Coincidence?

So yesterday I verbally vomited on my blog, purging everything that had been going inside my head for a few weeks.

And surprisingly, I felt better after doing so. Even though I didn’t magically find a solution, I did feel better.

Mr J. knows I have a blog but he doesn’t know where it is or what it’s called.

So I found last night’s conversation interesting.

We were in bed, Mr. J had taken his kids out to shop for Mother’s day gifts for Mom. They went to the mall, had dinner, then bought her exactly the same gifts they had bought her the year before.

For kids who love creativity, they really like to repeat.

As he was telling me about the evening, Mr. J said the following to me: “I think tomorrow I am going to message Mom and tell her that I took the kids out to shop for her but to please not do it for me for Father’s Day. I just don’t want her buying me anything, even if it comes from the kids. I think you should take them out instead.”

I joked, “why, you don’t want your 6-pack of beer and BBQ hot sauce?” (Joking because that is what he got last year from them).

“Well you should take them, I mean. It’s time. It’s overdue.”

Now this is where it gets interesting, because I replied, “yes, I agree. There are a lot of things that are overdue.”

And he replied, “yes, I know.”

Then we moved on to other topics but I wondered what brought this on. I wonder if something happened, if he had received a message from Mom that annoyed him, or if being with his kids and shopping for his ex was just something he didn’t want to do. I mean, she has a boyfriend, so why isn’t he taking them out to shop for her? Maybe Mr. J is tired of spending his money on her.

I don’t know the reason but I am pleased that he came to this realization himself. I didn’t nag or remind him or give him any negative attitude about the shopping. So that makes me feel good.

But it did open up the door to begin our conversation, even if I did it by text this morning. Last night, Mr. J didn’t tell me he was taking the kids out. I was meeting a friend for dinner and had no idea that they would not be home when I got there. I’m not sure if he felt that I would be mad that he was taking them shopping – it’s not like it hasn’t happened before on her birthday or Christmas, I knew it was coming. But the fact he didn’t contact me at all was a little annoying. Then I found out that he took the phones away from the kids and put them, along with his, in the console in the van, so that they could spend time together and not be on devices all the time.

This is excellent. I think it was really good for him to do that. But it got me thinking about our shopping expedition last week for the Confirmation gift, and so this morning I texted him this: “So I just wanted to say something about what’s been bothering me for the past couple of weeks. Last night I didn’t hear from you, you didn’t tell me you were going to the mall. That’s fine, you don’t have to tell me everything. But then you said that you made the kids put away their phones so you could have time with them, and so you did the same. Excellent. Really good. But, when we were at the mall last week, you were constantly on your phone checking and texting with Mom, so much that I had to stop and wait for you to finish. So can you see how that might come across as if I am not worth your full attention sometimes?”

I sent that this morning but I haven’t heard yet from him, and he hasn’t read the message. Maybe he has and he just doesn’t know how to respond. But no response is necessary – it felt good to get it out and to at least start the conversation.

This isn’t something that will magically disappear but I really believe that if I hadn’t written my post yesterday, I would still be feeling miserable about it. But I got it out, and so I feel better. Still not myself, I can still feel the depression there but it’s definitely lifting.

So if you are feeling anything like I am, talk to someone. Anyone. A friend. Your dog. Or write it out. Maybe it will help.

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.

 

 

Lyin’ Eyes

Well the bubble has burst big-time, my friends.

Last week I caught Mr. J in a lie.

A stupid, stupid lie.

And now I don’t know what to do about it.

The kicker is, I knew before he told me that it was a lie.

Let me back up, shall I?

Two weeks ago Sunday, Mr. J and the daughter were outside working on the car. He had forgotten to bring his phone out, so I grabbed it and was bringing it to him when he received a message, from The Ex.

Of course I glanced at it – not my fault he has preview on his screen, is it?

So the message had to do with her thinking about changing laundry soap because of allergies. Not rash-type, because I would have heard about that. All I have heard in the past from The Daughter is that Mom always washes all the clothes when the kids go back to her place because she ‘hates the smell of Gain’.

So, whatever. Wash if you like. I love the smell of Gain.

Then the following Tuesday, Mr. J and I were at Costco, and Gain was on sale. So I asked if he wanted to get some detergent. He said, “no – my friend Dave told me that there are some detergents that cause cancer so I’m thinking of switching.”

Now I work in a medical library. I know how to do research. And I knew he had been told stuff about cancer because he has a soft spot – his mom died young of cancer, and so he is really careful about certain things. He won’t microwave anything in a plastic container, for example.

So if you want to really make him think… that’s how to do it.

All I told him was, ‘where’s the research on that? I’ve never heard of anything like that, and if stuff was really bad for you, it would be pulled from the market. Let me do some research before you make your decision.”

So the next day I did some research. And I learned that there are a lot of sites out there that claim that detergents cause cancer. Most of those sites are not ones that I would say are valid resources though. But then I found a couple of articles in reputable sites that said that yes, laundry soaps do release a certain chemical that ‘has been linked’ to cancer. However, the article also stated that the amounts are so small that you would have to almost ingest the stuff for it to do any real damage. And on that list, Gain was listed fourth, after Tide and a couple of other name-brand products.

My takeaway from that is there is no real long-term chance of cancer from using those products.

In my email to Mr. J with the links included, I asked that he ‘change detergents because he wants to, not because someone thinks he should’.

(Meaning I know she is trying to scare you to do something she wants you to do.)

A week passes. The following Saturday, The Daughter is in the kitchen with us. She hugs her dad and smells him. Then she says, “did you change soap yet? You don’t smell like Gain now.” And then I heard something mumbled about Mom and I think ‘charcoal’ so I am not sure if she is using a charcoal detergent or if heard wrong.

The bottom line is, I knew that The Ex was asking him to change soaps, not ‘his friend Dave’.

I actually caught him in a lie. First time.

And the first time sucks.

I called him on it too, as he was still cooking dinner. His reply was that it was easier to tell me it was ‘Dave’ than to tell me the real reason – to avoid a confrontation, he alluded.

So instead of not saying anything about it at all, he flat-out lied to my face.

It’s been five days and I don’t know how to handle this.

I am so hurt that he lied to me – about something so fucking stupid. So now of course I don’t know how to trust anything he says. And I am constantly wondering if he’s lied about other things as well.

We had plans to go out that night, which we did. We met a friend of mine to listen to a band play. We talked briefly about The Lie at bar, with me ending it by saying, ‘you know that when you lied you put The Ex up here” – I raised my hand high, ‘but at the same time, you put me down here,” – and I put my hand to my hips. “You put her ahead of me” I told him.

And we haven’t discussed it since. The kids have been with us, The Ex had to talk to him after hockey this week (again – funny how on both occasions when we’ve been there together, she finds a reason to keep him late to ‘talk’), his father is visiting and it’s been hectic.

There are so many emotions I am feeling. Anger, that he lied. Hurt, that he did it in the first place – and the fact that he never apologized for doing it. Sadness that he doesn’t respect me enough to tell me the truth – or in this case, to tell me nothing at all. Seriously, why didn’t he just said, ‘nope, we have enough soap’ when I asked? Then none of this would have happened.

But the most I feel is real sadness. That again, a man has lied to me about something so incredibly stupid. This was how my last relationships ended… it all starts with that first lie. So easy to do, and once you start… will there be an end?

Now I don’t know how to go forward. Do I keep pretending it didn’t happen, or do I push him to talk about it? Or send him a text message?

How do I move forward and put this behind me? Do I trust that he isn’t going to do this again?

Fuck.

Hey Jealousy

I made a startling revelation on the way to work today.

I know, right? Sometimes I do my best thinking when I am sitting in my car stuck in traffic.

(What is it about Tuesday Traffic? Always the worst day of the week for me)

I’ve been living with Mr. J and the kids for a couple of weeks now.

Officially.

Un-officially, it’s been longer than that.

And while it is not without its issues – it’s been going great.

Until there’s a lot of talk about The Ex. And her feelings. And her issues.

Sigh.

It frustrates me to no end when I hear that she has once again told Mr. J that she is ‘having a rough time’, or that she is ‘struggling’.

I want to know if she also tells him that she’s fantastic. Or that she had two orgasms last night. I mean, if you are going to share this stuff, why always share the struggle and not the good right?

Yes, that is totally not going to happen, but you see my point. She tells Mr. J when she’s having a rough time but neglects to tell him when she’s happy, or excited about something not related to the kids.

In other words, she continually reminds him that her life is so hard. She struggles so. Please pay attention to me. (I’m totally putting words into her mouth here. But this is how I see it from my point of view.)

And so this morning of course on my drive to work my mind wandered, as it usually does. But this time it wandered to thoughts about The Ex. And why I have such strong feelings about the situation when it’s really none of my business.

Well it’s not really none of my business. I realized that there is always a part of me that is scared that things will change for Mr. J, and he will realize he’s not really happy with me and that he wants to get back with The Ex. That even though he thought I was what he wanted, what he really wants is to have his family back together again. And that all the pain of the last two years was worth their working out whatever issues they had.

I worry that when she tells him she is struggling that he will break down and give her what she wants – his sympathy. Which will in turn open up old wounds and before you know it – he is missing her.

I know, I know… it’s not likely to happen. The Ex is the one who left.  I think Mr. J will always have unresolved feelings for her because things didn’t end for him because he stopped loving her – it wasn’t his choice to end things. So of course he will be conflicted at times, especially given their long history together.

A history that I cannot compete with. 11 months is nothing compared to 20+ years and two children together.

And then it hit me – I have to stop competing.

I thought back to my past relationships/marriages and made the realization that I was ALWAYS jealous of the ex. No matter how long they had been apart, the jealousy was always there.

Always.

So the problem really isn’t with them, it’s with me.

I am the problem.

I have such low self-esteem that I am always putting my hackles up with the exes. It’s like I am predisposed to hating them because they came before me, and therefore are better than I am.

(Better at what, I wonder? Love? Sex? Marriage? Relationships? Parenting? Being a human being?)

Which I know isn’t the case. No matter how their relationships ended… they did end. And yes, in my last three big relationships, there were children involved. Meaning the ex always had a presence in our relationship.

But that stops now.

I am now aware of it. I see myself repeating the pattern, and I’ll be damned if I am going to do it again.

To be honest? She is not worth my effort.

I don’t wish ill of her of course. I would never wish that.

But that blind jealousy I feel whenever she texts Mr. J, or whenever he brings her up has got to stop.

Because if it doesn’t, it’s just going to eat at me and turn me into the person I became in the past – which I really don’t want to happen. I don’t want to be that same old person.

Mr. J makes me want to be a better person.

Because I am the one he loves.

I am the one he is living with.

She might be his past… but I am his future.

And he is worth it.

Two Words

So it’s official. Mr. J and I are living together.

Meaning all my shit it as his place. Or, I guess I should say ‘our house’.

We moved the bed over on Sunday, along with my Grandmother’s chair and two patio chairs. The last items to go over.

As far as moving goes, it was quite painless. I had moved the kitchen stuff over in August. Then a couple of weeks ago we did the heavy stuff with two cars full of my storage items and my clothing. Since then, we pretty much did a load or two each week, and I would do an occasional run during the week.

Everything fit within our two hatchback cars, with the exception of the bed and bed frame, which went yesterday in the truck with Mr. J’s dad, who drove the truck up for his visit in time to help with the move.

I guess moving is easy when you leave most of the furniture behind.

Other than a slight issue regarding keys with my now ex-roommate, it went well.

Mr. J asked if I was sad to be leaving, and I told him honestly, ‘no’.

I also told him that even if things had changed for him – if he decided that no, he really wasn’t quite ready to move in – I was ready to leave. I had already decided that I would just rent a bedroom in a house somewhere. I’d learned to live within a smaller space, and given how much time I spent with him, I didn’t need a whole apartment to live in and furnish. I don’t really entertain, I don’t really socialize much in my home.

I’d planned to move out regardless.

So after all was said and done – the car emptied, the truck emptied, and most of my things had been moved to the basement – the dust settled and there was peace and quiet.

I was upstairs in the family room, reading. Mr. J was sharing a beer with his dad, before heading out to watch his Daughter practice her sport. It was a quiet moment in the house and then Mr. J came up to see me. He looked slightly dazed, and definitely tired. He said hi and kissed me, then sat in the love seat across from me. He looked at me and said, “thank you for moving in with me”.

For a moment I was so stunned I didn’t know what to say. Really? You are THANKING ME? I should thank YOU, for all your help in this move, for welcoming me into your family and your life. For allowing me to make small changes in your home so that I don’t feel like I am a replacement for someone who is still missed.

For loving me enough to want to build a life with me.

After a second I replied, with real tears in my eyes, ‘thank you baby. Thank you for asking me.”

Really. This sweet man. How could I not love him and want to be with him?

It was quite a romantic moment, I think.

So the senior Misters went to the sporting event. I stayed behind and made a kick-ass roast beef complete with mashed potatoes and gravy. Mr. J cleaned up all the dishes. I went to bed exhausted at nine to plan clothing and stuff for the next day. Mr. J was up until after ten dealing with his children. He came to bed at 10:15 exhausted and spent. He got ready for bed, got into his cuddle position (he moves towards the center of the bed, puts his arm out so I can put my head on his shoulder and move into him, then he puts his right arm around me and puts his left hand on my right arm as it draped across his chest.

Follow me?

We are quiet. I know he is processing the situation with his children. I do not pry. I do not force him to tell me what is going on. I tell him that I am here if he needs to talk.

He is quiet. And then a few minutes later he says (again), ‘thank you for moving in’.

And I reply ‘it’s my pleasure, thank you for asking me to.”

I’m not sure if he had forgotten that he already thanked me, or if he is so happy that he needed to say it twice.

But I didn’t tear it apart. I didn’t take what he said and over think it.

Come on ladies, you know what I mean: picking apart his words looking for the ‘real meaning’.

(Is he thanking me because now he doesn’t have to cook? Or worry about meal plans? Or because he knows I will be home before him so the kids are not alone? So that he won’t have to do everything alone during the week he has his kids? Or because now he has someone to share the household expenses with so that he has a little more money each month?)

The old me would have done that. I would have looked for the ‘real’ reason. Meaning, I would have been looking for the negative in it.

Instead I take it the way it was meant: with love and affection from a very tired, very happy man who happens to be in love with me. And who I happen to love.

It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

 

The Letter

(Two posts in one day – another small miracle! What can I say? A lot of stuff has been going on lately!)

Last weekend when Mr. J was making room for my shit in his bedroom, he started going through his own shit to better configure his closet.

And he came across a letter.

It was a letter from The Ex. Well, not really a letter – it was more like a litany of complaints.

He gave it to me to read. And I was so upset after I finished reading it – it was short, about half a page long – I had to go downstairs to give him a hug.

I only read it once. I didn’t memorize it, nor do I have an eidetic memory.

But reading it once was enough to remember what she wrote to him. In this letter she wrote that she didn’t like how he never talked about how he was feeling. That she felt that she shouldn’t have to write things down for him. (Maybe so he could read it later and process it on his own rather than having you yell at him?) So she did. She wrote that she:

*didn’t like that the house was always a disaster;

*thought that they had no family life;

*didn’t like how much beer he drank;

*didn’t like how much he slept – she thought that if he slept as much as he did then he must be depressed;

And ended it by saying she was “about ready to pack it in”.

I don’t know how long ago she wrote it. It was not dated. Nor was it signed.

But as soon as I read it I wiped a tear from my eye and went downstairs to find Mr J., who was rifling through a box, organizing stuff.

I pulled him into a sweaty hug and said what I always say to him.

“I will always have your back”.

I also said, “I know you sleep a lot because you work shitty shifts. If sleeping means you can stay up until the kids go to bed and still have sex with me, then nap away.”

I also said, “I will help you clean the house so that we both have more time to do things together, and with the kids.”

And ended it with, “I love you so much”.

He hugged me tight, and kissed my neck. He didn’t speak. But what this letter did, for me anyway, was to show me how to do things the right way. If we get to a point where we aren’t communicating and we do have to resort to writing things down, I want to make sure that I do it in a constructive way. I want to write:

“I worry about how much beer you drink. If you are feeling stressed, let’s talk about it. And thank you for doing it when we are alone and not the week we have the kids living with us.”

“I hate that the house is always a disaster. Let’s make a plan to do cleaning every Sunday morning after breakfast. The more we work together, the faster it gets done.”

“I hate that your job wears you out so much that you have to spend so much time sleeping. I know how rough it is on your body and I hate seeing you exhausted. I know you want to be available and energetic to spend time with the kids at night.”

“We have no family life. So maybe we should agree that Friday nights with the kids are movie nights. Let’s all get into our PJs, put down our electronic devices, crawl into the king size bed and all watch a movie together.”

“I love you so much and I will always have your back.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that working together to find a solution is better than laying blame and complaining.

And while the letter was likely written in anger and frustration… she did make good on her threat to pack it in.

And it has shown to be a great example of what not to do in order to be respectful to the person you love most in the world.

Am I wrong?

 

 

 

 

The Cohabitation Agreement

No, this is not an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Today, I drafted up a Cohabitation Agreement for Mr. J and I to sign.

This shit? Just got real.

The bulk of my possessions have been moved into his house.

We’ve spent every night for the past two months together – the last day I slept in my bed was July 22.

And last night, we went out to dinner to discuss household stuff like bills and payment schedules.

We had some wings, I pulled out my phone to look at my budget, but he just told me that at the end of the month we would reconcile the bills and I’d just give him half, including the mortgage and property taxes.

And then he talked about signing a document that would allow us to each walk away without any further obligation should we choose to.

Ouch. Way to put a damper on the mood. Not the celebration I was hoping we would have.

I know he is just being practical and trying to avoid the situation he was in when he and The Ex split. He doesn’t want us to go through the hassle of dealing with pensions, RRSPs… any savings accounts.

He wants it to be simple – what’s mine is mine, what’s his is his.

And I am okay with that. Really. He might make a little more than I do (about $15K per year), but he also has two kids to clothe and feed and music lessons and sports fees, and before we know it, college tuition.

I know he is making sure I am protected as well, and he claims that while he makes more money, I will have more disposable income. And he is likely right about that.

I understand his need. I do.

I just wish that the thought of it didn’t stab me in the heart.

I really hope he doesn’t think that our relationship won’t last. Especially when he mentions that all the bills are in his name so I am “free to walk away at any time”.

And that’s when I wonder if this is all too soon for him. If the scars from his marriage are still too fresh.

Is that how he sees us, I wonder? That I am just biding my time until something better comes along? That when I get tired of being with him I will just throw in the towel?

Or does he say these things to put up a tiny wall around his heart, to protect himself from reliving the pain of the last few years?

He’s told me that ending things between us would hurt him, but it wouldn’t devastate him. I guess he’s been there once, and probably not likely to happen again. I mean – we have no children together, so there would be nothing to keep us tied to each other if the romance dies.

We’d be “free to walk away at any time”.

So of course I will draft and sign the Cohabitation Agreement. I don’t need financial support from him. What he earns when we are together is his. If his house appreciates in value, then he should benefit from that. I don’t need a share of it. I’ve managed my whole life without being dependent on a man, and I can keep doing it.

If it gives him peace of mind to sign such an agreement, I will do so.

So then why do I suddenly feel like our relationship just went from a grand romance to a business arrangement?