Sorry for the radio silence. I’m wrestling some alligators, which is apparently what I do now.
Work is crazy. I’ve been put into a back against the wall situation for reasons that I feel like have less to do with me than they appear, but time will tell. So far, I’ve made better progress against the work alligators than I think anyone expected, but I’ve got at least another six weeks of alligators promised, so the story’s far from done.
In other news, Grey-Area Guy is back in an interesting way. He has been texting me every two weeks for I kid you not two years. And I’ve kept it in a very black-and-white place, and told myself that it was never going to be more than that, and eventually it would stop. And we can talk about whether I should have put a more explicit stop to that or not, but I didn’t.
On New Year’s Eve, he told me he loves me and I’m the one for him. I didn’t put a ton of credit on it, because people say stupid things on New Year’s Eve. What he’s told me since then is that he has struggled to feel worthy of me— that when we were dating, he felt like he wasn’t worthy of me for reasons that have entirely to do with him and his past and not to do with how I treated him, and that he wants to work on that, so that when he comes back into my life, it’s as (my words, not his) a whole person.
This tracks with what he was telling me then. And he has been clear that this is something he has to work on and that he’s not asking me to put my life on hold while he does. And to the extent that I understand it, I support it. I wasn’t always capable of being myself in a relationship, either. I worked hard to get there (and I don’t have certainty that I’m all the way there, just a sense that I can trust myself to do the work to get there). I get that he might need to do the same.
I feel your eyes rolling, and I get it. Here’s where I am with it:
- In my dating life, he’s the one. It’s been hard to date since I met him because nobody else comes close. He makes me happy. He makes me laugh. I’m attracted to him. He supports me when I’m down. He believes in who I want to be. He sees and celebrates what nobody else I’ve dated seems to value about who I am. He wants good things for me, even when the good things are not directly in his best interest.
- He’s a good father, a hard worker, and someone who tries to do things the right way. I respect and admire that about him.
- If there’s a chance for us, I’ve always been in. I haven’t believed that chance existed, which is why I’ve been trying to move on with various degrees of effort for 3.5 years.
- There’s a chance that he won’t get to where he wants to be. And there’s no telling how long it will take. I’ve asked him what he’s doing about it. He talks euphemistically (I know— am I the pot or the kettle, there) so I don’t really know what his process is or how much credence to give it. I’d love to know that he was working with a therapist but he just says he “knows what he has to do” and that he has “trials” to complete to “earn” me. And we won’t see each other until he does.
- I’ve asked him to make a clear distinction in his mind between what he’s asking of himself and what I’m asking of him, because I don’t have questions about his personal value.
- With that said, I’ve told him that I’m not perfect and I don’t expect perfection from him.
- I’ve also told him I think that life will present plenty of trials to our being together, and I’m not sugar-coating that. There’s all the stuff you’d imagine that would be challenging with his kids and ex and two households and all the regular stuff that’s hard about two people figuring out how to be together, plus more drama than you know that just comes with being the person in one of my mother’s kids’ lives. And some political drama on top of that. And I’d need to know that marriage was on the table and that he was willing to pursue an annulment of his marriage, because as much as I care for him, I really believe what I say I believe, and I don’t want to find myself outside my faith community, not even for him. (For the record, I wouldn’t be entirely outside it, but I couldn’t fully participate in it, and I don’t think that’s a sacrifice I’m up for.)
- For the first couple of weeks, it was okay. Kind of a “good luck, hope it works out” level. But this week, it’s been more intense, and I think we’re going to have to have the grey-area talk again. I want this to work out. I’m not yet saying I love him, because based on prior experience, I don’t think that I can make myself ask for what I need in quite the same way once I say that. I need to live like I’m a single woman without a commitment to him, because that’s my reality, while he works through his end of this.And if and when that changes, it will throw plenty off kilter.I’m fighting alligators at work, I live with my mom and want to really be in this moment with her because I don’t know how long a moment it will be, and I want as few regrets as possible when it’s over. There’s a metaphor about singleness being a season that makes a lot of sense to me. It’s a time with specific gifts, and though it has gone on for about 20 years longer than I thought/hoped that it would, I’m still in it, and I need to live it all the way until the season changes. I’m excited that it looks like another season might be on the horizon, but here, it’s still single.
- With that said, I’ve never started a new season, and I don’t know how bright a line you get between them. In my home state of Colorado, you can get big snow all the way into May, and it can and does swing 50 degrees in a single day. There’s a day that’s technically winter and a day that’s technically spring, and there are hallmarks of both of those seasons. But the daffodils in my old garden usually started breaking ground in January, even if they didn’t bloom until March. I neither want to bet on potential nor stand on ceremony (that’s more qualified than I’m making it sound).
And here’s where I start chasing my tail. I’m trying to think clearly while that’s still a thing I can do. Because that’s not always a thing I can do for awhile once I let myself really feel the feelings.
Because of the aforementioned alligators, the battling of which takes many more than the number of hours I’m officially paid for, I have put off getting back into therapy, but I might just need to make it happen anyway.