Much Ado About Nothing

The last few weeks were rough between Mr. J and I, and that never happens.

His concussion head has been going up and down in the 15 months since he was concussed, and so sometimes we’ll have a long period of good discussions, and then bam! Concussion brain hits, and he cannot function. He can keep up with routine – work, eat, sleep, etc. – but any discussions or small talk just… disappears.

It was the end of his week with his kids. The weeks with them always leave him a little frazzled.

I should have known better.

But I asked him how things were going with the divorce, as he and The Ex had had some discussion around it. Mostly her wanting to know why the rush, she can’t pay, and then finally a ‘you want it, you pay for it – that’s how it works’.

So a week or so had passed and I asked how things were progressing. Apparently The Ex has a document that’s required (I doubt it’s the right one so we’ll see if I am right about it) and Mr. J was supposed to get it from her.

So after not discussing it for the week, I asked him, “so, can I ask what’s going on with your divorce?”

He replied, “no.”

To say this did not go over well with me would be the understatement of the year.

I went upstairs and we didn’t talk for a bit. Then he came up and tried to talk but he really didn’t have a clue as to why I was so upset. I talked. He listened. And as usual, he was unable to return the discussion.

The following day, Saturday, I met him for lunch in our usual spot. After he had eaten and we was getting ready to go back to work I told him, ‘we are not a family. The three of you [meaning him and his children] are a family. The FOUR of you [included his wife] are a family. But WE? Are not.”

He chewed on that for a while, then later in the week I could see him getting better. I could see that he was able to concentrate a little more. And a full week later, we were able to actually talk about what happened. I had told him in our discussions that I will not stay with him if he continues to be married. I did say it in a much better way – it was not an ultimatum by any means. I told him that it’s not that I am looking to get married – I just don’t like the idea that he is still technically married to his wife. I feel it cheapens our relationship.

So we had some good discussions on Friday and Saturday nights, and again on Sunday. The children arrived back from an extended stay with Mom on Monday, and so I fully expect Mr. J to begin his downturn soon. Usually after a week spent dealing with teenagers, he begins to experience the after effects of his concussion again.

As we were walking last night, we talked as we normally do, and he got around to telling me that The Ex had dropped off the papers he asked her for.

He also said that she is looking for cheaper alternatives for the divorce. His lawyer originally quoted him $1600 which I told him was too high; the firm I used charges a flat fee for simple uncontested divorces. Mr. J went back to the firm and told them that and they agreed to lower it to $1200, which is reasonable. But The Ex says she has no money and cannot afford to pay for her half. She is insisting that it can be done for cheaper, and included the option of doing it without an attorney. She said, “but since you want it, you would have to do the paperwork and the filing with the court.”

So. Follow along: The Ex wanted out of the marriage so three years ago told him that she was ‘done”. They limped along, staying in the same house until she moved out year later.  She wanted to end the marriage but felt that it was fine for them to continue to be legally married. Now Mr. J wants to end that. She gets mad, says if he wants it he has to pay for it – which he is fine with, although had the situation been reversed, he would have offered to pay half. So even though he said he would pay for it himself, she is insisting that she has ‘no money’ and can’t afford $600 for half the cost (which he hasn’t asked for) and is pushing to find a cheaper alternative than using lawyers. All the while insisting that Mr. J must do it all since he’s the one who wants it to become official.

Do the words Control Freak ring any bells?

Holy shitballs, Batman. I seriously cannot believe this. No wonder she feels so much stress all the time – she is trying to control things that she should not be controlling. The only thing she has to do in this process is sign her name on the forms when she receives them. That’s it. Oh, and send them back by mail, let’s not forget that. Once Mr. J files the papers with the lawyer the entire process should take about three months. All the financial and custody issues are done,  so it should be simple.

But I guarantee she will make this difficult for Mr. J. I am going to try really hard to trust him, and work on communicating better with him so he feels he can continue to talk about the process with me. All I really want to know is that everything is in the hands of the lawyer. Then I know that it’s going to happen, that it will be moving forward – and I won’t worry and stress that it won’t actually happen.

Because it is going to happen.

 

 

The Shit Hath Hiteth The Fan…eth

(Ten points if you  can name that movie!)

Since Mr. J mentioned getting divorced last week, he’s commented on it a few times.

On Friday night he was annoyed with The Ex and so he said he’d like to tell her to just ‘finish what you started. It’s been three years.”

I can tell he’s growing more and more frustrated with her. While I remain positive and supportive.

Yesterday he called me as I was driving home from work. I used the Bluetooth in my car to talk to him.

He informed me that while he was napping, The Ex messaged him again about their government benefits. (Backstory: she had been claiming them solo since they split, then she told him that he should apply for them as well. So he did, he was approved and has been receiving his share.)

The issue is that when he applied for them, he used the date that is on their separation agreement as the legal date of separation. Even though The Ex moved in June, the legal date for all their papers is six months earlier. For tax reasons it was easiest to use that date when drawing everything up.

She however, used the date of June for the date of separation.

So now since the government owed Mr. J an extra six months of benefits, where do you think they are going to get that money from? From an over-payment to The Ex, that’s where.

Basically, she has to pay back six months of benefits to the government unless Mr. J tells them the date was June and not December.

Which, in reality, is not his problem. All their legal docs say December. That’s when the retro for all bills, accounts, mortgage payments, debts, pensions, etc. were dated.

I guess she was not happy with Mr J not bending over backwards for her, and got testy. Then, he said to her that it was ‘time we formalized things and got divorced”.

I was speechless when he told me this. It’s one thing to mention it to me and talk about it but I never, ever thought he would approach her about it so soon. I figured he would think about it for the summer and then talk to her about it.

Well apparently it didn’t go over well, as was expected. I guess in her mind, the separation agreement was all that was needed; they didn’t really need to get divorced. They could just keep on, keeping on like they have been – sharing insurance benefits and la-dee-da.

(This is where Mr. J told me that he has been locked out of her insurance plan, meaning he can’t log in and apply his receipts directly. He has to submit them to her first, she gets the money back and gives it to him. Whereas he had left his open so she could go in with the password and apply hers right away.)

Obviously, nothing would change for the children; they would both remain covered under their parent’s plans, regardless of anything else.

Of course she was not really thrilled with this either. So she said to him, “fine, if you want a divorce, you can pay for it.”

Now Mr. J had told me that he would have been happy paying for half of it. Even though she instigated this whole thing, he would not have forced her to pay to end things. After all, they each paid a considerable sum to their respective lawyers when it came to arranging the separation agreement. Even though they did most of the work themselves, they still sought legal advice, which was not cheap.

My divorce cost $1150. Flat fee. The most important piece is the separation agreement. All you are doing is saying, yes, we will continue to abide by the agreement, we just want the marriage officially ended.

I’d be willing to pay for half of the cost myself if it means getting Mr. J released sooner. $575 is the best money I can spend.

But I know The Ex was pissed because SHE didn’t make the decision. She wasn’t in control of the situation. And I’m sure she never expected those words to come out of Mr. J’s mouth (or in this case, his phone.)

It’s been a day, so I am waiting for the shoe to drop. I’m waiting for The Ex to start the sad messages. The ones about how she never thought this would be happening, that she’s ‘struggling’ with this, or whatever other crap she comes up with.

Mr. J has reached his limit with her. He’s tired of her games. Tired of her bullshit. Tired of her control.

Tired of her.

I’m so very proud of him for standing up for himself and finally deciding what HE wants.

 

Shine Bright Like a Diamond (or in this case, a Sapphire)

With apologies to Rihanna.

Since I last posted here, I had a birthday. And, oddly enough, I share the day with Mr. J’s father.

Since we were going to visit his family on my actual birthday, Mr. J surprised me one day last week. He bought me gourmet cupcakes, a beautiful card that brought me to tears, and an amazing gift: a set of sapphire earrings.

I was floored. Yes, he knows I like sapphires, and these are almost a half carat sized each. Studs, set in white gold, which I prefer over yellow.

I was baffled. Mr. J is very careful with money. These babies cost more than an iPad.

What does that mean?

Mr. J does not spend money easily. He’s not into high-ticket items. One of the reasons he doesn’t really like travel is he doesn’t like spending the money on it.

He is the first man to buy me expensive jewelry. For marriage 2 and 3 I paid for my own rings. (I am well aware of how pathetic that is.) Ring 2 is gone – sold at a yard sale as it was just a simple band with three tiny stones. Nothing to take to the jeweler.  Ring 3 I still have in a box – not quite sure what to do with it yet. I’ve toyed with the idea of making a new ring or necklace from it – and the wedding band – but I haven’t really given it much thought.

But no man has ever bought me fine jewelry before. Even my first engagement ring, bought by my now ex-husband in 1992, came from a mass department store and retailed then for $399. Solitaire. Square, yellow gold band. No bells, no whistles. But we were young, just starting out.

Back to the birthday….

So on my actual birthday, we spent it with Mr. J’s family. His two brothers, their families, and their dad spent the day eating burgers, drinking beer, and visiting.

I chatted a little with Mr. J’s dad. And he told me a few eye-opening things.

We had both had a few cocktails, so I’m not sure exactly how we got to talking about it. But I mentioned how I feel when The Daughter talks to Mr. J. I told Dad how it breaks my heart to hear her speak so badly to him, even though he just lets it roll off. I said that Mr. J has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known (and this is where I got teary eyed.) I said that The Daughter talks to Mr. J just like her Mother does, because it’s been a learned condition.

Then Dad told me the bombshell: that way back, 20 years ago on their wedding day, Dad heard the way she spoke to Mr. J; how in fact her whole family spoke to him. And Dad told me that right then he ‘had a feeling it wouldn’t last’.

ON THEIR WEDDING DAY.

Mind = blown.

Then he went on to tell me that he knew the only reason Mr. J married her was because he was lonely. His two brothers were married (or planning to be soon), and one was already starting a family. He was lonely.

Been there, done that, so I know how he felt.

Then Dad went on to say how he doesn’t see that with us. He sees us as ‘real’. He says he can tell the way we look at each other; even when we are working together in the kitchen to put a meal together, he can see how we care and respect each other.

Again, I got misty-eyed.

So after we had finished dinner, and blown out the candles on the cake, we were driving home the following afternoon. I had mentioned to Mr. J that I had a nice chat with his dad. While in the van, he asked what we talked about.

“Just stuff,” I said.

“Well, just so you know, my dad’s advice isn’t always the best”, he laughed. “He’s got about 50% good advice and 50% bad.”

“No worries,” I said, “he wasn’t giving advice”.

“So what did you talk about?”

“Well,” I began,  “your dad just gave his opinion on stuff. And seeing how it’s just his opinion, it’s wrong of me to talk about it. It’s just his view, his thoughts. That’s all.”

Yeah – like I am going to tell him that his father thought it was a mistake for him to get married all those years ago.

No way, no how. Not my place.

Perhaps they already talked about this, perhaps Dad had told  Mr. J during one of their many talks over the past two years. Regardless, it’s not my place to share this information, so I didn’t.

I’m just thankful that he trusted me with it in the first place.

 

 

The Acknowledgement

Last night did not go well.

I went home after work. Folded laundry. Washed dishes. Prepared dinner.

Chatted with The Daughter.

Mr. J came home. We had leftovers for dinner. He was tired, we didn’t talk much while we were eating.

I asked him what his plans were for the evening, and asked if he wanted to take a walk.

He thought about it for a moment and said, “I should probably go to Costco to return X and to look at Y. You can stay here and work with The Daughter on her homework.”

Um, pardon?

I can “stay home and work with The Daughter?” As her father, isn’t helping with homework your job?

I was hurt and angry. I changed then went out for a walk. I kissed him goodbye and said ‘see you later’. No anger. Nothing.

I walked for about half an hour, thinking of the situation. As I round the corner to head home, I see Mr. J and The Daughter in the van at the corner. He tells me they ‘won’t be long’. I say, “I thought I was helping The Daughter while you went to Costco?” As he stuttered his response I said, “Oh, I guess I misunderstood.” And kept walking.

They returned an hour later. I was watching TV. And fuming.

After ten minutes Mr. J comes up and has The Daughter’s homework with him. (She was supposed to have two people edit her work and then present the original, the one with our edits, and the fixed copy to her teacher. So, essentially WE were teaching her.)

When The Daughter went to shower I asked him if he had any idea why I was mad.

(To be honest, I don’t think he had a clue that I even was mad.)

I told him that he made me feel like the hired help. I relayed the conversation about walking and his response. I asked, “how do you think that made me feel?”

“Well I was getting ready to go and The Daughter saw me…” he started, and so I finished, “and so she asked to go with you.”

“Of course she did. Even though you had told me I was to stay home and work with her.”

He replied, “I don’t remember the conversation going like that.”

Then he said that I mentioned (which I did) that he needed to get dress pants that fit him for the wedding on Saturday, and yes, I asked that he not wait until the last-minute to do so. (He’s a man, he would have gone out on Friday night after dropping the kids off at Mom’s at eight pm, only to not find anything that fits. Because he is a last-minute guy.)

In this brief discussion, I also said that I didn’t know what my role was. I said, “I’m always the last to know plans. I’m never in the loop. It’s fine for me to share your bills, cook, do dishes, do meal plans, and be on call to take your kids (which I apologized for saying because he doesn’t like that word, he prefers using their names, so I corrected myself) for tutoring sessions and to school for band concerts. We don’t share anything else but that. So right now you make me feel like the hired help.”

There was more I wanted to stay but at this point I had started to cry, which I do when I’m in a highly emotional state. I’m not sure if I was angry, frustrated or sad. But I was all three when he replied to my rant, “thank you for telling me how you feel.”

Wow. Seriously? Is that supposed to make me feel better?

But I know that’s how Mr. J communicates. He thinks that it’s all good, because he’s acknowledging my feelings. He’s not admitting to making me feel that way, be believes that I am the one making me feel that way. But he doesn’t realize that I feel the way I do because of his actions. Or in some cases, his in-actions.

The rest of the evening was strained, to say the least. At 9:30 I went to get ready for bed, per my usual routine. I was asleep when he finally made it to bed – well, I was well on my way to sleeping actually. Not quite there but not fully awake either.

Our morning texts have not been our usually cheeriness. He started by once again thanking me for telling him what’s been bothering me. And again, no discussion about it or thoughts on how to proceed.

The Daughter has a school concert tonight at seven. I’m really not sure that I should go. Do I want to go? Not really. I’ve had my fair share of school concerts this year and I’m pretty tired of them. It’s funny that a year ago I was upset because I wasn’t asked to attend her concerts, and now I don’t want to go. The last time we went to a school function, Mr. J barely spoke to me; while we were in line waiting to go in to get seats he stared at his wife and The Boyfriend the whole time (they were about six to ten people ahead of us in line). And last night, since The Son was at Mom’s doing homework with her, Mr. J thought it would be best if the Son just spent the night there since it was 9:30 and there was no word on when he would be home. He messaged Mom and she replied that it ‘would be easier to drop him off after’ rather than have him spend the night. Reading between the lines this means that she was either going to sleep at The Boyfriend’s house or he was going to be there. Either way, Mr. J made a comment about it, saying it was ‘interesting’.

Why? Why should it be ‘interesting’? Why do you still care? You have a woman you say you love, living with you, lying beside you every night. Having willing sex with you often. Helping you function as a family in ways that your wife never did. And yet it seems you do everything you can to NOT let her into your life.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I am making things out to be much bigger than they really are. Are we going to talk about this again? Probably not. Simply acknowledging my feelings doesn’t make it better.

Working to change the situation might.

And I’m scared that’s not going to happen.

Share and Share Alike

I wish sometimes I could get out of my own head.

I wish I could talk to Mr. J about these issues that are bothering me.

But then I wonder, are these really issues? Or am I just making things up to make up drama to make myself unhappy?

I want to be part of his life. I want to be more than a ‘house mate’. But the reality is seeming to be more and more that this is all that I am. Except we sleep together.

I share his bed. I share the bills with him – except for food and fuel for the vehicles. But that is all we share. We do not share anything else. Oh – and I am on his cell phone plan, but I pay for my phone in full.

With his wife he shares two kids – although I realized this weekend that to them, Mom’s house is ‘Home’. I’m pretty sure that Dad’s house is just somewhere they have to go every second week. At least I’m pretty sure that’s how The Daughter feels. I don’t really know about The Son – but he did say once to us that he helps out more at Mom’s house because, and yes, I quote: “well, you have Anonymous, and Mom is alone’.

When asked for more information he said that he feels ‘sorry for Mom’ because she’s alone, so he helps out more with chores around the house.

I won’t lie, I walked away when at that comment. I let his father talk to him about that, and Mr. J said that he set a few things straight, mainly about how that was what Mom wanted, and that Mom isn’t doing everything ‘alone’. She had her Boyfriend put their beds together when they moved and he also hung curtains and pictures. So don’t feel sorry for Mom.

But I digress…

What am I doing? I am taking a perfectly normal, happy situation and am trying to fuck it up in my mind. I can go days being normally happy and then like last night when I couldn’t sleep, my mind was racing with the same thoughts as before. Thinking of everything Mr. J and his wife share that we don’t: children, dentist, benefits through work, financial advisers, bank accounts, financial and tax information….

We don’t share anything. Except a bed.  And even that bed frame he shared with her when they were together (thankfully the mattress is new). And some bed sheets are old as well, although I keep trying to bring in new ones to replace. I try very hard to only use my own towels that I bought with me. Weird?

Since we moved in we’ve bought nothing together. We eat off their wedding china every damn day. (It’s Denby and he loves it, so what am I to say about it?)

This week is crazy busy with tutoring tonight, school concert tomorrow night, then Mr. J books summer work on Thursday morning so he needs to look at that beforehand. We have a wedding to go to on Saturday (my cousin’s) so we won’t really have any time to talk until Sunday or Monday when it’s just us again.

I enjoy travel, and I knew going in that it wasn’t his thing. But last year after his concussion he had a scare – the doctor told him he thought Mr. J might have an aneurysm, but the tests came back clear. And at the time, Mr. J told me that the possibility kind of scared him. He realized that his life might be short – as his mothers’ was – and so maybe it was time to live more in the now. So we talked briefly about taking a little road trip this Fall. Just the two of us. (I’ve mentioned this is past posts.)

But last night he pretty much told me that thanks to me paying half his bills, his money situation is good now. He’s happy with it. But that he still doesn’t want to spend the money on travel, as he isn’t comfortable with it.

So there goes one more thing we could do to bring us closer as a couple.

Although as he said that, I did say that I wasn’t convinced that he would have been fully present on a trip with me anyway; that I wasn’t interested in spending my time waiting for him to respond to messages that had no urgency nor need for being sent in the first place. You want to send your children the daily messages that you do (which all go unanswered), great. Awesome. But the other messages from your wife about nonsense? Yeah, no thanks.

This weekend at my cousin’s wedding will be a test. To see how much of the day he gives me his complete attention, vs. how many messages he receives from his wife – and how often he checks his phone.

All of this has been written previously. I’m just recycling the same information over and over. Nothing has come of it because I haven’t done anything about it. I can’t fault him for that, as he doesn’t know how I feel.

He doesn’t know how I feel because I haven’t told him how I feel. That’s on me. So unless I am going to tell him, I can’t blame him for something he knows nothing about.

Time to make a plan. And hopefully something good will come of this plan. I just have to wait for the right opening, and hope I can do it in a non-accusatory way. The key is for me to learn patience and how to discuss this in a mature way. Or should I just say, “what the fuck, dude?”

Yeah. THAT will go over well.

 

 

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.