Moving (Part 2)

I promised a more in-depth post last time, so here it is.  A common theme throughout my life is sitting back and not taking initiative in my personal affairs.  Ultimately it has been a 50 year pattern of NOT making decisions, thus my WP user name, “dobetternexttime”.  I really thought my affair with L changed me and I wouldn’t fall back into the same self destructive ways of doing things.  I read other people’s sad tales of heartbreak, financial ruin, health issues, and terrible loss.  I don’t have any of those.  Well, maybe the heartbreak, but that has been so completely self-induced I feel embarrassed bringing it up.

When it came to ex-wife, L, and most recently Anna, I have been unable to make a decision preferring someone else to do the hard work.  It came from place of insecurity and lack of self confidence.  I wanted to leave my wife sometime after my oldest son was born nearly 20 years ago.  She was cold, rarely wanted sex, emotionally unavailable and explicitly told me not to talk to her.  I still loved her and didn’t want her gone from my life, which was too intertwined to break apart, but I was tired of feeling rejected and unwanted, at least most of the time.  From about 28-33 years old I went through a very bad period in my life.  I shouldn’t overstate it, but my health took a turn and for a long time I wondered if I’d ever be my old self.  I also had made a shitty decision coming home to work at the family business, which weighed heavily on me as career options started to narrow with advancing age and family commitments.  Once eldest was born I just wasn’t in a position to do anything about my situation anyway except settle in.  The truth is that I didn’t think I’d be able to do any better than ex-wife, so I decided to persevere, hope for the best and enjoy the scraps of attention she gave me.

When L popped into my life she seemed to be everything I wanted, but I convinced myself not to take the chance in case it didn’t work out.  Then I flip-flopped, alternately missing her and wanting her gone from my life telling myself whatever was necessary to justify my decision at the time.  Again it was fear of unknown consequences that prevented me from actively making a decision and sticking with it.  Same with Anna.  She threw herself at me for 2 years, but I couldn’t bring myself to trust her.  I futurized our relationship into non-existence.  There were certainly external factors.  Anna didn’t make it easier on me and my wife, acting in much the same way I was, hung on to “us” making it nearly impossible to break away cleanly and decisively.

Somewhere in this blog, I must have written about this, so sorry for the repetition.  My first girlfriend came along when I was 24.  She chose me when she crawled into my bed one night and given the apparent lack of other options (or experience) I went along with it for 2 years.  I never properly broke up with her when the same thing happened with ex-wife.  We were living apart, agreed that it was going to end, and she was already seeing a guy, at least I thought she was.  Whatever the actual truth was, there was some overlap followed by some very hard feelings.  It was good old me making decisions passively.

So now, after all we’ve been through, wife is leaving.  For good.  It’s not a bitter break up.  I still need to support her until she gets on her feet and she’s been helping me too.  She has a decent enough job, but is completely un-stimulated.  Despite the good hours and pay, she will die if she stays.  Ottawa seems like a dumb idea, but it’s not my decision to make for her or even have an opinion after everything I’ve done.

I am getting used to being alone, but I am afraid of it.  It was my worst fear and why I clung to L longer than I should have, decided to pursue Anna after I’d rejected her, and came back to the comfort of ex-wife on occasion.  Most days I don’t even bother turning my cell phone on since no-one calls.  I live out in the bush, which is beautiful and would be the envy of some….if anyone came to visit, which they don’t……but now it’s time to actively make a decision on what to do with the rest of my life.  I miss Anna and the companionship she offered.  Also it was a pants-on-fire relationship, which was hard to let go of despite the problems.  The problem is that being in a relationship, if I can find someone interested, requires just that, someone to be equally interested.  Isn’t that the ultimate definition of dependency?  I was dependent and needy with all the women in my life, which ultimately led to really crappy behaviour because of my inability to let go and move on.  Is finding a partner worth compromising myself worth it?  I don’t know.  I for sure don’t want to be celibate for the next few decades, so there’s that.  I would also like some stimulating company so there’s that too.

I don’t admire L and Anna for there morals and ethics.  I was bad, but they both proved to be self-centered and lacking in any sort of empathy:  classic narcissists I suppose, but that seems like a too easy insult people throw at their exes.  Looking back I can see how they treated exes in their lives it would have been the same way they would have treated me if (for sure when) it ended in divorce.  They were also very pretty, which clearly made it easier to move on since there was always someone else just on the horizon if it didn’t work with me.  That is at least the story I tell myself, but they didn’t know they would find someone right away.  I knew it, but they struck out on their own without that confidence in themselves.  And I feel jealousy toward Ted, Anna’s new guy, but he’s in for a lifetime of turmoil with her so I shouldn’t be too envious.  I’m pretty sure my best days are behind me, but maybe, just maybe, lightening can strike a 3rd time and if it doesn’t, well, I don’t know what to do.

 

 

 

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Moving (Part 2)

Moving (Part 1)

Wife, or more correctly ex-wife, informed me she is moving to Ottawa with our youngest son in August.  For non-Canadian readers, all 5 of you,  that’s like Perth to Sydney, LA to Pittsburgh, or London to Cairo as a crow flies.  She has every right to pursue her dreams.  I certainly did my fair share of running away, but if I was feeling alone before, I’m really going to be cast adrift.  This will require a longer post, but I figured I’d throw it out there.

Moving (Part 1)

Work

I have been working non stop for the last 2 weeks and I can finally stop.  I think understand how old guys go into a tailspin when they retire because there is nothing else going on their lives.  I mentioned in my precious post that I was using work as therapy, but all I’m doing is burning myself out and killing any sort of social life I could have.

And you know what?  Nobody gives a shit.  I make pretty goood money, so at least I don’t have that stress, but in addition to my depressed personal life work isn’t treating me all that well.  I have lots of space and freedom, but it’s obvious to me I’m no fun to be around.  I’m turning into the self righteous Little Red Hen and it’s not really getting me anywhere.  People don’t like me, which is ok because I don’t like me all that much either so I get it.

The big challenge I’m facing is that everything has to change.  I need a partner, a new job……basically a new life.

This post is a bit whiny.  I hope I can look back on this in a year and wonder what I was thinking.

Work

Alone

I’m sitting in a dumpy hotel up North feeling sorry for myself.  Work is ok, healthwise I’m doing well, my boys are awesome, but holy shit I feel alone.

I know part of the feeling is the emotional hole left behind from the end of my relationship with Anna.  In practical terms it’s been over since December, so quite a while now, but I haven’t filled it in yet.  Maybe part of the problem is not having any clear goal, aspirations or path forward.  For a few months I just worked all the time.  It seemed like a good distraction, but all I succeeded in doing was burning myself out.  The relief was real, but sadly temporary.

I took a brief stab at online dating, but realized pretty quickly that pleading for attention from unavailable women was taking what little self respect and self esteem I have left.

I was out in the bush today miles from anywhere and I ran into a guy camping by himself.  He was friendly enough, but he clearly preferred his own company.  He planned on staying out there for a week.  I don’t aspire to be like this lone camper, but I admire his lack of need.  I wonder if that’s the direction I should go.  It seems an easier way to exist and doesn’t depend on someone else.  But that would be giving up.  Maybe that’s what he did.

Alone

Lessons Learned

I wrote a post that I never published back in November.  At the time I thought it was completely over between Anna and I, but it turned out there is a post script to the story.

I’ll begin by saying that I love Anna.  She is a unique person that made me happy to be around (she also made me unhappy).  We both led adventurous lives and we were well suited to each other so, hoping for a different outcome I reached out to her in December and she came home.  I was hoping for good this time and for a short while things seemed to be on track.  All I wanted was to be with her, but……well, there’s always seems to be a but.

The same old problems re-surfaced.  The main issue was that I had a son with an ambiguous custody arrangement with my ex.  There isn’t much point to detailing every petty argument with Anna over this point, but the result was that any contact with Ex, even incidental contact when it came to my son, was unacceptable.  At least that was the line.  My son is 15 now and has a job on weekends so trying to spend some time placed me in the path of my Ex, which Anna could not accept.  So it ended the same way it always ended.  BADLY.  My feelings didn’t die and I thought I could convince her she was wrong, but I realize now just how had misread the situation.

Anna told me she loved me.  Maybe she did, but I doubt it.  There was obviously some attraction, but it clearly wasn’t love and whatever it was, it wasn’t enduring.  I saw Anna last month and she looked happy.  Of course she had found someone else.  Apparently his name is Ted.  I didn’t get to meet him, but I was with Anna for over 2 years and it was obvious she was completely taken with him.  That didn’t bother me too much, well it did, but what really got to me was that for over 2 years Anna was miserable and I could see now that she was happy.  For sure I am hurt by it.  I wanted Ted’s spot in Anna’s life, but the heart wants what it wants and it clearly didn’t want me.  The only burning question I have is why she clung to me as long as she did.

Despite her flaws I don’t think Anna is a narcissist, a treacherous human being, or fundamentally bad.  I’m sure she didn’t think it consciously, but ultimately I was just an option, which I think it underscores the hazards of pursuing a relationship with gorgeous younger woman who is way out of my league:  she always has another option.  When I look back at our history, I know I struggled with leaving my old life and sometimes needed some breathing room to get adjusted.  It was different for Anna.  Whenever we took a break she always wound up with another guy.  It’s not that she’s incapable of being alone, there was simply no reason for her to be alone.   It was always my fear that Anna would tire of me at some point and leave me stranded and that proved to be true.

So here’s the lesson learned.  My ex-wife and I separated and will eventually divorce.  Despite our problems, she is still family.  In a time of need we will always be there for each other.  I talked to ex about this recently and despite our somewhat distressed emotional health, both agreed we could count on each other in a time of crisis.  I hope never to call on Ex and she tries to keep her distance, but it’s still comforting to know there is a support network.  There is too much history to ignore.  Anna would never be that person to me.  She would never be a person that I could count on just like L wasn’t that person.  When I looked back at their past relationships, both of them moved on quickly without looking back.  I miss Anna, and I even think of L sometimes.  As depressing as it is and I may not like it, but I’m pretty sure Anna and L don’t spend much time thinking about me.  They enter and leave relationships with a view of what is good for them so they find it easier to move on.  We would all be happier if we were more like them.

It was obviously much easier for Anna to move on since whatever space I filled in her life was filled by Ted.  As a 52 year old man, I’m not likely to find someone to fill the space she occupied, at least easily, but you know what, that’s ok.  I still dwell on Anna.  I find myself feeling jealous and resentful, but then I force myself  to snap out of it and remind myself that’s my problem and no-one gives a shit about me, but me.  Do I really want to spend the rest of my life trying to please someone that can’t be pleased?  Don’t get me wrong, I miss the companionship I found with her, but I was an insecure mess when I was with her.  Every time I did something “wrong” she left me, blocked my phone number, or had a melt down that would take days to manage.  For time being I am not accountable to anyone.  I don’t want it to last forever, but for now it’s a pretty good feeling.

 

  

Lessons Learned

No End In Sight

I was in a reflective mood and thought I’d contribute one more angst filled post to the pile.

This should be a final update on my ongoing infidelities.  Although I feel pretty yucky, I guess I wasn’t really cheating since I left my wife and tried to live openly with Anna.  I thought it was over with her, but I couldn’t stay away and, for a time at least, neither could she.   We restarted our on-again/off-again relationship late in the summer.  It seemed so happy.  I finally had my own place to live, and she would be my new partner.  It wasn’t without some regret and it was a cause of tremendous anxiety, but I was all in.  I made a decision and was willing to live happily with it.  It wasn’t like I was sacrificing anything.  Anna is awesome and I love her more than anything.  We were just too badly broken to be in any kind of functional relationship.  To ease her mind I turned over every password to emails and social media accounts.  It just made the turmoil and mistrust between us even worse.  She was privy to every private thought through email and text I wish I hadn’t written, including my every move through the magic of google location services.

What should have been a way to foster trust backfired completely.  She could only see evidence of lack of commitment and backsliding.  There was no context to the messages, so they could stand alone and be interpreted in all sorts of ways, including these blog posts.  I can’t say what she was thinking, but I think in her mind she exaggerated small things in my digital world as proof I was lying or not committed to us.  Nothing I could do or say could convince her otherwise.  It stressed me out more than I could handle since it took away any room to move.  My ex-wife and son live 20 minutes away.  I still have a shop full of tools and supplies stored at my old family house, which I signed over to my ex.  She let me store my things until I got onto my feet.   I’m pretty scattered so even forgetting something and making a return trip would cause a day of arguing.  No matter how many times I repeated, “Anna I love you, you are the only one” she never heard it;  she couldn’t hear it.

Ex and I agreed to separate on the cheap rather than piss it away on legal bills.  I also had my 14y/o son to consider.  My son and I were working on shop projects, which were far more important than my divorce or my relationship with Anna.  What Anna wanted, I guess, was for us to have more conventional divorce with hard feelings and bitterness (there were both).  I tried, and my wife tried, but we just couldn’t do it.  Ex-wife tried to be bitter and nasty, but it wasn’t in her to sustain it.  I kept away from her and communication was minimized, but I still wanted to ensure she was looked after.  I didn’t want to do it for her, but for myself.  I felt guilty and it felt better to take it on the chin financially and suffer a bit.  I signed over all our investments and mortgage free house to her leaving her in a pretty good position financially, but Anna was mad at me for taking such a conciliatory path to divorce.  In my mind I was never trustworthy as a romantic partner, but I can be trustworthy when it came to finances.  Besides, our “fortune” would all go to the kids one day so I didn’t really care who owned it all.

I did see Anna’s somewhat narrow view of divorce and relationships as a red flag.  I could see how she’d be if we ever separated and it clearly wouldn’t be pretty.  I know looking out for my well-being after a divorce wouldn’t have been a possibility.  I couldn’t convince her that how I treated my ex was how she could expect to be treated if we ever split or ran into trouble.  I’m not sure if it was a generational difference in that she still viewed life and relationships as simple net-zero affairs with one side benefiting at the expense of another, or just a difference in her outlook on life.  What ever it was, we couldn’t align our world views.  She tried, but she didn’t believe in it and ended it.  She was looking for a way out and I gave one to her.  I think she made a mistake and I’m pretty certain she knows she made a mistake.  I’m not sure what to do now, but I’m pretty content being on my own and I don’t think I can be with someone else while she consumes my thoughts.  I miss talking to Anna every night, but in contrast, I don’t miss having to talk to Anna every night, if that makes sense.

 

 

 

No End In Sight

Untitled Ramblings

I can’t think of title, mostly because I can’t think of a topic I can write coherently about.  I hoped by writing out some thoughts I’d come up with something profound, incredibly insightful, or at least funny.  Unfortunately the holy grail of humorous enlightenment seems as elusive as ever.  While I’m waiting for it, here’s an update.

Anna and I are off.  I think for good this time.  It’s been two weeks since I left her basement suite.  I hugged her, kissed her goodbye, and then nothing more.  I still have her summer tires and few other personal items, but other than that, the break was clean and easy.  I’ve seen her drive by a few times.  I don’t think she saw me, but maybe she did and pretended not to notice.  I know that’s what I did.  I was going to run up to her, then thought better of it since I realized I had no idea what to say to her.  A few weeks ago we were talking about getting married.  Well, more accurately she was, but I went along with it since I wasn’t opposed to the idea, ONE DAY, just not now, especially since there was the small matter of already being married so to someone else.  I also had the issue of wanting to be alone.  Not always alone, just some freedom to be by myself when I felt sullen and miserable, which is pretty often these days.

The source of my never-ending emotional troubles is inability to make a decision and live with it.  There, that’s the answer.  My #42.  I wasn’t able to bring Anna into my life.  I wanted to, and I meant to.  I just couldn’t do it fast enough.  I felt guilty and out of sorts when I was with her.  All I could see was the immense task ahead in getting divorced, re-organizing my finances, and rebuilding my social life.  I can honestly say I love her and I should want to divorce as quickly as possible so I can be with her.  All I wanted was a break.  A time out from being beholden to someone.  Not forever.  Maybe a few months.

I used to cultivate a personal image of a loner.  When I was younger I had this notion that women and relationships were for emotionally weak people.  That isn’t reality though.  I was with my first girlfriend for nearly two years.  She wanted to marry me and tried to make me work in Vancouver for a financial institution.  Holy fuck, what a stupid idea that was.  So I ran away and worked in the bush.  Even then, the relationship didn’t die completely until I met my future wife.  I was having semi-regular sex with #1, then I jumped right onto #2.  We had a good run then I met L.  Had I not left town I would have married her, of that I’m absolutely certain.  Thinking nobody like L could ever enter my life again, in came Anna.

The problem is that my wife loves me and doesn’t want to let go.  In response I want to make her feel better by being nice and supportive.  You can imagine how well that went over with Anna.  She doesn’t think so, but I get it.  I know I’m not, and wasn’t, good at setting appropriate boundaries.  Every time I shoveled stbx wife’s driveway or picked up something for her it was taking something away from Anna.  I guess so, but in my defense I couldn’t, and still can’t see any harm in doing nice things.  It made me feel better at least.   Also it wasn’t as if I was sleeping with my wife, I was just trying to get a along better since we were still linked in so many ways.  I was a shitty husband, but at least I can be decent ex-husband.  It has the added bonus of being waaay cheaper too.

I’m a bundle of conflicting thoughts and emotions.  I want to be alone, but that’s not completely true.  I want to be alone sometimes, perhaps even often.  Yet I still want to wake up most mornings with Anna.  I just want the freedom to be a stressed out nut job sometimes.  When that happens, I need space.  lots of it.  My wife learned that early on, and still knows when to steer clear.  She could always tell when the anxiety of whatever moment I’m having took over.

Anna is an amazing person.  No-one ever been as kind or thoughtful toward me.  She tried to do everything she could to hang on to me.  Every time I head up my long driveway I hope to see her car there.  She still has the keys to my trailer and I always hope she’ll use them.  She’d be in bed, or having a coffee waiting for me.  But she won’t.  For her own sake she shouldn’t. We were going to travel this year once we got everything settled.  I wanted to see her dad and granny who live on some island in the middle of nowhere.  Now there’s a crazy story.  I wanted to have drinks with her on some old Mexican city plaza.  I even wondered what it would be like to have more kids.  I wasn’t there yet, but I didn’t rule it out, which I guess says something.  She is only 35, so it was something that had to be considered.

My wife wants me back.  Now that Anna is gone there is nothing stopping me I guess, except I don’t want to go back.  She’s happy that I’m not with Anna, which for her seems to be enough.  Anna needed more than I could give her.  Wife seems only to want that I’m with her or alone.  She told me she isn’t jealous or upset as long as she knows Anna isn’t around.  So it’s her happiness for mine I guess, at least for the time being.

 

In other news, I finally got a building permit.  First I was going build a place for me, then for Anna and me, now just me again.  As much as I have to stop myself from working Anna into my plans, I so badly wanted to give her home she could be proud of.  We would’ve had a remote acreage with wildlife, for which she was more suited than I was.  I only wanted a sleepy lab I didn’t need to look after and ride-on lawn mower.  Now I wonder why I should bother keeping it, except real estate is so stupidly expensive here I’d be an idiot to get rid of it and my kids might want it someday.i

 

Untitled Ramblings