Welcome to the shit show.

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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!”

“Oh.”

“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.)

30 thoughts on “Welcome to the shit show.

    • Hmm. I don’t think he’s particularly confused so am curious what you see that makes you say so? I actually don’t think anything has changed. He is still determined to fully move back in. It might still take him a while. He still wants me as a friend, although I think – hope – he now realizes it’s a ridiculous idea, even more so now that I’m even more on her radar.

      So I guess he’s confused from the perspective that he still thinks at some level he can be in his marriage and be friends with me, a former girlfriend and relatively recent lover, who he’s in love with and considers his best friend.

  1. Sorry Ann, but i think he wants to have his cake and eat it, too. Something so celebrated and treasured in this lifestyle of ours is sadly lacking with him. The trust that HONESTY builds is almost pathologically lacking with Tony and i doubt that he’s capable of cultivating it. Ever. 💜

    • You don’t need to apologize, I think that’s exactly what he wants. He says he would be truly just a friend if that’s what I needed, but it’s too hard for us to turn off the attraction to one another.
      He says she believes we are just friends but I don’t believe it for a second. If she trusted him her behaviour would be different. He’s lied many times to her and as you say, he still isn’t building trust with the truth (he’s admitted to the partial truth she found out). Sigh.

  2. I agree with little one. He wants to continue cheating on and lying to his wife while also seeing you whenever it is convenient for him / whenever he can get away with it.

    Hopefully this is what you need to finally move on. What a clusterfuck he’s gotten himself into!

    • Agreed. I do hope his last comment about figuring it out was more about him it being able to tell me goodbye in the moment, then his refusal to see that’s what’s required if he stays in his marriage. But I realized after I wrote this that his frustration at me for not just saying “hey cool I understand, no worries” is probably because he sees this as temporary.
      We shall see.
      I’m okay with having silence again. It’s way better for me to have no contact with him.

  3. Well he sounds exactly like a man who has been caught cheating. Which he is. I also don’t think this is the end of the Tony drama. He just wants you to sit quiet in the background til the heat calms down and then he will pick up where you’ve left off. He knows you two aren’t really just friends…he relies on the fact that you still sleep with him when he comes over “as a friend” and I am certain he will try to get back to that kind of “friendship” once his wife is no longer watching him closely. He has made it clear he wants to be with his wife and son, but he wants to keep you on the side. I hope you find a way to block him out for good. He isn’t a friend.

    • Interestingly, what she “knows” is that we dated for a brief period before they agreed to get back together. So it’s not cheating. Could you imagine the shit show had she found out the truth???
      I think you’re right that he wants me around, but he also does believe (foolishly) that we can just be friends. And despite having been together a couple of times in the last months completely platonically, it never stays that way.
      And you’re absolutely right, that’s not friendship. I am relieved to have the silence again. I was testing whether any contact with him was okay. For a brief time it can be but it always goes to a place that’s not good for me.

  4. Wow, I am just going off my gut, but Tony really is a piece of work.

    He is a complete victim. It’s so pathetic and unattractive. Yet, he still feels entitled to have power over you.

    Tony does want you to hang on and remain in the background.

    Its really triggers me how he thinks its *his* choice what your relationship should be now, or in the future. Maybe your power didn’t come through in the summary above, but I didn’t ever hear you say, “Maybe I don’t want to be at all in your life right now if you can’t take responsibility for anything. You have created this shit show, and its time you understand that I am not at all here for you to help you get out of it. Everything I did and shared with you, anything that she could have possibly caught and been upset about, I shared with you under the false pretenses that you established. This absolves me of all responsibility for your suffering and unhappiness right now. You shit in your own pants, you get to wear them all day without me or your wife changing them for you, you baby-man. We are done, and this is my decision, not yours.”

    Or, you can just decisively unfriend him from anything, block him, never take his calls or his texts, and just walk away.

    the only way he can have that leverage is if you let him.

    What would it take for you to really walk away this time?

    Your life is filled with smart, engaging, people of integrity who respect you. You do an amazing job of taking great care of yourself and knowing your worth, but for as long as you let this shit show influence how you feel, there is this major way in your life in which you tell yourself you aren’t worthy. Maybe now is the time?

    Thank you for sharing and for being so honest. In your shoes, I would be just as confused, just as curious, and struggle as much to let go.

    • I guess my point is that you may benefit from setting a deliberate boundary. You know for yourself that no contact is better at this point. He may need to hear this, too, and that “no contact” is the consequence he pays for disrespecting and exploiting a woman like you, who deserves someone with 100x the integrity that he has. Otherwise, he may still think he has an “in” with you once his shit cools down. He is only capable of seeing his own shit, and not at all how this impacts you. Good luck, Ann. You deserve the best.

      • I agree. I did it before (blocked him) without telling him, as it seemed unnecessary. In the past when I’ve told him I can’t talk to him, he’s honored that ask, for a while at least.

        He insists he could be platonic friends with me. It’s been me that’s had an issue – in that even our “neutral” discussions drive me batty. And when we’ve moved beyond platonic, it’s been both of us that have done it – he doesn’t own that. We both do.

        All that to say, I guess he wouldn’t see that he’s disrespected or exploited me. For sure, overall when someone lies like he does, he disrespects both me and his again-wife. I’m just pointing out (not being apologetic for) that in his mind, he’s not disrespecting or exploiting me, so me telling him no contact is punishment for that won’t resonate.

        What may resonate but likely not change anything – and what I do sincerely feel – is that I need no contact because I’m fundamentally unsatisfied just being friends with him. And if I was angry about being hidden before, here I would be even more hidden, and for “just” friends. When what I always wanted was him to be the love of my life. I can’t be friends with him when I’m in love with him, and him with me.

        So perhaps that’s what I need to say to him. Thinking out loud 🙂

        • As usual, you are on top of it. Yes. It does seem like even without the shit he brings to the table, a friendship is doomed because you want and desire more. I’m so sorry you can’t have it. As much of a jerk he is, you had a dream, which was fed by the part of him that showed you love and care, in his limited way. it never came true, and you can see plain as day that it won’t. It hurts. I agree that as well as being a jerk, tony also understood you in ways that other men haven’t. This is one reason why it’s been so hard to let go. It’s hard to lose that. But, That Tony is gone, and while it will hard work, you will find that again. This has all been pretty brutal. You come out stronger.

    • You’re right that you didn’t read it, because I didn’t say it. I decided it wasn’t the time for me to berate him about his foolishness and bad choices.

      He wasn’t asking me to help him get out of it (other than by not contacting him, which was fine with me anyway since it’s been generally how I’ve been with him). It he had pulled any “poor me” or “help me” shit then yes, I would have replied differently.

      Before this happened, I was already in a place where I knew that even giving / allowing a very small piece of my time and energy wasn’t what I wanted. The best way I can explain it is I’ve been playing with different levels or types of contact over the last few weeks (since I unblocked him) to see whether any of it was okay… and it’s not.

      So this completely reinforces for me that I can’t now, and maybe never can, have him as a small part of my life, even if platonic. I told him recently it was difficult for me, but I haven’t told him his presence in my life is a detriment because I think it’s cruel. He needs me more than I need him, and I don’t want to be unkind in that situation.

  5. I commented to your next post before reading this post. Regardless, this post breaks my heart a little. I imagine the “almost” of what I’d be feeling if I were you. This is one of the outcomes of being a secret woman by anyone’s choosing and it’s a heartbreaking place to be because you have an awareness of it but you hope for the better outcome. I feel for you. It’s a hard place to be and to get out of. xoxo

  6. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I get Tony and I think I know what his deal is. Ultimately he wants to be with you, but he also wants to be what he thinks is a good person, which in his minds means being with the mother of his child. He doesn’t rationally think he can have you both, but emotionally he does. He needs time to figure out how to accept it or rationalize it or maybe he just needs time for his wife to calm down and then he can (in his mind) go back to your relationship.
    He got caught but if the story is that you were dating while they were broken up, then he panicked and he doesn’t feel that he has the agency to stand up for what he wants or should be able to have with you because he doesn’t feel the ownership of himself to be able to say that and have it be ok.
    Tony isn’t an intentional douchebag, he just feels stuck and thinks he can make the three of you happy if he just plays the game properly. I’m not saying that what he’s doing is right, just what it is.

  7. I’m wondering if his wife accessed his phone to creep on your IG at some point? She might have done this a while ago and just sat on what she saw until she had proof that you are/were more than friends. And when the shit hit the fan she started spewing back at him everything she saw on there? Just a thought.

    • She wouldn’t have had to use his phone to creep my accounts – my IG was public for a long time and although I didn’t have pics of him, it showed I was at the same resort at the same time – so not a stretch to conclude we were there together.
      I agree however she knew for a while and she reached her tipping point.

  8. Do you even want to be friends with this Tony? He sounds like a coward, and a selfish wimp right now.

    I understand missing the old Tony – the real friend Tony. But that isn’t this version of Tony. This version of Tony is very very icky.

    (p.s. I haven’t blogged about it yet, but oye. parallel lives. really. Beaut & Tony are soul mates. Go them. NEXT!)

  9. Since everyone’s given their take, I will give you my take on Tony. I think he’s a commitmentphobe. Commitmentphobes can’t commit to staying and they can’t commit to leaving either. Commitments and monogamy make them claustrophobic. He can’t fully commit to you but he can’t fully commit to his wife either. When he wasn’t married, he was scared of getting to close to you and having a real relationship with you. Now that he’s married again, he sees you as his trapdoor. I know it so hard but you have to go no contact with him completely, otherwise he’ll just keep using you in the same way endlessly

What do you think?