By word count alone, I’ve written the equivalent of two long novels about Tony and me. Probably not a surprise to those of you who suffered through Chapter One and Two. While he may not be a big talker, I seem to never be at a loss for words when it comes to him. It’s romantic tragicomedy at its finest.
A fellow blogger said she let one of her friends read my blog and they didn’t believe it was real life. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this and it makes me wonder what to make of it. Am I that fantastical or unbelievable?
Hy and I talked last night about what’s going on with Tony. While I haven’t been obsessing about things with him, I know it’s important to tread carefully so am giving it some thought. Shocker.
I have good intellectual clarity – the key will be finding the balance between the intellectual knowledge of what’s right for me right now, and letting my behaviour and choices be dictated by what feels good.
I know with certainty I need to keep some practical distance, for now. Meaning, even though I could talk to him every day (and he wants to), and see him more often, I shouldn’t. It is a necessary precondition for any hope for keeping some emotional distance. It feels as if he wants to go right back into a relationship with me. I don’t know whether it’s deliberate on his part – the cynics can argue he’s being careless, not considering the emotional impact of his actions. Maybe.
But something is different. The one big thing that held us back before is his inability to say his marriage was over. It wasn’t, ultimately. But now it would seem that it is.
He’s sending good morning texts here and there. He’s booking dinners weeks ahead. He sends texts saying how much he loves my big busy brain, and calls asking how important things in my life are going. He’s asked me to go away with him for two nights – a small cabin in the woods with an outdoor private hot tub and nearby skating and skiing.
And that’s precisely why I need to be careful.
But not too careful. Hy sagely advised there is nothing I can reasonably ask him right now – he doesn’t know how the future will pan out. He can’t tell me whether I will always be hidden from his soon-to-be-ex because how can he know that?
My concern isn’t that he’s using me during this transitional period. He loves me and wants to spend time with me. It might be better for him to have some time alone, but it’s not how he thinks.
I have two main reservations when I contemplate a possible relationship with Tony:
First is a worry whether he and I could ever have a fully integrated relationship. Would I be able to spent time with him and his son, would he take me to Christmas dinner with his family. These things are important in a serious relationship… and they would be far away from being a reality with anyone just getting out of a twenty year relationship. He won’t be able to answer any question I pose on this topic.
Second is a broad concern about his being so conflict avoidant. But honestly, it’s something that has to be experienced to be worked on. For someone I love the way I love him, I’m not going to walk away from the potential of something amazing without trying it out.
Of course, I also wonder whether it will actually work. Will the magic be gone if we can have a serious relationship with all of the challenges they have? Will he still adore me the way he does? Will his shortcomings be an issue for me?
Do I even need to be in a serious relationship?
And in contemplating these things, I realize I can’t produce an outcome. I’m a Producer and a Fixer, but this is life, not work, and not a production I can fully manage.
I’m going to – gasp – take it one day at a time. I’m going to be mindful of my emotions and reactions and course correct as needed. When we are away together, I may find the opportunity to tell him I’m nervous about being hurt – that I love him and I can feel myself being pulled back in as we talk and spend time together. But that’s me taking care of me. I can ask him to be mindful as well – to try to be deliberate in his actions – but I can’t rely on that happening any more than I can with anyone else.
It feels amazing to have this clarity and to be committed to this approach. We’ll see how it goes.