I was driving this morning from my hotel to the airport to go home. I’m beyond exhausted, due to a late night rendezvous with a former blogger (the second post will come soon).
I love to drive – not in city traffic, but on winding tree-lined highways where I can exceed the speed limit, if there is one. I listen to music and sing along and think.
Despite my addled sleep deprived state, or perhaps because of it, I had a moment of clarity.
Tony finally has the relationship with me he always wanted.
I wasn’t able to give it to him when we first met, now almost 18 months ago.
There are no labels, which made him uncomfortable. It took a long time for him to genuinely embrace using the term boyfriend and girlfriend. Well, the more honest way to say that is he became comfortable with my use of the term, since he used it sparingly. Now he gets to simply call me a friend, which might mean our relationship can be more in the open – after all, we’re just friends, right?
There are few demands on his time. He can be a bit of a recluse, and his work schedule means it’s hard for him to make plans. In Chapter One, I got frustrated when he wasn’t available or communicative.
It changed in Chapter Two, and now ironically, we’ve been in contact pretty much every single day and whenever I comment I know he has other priorities, he’s quick to tell me I am a priority in his life, no matter our status.
He certainly showed me how much I matter recently, when he put my needs first, despite being inconvenient. A friend said his willingness to help me in the aftermath of my last relationship spoke volumes about how he felt about me. She was right. It was pretty awesome.
There is no pressure of being in a committed relationship. While he was committed to me in Chapter Two, he knew the more he promised, the more in conflict he would potentially be if he decided to go back to his ex-wife. He couldn’t have two committed relationships.
We are not exclusive. This isn’t an issue for him anyway – he’s said time and time again he can barely handle me and his ex-wife. He shut down his long-stagnant POF profile months ago. We joke he wouldn’t know when someone was flirting with him anyway.
I haven’t pushed for exclusivity because I don’t want it. I want to be free to do what (and who) I want. I learned the hard way I used to push for things like this because I wanted someone to want to be exclusive, even if it wasn’t really what I wanted.
So I don’t do that anymore.
While I’m not so naive to think there won’t be a time when he ends up being physical with someone else, I know the chance is remote. So in practical terms, he’s closed and I’m open. I chuckle to think it’s sort of what I’ve always wanted, anyway.
I don’t push him to make a decision about his ex-wife. I’m actively avoiding asking him about the family time he spends with her and their son – although sometimes “oh, are you going to that kids birthday party alone?” pops out before I can stop it. It’s a force of habit more than anything else – I know things aren’t different. It isn’t information I need to have, it doesn’t help me in any way.
I don’t ask him to talk about his feelings.
Okay, this is only partially true. I don’t ask him to talk about his feelings, much. We’ve had a few discussions here and there. One night on the phone I was on a roll, asking him questions about how he felt and commenting on my take on things, and he said he wished he’d just come over because in person, he’d be able to shut me up by kissing me.
Tony has me in his life. Above all, that’s what he wants. He didn’t like it when I withdrew myself from him. He will take me in whatever form I’m willing to give.
And here’s the rub. While Tony resisted labels and exclusivity and commitment at times, he let me – us – go there. He didn’t want to have the conflict, so he went with it. Its a peacekeeper and passive approach. It’s not different from how he’s managing his relationship with his ex. While I don’t delve into their inner workings, I know enough to say with confidence he’s letting the situation continue, instead of making it what he wants.
It’s exactly opposite of how I’m living my life. Bull by the horns and all that. Being my authentic self yadda yadda. I want someone who is going to help clear the path ahead with me, side by side. Not following the path even if it may not lead to their destination. Or worse, perhaps…following in the absence of having their own destination.
Maybe I should experience sleep deprivation more often.