I didn’t write about this moment with the man I was dating, but it was a revelation for me. It was after our weekend together, and after I’d told him I wasn’t ready for a relationship or to be exclusive.
He wanted to re-hash the reasons why, so I did. I explained in broad strokes what happened with Tony. He looked at me and asked two very simple questions.
1) Did I want Tony back?
I stumbled over my words, saying something along the lines of no, he wasn’t ever going to be ready and so it was really a moot question.
Terrible answer, but true. I should have lied, but didn’t.
2) Was I still in love with him?
I said I thought there were people in our lives who always had a place in our heart.
He got pissy and made a comment about him not having such a place. It was the kind of comment meant to solicit a specific response – such as me reassuring him how I felt. Which I did.
But in parallel, I realized Tony occupied more real estate in my heart than I’d thought.
Given everything that happened with him, it was easy for me to see Tony again. I was still operating under the assumption, based on how I felt after our previous meeting, that I had control over the situation.
We hung out, snacked, watched CNN. Then it was bedtime. This time, it was hard for me to keep my emotional distance during sex. Not a big surprise.
Following up on a prior text exchange, I asked him how he could be okay with my dating someone else. He said it wasn’t that he liked the idea but he understood it. He didn’t have a hold on me right now, couldn’t offer what I wanted, and he ultimately just wanted me to be happy.
I said the thought of him being physical with another woman “gutted” me. When I think about it, it’s more because if he actually decided to move on from his marriage and choose to be with someone else, that would hurt. But I didn’t say that part.
I told him about the man I’d been dating and how he had fallen hard. Tony said “it’s pretty easy to fall in love with you in just a couple of weeks”.
This from the man who has never said he loves me.
I told Tony I believed no matter what I said or didn’t say, no matter what I did or didn’t do, it wouldn’t matter. He was going to make only very slow progress, if any. My only way forward was to give up all hope he’d sort things out.
He didn’t like it and was surprised I would say so. He told me I was a “very motivating factor”, he’d been doing a lot of thinking, and things also weren’t going well with him and Mary.
And just then, just like that, a tiny bit of hope crept in. I’ve been arguing myself out of it ever since. I know the difference between his intentions and his actions. I know nothing has changed. If by some bloody miracle he actually moves forward, then great. Perhaps then I could give this relationship a real chance, all fully out in the open and sunlight. But I know until then, it won’t work.
I’m pretty sure spending time with him will make it worse for me at some point. But right now I’m seeking comfort, I suppose.
Tony told me he would be happy to be with me just as friends, and he doesn’t assume we will be intimate when we see each other. I laughed and suggested it would always be difficult for us to be together without ending up in each others arms.
We likened ourselves to rare earth magnets. Get too close and – snap – they come together.