I’m not smitten.

I’m back from my beach vacation with Leo. Despite it being a relaxing time, my brain constantly buzzed. It’s still buzzing, cycling through thoughts of men, needs, past relationships, and what it is I really want.

I planned to write yesterday but instead stayed in bed most of the day catching up on social media and work emails. I spoke to my Mom for an hour and gave her the lowdown. She gave me lots to think about, as always, commiserating on the downside of our shared analytical nature.

Why do I have anything for my brain to be buzzy about? I’m not smitten with Leo.

I’ve sorted the potential reasons into three different categories, as its the only way I can hope to make sense of things.

The first and most obvious question is whether (or how much) it has to do with Tony.

The second relates to having to fight for attention, availability, and affection in some of my past relationships, and how much not being in a similar situation now has me off-balance.

The third is simply, how much of it is Leo, and whether he’s the right person for me.

Back to the first. Tony. Admittedly it was hard to not compare the two vacations. The last time I went on an all-inclusive trip with a man was a year ago in Jamaica with Tony. Even in the midst of all of the heartbreak, we had an amazing time together. I spent almost a week with him and still wanted more.

Tony and I together was never an issue. Unfortunately for anyone else, from a connection, chemistry, and compatibility perspective, Tony set a very high bar. Our time together was usually effortless: it was everything else that was torture.

Leo and I had a pleasant time together on the trip. But it wasn’t effortless, or as romantic or sexual as I’d hoped. Granted, we didn’t have any arguments, and while I had some minor irritations I knew they were just that – minor. More to come on those.

Ultimately, any man I meet will be compared to the others who came before him. I think of the positives and negatives in each of them, weighing what I want most of all, what I prefer, and what I can live with. I don’t expect to meet many (if any) men with whom I will have the same kind of chemistry I had with Tony.

On the other hand, there is a lot I didn’t have with Tony, which is important to me. Honesty, fidelity, emotional availability, to name a few. Leo has those in spades.

So there’s the specter of Tony as my ex-boyfriend, and the high bar he set in certain areas.

Then there’s the unpleasant reality that I’m still not completely “over” him. There was so much pain, for so long a period, and it takes a long time to really heal. Hy and I talk about it regularly – her with The Neighbor, me with Tony – and what it is about these kinds of relationships and breakups that take so long to get over.

Blech.

I don’t pine for him. I don’t wish we were “back together”. Of course there’s a part of me that wishes he’d do what I think is the right thing, actually move on from his marriage and get divorced, and then with this newly-honest-Tony I could have the relationship with him I always wanted.

But I know that’s a fantasy.

So my state of mind with regard to Tony has more to do with healing than anything else. Getting used to not being in contact, knowing he can’t be in my life even as a friend, reconciling I’m in love with someone I can’t (and shouldn’t) be with. Being angry at being denied what I wanted.

I need to make some space in my heart before anyone else can take up residence.

Leo is knocking at the door, asking to be let in.

I’ve told him in relatively obscure ways about the difficulty I had with Tony. He knows it was a hard breakup. He knows it’s partially why I told him I needed some space late last Fall. Leo asked me when Tony and I had last been intimate and I lied. I saw no reason to hurt this good man with information that made no difference to our current situation. Even my Mom agreed it was the right thing to do.

I’m making progress in clearing out my heart, but it will take a while and I’m not sure it can be sped up.

But then I ask myself – if it was someone else, if it was a different man, would I be writing these same words? Could there not be someone who swept me off my feet so much I say “Tony who?”. I think of Kyle (still, yes, I know…) and suspect it would be different if I was dating him. Or Todd, if he happened to not be married and living in a different city.

But those two men are unavailable to me. Which leads me to wonder if that’s the thing that creates desire for me. Or if perhaps my un-smitten situation is about Leo himself. Both things I will tackle in upcoming posts.


All pictures from the Leo posts are from the 1962 film “Phaedra”

25 thoughts on “I’m not smitten.

  1. I’ll comment later on the content, after I’ve digested, but for now: Very well constructed (subtle) cliff hanger!!

  2. Very thoughtful post. Have you considered that perhaps Leo can simply be a rebound relationship? You don’t have to decide if you want to marry him or even live with him. Right now I woukd suggest that you frame as “could I be happy in a stable relationship with this man for X months?”

    This gives you time and space to experience a healthy relationship, move further from Tony memories and other stuff as well.

    I think perhaps we think of relationships (particularly having had a long martiage), as a long-term commitment. They don’t have to be. It goes back to that old adage of people come into your life for a reason or a season — sometimes both.

    Now having said all of that, traveling with a person truly determines compatibility. If you don’t travel well t ogetherm the it’s a dealbreaker in my book.

    • I guess for me, Maggie, once I’ve decided that someone isn’t right for me long term (and not saying I’ve made that decision about Leo, yet), I don’t think it’s right to continue a relationship with them unless you are both on the same page.
      On our vacation, Leo demonstrated to me he is quite smitten. He’s thinking long-term. And if I’m not on the same page I think he has a right to know, or to be set free. I don’t want to unnecessarily hurt a good man.

  3. Well hold your horses, cowgirl. Its waaayyyy too soon for anybody to commit to the long-term. Yes, everybody says that going in, but reality is another story. I’m just saying that before you make any big decision about your relationship with Leo, take a breath and relax. Be in the moment rather than deciding when he’s moving in or whatever next big relationship step is next. Forget about cutting him loose so he’s available to another woman — it’s dating, not sainthood. Relax, be in the monent and have some patience. Things will unfold in their own time. This is not chess – you don’t need to know/plan the next couple of moves. Just my two cents. I’m drinking wine preparing for my little convo witb the Hunter on some domestic bliss (or lack thereof) issues…. maybe a second glass…..

    • I have no intentions of making any long term plans, it’s definitely not what I was suggesting. But if I do come to the conclusion he’s not the guy for me, I don’t think its right to continue a relationship.

    • What I expect is for him to know the difference between the truth I need to know, and something that would hurt me unnecessarily. I would never want to hear that a former girlfriend and he had the best chemistry ever, or he’s still in love with her, or he saw her several weeks after he and I started dating (but before we agreed to be exclusive) and they had awesome sex. There’s no benefit to him telling me that – but I would expect him to say it was a recent / difficult breakup and they were intimate after he and I had met.
      And that’s exactly what I did. It’s the spirit of the truth if not the exact letter. I fudged the timeline of our last intimate encounter by a few weeks – not because I felt it was wrong, since Leo and I hadn’t agreed to be exclusive – but I thought it would save him unnecessary pain and worry. I guess I see it as a white lie and you don’t. But I don’t think that makes me undeserving of a good man.

      • It may make you undeserving of this particular man, though. A lie is a lie. You “fudged”? You aren’t 12, you’re well over 40, and this ridiculousness isn’t fair to Leo. Let him go and stop playing this game. You are in love with someone else, someone else who is a liar and will never be yours. You need to sort that out and get yourself together before you promise yourself to someone else.

        • I find it fascinating you associate this with being childish. I’m not playing a game with him, I’m working through how I feel about him and I happen to do it via this blog. There are more posts coming about the other elements of how I’m feeling (Tony is just one piece of it) and perhaps why. I haven’t made a decision about Leo.
          This is my place to process my thoughts. If I come to the conclusion he’s not the right man for me, I won’t continue with him, because I think that’s wrong and unfair. And I haven’t made him any promises.
          But Alyssa, when you say “a lie is a lie”… you can’t deny that motivation for lying plays a part. Should we have hyper 100% honesty all the time with everyone? If you actually believe that and practice that then good for you, but I believe life and communication should be more nuanced. There are things I wouldn’t want to know if the tables were turned. It would cause anxiety and unnecessary worry. Tony is not the main reason I’m questioning my compatibility with Leo. If he was, I would have said things differently. I told Leo enough for me to feel I was being honest about Tony’s and my breakup and my lingering feelings for him. I made the call – and clearly you disagree with me, which is perfectly fine – that anything more would be unnecessarily hurtful. It wasn’t childish, it was a calculated, grown up decision. Maybe the wrong one, but it doesn’t make me a child and doesn’t mean I’m playing games.

  4. As I’ve followed the Leo saga, I’ve kept thinking,”she’s just not that into him.” So I’ve been puzzled by your focus on the exclusivity question. I imagine it’s reassuring to know that he wants exclusivity, but with all your doubts why didn’t you put that step on hold? I feel bad for Leo that he’s now in a clearly exclusive relationship with someone he is “smitten” with, and he has no idea about the degree of your doubts. Just curious about your thought process here.

    • It wasn’t about my needing to be reassured at all. He would have been happy with exclusivity after our third date way back in October. It was that I suspected he already thought we were (not because I led him on or implied it, I had been clear with him in the past and he subsequently made some assumptions), and I thought it would be disingenuous to ignore my suspicion and continue having casual sex with Lewis and Clark and Todd. It would be unfair to Leo and the longer it continued the more wrong I thought it was. Believe me, if I had genuinely thought he knew I was still engaging with other sexual partners and was mostly okay with it, I never would have brought it up, given my doubts.

  5. “Being angry at being denied what I wanted.”

    Oh my yes. Something I struggle with so much. I’ve no advice to offer, other than remind yourself that what you wanted was not a viable (realistic) alternative. I need to tell myself that daily, often. Apparently my brain is not adept at making my heart listen. And I dunno about you, but when I am angry, I get stuck in an unhealthy headspace, which prevents me from seeing other possibilities in life.

    Good luck.

  6. I guess what stood out to me was your quote saying “Tony as a newly honest man.” Well while if he was out of his marriage, etc. yes he would be newly honest about that, but what screams to me is that he would most likely be dishonest and or hiding something else as is his style to avoid conflicts.

    Not good!!

    I understand your reasoning and avoidance of hurting Leo in fibbing about the timeline of seeing Tony last. And you’re right in that it doesn’t really make a difference at this point.

    • I absolutely agree with you about Tony… there isn’t really a scenario where he’s coming clean and suddenly changing his stripes. I know this to be true, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a tiny piece of me that still wishes for the fantasy.

      Thank you for your support on the fib on the timeline. I wasn’t coming from a bad place and was trying to limit the hurt while staying true to the spirit of the truth. Lol, how’s that for a politician statement!!

      • Yes, there is no crime in wanting the fantasy. You will never be able to properly mourn, work through the grief, and let go, if you don’t acknowledge all that you wanted, no matter how unreasonable. However, take it from me. I’m still mucking my way in a “should I stay or should I go” way with a man who finally emancipated himself a year ago from the kinds of relationships (a marriage, followed immediately by a 3-yr exclusive, live-in relationship) where he was cheating, lying, etc. He’s no longer had to do that, and not surprisingly, couldn’t immediately step up into relating with others honestly. The habit of managing how other people perceive him with lies of omission, with down playing, etc., had been cast for far too long. People like this guy and Tony need to get right with themselves first before they have any business participating in a relationship. People like us need to recognize that if we’ve enabled guys like this to behave in a dodgy fashion, it’s really hard for them to internalize that we not only deserve better, but that we actually want something better. We only have only ever made sense to them on the DL.

  7. Speaking from the standpoint of one who mistakenly thought he was in an exclusive relationship with someone who was vague about her level of exclusivity and less than fully honest about her activities and level of involvement with others….I can say that the bad news didn’t get better with age. It just delayed my hurt and added layers of distrust that are insurmountable when she finally filled me in. I also never broached the topic with her as in my mind we clearly were exclusive. Wrong I was. I fully accept responsibility for not discussing it and assuming from my end, what I can’t get over is her knowing I felt that way and allowing me to be misinformed.

    I’d just encourage you to tread lightly in this area, and if you feel like total honesty is an area you will eventually get to with Leo, get there sooner rather than later. It may allow him to be more understanding.

    • Thanks for your comment, and what you describe is precisely why I proactively brought it up. The last time we talked about it I’d told him while I wasn’t dating anyone else with an eye to a potential relationship, but did have some casual sex partners in my life. I was completely open about it. At some point he assumed those casual interactions had stopped, which wasn’t the case. His not asking me for a couple of months made me realize it was likely he’d come to a (false) conclusion… and knowing it was the case I felt bad continuing to pretend otherwise. As you say, I didn’t want to continue to allow him to be misinformed.
      If he asks me when I stopped having casual sex with others I would be honest, and would first remind him he made a false assumption. I hope he doesn’t ask because I don’t think it will be beneficial to anything.
      And I’m sorry you got hurt. It sucks.

      • In reading your subsequent posts…I’m chuckling about how wrong I was about Leo in this area! Thanks for your thoughtful response though! Lol…

What do you think?