It’s Been A Long Time

I’m doubtful that I have any followers left because I have been MIA for so long.

So for that, dear readers – I apologize.

In reality, I haven’t had the need to blog for a long time. Usually, my posts were about funny things that happened in my world of dating, but then I met Mr. J and things progressed to the point that I stopped dating – well, other men, that is.

We moved in together back in September and things have been going well for the most part. Mr. J and the kids and I seemed to get into a decent routine. I took on my share of household chores, especially in the kitchen and meal planning areas, which have given Mr. J a “better quality of life”. (His words)

We have had our ups and downs, as any couple would have. Kid issues, for the most part, have been few and far between, thank God. Definitely more issues with the Daughter but that’s normal, I think in any family.

But for the past few weeks, I’ve felt something I haven’t felt in a long time. The fatigue. The ambivalence.

The depression is back and has reared its ugly head.

And I can’t seem to shake it off.

Mr. J has asked if something is wrong, and I don’t know how to talk to him about it. Because the issue is with him this time, and I know I can’t change him. I can’t change the situation or make him do something he isn’t wanting to do and then that sets off the cycle.

I don’t know how to wrap by brain around it and talk to him about it in a way that is open and not accusatory or hurtful or full of blame.

Maybe if I come back to my way of writing it out, the solution – such as it is – will come to be.

But I know the bottom line is that I cannot change him. I am not a teenager, I know that you can’t change people – and you can’t change how they feel.

It started off a few months ago, after we had been living together for a few months. It happened so slowly I never really picked up on it – I was just happy and in love.

But then it occurred to me – Mr J is not fully engaged in our relationship.

We talked about it, and while he didn’t say yes or no to it, I know it to be true. He’s scared. While it’s all fun and games to live with someone, he is still holding out a part of himself from me, from our relationship. Deep down I think he is scared of being hurt like he was by his wife when she ended their marriage, so while he says he loves me – and I believe he does love me – he holds back just a part of that to protect himself.

A few months ago Mr J bought a new minivan. His first. Even though his kids are in their teens and will be out of the house in five years, he thought a bigger vehicle was necessary. And it was – with hockey equipment and with his family living out-of-town, it’s good to have a nice roomy vehicle for travel.

So I ‘bought’ his car from him. I sold my 2006 car and ditched my insurance. To save money on taxes, we agreed on a sale price for his vehicle and I am paying him monthly for the car but it is still registered to him. Since I no longer have a car in my name, I am now under his insurance as ‘other driver’ and will pay him for that.

This is all good. I get a newer, well-maintained car with really low payments and low interest (he calculated it at .99% which he got for his van). A much better deal than I would get anywhere else.

When he emailed the insurance agent she asked him what our relationship was.

He replied : “house mate”.

Swoon! Such a romantic.

And this began the issue. We had discussions, tears (on my part – and on his) and I was so hurt. I know I am not his wife. But I also know that he put me in his Will – he has left the house to me, and as well I am a potential guardian for his children as both of his brothers live out-of-town and the kids may want to stay where they are should something happen to their parents (this is only in the slight chance that Mom has passed as well obviously). It’s a moot point as it will never happen but the gesture was nice.

I know he was not being hurtful when he called me his ‘house mate’. His reasoning made sense at the time – but it just goes to add to the issue of his not being 100% committed to us and to our relationship.

He wanted us to sign a Cohabitation Agreement before we moved in together. To each protect our assets going in. Such as his house, his RRSPs, our pensions, etc. I know what splitting with his wife cost them both financially, so he wanted us each to be protected.

I totally agreed. I drafted it up. Got it ready for signatures.

And still it sits, in a folder on his desk, unsigned. Six months later.

So does that mean he thinks we will go the distance and therefore will never need to worry about dividing assets?

Or that he trusts that should something happen and we do break up, I won’t go after him for a share of the house?

Or, that we aren’t really in a serious relationship so why bother signing it?

After six months of living together I had hoped that we would be starting to build something together. We didn’t start off like most other couples; I moved into his space. He made some room for me and my meager possessions.

But we missed out on what I consider something important: the starting off new together.

We didn’t go house hunting together. We didn’t look at rentals and decide what we liked or didn’t like. We didn’t look to see where we could put furniture or buy new dishes or decide what colour to pain the walls. There is nothing of mine in the house – at least nothing more than a couple of end tables.

Six months later nothing in his house has changed, except he lost some space in his closet.

I’ve mentioned how I hate his downstairs sofa set and he agreed it was time to look for a new one to replace the one that was upstairs before the wife left. We talked about what we like, what we don’t like in furniture… and he said we should go out and shop for something.

That was over a month ago and we have yet to hit a furniture store.

We went to his niece’s Confirmation on Sunday in his hometown. I helped him pick out a cross pendant that was a lovely gift. I offered to pay part of the cost.

He said as Godfather, it was his responsibility to pay for a gift.

His daughter has asked both parents for some pretty expensive birthday gifts (her birthday is at the end on June). I offered to split on one of them with Mr. J.

He declined, saying it was within his budget to get that gift for her.

Is he being nice? Is he wanting to shield me from spending money on his family? I don’t know, because all I see is he is doing everything he can to keep me separate when it counts. Does that make sense?

I pay half the mortgage, and half of the utilities, even though every second week there are three of him (him and two kids) and one of me. I buy groceries on the week when it’s just us, he buys them when the kids are there.

When we tally up the bills at the end of the month, he tells me how much I owe him. I write him a check. And this is all done at the same time that he tallies up the expenses with his wife.  Then they figure out who owes what and transfers into their joint account.

We don’t share anything financial. Not a  credit card, not even a tiny free savings account for household stuff. We don’t discuss money, unless it’s him telling me how much I owe him for the month.

But then we are just housemates, right? Housemates don’t share things like that. I’ve already been thinking about next year, come tax time. Because of the way it works we might have to file our taxes together and that might affect us negatively. Unless of course he claims me as a renter and claims the rent I have been paying him. I’m not on any bills and so there really is nothing to say that I am NOT just a renter.

And at times, that’s exactly how I feel. It’s just another way to keep our relationship from being ‘real’.

But the biggest issue for me right now, the one that I cannot talk to him about and that has been stressing and upsetting me for weeks, is the fact that he and his wife are still married.

They have, on paper, been separated since Dec 31, 2014. Physically since July 2015. I have been living with him for six months; we are pretty sure the wife bought a house with her boyfriend, but we have not had confirmation of this. (We heard in January that the boyfriend had bought a house in the suburb where we live. Conveniently just a few blocks from us and still within walking distance of the school. He moved in April, and we assume she will move with the kids in July, but we are just speculating at this point.)

If Mr. J was so happy living with me… would he not want to file for divorce and officially end his marriage to his wife?

And you can see how I cannot bring that up to him. It’s not because I want to marry him – that isn’t the issue here. The issue is why he still wants to stay married to her.

And sadly, I know what he would say if I was to bring this up to him. He would say something to the effect of: “well, she wanted to leave so if she wants a divorce, she can ask for it.”

Sure. Makes sense. Until you realize that what you are in fact NOT saying is that if she wants the divorce she can ask for it but I don’t want it so I’m happy to leave it as is.

Which means he is happy still being married to her. He doesn’t want to be divorced and have that label attached. Regardless of the fact that he is in a happy relationship (at least I hope it’s happy), being divorced is a label he’s probably not anxious to wear.

And so he remains married. Likely until such time as the wife decides to end it. Because if it’s one thing I’ve seen in the past 18 months, he is content to let his wife make the decisions and he just deals with the results. But again this is just my observation.

But all these little factors, together, are constantly going around and around in my head. If he really loved me and wanted to be with me, he’d file for divorce, right? He’s pushing me away and avoiding anything that we would do together – buying furniture, paying for gifts together… but yet is content to be married to one woman and living with another. Which technically makes me a mistress.

What really capped it off was summer vacation time. He is extremely limited in his options for time off in the summer and I respect that. I however am forced to take a certain week off that this year does not coincide with his time with his children.

I had been asking him about the days he planned to take – if any – and he told me he had already booked them off. But he didn’t let me know when they were.

He said he did tell me but my memory is like a steel trap. However I gave him the benefit of the doubt in this. He says he did – fine. It doesn’t matter. So he confirmed the days he requested are in the week before my forced holiday, during the week he has his children.

An obvious, and good choice. When we were discussing it I said I would have to request the time off. And he said he wanted me to take the time off but ‘didn’t want to assume (or presume, I can’t remember which) and that he has to communicate better with me’.

My first thought is: why would he presume (or assume) that I would NOT take the same vacation time as him? Isn’t that what couples do? And then I wonder, what would he have presumed if his wife was still living with him? Would it not be presumed that she would take that time as well for them to spend it as a family?

We also talked briefly about taking a vacation together in the fall, when it’s easier for him to get time off. He also mentioned that he might consider it being just the two of us, actually going away together. We talked about taking a road trip to North Carolina, which I would be all for.

However I am highly doubtful that he would take that time and not spend it with his kids, whom he sees only half time now, by no choice of his own. So how can he in good conscience take a week away when he could potentially be spending it with them, seeing them before and after school each day?

But also then the issue of communication comes in – on the weeks when he does not have his kids, he sends them messages every few days, to let them know he is thinking about them. They usually go without a response, but he’s okay with that.

And so if we go on vacation, away for a week or so together, can he go that long without communicating with his wife, who finds reasons several times a day to message him about what I think are totally non-essential issues. If we go on vacation, I would really appreciate it if his time would be focused on me, and on us, and what we are seeing/doing, and not having to stop every five minutes so he can check his texts from her. We were shopping last week for the Confirmation gift and she kept messaging him while we were out, and he made a point to stop every time and check every one. His response to it was, ‘I should make sure that it’s not important in case one of the kids was bitten by a dog.” I responded, “if that were to happen again, I’m pretty sure she would call you – which is what she did when it happened and she was already on the way to the emergency room.” (True story.)

But it doesn’t matter. She messages him – he jumps to check it. It’s like a Pavlovian response. And I know I have no control over it. I cannot control what – or how frequently – she messages him, just as I cannot control him jumping to check and respond. But if we are on vacation, away from home and away from normal life I would hope that he could set all that down and just focus on us – but I really am not convinced he is ready for that, the same as he is not ready to be divorced.

He said to me last week that I improved his life – or some such thing. I took a moment and then asked how. How did I improve his life?

His response was that he now had a ‘better quality of life’ with me in it. That because I took over some of the household chores like cooking and meal planning, it gives him more time with his children and less stress on his life.

So, essentially, by being a cook, I improved his life. Wow. #relationshipgoals right there. (I’m being sarcastic). But you can see my point: instead of saying that he loves spending time with me, or that he laughs more with me or any other way he could actually compliment ME, he instead chose to say that it’s because of something that anyone he could hire could do just as well.

Nice.

Just one more way that we seem to have this divide between us, and I don’t know what to do about it – or how to bring this up since it’s quite a large issue, and one very close and personal for him.

I’ve written, edited, re-edited this thing a bazillion times (true story) and I know I am still leaving little points out. But the bottom line is that after two-plus hours of writing, and re-writing, I am still no closer to having an idea of how to figure this out, or how to move forward.

Or am I just making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill?

Maybe I should just pull up my big girl panties and just suck it up already.

 

 

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