Reconnecting

This weekend we went to my cousin’s wedding in a small town about 1.5 hours from where we live.

Mr. J booked the day off work in order to attend the event with me. He doesn’t get many random days to take off in a year, so using one for this was appreciated.

The drive to the wedding was slightly strained. He knew that I was still hurting/angry from the week, added to the fact that having been busy with his children for most of the week, we didn’t talk much. For the last three nights he only came to bed after I was asleep.

So I wanted this weekend to be about US. (Sorry cousin!) I wanted us to get dressed up, to be social, to drink and eat and dance and be surrounded by love.

We’d lost touch last week, in part from our lack of communication, and in part because of how I am feeling overall about our relationship of late.

Ironically, we sat at the ‘unmarried’ table. There were six of us: the couple to our left have been together for six years, but not married. The women across from us (not a couple, but friends who came together), are both not married. One has been with her partner for 16 years, the other, with hers for a whopping 38 years. Never married.

So Mr. J joked (privately to me) that we were the worst at the table. Not only had I been divorced three times (!!!), but he was still married.

Now at this point we had both had a few cocktails and so I believe he meant that as a joke. As in, ‘how scandalous’!!

But having had a cocktail myself, the tone might not have been so playful when I turned to him and said, “trust me, I am well aware of that fact”.  (Actually, that’s not true. I said something else but now, writing this, I can’t quite remember what it was exactly. So that will suffice until I remember what I actually said (if I ever do)).

At that point, I got up and went to get myself another drink at the bar.

I cooled off a little, then went back to the table. Our dinner arrived, we chatted amongst our new friends… and the evening went well. I had fun. I hope Mr. J had fun.

We chatted, listened to music, ate dinner. Drank. Watched the newlyweds in their loving glow.

Then later on in the evening, the dancing started, and Mr. J and I actually had our very first dance. He says he is not much of a dancer, and let me tell you – when it comes to slow dancing, he is very good. He does the basic ‘sway’ – no fancy footwork here – but he makes up for it in the way he held me tight. Secure against him.

As if to say ‘you’re mine, and I’m not letting you go’.

So I can forgive the guy if his fast dance moves make him look like he’s auditioning for the Yoko Ono video ‘Bad Dancer‘. (I wish I was kidding. Sadly, I’m not.)

While our communication issue is still ‘there’, this weekend getaway did help our relationship. It did help us to reconnect. I left the issue at home, and tried to concentrate on US. On being present and enjoying the moment with him. On celebrating my cousin and her new husband – along with everyone else in the room.

This weekend also proved that we don’t have to ‘travel’ to get away. I realized that we’ve gone away twice this year so far, and both times have been really good. This time, for the wedding, as well as one overnight in March to visit my mother.

And I realized that maybe this is the key. Mr. J said he doesn’t like to ‘travel’. Maybe the long distance, and his time away from home is what freaks him out. So I am going to talk to him about a compromise. Instead of long road trips, maybe our thing will be short overnight stays; we could easily leave after he finishes work on a Saturday afternoon, drive somewhere for an overnight, and then come back home the next day. To not go further away than where my mom lives, but still somewhere out of the area. We drive there, check into a hotel, have dinner, then we relax, have some really hot hotel room sex. Then the next morning we check out, explore the area, and then leave to arrive home just after suppertime, giving us enough time to take care of a few things before work the next day. Nothing stressful, nothing rushed.

Just some time away to relax and recharge.

Tomorrow night (his summer hockey begins tonight), I will bring this up with him to see what he thinks. We could do a weekend in July or August to test the waters, and see how he feels about it. We can go forward to get him his passport which would open up a lot more options for us, travel-wise.

But, one step at a time. I’d like to bask in the glow from this weekend and appreciate what we had.

Just a little while longer.

 

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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?

 

 

 

 

Waiting for The Shoe to Drop

Well it finally happened. Mr. J finally told the Ex that I was moving in.

I was beginning to worry that he would never do it, but I had to stay calm and trust that when he felt the moment was right, he would tell her.

And he did. On Tuesday.

He told her that the kids were aware, that he had told them a week ago but wanted to give them time to think about it before telling her.

So I asked him how she took the news.

And he said, “I had sent her a bunch of stuff about the kids which she responded to but didn’t say a word about it.”

Bingo.

So she is going to stew on it for a week or so. She’ll leave it just long enough that Mr. J will think that everything is going smoothly, and when -WHAM – out of the blue he will receive a message from her full of guilt (perhaps), sadness (definitely), anger (possibly) and other such nonsense.

This is her modus operandi when it comes to news she doesn’t want to hear. Even though it bears nothing on her life – her day-to-day life – for whatever reason my moving in with Mr. J will most certainly will affect her… and she definitely let him know it.

Well it shouldn’t. I keep saying it but she keeps forgetting – this is what she wanted. To not be with Mr. J anymore. She didn’t want to live with him, and so it shouldn’t matter that he’s found someone as fabulous as me… someone who does want to live with him.

Besides, she has her own Mr. J – so I wonder what he thinks of all this. Does she talk to him about this kind of stuff? I’m a little interested to find out.

I’m guessing once this weekend is behind her – the long weekend and back-to-school time – that she will have a response for Mr. J about my moving in.

I just hope that for once, she leaves the passive-aggressive comments out. “I’m happy for you” should be the only words she says.

Yeah, like that will happen.

Two Down, One To Go

Mr. J told his children last night that I was going to be moving in.

And it did not go as he thought it would.

He sat the two of them down, and said, “so, I have something I want to talk to you about….”

And then The Daughter interrupted and said, “Anonymous is moving in?”

Yeah, they saw it coming.

Mr. J admitted to me today that he had been worried for nothing. Both of them seemed to take it in stride.

No questions. No comments. They were much more interested in getting back to the new iPhone and to Netflix.

And I think it really surprised Mr. J.

He said that he was worried for nothing. Their reaction was actually a non-reaction; and I think the fact that we had gone to the cottage together really helped. They already were used to thinking we were a unit; in fact, The Son actually said at one point that I was an “honorary GXXXXXX”.

I don’t think there could be a higher honor, and I would be very proud to be a GXXXXXX, honorary or not.

Next up will be telling The Ex. And I really hope that Mr. J gets the same reaction from her as he did from the children.

But somehow? I doubt that.

Even though it pains me, I have to trust that Mr. J will not let her reaction, whatever it may be, affect him.

Because I guarantee you, there will be a reaction. Either sad, ‘poor me, you are moving on’ reaction, or slightly angry, indignant reaction.

And between you and me, I am hoping for the angry reaction. Then maybe she will grow up, get her shit out of his basement once and for all. Because I really don’t care for the thought of my shit co-mingling in the basement with her shit. (Even if hers was there first)

I just have to hope that it happens on one of his good days, because Mr J. hasn’t really been himself lately. I believe he is still suffering from the after effects of his concussion. He’s been headachy, foggy, and not always able to carry on a conversation. He has his good days, and his not-so-good days.

And it scares the crap out of me.

It’s been a test, for sure. It’s taken everything for me to be rational, and to not take things personally. To realize that if he doesn’t say or do or act the way I think or expect him to… that it isn’t personal. He’s just… not himself.

But the scary thing is that he might not recover from this, and this new persona might actually be … himself. Maybe he will never be the way he was when we were first dating, before his concussion.

This might be our new normal.

But so long as the communication stays open – and the fear stays at bay – I think we can handle it.

Because he is worth it.

No Going Back

This is it.

This is the weekend – or week ahead – that is make or break for us.

We leave tomorrow for a week at Mr J’s family cottage. Just us and his children.

For a whole week.

With no TV.

No internet.

No video games on the laptop.

Just fun and sun and the lake and fresh air.

And family time.

It’s going to be interesting as I’ve never spent more than three consecutive days with them at one time.

And it’s also going to be the week where we make our plans to move in together known to all.

Including the children.

I’m torn about how to do it. There are two ways, and both seem good.

Scenario 1 – Mr. J tells the kids on his own. That way they can speak candidly about how they feel. Either together or separate, but they can talk about it with their father if they need to. Their own fears. Their own insecurities. (And when I say ‘they’ I really mean the Daughter. The Son probably won’t really realize what this means until it happens)

Scenario 2 – Mr J and I tell the kids together. This could be more awkward but it does show the two of us as a united front. But then the kids might not feel like they can speak up about how they feel about this change, and how it will affect them.

I’m really not sure which is the best way to go, to be honest. Scenario 1 is good if the kids want to talk about things with their Dad, but I’m not sure they would even if they had issues. And really, only the Daughter would say anything as I don’t think The Son will care one way or the other.

But then it will really depend on the timing of things. If the daughter makes a comment about Mr. J and I and our PDAs, it might be the perfect opportunity to bring it up. Or, it might happen one night at dinner. Or during a boat trip. Or shopping trip.

Regardless of how it happens, it needs to happen this week. The kids need some time to get used to the idea, and as soon as it happens, even though I hate the thought of it, Mr. J needs to tell The Ex. She should not hear about it from The Daughter – it should come right from him.

And then he will have to deal with the fallout of that – the passive-aggressive “I’m happy for you but I’m really not” shit that tends to get thrown around whenever something good happens to him.

But as I keep telling myself, I have to trust that Mr. J handles her the best he can, and that his heart is really into this move.

It’s my own insecurities that are messing with my head. It’s taking everything in me to be mature about this relationship and not fuck it up like I have with all the other ones.

I’m jealous of The Ex.

I know, right? But because she left, I feel she still tries to manipulate Mr. J and his feelings.

And that pisses me off.

I can’t know for certain, but I know how women play games. Control games. Manipulation games.

The ‘I’ll send you a text that has nothing to do with our kids so that I am in your head’ game.

And I hate how it makes me feel.

This is my struggle.

What I really want to do is smack her upside the head and say, “grow up”.

You left. You tore up a family for your own happiness.

You don’t get to play with people’s feelings. They are not your puppets.

You wanted to be happy, go be happy and leave your past behind.

But then you see, I am also torn.

For I am also grateful to her, because if she hadn’t left, if she hadn’t been selfish and caused the man I love the worst pain of his life….

…then I wouldn’t be the happiest I have ever been in my life.

So how fucked up is that?