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.

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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.

 

 

Everyone Struggles With Something

It’s true. We all struggle emotionally with any number of issues at any number of times during our lifetime.

The key is how we deal with these struggles.

Me? I talk to myself about it. Or I write about it.

Others may drink to forget. Or talk to friends. Or their significant others.

Or a professional.

It’s not uncommon these days. People have all kinds of stressors. Work. Kids. Relationships.

Lately I’ve had a few moments that have been tough, but not anything I can’t handle. My biggest stress right now is the upcoming move in with Mr. J and the kids – even though it’s still two months away.I have random thoughts in my head throughout the day about it.

About:

how the kids will react.

how Mom/The Ex will react. (Not that I really care about what she thinks but she can react badly and then put all of her feelings and insecurities about it onto Mr. J, which then becomes another stressor in his life. See what I mean?)

what our family routine will be.

how right now, at this moment, I feel lost because I am between two worlds: my roommate has started to take over the condo we’re in because I am really not there much. She’s started to spread her things and do things her own way because in October the unit truly becomes hers. But yet I am not living with Mr. J yet, so his house is not my home yet. I am starting to feel unsure of my place.

how I feel about having my storage stuff in the basement where Mom’s storage stuff still resides.

how I can change things just enough so that it doesn’t seem like I am a replacement.

how I feel about Mom/The Ex telling Mr. J that the reason she hasn’t been taking much of her stuff out of the basement is because she ‘is struggling’.

how I feel about her texting him a photo of a Gin & Tonic and asking, ‘how come I didn’t know about these years ago?”

(So… does that mean your life with Mr. J would have been better if you had been drinking GT’s all along? You would not have left him?)

I mean really… what the fuck does that even mean?

Is it meant to fuck with Mr. J’s head? Because of course that’s what it did. Just one more way to put herself into his life, and into his head.

But I have to let go of the stress I feel when she texts Mr. J about non-urgent child issues – and not let it impact our relationship. I have to trust him to deal with it in the best way he knows how. And I also have to understand that he cannot control what she texts him – or how often.

He can only control his replies and reactions to those messages.

So I have to hope that if we continue with open communication we can talk about these issues. That we can talk about my anxiety over moving in and my fear that as the days get closer and the texts from his past keep coming that he won’t stop and think that perhaps he is rushing into this. That perhaps the love and affection and respect and sex and companionship we have might not be quite enough for him to fully commit.

Because even though they have been separated physically for over a year (and longer on paper), neither has moved towards the discussion of divorce. (At least I think. I could be wrong.)

And that my friends, is my biggest fear. Because until the paperwork is signed, nothing is official. Nothing is really over. Even if it is just a piece of paper.

(I didn’t say it was a rational fear.)

Last week Mr. J had to go in for a CT scan. I went with him as a ride and just in case he needed someone there.

As the intake clerk updated his information, he put me down as his emergency contact. A new name. A new phone number.

And then the nurse asked what our relationship was.

“Married? Common-law?” she asked, ready to fill in the blank.

“Friends” replied Mr. J.

Ouch.

But the truth is…. that’s what we are.

We are not married. We are not technically living together yet. And, even when we are, are we really going to combine our lives enough to be considered ‘common-law’? (I like to think so but…)

Given those options… I guess the correct answer really was ‘friends’.

Lately Mr J has been ‘off’… which is why we were in for a CT scan in the first place.

So I’ve tried to not add to his stress. I mean – he deals with his work stress, the stress of having two teenagers half-time instead of full-time, the stress of finances and household issues, the stress of his Ex…

Given his state right now the last thing I want to do is to add anything to that.

I’m not running away.

I’m not angry.

I’m figuring it out. And if I do need to really talk to him about it – I will.

I just want him to get better and have my old Mr. J back.

But in the meantime, I will just keep going forward. I will keep thinking about our relationship going forward. I will make lists and plan for the move and not think about anything but how happy Mr. J makes me feel, and how excited I am to move in with him and his children.

Because you can’t go back. You can only go forward.

I recently read a great book and this quote really hit home:

“Look, what happened with your husband changed you forever, just like what happened with my brother changed me,” he says, and this time, I really listen, because it feels different from the advice I’ve gotten before. “So you can’t compare the present with the past, not really, because you’re a different person that you were back then. You have to look forward, at the things you want, not back at the things you once had.”

And I want a life with Mr. J. With everything that comes along with it.

Talking It Out

We talk a lot, Mr. J2 and I, about what went wrong in our respective marriages/relationships.

He talks a lot more about The Ex than I do about mine, but I understand why. It’s still new to him, and he still needs to work things out.

I get that. I really do. And I support him in it, because it means the more he sees how badly she treated him, the more he will see that she did the right thing and that he is better off without her.

We talk openly. Honestly. He admits he didn’t communicate well in his marriage and only really learned how to talk openly about his needs, wants and feelings over the last 18 months.

It pains me to hear him talk about being unappreciated; he is the sweetest man I’ve ever met. One morning last week my car was covered in snow, as was his, from an overnight snowfall.

Even though he had to leave by 5:10 am, he found the time to quickly brush my car off as he was doing his own.

Seriously.

I have never had a man clean my car off for me.

Ever.

And it probably only took two minutes for him to do… but it meant the world to me.

Last week I was at his house every night. Each night I made sure there was a hot meal waiting when he got home from work.

I shoveled his driveway when it needed it.

No, I don’t live there. And no, I didn’t have to do any of those things. But I did because this man has a heart as big as anyone I’ve known, and it makes me sad when he tells me how unappreciated he felt for so many years. He’s such a giving man so the least I can do is give something back to him. Not to spend money or buy him ‘things’, but instead to do something for him so he doesn’t have to.

Because it makes me happy to see him happy. He appreciates me like no one else ever has before.

On our last night together last week he asked me, out of the blue as we were washing dishes, “so what worked and what didn’t work for you when you lived with someone?”

So we talked. For over an hour, about what worked for both of us. We both know that moving in together and living together is inevitable for us. I mean, we’ve only been dating for two months but the connection we have is really strong.

We’re both thinking about moving in together, although I know he won’t rush into anything because of his kids. But I know it’s what he wants, to have that family unit again – even if one of the members has changed.

And it scares me.

Moving in, making a family unit with him and his kids. It’s all I’ve been thinking about this weekend while he has been away. When to tell my roommate… what I will take with me and what will get recycled… where my things will go… and what to do with my cat. (No way is my cat coming to that house with me – I will have to find a new home for him if my roommate doesn’t want to keep him.)

The best case scenario would be for my roommate to just stay here and take over the lease, leave all the furniture I won’t need and keep the cat.

But my life is rarely, if ever, best case scenario.

Sadly it is usually worst-case scenario.

I know I am rushing things. I know that.

It’s what I do; I think too far ahead.

Instead I need to live in the here and now. And that is difficult for me to do. This weekend without Mr. J2 has been long and lonely. With everything I do – laundry, cooking, cleaning – makes me think of what it would be like to be doing that with him and his family in his house.

And then the insecurities set in.

Will I be good enough?

Will I be sane enough?

Will I make him happy enough?

Will I be happy enough?

When I am at his place with him, my life is so different from it is when I am at my house. I’m not a different person, it’s more that. When I am at home I always have my laptop open and I surf the net (Facebook, WordPress, news sites, etc.) while something mindlessly plays on the television in front of me.

It is not a happy existence.

But it’s what I have.

When I am with Mr. J2, at his house, it’s much different.

I arrive at his place (after a quick stop for groceries) around five. I wash the few dishes he has left from his lunch and breakfast. He texts me at 5:30 when he is on the shuttle to his car; and then if he makes connections and traffic isn’t too bad he should be home by 6:10. We eat dinner and then wash dishes together. Then after we shovel the driveway (if needed), or he does some errands (Home Depot one night to get lightbulbs), or a little work to send emails and get organized while I sat on the sofa and read my book.

It was simple and yet fulfilling and normal at the same time.

Last week was a week of leftovers so I didn’t do much cooking for him, but I think he appreciated coming home to a meal that was if not ready, it was planned. Twice last week he only arrived home at 6:30 pm because of weather.

He told me many times how much he appreciated my taking care of him that week. How amazing I am because I like to cook and plan meals.

No one ever appreciated my planning before. All the men I lived with mocked me for it.

And this week I actually had a thought: do I do all these things for him (shoveling, dishes, cooking, etc.) because I want to do them, or because deep down I think that if I do enough things for him he will realize he can’t live without me?

Because surely this amazing man can’t love me just for me, right? It has to be because of the things I do for him, not just because of me.

Not just because I can (and like to) cook.

Not just because I am smart funny as hell.

Not just because I like sex and like to please my partner in bed.

Just because of me.

It’s going to take some getting used to. That this handsome, sexy, funny, caring, loving, sweet man loves me for me.

And I am willing to spend the rest of my life getting used to it.

 

Writing About It Helps

Hello and welcome.

This is the third or fourth blog I’ve started in the eight or so years I’ve been blogging. For some reason, every time I try to remain anonymous, it never works out well for me. It seems that the people I write about in my life find my blogs and of course, they do not like what I have written about them.

Fights ensue. Heartache. War is declared.

So I take down the old blog and create a new one.

I’m sorry you don’t like what I write about you in my blog posts. I really am. But frankly my dear,  I don’t give a damn.

It’s not about you. It’s about me.

It’s about why I am unhappy in my life. And writing about it, helps.

It does. It’s free – way cheaper than therapy – and it helps me get my scattered thoughts into one location where I can focus on what the problem is, and, I hope – how to fix it.

I don’t lie in these posts. Why would I? What’s the point?

So if I recount a meeting, a text, an email, and you don’t like it?

Too bad. Don’t say or write those things. Then you have nothing to worry about.

I am not a therapist. But for me, writing about my life is a form of therapy. I don’t do it for fame, or for money.

But for me.

So if you know who I am and you don’t like what I have to say, I’m sorry. Don’t read it. Walk away. Turn of the computer.

Because it’s not about you.