Or, How Did I Get Myself Into This Mess?!
(Warning, novel ahead, partly because I had to take Vicodin and am feeling very chatty.)
Some of you know the whole saga of S, my (our, since Cait was involved too) ex-partner. I created a new category called S and edited every post about her to include that so you can read the whole thing if you want to. Lots of ups and downs. Wishing and hoping. Wanting something that I/we couldn’t have. And didn’t really want in the end. Except now I have her again. And the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. And I have to figure out how to gracefully get myself out of this.
How did all of this happen, you ask? About seven weeks ago I sent S a rather desperate note, apologizing for hurting her and saying that I wished we could at least be friends. A couple weeks after that S sent me a friend request on the Facebook account that I use for family and certain friends, including her sister and brother in law. She never got the letter because she had moved, something I obviously didn’t know. Therefore I didn’t know she sent the friend request on her own. I thought she sent it because of the letter. Of course I accepted the request immediately. And was then perplexed because she didn’t say anything to me, comment on anything I posted, or even reply to a couple comments I made on one of her posts.
On October 11th I posted “Happy Coming Out Day!” on her page with a rainbow flag pic. Within hours she was instant messaging me. She and her daughter saw on my profile that I was separated. She said she didn’t know if I was interested in talking to her but she is a much different person now than she was a couple years ago and hoped we might be friends again. Keep in mind, I still had no idea she didn’t read my letter and was assuming she had. When we figured out the coincidence of me sending a letter she didn’t receive and her sending me the friend request about a week later, we were pretty amazed. I still am. Even though I was still living with C, I made plans to go the next day to spend a couple days with her.
Suffice to say, we both had stars in our eyes. That first day we addressed what we hoped for, that being friendship turning to a relationship. A very slowly developing relationship. That first time I was there we didn’t kiss or even hold hands, which wasn’t exactly easy but was also for the best.
Even just the second night I was at her place a couple weeks ago I had doubt. But I also wanted things to work, of course. Partly because I feel like there will never be anyone else if there isn’t her. Settling. Uh oh.
A mere five days after spending time with her, she put her relationship status on Facebook as In a Relationship. Oh dear. That was too soon for me but I felt pressured to do the same, even though I knew it would create problems with some of the people I’m friends with on that account (namely C’s family). I felt that she would be hurt and not understand if I didn’t change my relationship status, so I caved and did it. And yes, it created a lot of confusion that several people brought up right away (but no one from C’s family, thankfully).
Not even 12 hours ago I got home from spending three nights with her again. There were several problems with this, the biggest being that it was too long to leave Abi (kitty) so soon after moving into our new home. I had my son come spend some time with her a couple times a day while I was gone but she was pretty upset with me when I got home. I feel horrible and can’t believe I did that to her. Another problem was that three nights was too long for me to be away. S is used to spending a week at a time with her daughter and grandchildren but that doesn’t mean I’m used to it. It was stressful for me to be away for so long from the routines I was just starting to get into. A third issue is how she eats. Absolutely nothing but processed crap. I’ve been eating badly enough anyway but to not have a single healthy option was stressful.
I spent much of the three days wondering what the hell I was doing. I felt confused and sometimes not sure what I wanted. But mostly I knew that this is not the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Don’t get me wrong, S has changed a lot. She’s grown and changed for the better. She’s much stronger and more stable now and I’m really proud of her for that. I know first hand how difficult the journey is and I give her a lot of credit for being brave enough to make the journey. But she still is not the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, or even have any sort of relationship more than friendship. And I’m not even sure how compatible we are as friends.
S and I are still very different. She does seem to be okay now with the idea of my multiplicity. I don’t think she understands it much at all but she seems okay with it. But seeming okay with it isn’t enough. I need to feel comfortable discussing it with her and I don’t, not more than occasional remarks. I need to be able to say to any partner I have, “I’m having a switchy chaotic night” and not wonder how okay she really is with it. Others need to feel comfortable popping out without any of us wondering what our partner really thinks.
And we are different in most other ways as well. The things we like to do. What we want to do with our lives. How we live our lives. Our stances on important issues and even issues that aren’t hot topics but matter a lot to me. When it comes down to it, our similarities pretty much boil down to our trauma histories and how that turned into us becoming friends almost three decades ago and the ups and downs of our relationship over that time.
Two nights ago as I lay in bed listening to her sleep (no sex, thankfully still only hand holding and basic kissing) I was in suicidal tears thinking about how I knew I can’t spend my life with her. Not only was I sad and frustrated that it couldn’t work, at that moment the best way I could see to get out of it was to kill myself. I know, awful, right? Night time can be really hard for me. All my worries and doubts come rushing in at night and that was no exception. I felt like I had not only made a mistake in reconnecting with S and pursuing a relationship with her, I had made a mistake in leaving C and should have left things as they were. Of course, I know that’s not remotely true, but it was what was going on for me. I fell asleep knowing that I would have to wait until at least November 10th to die because I couldn’t wreck plans my sons have with their dad. Yeah, irrational, but I know most (if not all) of you understand this irrational thinking.
I’m not suicidal about it all now; I know that’s no answer. I also know that I absolutely did not make a mistake in finally breaking away from C. It’s been difficult and painful at times but has also been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. And another good thing I need to do for myself is to break away from S.
Easier said than done. I don’t want to be the bad guy again, the one who does the hurting. A big reason for that is that of course I simply don’t want her to be hurt again. But another reason is that her roommate literally threatened my life. I’m not even kidding. When I was over there the first time her roommate took the opportunity when I was in the kitchen to tell me “If you hurt her again I’ll come and kill you myself.” That is verbatim, people. And I can’t say I wouldn’t put it beyond her. What a lovely dark cloud hanging over my head. Like it’s not bad enough worrying about hurting S anyway!
The night after the suicidal one I lay awake for quite some time after she fell asleep and tried to figure out how to keep this relationship from going any further without my being the one who says “This isn’t working.” She’s not really a deep talker so the opportunities don’t naturally arise to discuss issues that could show her how different we are. I’m not sure she can see how different we are even though I see it so clearly. It will be interesting to see how much work it takes me to get her to figure this out. I keep thinking of things to discuss with her to show her. Even something as simple as the fact that she adores Walmart and I steadfastly refuse to shop there because of how badly they treat their employees. I feel she’d think I’m being totally silly and why do I even care about that? But as far as I know, she doesn’t eve think about things like this. When I mentioned how much it bothers me that the US celebrates a man who didn’t actually discover America but did do horrific things once he got here, she looked at me like I was crazy. I’m not anywhere near as up on things as I’d like to be but I’m also not completely ignorant. Things like this matter to me. I could go on about different things but I’m trying to keep this from becoming a vent-fest.
There is one statement I could make that would be the deal breaker for her and that’s probably how I’ll approach this dilemma. She and her daughter and son in law have been making plans to move to Colorado. The very first day we saw each other in person again she said that she’s going to Colorado no matter what. That day, with stars blinding my view, I told her I’d follow her to Colorado. And by the next day I wondered what the hell I’d said that for. I do not want to go to Colorado! I don’t want to start over again in some place where the only people I know are her and the five people she’s going with. I just started over here and am loving it, thank you very much. My roots are here and this is where I intend to keep them. I love being in the Portland metro area and knowing there are many great opportunities for me here. I love being closer to one of my best friends. I love knowing that I will be in school again in a year. I love that my other best friend is still less than two hours away. I love being near my beloved Willamette Valley. I love being near my sons. I love it here. And that would make it very easy to say to S, “I don’t want to go to Colorado. I know you’re going no matter what but I can’t do it.”
But it still makes me the bad guy. I hate that. In the end, I know I have to keep this relationship from moving any further. I know I can’t dance around hoping that certain topics of conversation will make her shy away from me. It feels slightly wrong thinking about firing the Colorado bullet to cut things off. Will her roommate be pissed at me for saying I don’t want to go there? You and I know that would be ridiculous but we also can’t control how S tells the story. Even though I try to have confidence that the roommate wouldn’t come hunt me down, we also have never liked each other and I’ve always felt she sort of has it in for me. What a bullshit mess. Who the hell threatens someones life like that?! Jesus.
I know what I need to do and now I have to figure out how to do it. I dread this. But I’m thankful I’m figuring this stuff out now and not three months down the road after getting far more entrenched in each other’s lives. And you can be damned sure I’m going to do my best not to think about how the grass is on the other side of any fence. Because it really never is better.