I hated how much the whole thing with Tony consumed my thoughts. Wondering what happened, how she found out, what their decision was (if any), and what was next.
I knew I may never get an answer. I knew the bulk of my interest was intellectual curiosity. Maybe most importantly, I knew that no contact with him was best for me. I wasn’t tortured at the thought of not talking to him regularly.
I was more upset with myself, at the time and emotional effort I’ve spent the last month or two seeing whether I could meet his need for us to remain friends. It wasn’t going to work, I’ve known it for a long time, but I tried anyway.
I let him back in a little and was on a slippery slope mentally and emotionally. In the past I’ve reached out to him for comfort, and did it again – briefly – with some stress over Leo. Not good. Despite my telling him he was a fool for thinking we could ever be friends out in the open, and for not telling his wife the truth about our past, he kept fighting for me. Just last week, he told me he couldn’t give me up from his life.
Despite not hearing from him, and maybe because he hadn’t called, I was pretty sure I knew what the outcome was.
He finally called, days after he said he would.
He was at an indoor playground for kids, for a birthday party. He started off completely innocuously – “well it’s been a stressful week” kind of thing. I had to ask him a few times before he would tell me anything. We talked for 20 minutes, these are the highlights:
“What happened, Tony?”
“Well we talked, did a lot of thinking. It made me pretty sad.”
“How did she find out?”
“I don’t know. She found out somehow. I didn’t ask and she didn’t tell me. I didn’t deny it.”
“What does she think is the truth?
“She thinks we worked together on a project. That we were together from before we went to Jamaica until after I decided to move back in.”
“So you didn’t tell her our real timeline. How convenient for you. Did you tell her it was your choice?”
“No, I told her we made a joint decision to break up.”
“And she actually believes we are friends now?”
“Yes, she does. That’s what she says, anyway.”
“Then why on earth did us meeting up at the game set her off, if she believes we are just friends?”
“I don’t know, Ann, but she wasn’t very happy about it. She wasn’t cool with it. I’m at her mercy, there’s no going back. I committed to move back in, am slowly starting to move stuff back in. I can’t start again.”
“Tony, what do you mean?”
“I can’t move back out.”
“Sure you can. You can do anything you want to do.”
“Well, I don’t want to move back out”.
“Okay, so why did you block me on Instagram just to request to follow me again?”
[Side note: yesterday, I saw he had requested to follow me on IG which was odd since we were already following each other. So I realized he’d perhaps blocked me.]
“Ann, I just thought it was best. I removed you but then made a mistake and hit the wrong button. It’s not appropriate for you to be liking my stuff on Instagram.”
“Why the fuck not, if we are just friends?? I’m the one that asked you, last year, if you were sure it was okay for us to be interacting on social media. You were sure it was fine.”
“Ann, I thought it was fine.”
“I’m the one who told you from the beginning, you should have been open with her about dating, and about our relationship. I told you a year ago you were naive for thinking we could be friends. Lately I’ve spent so much time and emotional effort trying to make staying in contact with you okay. It was brutal for me but I was trying anyway. Yet here you are, getting caught for something she should have already known, and then, what, you’re just going to lay down and end the friendship you’ve said is so important?”
“I told her it would be tough to not be your friend anymore, that I wanted to keep talking to you and I liked your advice. I just think it’s better to let her cool off. Ann, she’s quoting your Instagram posts.”
“What are you talking about? What is she quoting? I’ve been private for months! My Facebook account is private?”
“Ann, I don’t know!” He was getting frustrated with me. “She’s yelling your profile description at me: ‘divorced, tattooed, corporate executive’. I can’t have her keep doing that. I’m trying to reconcile my marriage. I don’t know what you want me to say.”
“Tony, I wanted you to say what you are saying. I wanted to understand what happened and what you decided.”
“Ann, my son told her he saw us kissing after the game!”
“I need you to say you understand. I thought you would understand this, I thought you’d get it faster than you are. The other parents have noticed I’m pacing back and forth. I needed you, my friend, to say ‘Dude it’s okay and I get it and we will figure it out.””
“Tony I do understand, I do get it, but this is the first time I’m hearing about this and you’ve been processing it for a week. Are you basically telling me that our friendship is now over?”
“I’m heartbroken Ann, I love you and I’m going to miss you as my friend. You’re my confidant and the person I talk to most.”
“Well thank you for finally telling me how this impacts you. You hadn’t said it before.”
“Look Ann, she doesn’t understand why I would need a female friend. She said I had lots but they are all women I’ve known for 30 years married to my friends.”
“So that’s it, then, right?”
“Please don’t contact me. I’m under extreme heat right now. I don’t know what she’s monitoring. Perhaps even my emails. You can’t send me any texts. When I see them and delete them she asks what I’m deleting. I can’t be in contact with you; I thought you would understand.”
“Of course I understand.”
“I have to go, I’m the only parent not with their kid. I’m sure it’s going to be reported back that I was on the phone for a half an hour, pacing back and forth. I’m sure my son is going to mention it to her.”
“So this is the last time we are going to speak, so I guess it’s goodbye?”
“I will figure it out Ann. I just need some time. I will come see you next week.”
Seems he’s learned nothing at all.
(In case you are wondering, I won’t contact him. And I will be very surprised if I hear from him anytime soon. On some level, I’m relieved. I learned what I needed, it was the outcome I expected, and I’m free to think about other things again.)