Tara suggested my last post sounded like closure with Tony. I hadn’t thought about it until that moment, and have been reflecting on it since.
I suppose I had always defined goodbye as something truly final – but it’s more nuanced than that. For now, I’m not going to cut off contact. I’m not blocking and deleting him (the latter having no impact anyway since his number has been memorized for a long time); there’s no point. However, with each discussion I am further disconnected emotionally.
Wait, that’s not quite right either.
I’m not disconnected emotionally in the sense I still love him and care very deeply for him. Those emotions are there and although time and situations can impact how that love feels, it’s always there.
However, there is peace in my heart and mind when it comes to him. I don’t consistently yearn for him as my boyfriend. I know he’s deeply flawed and unhappy and because of those things a long-term integrated relationship would be difficult with him. In some ways, him never being 100% in our relationship likely saved us from a breakup whereby I decided he was definitively not for me because of who he was instead of (mostly) our situation.
I am left with two main thoughts as it relates to him.
First, he will be a regret of mine. Maybe not a regret: a wistful longing of something never taken to its conclusion – of never seeing what things could have been like. We never got into his concentric circles; never hung out with the kids together, never joined family traditions. Although upon reflection I think I can predict how that would have gone down. But it remains unfinished, like a book I stopped reading in the third chapter.
Second, I worry I won’t find someone else who loves me like he does. He accepts me – no, adores me – for exactly who and what I am. He knows many of the stories in this blog, he’s not afraid of my independence or threatened by my success. Despite everything, the love he has for me has been unwavering. Losing the regular reminders of that has been difficult. When I said before I’ve been using him as a crutch, that’s what I meant.
While the analytical side of me would love to know more about him and Mary, what’s happening, what she thinks, how on earth she’s patient enough to deal with it, and the like – there’s no benefit to me nor does it change anything. I do a good job now of not asking for information when I don’t need it – or when it could do me harm.
I also know it does me no good to give him any lectures on how I see his continued inability to move forward. He told me recently he is between a rock and a hard place, knowing what he’s walking away from and what he’s going to. I could have said so much in that moment but realized it was pointless. I muttered sounds of acknowledgment and otherwise kept my mouth shut.
What a concept.
I suppose intellectually I’ve completely said goodbye. Emotionally I’m probably as close as I can be without moving on to someone else, or time making it happen naturally. And my heart?
It will always have a place carved out for him, that much I know.
Image from the Cary Grant movie “My Favorite Wife”