(Not) Unlucky In Love – Part 2

I dropped a bit of bombshell on my last post and I think it deserves a little more explanation.  Be warned, this post is a bit rambly as I still struggle to find meaning from everything that happened.

Last year at about this time I finally decided I was going to leave home for good.  There wasn’t any big blow-up between my wife and I or any dramatic event, but I wasn’t happy.  I felt stuck and honestly, I still hadn’t gotten over L no matter how much I tried to convince myself I had.  Wife didn’t want to move with me so it seemed like an easy, amicable split with two people going in separate directions.

The first step was to get moving on my new house.  I’m pretty fortunate in that I have some money, so separation and divorce wouldn’t be the same financial trauma for me as it is for most people.  It would still sting, but I’d get by without having to live in a run down trailer park or shitty basement suite.  It’s a rural property so I started the process of getting the necessary permits with the various government agencies.  The plan was to be out of the house by the end of Summer (2016).

Things started out promising.  I was making progress, then the permitting process stalled.  One useless government agent after another decided they wanted something else.  Then my mother went to the hospital with terminal cancer and had to move out of her townhouse.  I took the opportunity to put some distance between my wife and I and moved into my mother’s place with the excuse that it needed work before it could be sold.  Without looking for it, without wanting it, “she” came into my life.

I met Anna at work.  We were immediately drawn to each other.  At first it seemed so innocent.  She was (still is) very attractive, liked to do fun outdoor things, had an incredible life story, and was way too young.  I thought spending time with her would be safe since nothing would ever happen.  There is no way a 34 year old woman would ever be interested in a worn out 49 year old married man who was in the middle of a personal disaster.  I made it clear I wasn’t looking for anything and never once tried to advance our developing “friendship” to something else.  Well, good intentions weren’t enough to stop the run-away train.  The more time we spent together…as friends….the more time we wanted to spend together.  Throughout the summer I’d cut our visits short when I felt the tension getting out of hand.  Then one afternoon I lingered a bit too long.  We went for hike, dinner, and spent some time visiting at her house before I had to run away.  I didn’t get away in time.  She broke the touch barrier first.  It was like a bolt of electricity and we basically attacked each other.  I wasn’t ready, but I couldn’t stop.

I’ll gloss over some of the details, but from that night in early August we went from casual acquaintances in June, to thinking about being life partners by October.  There seemed to be no limit to how far we could go with each other, physically and emotionally.  She was everything I thought I ever wanted, or at least I thought she was.  She was deeply in love with me:  at least that’s what she told me.  I think I loved her, but I also realized it wasn’t going to work.  I liked being around her, she was a good partner, but I could never rest with her.  I always had to be “switched on” with her.  She didn’t sleep.  It was sex all night long, then activities all day.  She NEVER stopped.  I appreciated the attention and her doting, but it was tiring to always have her present.  I think it could have worked if I was able to disconnect from old life, but I couldn’t and never would be able to.  My old life was too messy to walk away and still be a responsible adult.  How would I introduce her to my boys?  They met her, but as my friend, not their future step mother. It was a leap I couldn’t make.   There was also the dread I felt about introducing her to my network of friends.

I also realized just how much of a loner I’d become being with my wife for 25 years.  Anna would get up in the morning and see me off to work and hand me the lunch she’d stayed up late to make for me.  She’d clean my clothes, and have dinner for me when I’d come home.  I’d been doing all that stuff on my own for decades.  It didn’t feel right to have someone do it for me.  I wasn’t really single yet so I wasn’t ready to jump into a new relationship, especially one that was getting so serious so fast.  Then there was the whole optics of dating a woman who looked 20-something and was by any objective measure, hot.  I just didn’t feel comfortable with the comments and stares when we were out in public.  Then there was the pressure to keep performing.  In 10 years I would be 60 and she would still be a relatively young 44.  There was no way I could keep it up since I was already tired all the time.  From her perspective, I was the most energetic guy she’d ever dated, but it was all an act.  Once the euphoria of being with her started to wear off I felt completely drained all the time.

To add to the chaos, my wife decided she wanted me back. At first she seemed happy.  Well not really happy, but at peace with the fact that our marriage was finally done and we could move forward.  Then she changed her mind and dug in for the fight.  She decided she wanted me back and pursued me.  For most of the Fall and Winter of 2016 I was being fought over by two women.  Sounds like it should be flattering and ego boosting doesn’t it?  It isn’t.  It sucks a lot.  In the end the universe conspired to put me back home.  I got sick, work overwhelmed me, the sewer line collapsed at my temporary house, my wife’s father died, her (our) house had an emergency, and my boys needed me.  It was too much and I gave in.  Anna gave up trying to hold onto me and I let her because I needed a way out.

 

Continued in part 3…..

 

 

 

(Not) Unlucky In Love – Part 2

(Not) Unlucky In Love – Part 1

I think I’m going to close down this page soon.  I hardly get any traffic, my story isn’t all that interesting, and the emotional distress I was feeling has mostly passed.  I still think I’m pretty fucked up, but I don’t lose a lot of sleep over it these days.  Maybe it’s just acceptance.

This past year has been a fucking doozy.  Except for one, all my parents, both natural and in-law are dead.  I reached out to L to try to resolve an un-resolved issue between us (I shouldn’t have), and I’ve been working on building my new house.  Just to add to the disorder in my life, I left my wife, met a new woman, started the process of moving in with her, only to have the relationship dissolve, and find myself back with my wife.  Yep, it’s a mess.

I wasn’t going to tell my story, because I felt too embarrassed by it all.  I’ve gotten to know a few of you personally and while no-one has been too judgmental, I figured the events of the past 6 months would push even you understanding souls over the edge.  Mostly I hoped the problem would go away and I could forget about.

I’ll have to write a bit more about this because it’s led to some insight into relationships…at least for me….that I’d like to share, but here’s the rough outline.  I started my building project almost a year ago.  The goal was a gradual removal from my wife.  I had not plans to meet someone.  I’d build my new house, I’d move out, she wouldn’t come, and we’d gradually get used to the idea of living apart.  It seemed to be what she wanted, and I figured that’s what I needed.  We’d share responsibility for the kids and have a “good” divorce, if such a thing is even possible

That’s not quite how things turned out.  While in the middle of building (I’m still not done) I met an amazing woman who was way too young and attractive for me.  Whatever she saw in me it overcame whatever hangups she must have had about dating an old guy and she decided to pursue me.  It seemed too good be true.  I was leaving my marriage and there was the woman of my dreams right in front of me.  I’d take up right where I left off in my marriage.   It only strengthened my resolve to get out on my own.

At first I resisted, then I tried to make it work.  I wanted to make it work.  The sex was amazing.  She checked all the boxes.  She had a good job.  She was hot.  She had just the right mix of feminine and outdoor adventure.  We did a lot together.  And I thought, at first, she was it.  But she wasn’t.  I knew pretty fast that she wasn’t the one.  Something was just a little off.  She is in love with me, but I didn’t, and don’t feel the same.  As fucked up as I am I still love my wife.  I missed her and life we had despite the dis-function.  At first my wife seemed relieved to have me gone, but after considering her options decided she wanted me back and made it happen.   In the end I became a passive participant in the whole drama.

Over the course of two years, I’ve broken the hearts of two women.  I guess I should say “we” since my wife has played a part in this nonsense.  It’s not exactly a position I expected to be in, but I suppose it makes life interesting.  I listen to people at work (and blogs) moan about dating and their relationships.  One thing I can say is that I haven’t been unlucky in love.  There’s been more than enough of it so far.

Anyway, off to counselling.  It’ll be interesting to see what she has to say about it all.

 

 

 

 

(Not) Unlucky In Love – Part 1

Falling Apart

Lately my wife and I have been getting along swimmingly.  Still no sex unfortunately…..

An issue of immediate concern is that I feel like I’m falling apart.  It adds to the general sense that I’m running out of time and need to make changes before it’s too late.  And speaking of running, that’s the immediate issue.  I was always a decent runner.  Not anymore.  My Achilles and hamstrings, both right and left, feel permanently damaged.  I have arthritic hips, and my right shoulder is jello.  I still head out for run most days, but I’m turning into a plodder.  Not a lot of spring left in my step.

I went through a pretty bad time in my early 30s.  I was very sick, I blew out both my knees and ankles, quit living, and my weight ballooned as a result.  It felt at the time that I was still in control of my health once I started getting back into shape.  I’m not in control anymore.  I’m not going to get any faster, or any less sore.  I don’t want to give up, because if I do, I probably won’t be able to get my fitness back, but I hate having my the muscles in my ass throbbing all the time from overuse, or in my case just use.

Since my late teens I’ve been the guy who was physically a little bit stronger and faster than most of my peers.   Last month I did long distance hike and was put in place as the old guy at the back of the line.  It’s not a bad place to be, but it will take some getting used to.   I need to reassess who I am and where I fit in.  Maybe its the feeling of my mortality setting in.  I’m not particularly depressed about it or spend a lot of time thinking about it, but it’s there, in the background.  Maybe it’s the notion that there’s less time ahead than behind me.   Way less.

*************************************************************

On another unrelated note, I finally got plans back from the engineer for my new place.  The project has been stalled for months due to issues with a local government agency.  I printed them off and completely forgot about them.  My wife found them and asked if I was going to tell her about it.  She didn’t believe me, but I really did forget about them.  We’d had a plan basically to not hurry and spend money foolishly.  With the last barrier out of the way there is a real possibility I’ll be moving out in the not to distant future.  With the project on hold we had put away our marital problems for the time being and stopped talking about separation.  It’s hard to believe what an emotional trigger some barely decipherable auto cad drawings can be.

 

 

Falling Apart

When I was 50 I should have…..

Despite the tone of my previous posts, I haven’t gotten any closer to separation or divorce.   There are a bunch of reasons.  I’m not sure if any of them are any good, which ultimately makes them excuses for inaction.  The main problem I have in trying to move out and move on is that my wife is pretty cool.   Makes it hard to walk away from her.  Maybe she feels the same.

We’ve been drifting through life as if we are “forever” when we might not be.  We bought a new car yesterday.  We went to the dealership as a well put together middle aged couple without money problems.  Most of my life has been on the cheap.  I bought a piece of shit house that needed rebuilding.  I’m still not finished.  All my cars and work trucks needed fixing, were under powered, too small, and unsuitable.  The only important important criteria seemed to be inexpensive.  Not yesterday.  We bought what we wanted.  Well, what she wanted, since it’s going to be mostly her car.  She made it clear that when we split she gets the car so we ordered the color she wanted.  It was all quite amicable;  I can drive it to work until then.

My wife has this quirky hobby.  It might be a business that one day pays for itself, but right now it’s just a fun past time rich people with spare time and new car can indulge in.  I was helping her the other day with construction of some of the equipment.  I watched her bouncing around in the field and holy shit she looked hot.  Striking actually.  It floored me just how attractive she is.  And she’s getting better.  She’s still a 49 year old woman with saggy tits, grey hair, and a few extra wrinkles, but it all seems to work on her.  I see other guys notice her too.  I like being out with her.

It’s become a bit of an inside joke between us lately that we are like a newly dating couple we spend so much time together.  People have noticed.  Someone made the observation that we seem so happy together now.  I think this person was a bit jealous since she is very obviously miserable in her marriage.  She witnessed some of our dreadful behavior toward each other years ago so I guess the difference is noticeable.  What people don’t see is the complete lack of affection.  We really are best friends.  I think it works for her, but I’m the one missing something.  The question is how far I’m willing to go to fill the one missing hole in my life.

I went through the dreadful experience of an affair and won’t do it again.  I’ve mostly put the whole experience behind me, but I was witness to the immediate aftermath of an affair a few days ago and it brought back some old feelings.  Typical story.  Guy in unhappy marriage leaves his wife for new girlfriend who is also unhappily married to someone else.  Lots of angry weepy emails and text messages.  Insults. Excuses. Lies.  Police involvement.  Yuck!!   No judgement here.  I get it.  I went through my own Jerry Springer moment so I understand how feelings and emotions get out of control and lead to irrational decisions.  Not that I needed any convincing, but never again after witnessing that train wreck.  I’m pretty sure I’m better than that.

So, what to do?  I kind of feel like I’ve been friendzoned.  Can that happen in a marriage?   Apparently it can.  A major theme of this blog is to try and be better.  Make better decisions, and use this whole episode as something I can learn from.  Looking back, it was probably too many years of restraint that led to my affair.  I always thought things  would improve, or L would go away, my wife would leave me first, or something would happen and I could avoid making a hard decision.  By the time L came around I would have fucked pretty much anything.   I’m not actively, or passively, seeking to have my needs met somewhere else.  I’m not in contact with other women, even platonically.  My current office is mostly devoid of suitable women to sleep with (there is one exception) so there isn’t likely to be that slow burning office romance I’ve found myself caught up in before, but….  In the spirit of self-reflection and self-improvement, I might be setting myself up for failure again unless something changes.  And those changes are going to have to be initiated by me.  They are going to be difficult, painful, and expensive.

When I was 40 I looked back and thought 30 was so young.  I didn’t have regrets, but wished I’d done things differently.  When I was 30, I looked back at the choices I made when I was 20 and thought, what a fucking idiot I was and definitely wished I’d done things differently.  Looking back at my 40s my wife and I should have stayed separated, but we were both afraid.   Afraid of being alone.  Afraid of hurting the kids.  Afraid of the financial costs.  Afraid to hurt each other.  Afraid to be the bad one.  When I’m 60, do I want to look back at 50 (coming soon!) and say, “I wish I’d done it differently.”  I’m supposed to be older and wiser now, although it sure doesn’t feel like it most of the time.  I’d like to have guilt free sex again with someone who wants it.  It’s been 2 1/2 years since I last had it and I miss the experience.  I don’t think she realizes it, but she will be inundated with men trying to get between her legs once I’m out of the way.   Then we’ll finally know the answer to the question, “was it me all along?”

I think I’ve aged well enough to have romantic options if I find myself single again, but who knows, it may be wishful (delusional) thinking on my part.  Is it worth the cost to find out?  Sleeping in the spare bedroom so we avoid touching each other doesn’t seem like the best way to live from 50 to 60, just like it wasn’t from 40 to 50.

 

 

When I was 50 I should have…..

How We Got to Today (Part 2)

Check this out for part 1

Just to re-cap in case the 5 of you who follow me are too lazy or disinterested to go back and catch up.  I was prompted to write out how I wound up married to my current wife by a comment made by someone regarding how we choose partners.  It retrospect both of us should have run the other way.  I wasn’t ready for anything since emotionally I was still in grade 10 and I’m not sure my wife was too much further ahead.  Nevertheless, we pressed on, stayed together, had kids, and married.

This post has been sitting in drafts for a while:  write, don’t post, re-write, don’t post, repeat….. My story is hardly all that unique or even interesting.  I imagine it’s the same kind of story most long term married couples have.  The first few years after we got together were great.  Part of the euphoria of being in a new relationship I suppose.  Every day seemed to push a new boundary.  She was open to me and me to her so there was no limit.  It was a little different for us since we didn’t date conventionally.  Does anybody in real life?   We lived in shared accommodation so it was hard not to live together when we were already living together.  As always, with the benefit of hindsight, we were destined to get together.  Two moderately attractive single people interested in the same activities, similarly educated, living together, with few other viable romantic options.   They should have put us in the same room right away and dispensed with all the awkward, ambiguous moments leading up to the big first night.

We weren’t settled career wise and neither one of us had any defined life goals.  I never aspired to having a family.  I never felt I’d be financially ready, emotionally ready, or any other sort of ready to commit to a wife much less kids.  Yet friends and family started to settle down with long term partners by our early 30s so there didn’t seem to be much choice.  The momentum of it all carried us forward.   My first girlfriend was never seen by me or anyone associated to us as a long term partner.  With my wife it was clear she was someone I could, and probably should, marry one day if I could ever pull my head out of my ass and make a decision.  Even if there was a time to end things there was far too much social pressure to stay together than break apart.  It’s an interesting observation how quickly someone can integrate themselves into your life.  After a few years, even if we weren’t yet married, it was no easy task to break apart.

My future wife did leave me for a little while early in our relationship.  We were still still trying to establish some sort of career, pay off student loans, and basically not feel like we were starving students anymore.  She took a job to teach English in Asia for a year.  I don’t remember very much about it.  I kind of recall dropping her off at the airport after staying with her sister in Vancouver.  There weren’t any tears or big weepy goodbyes.  We didn’t break up or declare our intentions to stay together.  Her contract was for a year and I figured that was it.  We’d gradually disappear from our lives and she’d be a fond memory.  For sure she’d come to her senses and find someone else.  It was just before emails and relatively cheap overseas calls so contact was intermittent.  I went to work in the bush for 6 months since my professional career aspirations were going no-where and put her out of my mind.

To my surprise my wife came back early.  I told her not to and I especially insisted she not come back for me in letters to her.  Then, and now, I felt exceedingly uncomfortable about someone planning her life around me.  I was afraid she would wake up one day and realize the mistake she made.  Of greater concern is that I wouldn’t be able to keep up being in a relationship.

We ended up moving to my hometown to work in my family’s business, something I had tried to avoid since leaving high school.  My dad was sick, completely run down, and needed help.  Financially it was a good move, but I lost long sought after independence I had hoped for when I originally left home.  My wife worked with me, so we were completely intertwined with work, a our new apartment,  my old friends, and family.

Things were mostly good, but over time tensions started to build.  It turned out she liked her work way more than she wanted to spend time with me.  She liked her employees, her customers, being busy, and working on weekends.  Despite walking 2 minutes to work and being able to take time off anytime we wanted, we began the long disconnect.  It was an incremental process.  We just gradually stopped doing things together.  Eventually I stopped asking her to do things with me anymore.  It was ok though.  I had friends and worked all the time anyway, so it wasn’t like there was a huge hole in my life with her increasing absence from it.

Then one day she decided we needed a baby.  Her clock was ticking, friends were having children (one in particular), and basically it was time.  I didn’t really give it a lot of thought.  We weren’t having much sex so I figured it might not happen anyway.  It was either go along with something that was a remote possibility (in my mind) or break up, which I wasn’t ready to contemplate.

To my surprise we were both fertile.  Once she went of the pill it was almost instant.  After the initial shock I was ok with it.  I liked the look and feel of her pregnant.  Once we had our first son it felt like we were a team again, but once the novelty of having a new baby wore off, our relationship difficulties started to really manifest themselves.  While we didn’t do much together anymore before children, we still spent time alone at home. Now I was a disposable part of her life.  For the first year that was ok and completely understandable.  After that I figured it was time to being a couple again.  When my oldest son was about 2 we had gone through a particularly tough time.  I arranged for babysitting and planned a night away for my wife and I.  It wasn’t completely out of the blue as we had talked about getting away somewhere sometime soon before our relationship fell completely off the rails.  When I finally decided to make it happen, she freaked out.  She just couldn’t step out of her routine and leave our son.  Maybe I should have made more effort, but that was the last time I tried to do something with her again.  There were other moments before and after, but I think it was then that I realized I was on my own.

We had a second kid, another boy, and to this day I’m not sure how.  We barely had sex and most of the time I slept in another room.

After baby #2 arrived I wasn’t hopeful.  I had checked out and was basically completely indifferent to my wife and she was to me.  Thoughts of infidelity were still a long way off, but there were some early indications of future trouble.  Our neighbor split with her husband during this time.  I can’t say how it happened, but one summer we ended spending all our free time together.  It never crossed my mind that it was anything more than an innocent platonic relationship.  We had kids close to the same age and we were both available to each other when our spouses weren’t.   I think old insecure- fat-kid-syndrome guy couldn’t see the developing problem or the optics of the situation.  It LOOKED like we were dating, which we probably were without defining it as such.  My wife and I hadn’t had sex for over a year and in one of the few conversations where she expressed concern for “us” she said I should probably get fixed. Snippy, passive-agressive me said “why bother, abstinence is working pretty well don’t you think?”  I repeated that line a lot.  She said I was spending way too much time with horny across-the-fence-line woman and she was concerned that I would sleep with her if I hadn’t already.

I went for months resisting my wife’s request to see the Doctor.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up that my wife could be more than a roommate again and I had put up such high walls against her that I had trouble climbing down from them.  She ended up making the appointment, making sure I made the time for it, and pushing me to get it done.  I was so mad I was just seeing how long we could go without ever doing it.  After I was “fixed” we went through a brief period of activity, but it soon dwindled to nothing again.

In 2005 I started a new job that ended up taking me away from home.  It’s common enough in small town Canada to have a job somewhere else so I wasn’t doing anything unique or outside the box.  Readers, is it the same in the US or Australia?  People live in say, 100 Mile House, and work in the Alberta Oil Patch or a mine in the Territories.  Or they rent a cheap basement suite and work in Vancouver doing IT work on a compressed schedule.  It used to be guys with specialized skills like tradesmen who could dictate employment terms, but there seems to be more people doing it these days.  Usually people with families who can’t afford a house in the city.  Whatever, I turned into one of these guys.  I rented a place near the city.  I’d work my shifts and come home on days off and take the kids.  In 4 years my wife came to visit one.  It was just like being separated with split custody of the children.  It was during this period that I had my first taste of infidelity.

I worked with a mixed team of men and women.  There was a quite a bit of sleeping around between co-workers, but I thought I was an outside observer to that whole messy scene.  It turned out not.  I was there to work, not fuck around on my wife, no matter how dis-functional my marriage was.  Despite good intentions I found myself “involved” with a much younger woman.  She had broken up with her boyfriend who she thought she was going to marry.  She had problems at work and I was her mentor.  She was pretty hot and got hit on all the time so maybe I was safe to be around, since I didn’t and never said anything inappropriate to her.   Like all these types of situations there is a moment when you realize things have maybe gone too far and there’s a decision to make.  When my phone was filled with messages from her.  When we start making plans to see each other on days off.  When we get to the office early and leave late just to linger a while longer and visit with each other.  The process is so gradual that there is no “when”.  There is just a realization that there is someone else in your life and you’re not sure what it all means, if anything.  Most times I honestly thought I was imagining it because I was lonely.

I never viewed myself as being in demand or an option to any woman outside my wife, and she ended up rejecting me so my self esteem was pretty low at the time.  Yet it was hard to ignore the signs.  The leg pressed up against me under the table during lunch one day confirmed my (hopeful) suspicions.  Whatever my faults, I never wanted to be “that guy” around the office.  I was intensely attracted to this woman, a girl really, but it was so completely inappropriate that I was actually driven to make a hard decision and poured cold water on the whole thing.  I stopped going to lunch with her.  I stopped meeting with her after work and basically went no contact.  If I hadn’t done it I’m positive we would have slept together soon after the leg-press incident and I would have gotten completely carried away with things.  It turned out I was right, because that is exactly what happened with L a few years later.

After my near miss with younger-woman-at-work I left that office to take up another position closer to home.  I figured I’d better start trying to be a husband again.  For a while things were great at home, but my wife, as always, was just too cold and unavailable.  Enter L.  I’ll skip the story since I’ve written lots about it, but by then the defenses were down.  Plus I had tried with my wife a number of times to build some kind of connection and failed every time.

It wasn’t until I decided to leave home altogether I saw my wife emotional for the first time.  She never showed any feeling one way or the other toward me since well before our second child was born.  We’d had sex maybe a dozen times in a decade, and she showed no interest in my life, professional or personal.  In fact she’d told me not to talk to her, which I was mostly fine with.   With me leaving without her and the possible threat of L off in the distance she was in tears.  The walls finally came down.  She said she didn’t want to lose me and was going to move with me.  Ok?  Really?

I think the emotions of so much change all at once loosened up my wife.  For a little while at least she wanted to be with me.  She wanted sex.  She wanted to be a girlfriend.  A partner.  An actual team mate.  She wasn’t constantly dismissive of me.  It’s like she realized being a cold indifferent bitch had consequences.  Not that my wife is actually a bitch.  She’s a very sweet woman, but with problems I still haven’t managed to figure out.  I hadn’t planned to leave her for another woman. In my mind my wife had left me and I was doing her a favor.  I’d stop bugging her for sex and asking her to do stuff, which annoyed her.  L was nice.  they’d probably get along.  Ok, maybe not.

More alarming was that my wife lost a lot of weight.  She dyed her hair.  Dressed better.  Started going out more.  Basically she was fun again.  We moved away, started this great adventure out in the wilderness, had money and time to enjoy life.  It was perfect except for one thing.  I was nearly suicidal trying to choose between L or my wife.  In the end the OW wasn’t sustainable.  Despite my delusions that I was different from other cheating husbands I wasn’t too different and I elected to play it safe and stay with my wife.  Was it the right decision.  Probably, but being right didn’t diminish the pain much.  My wife was her old self again and I’d get through it with her help.

For a while I carried so much guilt I never considered my own interests and feelings.  I was always trying to make up for something.  Being a cheater, treating L so badly, for lying, for not being able to make a decision.  For a time things were much better with my wife, and truthfully, they still are.  She is an amazing woman who I want to be around.  The problem is that she hasn’t been through a crisis of self reflection.  Being cheated on possibly spared her from having to look too closely inward.  I don’t know.  Now that we’re back “home” living a regular life with our old friends and established at work again, the old demons are back.  I can’t shake the feeling that I’m forcing her to be something she’s not.  Forcing  seems to be a bit strong.  Maybe manipulating?  She is basically insecure like she wasn’t before so she tries to be what she thinks I want her to be rather than what she wants.  I told her a few weeks ago that it’s ok not to be into me.  We can be honest about our feelings and not hurt our feelings.  There is no-one else in the picture so I’m not leaving her for someone else.  I’ll leave her for other reasons.

What I realized is that it’s important for my wife to be married.  I personally don’t get it, but I guess the security of it is more important than the freedom from me she’d have if she left.  We continue this never ending dance.  Our marriage starts to go cold, I disengage, she worries she’s let it go to far……wash-rinse-repeat.  I just want it to be over.  I love her, that’s not the issue, the problem is that I need her and she’s not available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How We Got to Today (Part 2)

How We Got to Today (Part 1)

I’ve struggled with this post for some time.  In real life I think I come across as someone who has their shit together, but what I’m about to put out there shows just what mess I’ve been all my life.  I’d really like to tell a really funny story from work the other day.  Unfortunately you’ll have to take my word that’s it’s a humdinger of a tale since privacy concerns prevent me from re-telling this little gem.  Instead I’ll continue to wallow in relationship despair and write out some experiences that may or may not be relevant.

I was exchanging comments with someone a little while ago and the topic of choosing a partner in our 20s came up.  We were such different people 2 decades ago it got me thinking about the decisions that led me to get married in the first place.  With the end of my marriage looming it’s worth asking, “how did we get to here?”

I’ve written a little about my childhood.  Not a difficult life by any measure, but my parents were miserable with each other.  Mom was drunk most of the time and dad was angry, manipulative and overly complicated.  My violently drunk uncle lived a few doors down from us so my sister and I weren’t as disconnected from that shit show as we should have been.  Despite the intermittent chaos at home my parents weren’t bad people and did their best within their limited capacity to look after other people.  I don’t know if my parents’ dis-functional marriage has had anything to do with my relationship difficulties.  Maybe because I had no model of what a decent marriage looked like I was only looking (if I was looking at all) for what to avoid in a person.

Another big theme in my early days was former-fat-kid syndrome.  I always had, and still do if I’m being honest, that nagging insecurity of being picked last, being a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th choice, and generally feeling ignored by kids at school and relatives who didn’t want to be bothered with the not-cute nephew.  The first girl I ever asked out was when I was in grade 11.  We worked in a restaurant together over the summer and we, I thought, got along great. We had fun together, friends teased us about being a couple, and she called me all the time.  Imagine my shock and surprise when I finally worked up the courage to finally say something and she said “ugh, no thanks.”  Really!!  So all those things I thought were signs weren’t in fact signs at all.  Ok, lesson learned.

By the end of grade 12 I was smitten with a younger girl who conveniently was a friend of my sister.  Similar to girl #1 we were friends, we spent time together, did fun things, and she seemed interested in me.  All the signs that I’d misread so badly the previous year were on display so I decided to let it pass.  That is until my sister convinced me to ask her to my grad party because she liked me a lot.  Girl #2 left with another guy that night.  I got a pretty clear hint that night.

It’s not like I had a litany of dating failures like this guy UVM, but I left high school with the feeling that girlfriends were something other people had.   In a way it was a relief because I never had to worry about where I stood with girls since I didn’t stand anywhere with them.  Romantically I was invisible.  The best I could be was a cool friend.  Maybe I was considered safe to be with if some girl had a fight with her jealous asshole boyfriend, because most guys were afraid of me.  Another weird thread to this story was that many of my closest friends were awkward nerdy types with poor social skills.  I saw them trying to pursue girls who were obviously not into them and the whole scene looked pretty undignified.  I concluded it best not to participate.  Once out of high school I lost friends to toxic relationships with girls they settled with just so they could be with someone.  They ended up with the first girl who said yes, or some girl who chased them down.  It was terrible to watch and reminded me too much of my parents depressing marriage.

If I didn’t have a girlfriend, I had a lot of girl friends.  I genuinely liked (and still do) the company of women.  Sophie was a long running example of girl friendship that never translated into romantic involvement, and there were others.  In fact I always had some girl around.  The pattern was almost always the same.  I’d get close to someone I worked with, took a class with, or was thrown together for some reason.  I had no problem asking girls out on “not-quite-dates”, camping trips, or road trips.  Since there was no romantic agenda, I never felt the slightest nervousness or anxiety with women.  It was uncomplicated.  And no reason for jealousy or disappointment.  I could spend time with other girls and not have to explain myself and they were free to pursue their dream guy.  There was always a moment though when something gave.  At some point feelings (there were always feelings) would get a little too strong to ignore.  We’d spend a little too much time together, get a little too close, have an awkward conversation, or horror, there’d be some sort of physical contact and it would be time to cool things down before I made the mistake and thought we could be more than “just friends.”

This went on until I was 25.  Actually I was almost 25.  As always, I was friends with a girl I’d originally met at University.  We did fun things together, took a road trip, and generally spent a lot of time together.  I felt things heating up and was about to start to disengage lest I get the wrong idea again,  but one night she crawled into bed with me.  No mixed signals from a girl this time.

I stayed with her for 2 years.  For a first time sexual experience it couldn’t have been better although our relationship was pretty dis-functional.  The sex was something people write books about.  It took a little while to get going, but once it did…. For her there were no boundaries except my own prudishness.  Despite that very good side she was jealous and prone to some crazy outbursts.   I used to portray her as a crazy ex, but looking back being involved with me must have driven her nuts.  Growing up I never viewed myself as someone’s first choice….or 2nd or 3rd.  She was pretty and I always figured she’d lose interest soon enough, regret her decision to sleep with me and leave for someone better.  Since I was disposable I treated her as disposable.  It must have been beyond frustrating to be with me.

I was pretty exhausted after my time with her.  I’d already met my future wife by the time we broke up and guess what?!  We were friends first too.  We met at work, started to spend time together, went hiking, did a road trip, and basically acted like a couple.  Once I split with g/f#1 the door was open.  It didn’t take long until feelings started to get in the way of being a good buddy.  I can still remember the night when the dam burst.  We mark that date as our anniversary not our actual wedding day.  Not so much the specific date, but that holiday weekend.  We’d spent 3 days together and we found ourselves sitting next to each other along with some other friends a the end.  It was like we were oppositely charged particles there was so much chemistry on that couch.  She was so much fun to be around I thought for sure I must have misread the situation.  There were lots of vague references to some guy named Dave so I figured he must be her guy.  You would think after g/f#1 I’d be over my insecurities a little bit, but no.  I went to my staff housing residence early and thought I better start the painful process of disengaging before things got to out of control.

No such luck.  She came into my room that night, sat at the foot of my bed in the dark, and told me how she felt.  I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing.   Before that door opened I was mess of emotions at having to let go of what were almost certainly unrequited feelings.  Then apparently they weren’t.  It was hard to change direction at that moment.  She left kind of awkwardly and that was it for the night.  Of course things were different, but what was going to come of it, we’d have to wait and see.  After work the next day I went to her place and we had sex.  We slept together that night and most nights from then on.  Writing this out makes it sound like a nice story with a happy movie style ending and you know what, it sort of is.  At least it was for a while.

 

To be continued………

 

 

How We Got to Today (Part 1)

Standing by

I’m still a deer in the headlights.  Unable to make a decision to go in either direction. Fortunately I’ve been so busy with work I haven’t given separation much thought, because it kind of feels like I’m alone now anyway.  I read a few blogs from struggling single people and I’m acutely aware the grass is unlikely to be greener on the other side.  The problem is that it’s looking pretty brown on this side.

Standing by