more in conversation; it’s like he’s practicing the word and concept.
Now, this doesn’t make what he did better. It hurt me and made me mad.
Several people have questioned my decision to go on vacation with him, but here was my rationale. First, cancelling would be tantamount to breaking up with him, and I wasn’t ready to do that without having a proper discussion of what I needed from him. We were going to have no time for that discussion prior to our departure date.
I wanted to give him a chance, I couldn’t cancel without losing a lot of money, and I knew we’d have a great time.
That morning, as he left he said “please don’t worry; don’t be sad and angry… Well actually anger is okay, we can repurpose that. But maybe not if you wear a strap on.”
He does make me laugh; I’ll give him that.