I'm f*cking miserable.

I’m sick for the second day and stuck in bed.

I have very bad menstrual cramps.

I’m crazy horny.

I had concert tickets for tomorrow night, but all my friends are busy tomorrow and nobody could come with me, so I had to move my tickets to another concert.

Tony is shooting today and tomorrow so I have no time with him, even if he’d be willing to come see me when I’m sick.

I’m alone.

And I actually feel alone.

Which sucks ass.I’ve been feeling pretty good lately, so this morose state comes as a bit of a surprise. I’m feeling incredibly sorry for myself at the moment. I actually didn’t want to type this out yesterday because I didn’t want to go down the rabbit hole, but I realize now that writing it out may help me release it.

I had a conversation with Tony on the phone last night which made things far worse. It was as if he hit every emotional trigger point.

Here are some of our conversation fragments – what we said, and what I heard, which was entirely different and admittedly irrational in some cases, I’m sure.

::

Me: With you shooting the next couple of days and unavailable at night, when am I going to see you next? I have Liam starting on Sunday and then next Friday I have a staff holiday party.

Him: Well you’ve had a good run but it’s over now.

What I heard: Won’t be seeing you regularly any more, Ann. Sorry, we’re done. I’m back to my usual shit and won’t be responsive anymore.

::

Him: And I’m getting into holiday party season so there are a few work parties I’ll be going to. They are going to be so much fun…[and he proceeded to tell me how fancy / fun one in particular would be].

What I heard: Ann, you continue to be on the periphery of my life. I don’t think highly enough of you or our “relationship” – not that I would call it that, because I don’t like labels like “boyfriend” or “exclusivity” – to consider having you be on my arm at these parties. So I’m going to do my own shit and have fun. Catch you later when I have nothing else to do.

::

Him: Yeah, I might take my son skating tomorrow night when the shoot tomorrow is over. It should end early and I want to take him a few times before next week.

What I heard: Ann, I don’t even remember that you and I had booked dinner plans with “school couple”, which you cancelled earlier this week because I couldn’t commit to dinner with them.

::

Him: Oh and on Sunday I’m taking the kid to get a Christmas tree for the house with my ex.

What I heard: Ann, don’t forget I have an ex-wife and we do family things regularly, because I’m not actually working on being divorced. Don’t forget I haven’t ever conclusively said I’m not getting back with her, for the sake of our child.

::

So yeah. There’s all that shit in my head.

To be fair, he also said “We’ll find time; we always seem to.”

Not to mention the little thought that took hold a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been trying to ignore, but just like the cold virus invading my body, it’s invaded my brain. It goes something like this:

I know Tony said he wants to date and have sex with only me (the exception being maybe the two of us playing with others on occasion). He also said that even if we were dating others he wouldn’t put any effort into finding anyone else.

But here’s the thing.

I’m not at all convinced that if some woman who he liked put herself in his path, hit on him, asked for his number (or whatever), he wouldn’t follow her down that path. I think he’d kiss her back.

I can’t get that fucking thought out of my head, and I don’t know how to resolve it. It’s not that he doesn’t dig me; I know he does. But I’m not sure he feels a sense of commitment to me – because that’s what scares him.

So I’m here at home, in bed, alone with my thoughts – which right now are not my friends.

115 thoughts on “I'm f*cking miserable.

  1. I just read back-to-back Part 2 of the shave-head missive, then this one. I encourage you to re-read the shave-head missive. Believe fully that Tony appreciates you. You’ll feel better. It doesn’t mean that he is off the hook for improving what he gives you when he is busy. He totally can work on that. But, you better be damned sure that he needs you in his life. You will always likely always struggle with his push/pull. At this point, its up to you to decide whether you can accept it. He can work on his communication when he’s “pulled”, for sure. You know, yourself, what you have over-read into his communications. You also know that as a photographer, December is a busy time (as it is for me, as a musician), and its naturally a time when he needs to be more of a family man for his fractured family. Yet, honor your feelings of frustration and need. They are real. I am confident that when your body feels better, so will your heart and mind. It’s natural to want more from others when we are physically compromised AND to feel isolated because we are stuck in the house, having to heal, while the rest of the world carries on at full speed.

    • Thank you for this. I *do* know he appreciates me but you are right, there is still room to grow in how he deals with things when he is busy. So far, he’s been great.

      He’s actually in the film industry and one of my best friends confirms everything I’ve perceived about his schedule – it’s not his own, it’s exhausting 12-16 hour days, and it’s hard to make your own plans.

      You are right that I’m reading too much into some of this, but I also want to understand things like why he wouldn’t bring me to the parties, if dates are welcome. I’ve always maintained that as long as we’re making progress I’m fine. I suppose it’s just going to be tested in the next few weeks.
      xo

      • Did you ask him? Did you say you’d love to go?
        But maybe it’s just that he doesn’t mix personal and professional life? I seem to remember reading that some of the people he works with didn’t even know he had split from his wife…
        Did he use to take her? Would it make you feel better if he didn’t? Maybe he just is not ready to share you with the eorld, doesn’t want to muddle you with people who take over too much of his life already? Only way to know is to have an honest discussion with him. But try to go into it with an open mind πŸ™‚

        • I didn’t ask him…I just sulked. And yes, I know that it wasn’t a mature response.

          You are 100% right in your memory. He’s a very private person. Doesn’t talk about his personal life. His ex works in the same industry so possible that he did take her, and also possible he doesn’t want to “out” me yet since they haven’t had a conversation about each other dating. Not sure that makes me feel better or worse, but you’re right I won’t know unless I ask.

          • You can’t expect of yourself to have a mature response when you’re unwell!
            I think I had a bit of that last night… but I’m doing better too πŸ™‚

            If his ex-wife is in the same industry, he didn’t take her, she was invited in her own right πŸ™‚
            For all you know, they didn’t even spend time together there :-p
            (Just trying to provide a different way to look at it πŸ™‚ ).

            As for not outing anyone… I can relate. I only now feel safe to tell my kids (if it comes up) that I may be seeing someone. Before, I would have been too scared for it to be used against me in the divorce proceedings! Maybe he needs some more time. As long as he doesn’t hide when you’re out together, I wouldn’t worry too much about him not wanting to be with you or ‘not outing’ you.
            Just my input… free advice, worth every cent πŸ˜‰

          • But how do you measure progress? I realised that, for me, it’s as much in how I feel, how I change, as in how he does.
            And as far as he’s concerned, it could be in something as silly as the way he writes something in an email, or the way we are together πŸ™‚
            The hardest part is: don’t overthink it! πŸ™‚

          • I don’t know how to measure it, it’s an excellent question. I wrote a post a while back about how I define a serious relationship… so I think it’s some things like that. Meeting a friend of his, going away together, maybe meeting his kid. That kind of stuff. Maybe πŸ™‚

          • I just would like to point out that if Tony is as much an introvert as my Dancer is… meeting a friend of his may not happen in a long while, because he probably prefers to meet his friends one after the other, you included, so he can focus on each one. Not to mention that mine told me he sometimes says no to friends who ask to meet… something that I suspect would be just as alien to you as it is to me!
            When you are feeling better physically, not worried about your kid any more and so on… try to sit still for a moment and think about that very last maybe πŸ™‚
            XO

          • Tony doesn’t have that many close friends anyway. Some are from work and he tends to keep those worlds separate. I think the thing I have to stop worrying about is somehow being on the periphery because he can’t commit. That’s the thing that makes me a little insane. And while he’s slow in getting his head to a place where he’s really 100% fully into the relationship, he’s never going to be a “shout it from the rooftops” kind of guy. He’s not Fox, wanting me to be Facebook friends after a few dates. Tony’s not even ON facebook.

          • You’re on the periphery? I thought he was up to meeting your friends, spending time with you and so on! πŸ˜‰
            And even if you feel on the periphery, it’s probably because it’s hard for you to imagine that someone can have as few friends, or such an empty social calendar, because it’s so different from what you’d do! πŸ™‚
            Try and relax, I know it’s easier when you’re feeling good. One day at a time Ann. One day at a time!

          • He’s not on the periphery of my life – he’s met friends and my kid and parents and is happy to do so. But I’ve not met his people. But yes it’s also because of those things you mention.

            The vacation is progress. His staying connected to me is great. So I’m okay at the moment. Happy πŸ™‚

          • I know he’s not on the periphery of your life.
            And frankly, that’s already a big commitment, one that some people I know aren’t ready to make πŸ˜‰
            So take it for what it is πŸ™‚
            I’m glad to know you’re happy πŸ™‚
            XO

  2. Every time I read about Tony I have flashbacks to an exboyfriend who acted similar. For me, the good times were not worth the bad. He’s not reliable, he’s rarely on time, he doesn’t make you a priority, and he knows you will answer him when he does make time for you. I just think you deserve someone better. If you had a daughter would you want her involved with a guy like this or would you tell her to kick him to the curb? I know I wouldn’t want any child of mine to go through what I did. I hate to be negative but I just don’t see him ever changing his ways. Sure he might get better for a month or two but he’s always going to go back to what he really is.

    • Sorry to hear this makes you think of your Ex, Kay.

      Since dating Tony again, I’ve tried to be open to different interpretations of his behavior…not because I’m trying to fool myself, but because I want to actually see and hear him.

      One thing I’ve learned – and validated through friends – is that working in the film industry in fact does wreak havoc on your schedule. Tony and I saw each other multiple times a week when he wasn’t shooting. He made time for me, he helped me with things I needed to do, and was great with communications.

      But when he is getting ready for a shoot, or actually shooting, it’s very hard for him to know when his work day is going to end, for example. He doesn’t control his time and he’s accountable when things go wrong. So things like planning dinners on a shoot day are risky.

      I’m not trying to justify bad behavior. He has been treating me well. What our discussion triggered for me is more of the long-term stuff… questioning whether he’s ever going to be truly committing. He’s always been honest with me about how scared he is of his feelings. And I can choose to enjoy what we have now and not worry about it – but if it does start getting to me it’s on me to do something about it.

      • Long term… you may want things to progress faster than he is ready for if you’re looking ahead at long term!
        Take it one day at a time, one week at a time!

        Also, I do believe that a lot depends on the chemistry you two feel. If there is chemistry, you may not mind taking things slowler than when you’re unsure of that person’s interest.

        I agree that managing expectations is on you. I’m not saying how you should manage them. But if you are too unhappy, it’s on you to make it known and discuss it or leave. Not on him.

        Now, I know for me the tricky part is making sure I stay in touch with what I truly want. For me, taking things more slowly actually allowed for keeping in touch with what is important more easily. Given me time to figure it out.

        • I am working at taking it one day at a time and have been pretty good with that. This stuff just reminded me of what we don’t have yet (although I did ask him about the parties and he said no guests are allowed it’s only staff).

          I think as long as I feel there is progress, however slow, that I’ll be fine.

          • I do understand this totally. See my very last post. Or a reply to one of my posts. As long as I feel there is progress, whether in him or in me, I have no reason to stop this great connection! πŸ™‚
            Sending hugs, because I know that it’s not always easy to see πŸ™‚

      • I just don’t think a guy that has this much influence on your mood is worth it. Going from extremely happy when he’s giving you attention to miserable when he’s unavailable is not healthy. My friends used to point that out to me but I always made excuses. “Oh he’s busy at work” or “oh he has a lot of other responsibilities.” He traveled and also had a kid so time was indeed limited however he also couldn’t find 5 minutes in a day to call. He didn’t bring me around family or friends because it was easier to put me in a compartment of his life instead of muddy the waters. He was happy to see me (on his terms) but never as excited as I was. Whether Tony actually changes or not doesn’t matter because you will always have doubts and always want more than what he can give you. I also had a great chemistry and intellectual bond with my ex which is why I stupidly stayed with him for so long.

        • To be fair to Tony, my mood has much to do with being sick and cancelled plans with friends – he didn’t really do or say anything wrong. Absolutely in the spring it was a roller coaster and I don’t want to go back to that.

          Tony has been much more communicative with me in the last month. I think we have spoken almost every single day. However he hasn’t introduced me to friends or family, but I know that may take some time. If I start to think it’s never going to happen, then I will have some decisions to make.

  3. I really thought long and hard before I decided to comment. the things I’m about to say are simply my opinion and not even worth two cents but based on what I’ve read and when I’ve experienced personally, sharp thoughts penetrate my perspective on this. So here goes –
    1. Feeling good for a while and then taking a nose dive (emotionally) is usually (in my experience) the signs of me not being honest with myself. The nosedive happens when I no longer have the energy to put up the fight anymore, especially if I am physically fighting something. When you get some of what you want, it satiates you on the surface. Your psyche, meanwhile, isn’t being fooled and it’s only a matter of time before the truth breaks through – you aren’t having your needs met by this man.
    I’ve always heard that in order for a woman to have her needs met and to be happy and fulfilled in a relationship, the man needs to love the woman more than she loves the man. Some people take this literally. But it’s really just a way to sum up the behaviors necessary in a successful union. If a man truly cares for you, he will give you every free minute. He will jump at the chance to be exclusive because you are a prize that he cannot afford to lose. For years I wasted my time with men who gave me the bare minimum. In some cases I felt so damn desperate. In other cases I played games or gave myself rules (don’t text back right away, don’t get upset when he’s not available, etc). All the same things I read in your blogs. I’ve learned that if you have to employ those tactics – he’s not the right one for you. The man that truly sees your value will pursue, court, text, call, visit, kiss and fuck the hell out of you. Not just when it’s convenient for him. I finally learned this after 4 years of dating post-divorce. Once I got off the merry-go-round, I became as giving to myself as I was to some of those guys. I raised my standards, I didn’t waste my precious time. I was the prize. When you rid your space of clutter and cheap shit, you make room for quality. Anyways, I’m sorry for being so blunt, it’s just who I am and I appreciate you sharing your life this way. I don’t know you, obvi, but you seem like a hot, intelligent, loving and straight up BAD ASS chick. You are a prize.
    Hope you feel better soon. Get rid of the clutter girlfriend. xo

    • Was going to write something along the same lines in an even more blunt manner.
      I think I said this last time you were on the Tony wagon Ann; if he’s not chasing you and is very casual about when he can actually see you next then I just feel like he’s not that into it. I’ve got a guy doing the opposite at the moment which is too much (literally as I was typing this he came in, sat on my bed and goes “whatcha doin?”). I think I need to do a post on it because I’m NEVER lonely but sometimes I just want some time to myself without feeling guilty.

      In conclusion, find your happy medium – *HAPPY* being the main focus. I certainly need to find mine 😐

      • Well yes, with Fox I was suffocating. So I appreciate that Tony needs time to himself. Fox never seemed to and therefore it meant I felt bad wanting to be alone…especially if I’d already had a busy week which meant he wanted to see me and I just needed some quiet.

        I would agree with you if it had been like that with him for the last month. But we’ve seen each other a ton when he’s not shooting (I have written above in prior comments about his job and how he doesn’t control his schedule) which means I do know work is more of the trigger than his feelings.

        But having said that, his comments triggered my fears I guess, that he may not ever be in a place where he’s cool with the commitment. I’ve been truly fine with things lately. It’s been calm. I’ve been hearing from him and seeing him and knowing that he’s making an effort. But I don’t know how long that will last – and things like parties and planning trips (or not) test my patience, I suppose.

    • Hi Brazen – thanks for the thoughtful comment. I always appreciate dialogue!

      The nosedive comment is interesting and I will definitely consider that. I’ve actually been very calm in the last month since I started seeing him again. There’s been no gut ignoring going on πŸ™‚

      It’s two things that contributed to this. The first is that I was just with someone who wanted to fill all my time and I didn’t like that AT ALL. I need some of my own space, as does Tony. The second is that Tony has been more communicative and present. He realized the value I have and definitely missed me when I was gone. So he’s been acting differently.

      I wrote in some earlier comments about Tony’s profession and what that means for his schedule. What he has been demonstrating to me is he’s making himself very available to me when he’s not working. He’s texting (not too much) and calling (proactively) and spending time with me. He fucks the hell out of me, too. He does need his alone time – he’s an introvert – and that’s okay…what I asked to know is when he’s going quiet for a while (measured in hours, not days).

      The other thing is that he’s not seeing others to my exclusion. That would be shitty. I’m not referring to going out with friends every once in a while. He does that, as do I.

      BUT. Having said all that… I am not certain that he’s going to ever be able to be more comfortable with a commitment. He’s been open about his discomfort and it’s grounded in having only one relationship so far in his life. He sees relationships as forever so is freaked out about going from one right into another. I understand this and don’t think it’s him being a douchebag.

      So it’s really my choice whether I want to accept what he is able to give me now. It gives me some space which is good – space to focus on other things. But it may not be enough. And our conversation triggered that fear more than anything else.

      I’m getting rid of house clutter instead right now, in my pyjamas. Super bad ass. Does that count? πŸ™‚
      xo

      • Ann – you are a supreme bad ass and I respect your perspective. I also appreciate your being open to me butting my nose where it doesn’t belong. You are the mistress of your domain. xoxo

        • Your nose is quite welcome here. Even if I disagree with a perspective (not saying that applies to your earlier comment) it makes me think, which is always a good thing. I’ve often said I welcome respectful debate and disagreement.

          xoxo

  4. I can so relate to your vicious brain playing with you. Stop reading into what he didn’t say. You’re torturing yourself! Maybe it’s the medicine? πŸ˜‰

    (BTW, I like the snow)

    • And yes, there were other things he said which were just fine. We joked about his comment about “the run being over”. He said of course we would find time. I didn’t ask about the parties but I’m sure he would say they are work events and nobody brings anyone.

      And honestly I know how much he misses his kid and opportunities to hang out with him. So I would never stand in the way of that. I suspect Tony just assumes I know how he feels.

      Snow??

    • Yeah, my mind sometimes analyses in ways it shouldn’t.

      I’m a little better now, several hours later. I’ve been doing some low-energy-required things around my house that are making me feel a sense of accomplishment. My Mom, Step-Dad, and Liam came by to make me soup on their way to their house. So that was a nice distraction.

      But I can honestly say if I don’t hear from him tonight (highly unlikely, he knows I’m sick and grumpy and always reaches out), then I will go back into the pits again. Fingers cross.

    • Thank you Forester. I’m already feeling a little better. And yes, being sick and having to now cancel three different plans makes it WAY worse.

      My party Friday night is actually just a few colleagues so Tony won’t be coming… maybe I’ll get to see him afterwards but who knows. His parties? I don’t know when they are, as I wasn’t invited :/

      I appreciate the support πŸ™‚

  5. Oh Ann! Seems like yesterday was a bitch for both of us!
    It’s hard for me to deconstruct all this from my phone, and I can totally understand how you would hear those things rather than what he said. It’s a bit like me and the toaster. I was happily sharing with my kid how I’d managed getting good deals on some clothes I bought, and the got home to hear I was selfish for spending money on clothes when I should have bought a toaster instead! When you know how much I get out of my way to help my kids, gave up a career for them and a family life, if you want to go there…
    Right. Rant over πŸ˜‰
    Fact is, we react from where WE are. I would have loved for my kid to rejoice about my good news (money saved), Kid heard something different. This is probably what happened with you and Tony. He was sharing his life with you, which he probably doesn’t do with many people.
    A bit like the ‘maybe the kid gave you a silly stone they just picked up. But it’s YOU they chose to give it to’… it’s not what he shared with you, it’s that he chose to share himself with YOU. Not sure I’m making much sense to you! It’s the illness muddling my brain πŸ˜‰

    Hang in there. Things look brighter when the fog (the illness) lifts πŸ™‚

    Hugs. Though with gloves and a mask: you don’t need my germs, and I don’t need yours πŸ˜‰
    XO

  6. Oh, one last thing before I go back to sleep: yes, being sick and lonely sucks. I’ve been through that same shit too many times in the past few years. Though come to think of it, it wasn’t much better when I was married. I never had anyone actually dote on me when I was sick. Not even as a kid. I guess my psyche craves finally being taken care of!
    One thing that sucks even more? Being sick and in charge of the kids.

    So sending more hugs from a sick lonely soul to the other.
    And now let me shut up and go back to sleep πŸ˜‰
    XO

  7. Seems to be mismatched expectations of what your relationship is. He seems to me to be disinterested in serial monogamy (which is somewhat noble) but if you need more from him, than he is willing or able to give right now, I’d be putting in the ‘back paddock’ until he’s ready. (predict: 12-18 months) Or accept the lesser (unpredictable) FWB arrangement, which is him squeezing you in, when the mood takes him.

    Men do not have the same concept of time required to heal, because they don’t often practice self reflection. He seems still disinterested in anything resembling normative relationship behaviour (dinner with friends, taking you as arm candy to Xmas parties). But he’s had a relationship fail. So I understand being gun shy.

    I can’t see an issue, as long as you don’t go crazy waiting for him to move into a normal mindset….but is that suppressing your needs for his? Depends on your self esteem break points. Only you know where they are.

    And (((hugs))) and Bonne chance. LB xx

    • I’m well aware that I am ready to move faster than he is. He’s been open about what scares him and what he’s ready for – there’s been no deceit from him.

      But it’s more than an FWB; he’s told me he wants to date only me and have sex with only me. The exception might be if we arrange some threesomes…which is what I want as well. I don’t feel like he treats me like an FWB at all.

      You raise a good point about his healing. He’s taking a while to get there, in particular sorting out what he’s going to do about wanting to see his son more than he does.

      He’s completely willing to go on “couple dates” but I haven’t been able to find a date that works for that couple that isn’t when he’s shooting – and we know that he never knows when his work day will be over in that scenario. But he’s come to parties and met my friends… on his end it’s a little different and you’re right, he’s not there yet.

      I don’t know if I can be patient. The key for me is seeing some slow but steady change. If I feel like there’s no growth or movement then no, it won’t work for me. Because how will I know that it will ever be different??

      • He is transitioning slowly. And that another commenter flagging ADHD is pertinent. Such people lack higher level executive functioning, particularly when under pressure for work. They also have ‘set’ protocols to help them cope with competiting demands. His job, his son and you …. lots of competing priorities. Something will give, if he’s not good at juggling. If you understand and accept that he may have limited agency over his ‘outputs’ and as you say, are happy with it is more than FWB, then with such mutual understanding, it may work.

        My marriage has survived because I have managed to embrace the understanding that my husband has limited emotional tools and empathy, and that it’s his neurobiological wiring. I’ve learned to be emotionally self reliant as a result. But he is a good man at heart, and a good father. And he lets me indulge my new hobby. πŸ˜‰

        You seem like the kind of woman who could make this type of relationship work. LB xx

  8. He sounds like he suffers from adult ADD. My husband does as well. You will make excuses for him til the cows come home. He may ignore you more than you should ever be ignored, starving you with his lack of attention. When you are so hungry for ANYTHING, he’ll throw you a couple crumbs, and you’ll be so starved that you’ll gobble them up and forget al the times he neglected you. It is difficult for him to focus on many important things at once. He most likely truly cares for you, but his effort is put into his work, and it’s incredibly difficult for him to change that. I would venture to guess that he has a difficult time describing his feeling and emotions as well. It’s a very lonely relationship Ann. You don’t seem like the type of woman to embrace the loneliness well.

    • Hi Robin – I think he does have ADD or ADHD (I’m not sure the difference) and he also is prone to anxiety.

      He’s actually not been ignoring me at all this time around. He’s been present much of the time, calling me pretty much every day. There have been times when he’s been more silent but all but once he’s given me the heads up that he won’t be able to talk, or that he’s taking some time to himself. Which I’m okay with. It’s a matter of hours not days.

      You’re right though, there’s a lack of ability to focus on multiple things at the same time. He gets overwhelmed more easily than I, and will drop everything to deal with work or his kid (both of which I can relate to). And he’s not great at talking about his feelings… but he’s tried a few times so I do feel like I know where I stand with him.

      The things that I wrote about today just triggered some of the things I do remain concerned about. One of which I have subsequently talked through with him. I don’t know that he’ll ever get to where I need him to be – but for now I’ve been okay taking one day at a time and really enjoying what I have with him. Given how much I love to be with him, it’s worth it for me to see if I can relax into things and give him some time.

  9. Ann… get better, and please take care of yourself. I know how awful it can get when you’re ill and everything that’s even remotely negative seems to be magnified. I’ve read all the comments, and while some have some merits, only you know what’s written in your heart. Embrace what you have with Tony. Yes this is a busy time of the year for most people. You’ll get through it and just try to be positive. Enjoy this holiday!! And smile when you do talk to him on the phone while you can’t get together for a bit (I’m sure you do smile anyways) He’l hear your smile. You know what I mean dear. Sending positive healing thoughts your way Ann.

  10. I’ve been in a relationship with someone for two years, and have experienced both deep insecurity and a striking sea change after he decided, himself, to experience commitment and see where things could go.

    During the course of our first 15 or so months we broke up about 4 times. The last time was the longest, for two months. Although we never completely cut ties I was moving on. Whenever we broke up it was usually because he would tell me he needed space or say other things that really triggered me, along the lines of β€œI know I love you but I don’t know if I am in love with you.” Our situation has also been complicated by the fact that he may move away for work in the next year or two, which makes our long-term future uncertain. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I always felt that I could live with that uncertainty about the future and still be committed to our relationship in the present. We have a truly fantastic sexual and intellectual connection, and we both value honesty rather than masking emotions that will inevitably find a way to show their faces.

    My point is that for a long time I felt very insecure in this relationship. We would have good times, like a weekend of exceptional intimacy, and then I would feel the shoe about to drop. It got to where I could predict with pinpoint accuracy when a β€œI need space” conversation would happen. Perennial uncertainty that a shoe would drop manifested itself in me as obsession over text responsiveness or worry whether he would cancel something at the last minute because he needed/wanted to rest or do work.

    When he needed space, he probably would have just withdrawn, like Tony, except for the fact that he is truly committed to the principle of honest communication. Maybe to a fault πŸ™‚ So he would voice his need, but always in a really black-and-white way (i.e., “I need space, which means we can’t be together anymore”) I could never understand why he couldn’t discuss his anxieties with me in a spirit of sharing and inquiry, not to mention a spirit of wanting to protect our relationshipβ€”instead, he had to do and say things that would lead to a rupture between us.

    This roller coaster ride sucked, but throughout I always felt he was a good person and an excellent fit for me. Even so, I sometimes wondered whether it was good for me to be having sex with him, knowing that I was so open to him at those times, yet part of me could not trust that he was truly present for me, in my life. I wasn’t sure whether his equally strong sexual response to me meant as much to him as I thought it might mean, or whether I was only projecting.

    During our periods of break up, I would immediately begin dating other people. Not to make him jealous particularly, but more because I clearly knew what exactly type of relationship I wanted, and if he was not available for that, then I would not waste time before looking for it elsewhere. (I am in my early 40s.) I was very clear with him and myself about what I wanted (1. a strong sexual connection and 2. someone growth-oriented, who saw life in terms of possibilities and not road blocks).

    During these breakups, he activated his dating profile, but never went on a single date. Nada.

    After our two-month breakup this summer, he decided ON HIS OWN TERMS that he wanted to be with me. He called me and said he wanted to talk. At that time I was not very inclined to do this. I was pretty far along in the moving-on process, but he had always been willing to listen to me when I wanted to talk, so I agreed. To my total surprise, he told me then that he recognized the extent to which fear had been holding him back, to which he was trying to manage the uncertainties of life by keeping me at bay. He said he wanted to live fully and that meant seeing where our relationship could go. And . . . he said knew he loved me and he was in love with me.

    Needless to say, I was delighted . . . but nervous. Had anything really changed? It did not take long to feel, in my bones, that something HAD changed. It is very hard to explain, the way my past anxieties about making and keeping plans with him evaporated. The things he said to me that day and how he has behaved ever since then, have soothed my soul. He still needs more space or more sleep than I do, but somehow we are able to handle this better. He is better at framing his needs in a way that doesn’t trigger massive anxiety in me. He is better at letting me know always, that we are Together, and a little space is not some weird contingency plan. He doesn’t cancel at the last minute or leave things too open-ended (like, “I will go with you if I am not too tired,” which ALWAYS really meant, “I am not going”).

    For my part, I have chilled the fuck out. I’ve gotten more into going with the flow, and releasing some of the planner energy I have (and you have) in spades. I am very clear with him about when it is important for him to do something with me, and he joins me for that. When it’s not that important, I don’t press or control. I give the option, and if he is lukewarm on it, I assume we won’t be doing that together. Like you, I also just go ahead with my own stuff, with or without him. I dance tango and he doesn’t, so I have an active social life that is pretty independent anyway. Above and beyond these logistical matters, we have found a happy, peaceful, loving, growing way of being together, but it took 18 months to do it, and many up-and-downs that my friends got rather tired of hearing about. I have one male friend who is still offering to β€œtalk some sense into him.”

    The bottom line is that this man had to go on his own journey inside himselfβ€”his intimacy issues never really had anything to do with meβ€”and I had to (and have to) stay true to myself, and to what I want most of all in my heart of hearts. What I want most is not bound up in one single unique person. Instead, it is a type of relationship and a certain way of sharing myself with someone else. I don’t wish to give you advice. I read blogs like yours to get a window on other peoples’ experiences with life situations similar to mine and to experience the inner reflection that their writing provokes, and that is the spirit with which I share my own experiences with you. I hope you feel better soon.

    • Thank you for sharing your story with me. There are definitely similarities. You are quite right, Tony has to go on his journey and there is not much I can do – if anything – about how long that takes.

      What really resonated is your comment about perennial uncertainty. I’m not sure I can deal with it because I don’t like the behavior it manifests in me – just like you said. Even just some thoughts I had last night that were jealous / worrysome about a female friend he’s going out with – I know that’s triggered by the uncertainty. So perhaps that gives me a mechanism to talk to him about it that isn’t about him doing something wrong.

      Lots to think about; thank you.

  11. Wasn’t there some discussion in one of your Fox posts or in the comments about a leopard not changing their spots? From a guys perspective, I think you’re interpreting his signals/words pretty accurately. His comment, ‘We’ll find time, we always do,” while sounding kind of encouraging is half-assed. If you care, you don’t “find time”, you make time.

    I’m sorry that you’re not feeling well and I’m sorry that my comments were not particularly uplifting, but I want you to feel better emotionally too. I hope that you feel better physically so you can enjoy some of your weekend. I’m also betting that some of your misery is mental and if you can find a way to let go of the thoughts burdening you, you’ll feel so much better.

    • No problem, Phil. He actually does make time; I haven’t felt that it’s been half-assed in the last four weeks. That may change, but I do feel like he’s been making an effort.

      The mental shit has been made worse by the other stuff going on. I shouldn’t ignore my feelings but also need to recognize some of them are grounded in my own issues more than any change in his behavior.

      • Just make sure that when you “recognize some of them are grounded in” your “own issues” that you aren’t making excuses for stuff and letting him off the hook when he shouldn’t be. It’s human nature to do that. We all do it.

        • Just as it’s human nature to put the blame on others for our own faults/reactions. I say that as a former abused woman who finally left that victimized state. Accepting my role in that toxic relationship, even if only because I stayed… was the first step towards healing.
          Staying in the state where all problems are because of the other is often not very helpful. My ex is still unable to see where he played a role in the collapse of our marriage. It’s so much easier and comfortable to say I’m the home wrecker.
          I think Ann has a fairly good grip on yhis. She knows herself and how she is affected by others’ actions and it’s healthy to say ‘this is on me, need to work on my issues’, just as it’s healthy to think ‘this I can’t accept because it makes me feel disrespected’ and communicate it effectively, to see where it leads.
          Sorry for typos or if I don’t make sense. I’m on my phone, typing as I think πŸ™‚

        • I do think I will recognize when I’m trying to convince myself to hard of something… and then I’ll want to figure out why I need to cling to it.

          It’s not an esteem thing for me at all. But probably rooted in the fact that I adore being with him… although like my ex, it’s one thing to have the intention to do lots of things and be interested in lots of things… but if that never translates into action, then there’s no point in clinging to it.

          • Ann, I have no idea how you find the time to write thoughtful replies to so many comments. I think you would probably make a great relationship therapist.

          • Gosh, thank you. I’d love to do that in another life, actually.

            And I figure the least I can do is take the time to respond to those who find time to send me their thoughts. Sometimes it takes me a few days but I try to respond to everything!

  12. Ann, you want to be with Tony. There is some magical chemistry about the two of you. The question becomes can you accept the limitations of commitment and time that he offers? Only you can answer that. I don’t even think you should worry/over-think the possibility of other women. You want quality time and a “real” relationship, not a FWB-type. Let’s see if he does also. Give it some time and I hope you feel better.

    • I do want to be with him, you are absolutely right. And I don’t know how long I can accept it… as long as there’s some progress, even slow, then I think I’d be okay. But I’m not sure what progress looks or feels like, so I suppose I should figure that out.

      I don’t feel like we have an FWB, actually. It’s more to that. But it’s a far cry from how willing Fox was to integrate me into his life.

    • It’s so true, isn’t it? I’m my worst critic and there’s a real down side to my analytical side, isn’t there?

      And some of the comments here didn’t help either πŸ˜‰

      • There is a downside and one that you learn to minimize. There’s nothing wrong with analyzing something but until you have facts, it’s all theory and shouldn’t be given much in the way of weight; saves you some internal wear and tear.

        • Quite true. It’s very hard to see things from a different frame of reference, and to not ascribe motivation to someone’s behaviors. Those two things I’ve been working on with Tony and it’s helped me.

  13. Yeah when you are sick that is not the time to analyse a relationship too closely. Everything sucks a little bit more when you’re ill. I hope you feel better soon!

    As for Tony, I hope it all works out but I worry that you may drive yourself crazy with analysing him and wanting more than he can give right now.
    I also wonder if he is holding off on involving you too much in his world until he makes a clear decision about his marriage. He is just not there yet, but clearly wants you given his step up in the contact. He has heard you and he is trying, it just can’t be everything right now

    • I’ve been pretty good not worrying, this was a blip. We’ll see how things go the next few weeks over the holidays.

      And yes, the same thought occurred to me – I doubt he wants me to meet his son because pretty sure it would get reported back to his ex.

    • For what it’s worth, I think his decision isn’t really about his marriage. I think he is done, otherwise he would have gone back to it. And no, Ann, he wouldn’t have gone back to *her*, but to the marriage. He has no interest in her, otherwise he would have gone back already. It’s you he wants and he said it pretty clearly.
      This said, he probably is like me: I don’t hide when I’m with my lover, but I don’t want my kids to know because I knew my ex would hear about it. And I couldn’t afford that.
      Also, he may not think his kid is ready to hear about how daddy is seeing someone else. I don’t know how well or not his son is taking the split. I know my kids are messed up enough, they didn’t need to know about the various men in my life. So yes, introducing them to someone would be a pretty big step. One I’m not sure I want to take quite yet (which is just as well in my case, as he doesn’t want to be introduced, but that’s another story πŸ˜‰ ).
      I’m now two years into my split and still not nearly divorced yet. These things take time, to process everything, to figure out what one wants, especially if, unlike you, they didn’t spend months still being married and contemplating a divorce, basically starting to mourn that part of their life even before moving out. Moving on is a long process.
      So take deep breaths and relax.
      And I’m sorry, I’m not sure who that comment is for any more, started as a reply to Sassy and ended focusing on Ann :-/

      • With regard to his son, he did say he’d need to read a book about how to introduce someone to a kid. I told him it wasn’t that big a deal and for a 4 year old I can simply be one of Daddy’s “friends”. My friend Katharine hasn’t introduced her BF of 10 months to her kids yet, so I should keep that in mind too.

        I’m okay with things taking time in principle but knowing he’s still at some level contemplating going back to the family (yes, I know it’s not specifically about her) is the thing that bothers me.

        • Well, my kids have no idea I was in a relationship since I left their dad. Not G, not The Dancer, and no one in between.
          And both the main ones lasted over 9 months… so I get him. As I said, considering he doesn’t know yet how the divorce is going to go… he may be even more wary of ‘friends’ he introduces to his kid. I still remember the reaction of my older one when a younger sibling let it slip out that ‘Dad has this friend who has two younger kids, maybe we could pass down the clothes that don’t fit us any more’. There was a moment of silence, and then breath again when they realised I didn’t get angry at them, didn’t lose it in front of them, didn’t drill them about her.
          As for going back to his family… you’ve got to think positively about it. He isn’t contemplating going back. When he sees how much you see of your son and how much he can see of his, there is no reason why he would want to go back. Because he certainly doesn’t love *her* any more. Not in the way he does you…
          At least that’s my observations from afar, reading what you write. As I said… free advice, worth every cent! πŸ™‚

          • He would want to go back if he can’t think of a better way to have a family unit and see his son as much as he wants. He’s not the best planner so I don’t think he can see his path forward all that clearly. Maybe with time.

          • I suspect a lot of time is needed for him to get a better idea. Or something/someone who’ll gently push him into figuring out what his plan is. This said… pushing too hard will make him go for the easier option for him, what he has known all his life… so beware πŸ™‚
            A family unit… it is difficult to figure out what it means nowadays! I hope he finds his answer soon, for both of your sakes.
            XO

          • Yes, he’s slow in figuring it out. He’ll get there I’m sure, and I’m VERY careful with how I talk about it. I told him recently I just wanted him to be happy and if he honestly thought going back was the best thing for him I would support him in that, as sad as I would be. He laughed and said he’s generally miserable anyway πŸ˜‰

          • Well, work at making him generally happy then πŸ˜‰
            No, I know that’s not something *you* can do, only him. But…
            Ugh! Good luck!! πŸ™‚

  14. I think the commenter above was correct in her assessment of the holiday party thing – if he were to flaunt being w another it prolly wouldn’t be good for him since he hasn’t totally committed to the divorce should he choose not to get divorced

    in re the comment about taking kid skating – he couldn’t commit to the couple dinner because he knew things could go either way at work taking his skating is something he could do IF things go well at work and his child is a priority in his life and probably even more so now – if he is choosing to do something with his child you can’t ever feel slighted because his responsibility as a father come first

    in re the wife/xmas tree – it is what it is

    yeah I think you totally overthought these lol but he we all do πŸ˜‰

    • He subsequently told me that it was only for production company employees. We chatted about whether he would bring me if he could… and while he said yes, he also said he rarely ever lets business and personal cross.

      You’re totally right about the skating thing with his child and it makes sense to me. It was simply frustrating in the moment but I did completely understand when in a more rational mindset πŸ™‚

    • What I’m struggling with (and I suspect a lot of us are) is not expecting their effort to look like mine. Because our issues, our histories are different, so our paths getting there are different too. Sometimes judging what is an effort for the other is different from what I feel is an effort for me. Luckily I should say, life would be dull if we were all the same!

        • I agree, it is possible. The problem lies when both people aren’t aware of it being true love πŸ˜‰
          Or… I don’t know.
          But I decided to go about life trying not to assign expectations onto people, it makes my life less frustrating, to simply be open to who they are πŸ™‚

          • Yes I wish I could muster up the courage to tell my main lover how I truly feel. But… alas, there’s that fear of losing him altogether if I do. So I internalize my feelings and watch on social media this new woman who is on the other side of the coast flirt, comment on nearly everything, and oh yes, seems to know a lot about him too that she could not have known had they not been chatting. Jealous am I? Well yes and no. Yes because she’s taking up chat time that he could be having with me, and no, because she’s never met him and maybe never will. (He’d better NOT go to WA on his motorcycle trip!) Grrrr! Oh yes and he’s crazy about me. The sexual chemistry is SO amazing!! Not to mention the banter in between. I’m rambling yes, but damn! It bothers me some. They met because of a mutual like for a band that I’m not really into that much. Maybe I should listen to them more?? IDK… She goes by the name of Fonda. (Can’t be real!) And not even all that attractive. (The one now removed current pic of her) There’s one of her (before the all gray) from 20 years ago. I’m all so tempted to say to him something along the lines of “Someone seems to be awfully fonda you”. I mean who posts pictures of pies they’ve made to his page saying Nom noms for you? LOL! But oh, we aren’t supposed to show jealousy are we. The bitch better back the hell off! And no… I won’t ever message her. Hell no!

          • Lol! Or… πŸ™
            I’m sorry you’re feeling this way.
            And it’s a scary step to take telling them, isn’t it? But… until you do, you’re the one suffering. And he has no reason to act differently if you don’t tell him. At least tell him how it makes you feel when you see how often this woman interacts with him. I don’t know, you do know that I’m far from having all the answers πŸ™‚
            I must say, I’m glad to read that you’re not going to act crazy, at least there’s that, let’s retain our pride πŸ˜‰

            Good luck, I mean it! πŸ˜€

          • I do think you should tell him how you feel, and how his interactions with her make you feel… although I suppose if he doesn’t respond the way you want, then you may have an answer you don’t want to hear or deal with. That’s the down side.

            But on the other hand, if he doesn’t feel the same way, would you still want to continue with him?

  15. Yeah I’m not going to act crazy. But it’s just an annoyance at this time. And who knows, maybe she’s creeping him out a bit since he’s not commented on her two pics she’s posted to his profile. They were posted about 19 hours ago. Sigh!!! I guess it just bothers me that there’s a chance they may meet someday, and they have a few things in common. And her Yea Verily comment she made to his ex wife’s praises for his recent birthday for being a great dad to their two grown girls and the love you’s the ex wife said. (That does not bother me btw. Once you love someone and were married to them, there is still a part of you that loves them) But what the hell? Is she sayhing there? That she loves him too? Jeesh! What he also does not know, and may never ever be told by me, and I’m thinking it might creep him out if I tell him about the dream I had about him 4 years ago before I ever knew he existed. Down to his name I dreamed of him, and of those big blue eyes, and handsome face looking at me with adoration and love.

    • Right, I told my Dancer I loved him and it led to an awful two weeks of doubts, worries and so on, probably on both sides to some extent.
      I don’t regret telling him by the way, because the world is a crazy place and I don’t want to die without having spoken that truth, my truth. But I knew there was a possibility he would run away.Good news is, he didn’t. He said what he needed to say but didn’t run away, and is still he same with me as before.
      I hate to overtake Ann’s post with this exchange but… I do understand about not telling him about the dream. I’m never going to tell The Dancer about my past life regression, or the rape or… all those crazy things that he probably wouldn’t understand. But I do understand what you’re saying, and if you are interested, we can take this conversation to email… dawnsnights @ gmail.com (just remove the spaces).
      My advice would be don’t overanalyse things. Just tell him what you feel deep down. About him, about this woman, how reading from her makes you feel…
      Good luck with this all. πŸ™‚

What do you think?