Pittsburgh.

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Friend: How did the trip with Chance go?

Me:The trip went really well! We had a great time together. He vowed that he’s not going anywhere and he loves me and the girls, but he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. He wants to stay in our lives, but not move forward together as a family.

Friend: But how did it make you feel?

Me: Peaceful. It’s kind of like this, when you have a kid who says they don’t like spinach but the kid never even tried it, so how do they know they don’t like it! Same thing with Chance. He had tried. But it still wasn’t for him. So I’m at peace now. Before I was really fighting for it to work and holding on, but once he gave it an honest genuine attempt and it still wasn’t for him, now I’m at peace with it and can move on.

Friend: You’re still friends and he’s still going to see the girls?

Me: Definitely. It’s like this, if I called him up today and said I needed him, he would be here. Out of love, guilt, obligation and duty….but not because he *wanted* to. He doesn’t want to be with me. But he loves me and isn’t going anywhere and wants to be in our lives.

Friend: Wow, that’s deep. I’m speechless.

—End—

It’s true, too. I feel immense peacefulness. Chance and I are getting along better than we have in ages. I feel, of course, something like the aftermath of grief. It’s good to be out of the dark and into the light. I feel lighter and more peaceful. The trip did go really well. I offered to do some free sales consulting for his start-up company to start inching my way back into the working world and getting some recent experience for my resume. I met his partner, one of the other co-founders. Chance told Paul, “Hey, this is going to come as a shock, but I have a daughter.” Although Paul was shocked, it was not a big deal and I think that was a huge relief to Chance. It’s kinda what I’ve been telling him all along anyway, so my inner monologue was all like, “Told ya so!!!” It’s a huge step for Chance to publicly claim that he has a daughter. I’m proud of him.

Chance is the father, but he’s not a daddy. There is a nuance there that is very important. It’s how I’m raising my daughters. My eldest understands that she doesn’t have a daddy. Chance is her father.

Chance and I began this chapter of our lives in 2011 as a Donor situation. We had contracts. But then he began an affair with me. This brought confusion. Our original arrangement evolved into a love affair. It was during this time that our eldest daughter began to see him as a father and talk about him in that way openly. It’s one of the reasons Chance and I tried to move forward together as a family. But it just isn’t for him. And that’s ok. I’m genuinely *finally* ok with it.

I am really happy I did this trip to Pittsburgh. Best decision. Definitely gave us both an opportunity to talk openly and humanely with each other. The additional clarity, insights, peacefulness and more are because of this trip. It resolved ALL my withdrawals and I feel good. Really good. And Chance and I are getting along so good again now that the tension is gone from me pressuring him and his guilt and resistance at not wanting to be with me. We were up until 1am skyping last night. Our talks are deeper and more heart felt, an older more mature love, without the angsty romance stuff. He’s begun apologizing and feeling remorseful for his behavior, and admitting to panicking in February when our second daughter was born. So things are getting resolved. All the loose emotional ends are getting tied up. I’m really feeling the energy flowing now so this is the right direction. I was scared to get to this place because it meant failure –I had fought so hard and I believed in holding on and staying committed. I realize now that I needed to learn another lesson. The grace of knowing when to let go.

I feel like this is the healthiest situation for everyone. He is still a part of our lives and isn’t a stranger, his role is defined, and there is space for someone else to be a daddy (to get that honor and title) if I’m with someone and they’re stepping up and doing the daily grind and filling those shoes. At this point I’m taking a little bit of space for myself. No agenda. Focusing on trying to keep edging my way back into the working world. I networked on my flights and both networking contacts have paid off by putting me in direct touch with the hiring manager with their personal reference. I was lucky enough to sit next to this awesome and kind guy who was flying to New York to ring the bell as his company just went IPO. It was my baby’s first flight so I was happy he was a part of her maiden voyage. He’s a VP and we spoke about some opportunities and I followed up after I got to Pittsburgh. By the time I got home he wanted me to forward my resume! On my flight home from Pittsburgh I sat next to a guy who put me in touch with an opportunity for a straight commission job that I can do from home and work a super flexible schedule. It’s honestly a job that sounds so flexible I could probably do it as a second job and work weekends and evenings without it eating up too much family time –which will always remain my priority. I’m feeling that fire again.

I’m starting to feel ok again.

Certainly alone and certain loneliness…

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He has told me he doesn’t want me. He doesn’t feel for me the natural possessiveness a man has for a wife, child or the woman he’s with. He’s told me that he will cheat on me; that it’s his pattern. He’s told me I’m inconvenient. I’m not his ideal partner. He has mixed feelings about me. He looks at me like I am an unfaithful person and I don’t have the ability to be faithful. He doesn’t trust me. He said I’m not brave, kind or strong. He said I’m nothing special to the world. He said I have a delusional sense of self worth. He’s said he loves her more than me, and that maybe in time he will love me more than her. He’s not a family man and his work comes first. He told me that if we do end up together he will walk out on me one day –that one day I’ll come home and he’ll just be gone. I feel I constantly need to defend myself to him. I feel like I walk on eggshells around him. He is arrogant. He is selfish and self-absorbed. He is not emotionally available to me. I had a nervous breakdown after the birth of our second child because of his cruelty. It’s how my labor started, too. He wants to be alone.. He says maybe he will, at some point, realize he wants me or feel for me that possessiveness, but not right now and never in the past. He says I’ve always been second choice to him; always second fiddle.

With all he’s said; with all he’s done: He is undeserving of my devotion. He is undeserving of my addiction to him.

The definition of purgatory is: a place or state of suffering. I feel like I am in purgatory. At least the definition of purgatory means temporary. I just wonder if I go to heaven or hell after this. I feel like I’m straddling two sides of a cliff with a huge abyss in between. On one side is my need to hold on –that redemption and salvation lie just beyond the next corner and if I hold on just a little bit longer it will all work out. This dark chapter will be just a blip on the radar in our future together. On the other side is the gorgeous 1994 version of me with tight-rolled jeans and straight long hair down to my tush asking me what da fuck I’m doing with this loser punk-ass chump bitch and how I need to super-size some self-esteem and quit him.

Anyway, aside from me feeling like a victim of self-inflicted emotional abuse who is conscientious about it and still, like an addict, goes back for more…..

I’m trying to take steps to change that.

I had booked this ticket to see him weeks ago. Back when we were trying to give us a fresh start. Before he broke up with me. Twice. We’ve talked and we decided to still do the trip, but as friends. Afterwards I will leave him the fuck alone. I think this takes the pressure off of each of us. It’s somehow made him more relaxed and more like the “good” him. (moderate reference to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). We’ve both been on our best behavior, for the most part, so things have actually been good. Which, I am very grateful for, even with the knowledge that it’s an illusion and this is all temporary to get us through this trip until he can be rid of me and be left alone like how he wants.

What I would like to see happen is, of course, the fairytale ending where this trips leads him to want more. To want me. To want a family life together. I’m at peace with the fact that it probably won’t, and not only that, but it is delusional to even think that. He wants his space. He doesn’t want me. And he’s happy living in another state. And in this purgatory I am alone and filled with loneliness. The addiction to him makes me tremble, itch and ache in anticipation of the withdrawals.

In the meantime, I need to focus on my life again. The girls need a father. Especially the older one. She is desperate for a daddy. I’m not ready to start dating again, but I did join a dating site. Of course none of the guys compare to Chance and emailing with a few of them is like nails on a chalkboard. I want a real man. It’s so cliche, but I love it when a man acts like a man. Especially since I’ve been starving for that passion, possessiveness, nurturing, protection, chivalry, attention. I’ve been living like a cactus for far too long. I’m tired of fighting for someone who doesn’t want me no matter how hard I fight and how much I bare my soul and the extent I put myself out there. I want a man to want me, and pursue me. I want to be pursued. I want to be wanted. I want to be needed. I want everything I’ve given him to be given back to me. Someone to take charge, yet be sensitive enough to know when to give me the control. I feel like a heroin addict standing in a grocery store looking at the OTC section of headache meds. Advil doesn’t come close to heroin. Neither does Tylenol. But as long as I’m in the grocery store reading the labels I’m distracting myself from the heroin. And if I stand here long enough, maybe the withdrawals will pass and I’ll be recovered. And when I’m recovered I’ll head over to the oatmeal section. Because, fuck all the meds. I need a kind, healthy, stable, nutritious warm-hug-that-lasts-all-day type of love. Like oatmeal.

Reality check, mate.

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It took a 5 minute phone call with a beloved ex-boyfriend for me to realize how emotionally abusive Chance has been to me. I feel like I’ve been brain washed by Chance into believing I’m some piece of shit. Chance has me believing I’ve always been a piece of shit and I’ll always be a piece of shit. I can only imagine how pathetic I’ve sounded. Like the cliche victim bemoaning her circumstances yet saying, “Oh, he’s not really a bad guy…” and then making excuses for inexcusable behavior. Yes, Chance is going through some shit right now with his divorce, but that does not excuse his behavior or the way he treats me. At the same time, I recognize that it is also my fault and my responsibility not to keep putting my head in the alligator’s mouth. I know it’s a gator. I know it’s going to bite me. Why the hell do I keep messing around with a gator?

This ex has known me since I was 20 years old. He spoke so positively of me from back then all the way up to the present. And all Chance does is knock me down and judge me negatively from the past and use it against me for the future. For example, my friend said, “From what I remember about you, you would be excellent in this position and a force to be reckoned with!” Whereas, Chance says, “I deal with people all day long who have more education and experience than you and I have very high standards that you don’t come close to meeting. You’re nothing special.”

I finally realize how toxic Chance is for me and I need to limit my exposure to his toxicity. Hopefully one day he will change, but I don’t know if that’s possible for him. And he admits all his faults, especially this one. He tells me all the time to find someone else and to stay away from him. I think it’s time I listen to him.

This doesn’t change the fact that I’m not ready to be with anyone else. I’m still devoted and committed to him. I don’t want anyone else. But at least now I realize how foolish that is. It’s going to take me a long time to get over Chance. I’m weaning myself off him. A slow titration into dissolution. Like an addict. I gave my heart to a man who doesn’t even want me. How pathetic is that. How stupid.

A Line Between Two Dots…

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the breakup talk Chance and I had last night. It made me realize that the first man in my life –my father, was also a man who did not feel protective, possessive or nurturing towards me. “They” say that a girl will end up with a man who is just like her daddy. I’ve always scoffed at that idea, surely I’m too smart for that! Besides, why would I want to be with a man who is just like a deadbeat dad? I have had several long term relationships and the men were always very nurturing, compassionate, protective and possessive. Again, using the term possessive in the healthy way a man will naturally be inclined to claim something and not the unhealthy version that originates from a jealous anger. Although there was one man who did tend to straddle both sides of that line and sometimes the healthy possessiveness would become something of a fight and create a bit of tension between us until he calmed down. It never got abusive, but I didn’t respond well to feeling like I was being controlled and micro-managed.

I was driving the kids today and it just kind of clicked in my head. I started connecting the dots. The situation I’m in right now with Chance has a ton of similarities of my father. My dad was never around; he lived in another state. He was never at any of my recitals or school performances –something many children take for granted. That seems to be repeating now with Chance and the girls. He didn’t come to any of her recitals. It’s not important for him. He uses all the excuses, his favorite is he has no money, yet he is spending $250 more per month on his fucking dog, plus moving offices again because dog isn’t allowed at the current one. I don’t expect to see Chance make the effort on his own because it’s just not that important to him. He doesn’t feel the possessiveness towards her or me. He doesn’t have it in him. At least, not now. And he won’t, not unless he does some heavy self-work, most likely involving a psychologist.

But it’s more than that. It’s a lot more than just, “my daddy wasn’t there for me.” That indicates he wasn’t physically present. Which, clearly, is true. And he wasn’t there spiritually or mentally either. Most importantly, and I just realized this epiphany from the talk with Chance last night –he wasn’t there in “the claiming.” This fundamental natural instinct men have to protect, nurture, possess and defend. Whatever the word is that encapsulates all of that stuff –my father did not have this towards me or my mother. And now, history repeats itself.

So now the struggle for me is, I know how much it hurts to have a father but not a daddy. I know how painful, at times, that experience is. Do I limit or stop their relationship now before she gets to the age where it’s past the point of no return? Is it better to have a father-who-isn’t-a-daddy than to have no father at all?

Maybe I should speak with a child psychologist and get an expert’s advice. I feel too emotionally biased to make an intelligent decision on my own. And Chance is most likely so ambivalent about us that he wouldn’t care either way. I mean, sure, his feelings might be sad for a couple hours if he didn’t see her again. But ultimately he would eat, sleep and function as if nothing had happened. For me, it would destroy me. I would stop at nothing until I saw my daughter again. I would cross the oceans, fight through any judicial system, and kidnap my daughter back into my custody. I would never just lay down and roll over. Because I have that thing where I need to possess-protect-nurture-defend her. And he doesn’t. He didn’t call her on her birthday because he was mad at me for something trivial. He didn’t care that it was her mother fucking birthday and she wanted to hear from him –that it was important for her to hear from him. He admits he’s selfish, but damn. My point is, he said he doesn’t want to be a stranger to her but this is a far cry from wanting to be a daddy. He is her biological father and he wants to have a regular role in her life. I’m worried if that is truly the best thing for her. Will she grow up to repeat the cycle, just like me, and end up with a guy who is ambivalent about her while she’s giving him her heart, devotion and faithfulness?

Would it be better to go back to the “loving Donor” scenario we originally created? Or would that only do more harm than good at this point? Maybe once he can be open to the public and his friends about his daughters, maybe then it will make things clearer. I have a gut feeling that this is true. He mentioned last night that once his divorce is final he will be able to be open about his daughters to everyone. I think when this happens there is a chance he will begin feeling ‘that’ feeling…something like a beta-stage daddy. Daddy-Lite, perhaps? Lol. Maybe he will reach true daddyness. Maybe he will become just enough of a real daddy where it is everything they need and want. Wouldn’t that be nice!

A Good Breakup….

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We got in a fight the night before last. He has old judgements of the person I used to be, right or wrong, he views me as unfaithful. He continues to see me this way. Two weeks ago we began again. We gave ourselves a fresh start. It was a perfect two weeks.

But…

He admits to his faults of being unable to see me in a different light. He views me as an unfaithful person; someone who has been unfaithful and who will always be unfaithful. It has become a deal breaker, for me, because I have been faithful to him for over a year. And not just any year. A year where he’s been gone. And not just gone. He’s been brutally cruel. He’s been the hurricane during the storm. The unending blizzard during the winter. His actions and words have burned me like the lava that comes upon a person without warning and takes out entire villages. He has pushed me away. He has hurt me. He has shunned me. And throughout all of this for over a year he is the only one who occupies my heart. He is the only one who has been in my bed. I would rather have meaningful nothingness from him than meaningless love from someone else.

And he’s blind to this. He admits his faults of not feeling possessive over me, protective over me, and not having the feeling of wanting exclusivity with me. He admits he’s felt possessive over other women in his life, but not me. Never me.

I use the word possessive to explain the natural nature a man feels for a woman he wants to claim as his own, NOT the unhealthy possessive definition that stems from jealous anger. When a man becomes naturally possessive over a woman, it means he wants to care, nurture, protect and defend her. He wants her and he wants to claim her. When Chance first spoke about how he does not feel possessive towards me, I misinterpreted it to mean a good thing –that he wasn’t getting angry jealous ill feelings over me….last night while listening to him during our breakup talk, it was the first time I understood the word in the correct way he was intending. He does not feel that natural claim over me. This is why he can love me, but be completely ambivalent towards me and not care if I’m with another guy or not –and more so, he can tell me to be with another guy and not care if I follow through or not.

The knife in my heart did a few circle eights and zig zags while we were talking. My eyes welled up and my voiced choked back sobs during our talk but I’m proud not a single tear fell. I held it together. I’ve died inside a thousand times every day for over year with him. I have been faithful and loved him throughout all of this and I don’t see it ever changing for me. I have stayed true to him, but not to prove anything to him or to try and earn his love.

I did it because I am committed to him; to a man who doesn’t want me and is ambivalent about me at best. But it is my love. It is my commitment. It is my faithfulness. He can embrace these gifts or not. It doesn’t change how I feel. He can’t make me love someone else by not accepting my gifts of love and devotion. And he is not wanting me. He is not devoted to me. It doesn’t change me or how I feel. I’m fucked. I’ve made my peace with being alone and I am ok with it. Well, that’s sort of bullshit. I am not ok with it and yeah, I wish he felt for me even a fraction of what I feel for him.

I try not to take his words personally. There is a syndrome in psychology called “projection.” Projecting his faults onto me. Projecting his infidelity and unfaithfulness onto me. I told him the other night that he’s the biggest cheater I know. Not because of the children –the act of conception of our children, for some strange reason, I do not count as an adulterous thing between us. But the affair. The four year affair. And this was during a good marriage with a woman he was very protective about; a woman whom he loves dearly, and was remiss to lose. So after he told me he will always view me as being unfaithful I told him he’s the biggest cheater I know to have done this and other affairs throughout his life.

This was one of our talking points when breaking up last night. There were several reasons, but if he could do this to a wife he loves in a good marriage, what will happen to me –A woman he loves but is ambivalent about?

Notice I said talking points. Last night it was a difficult talk –hearing him breaking up with me, again, but this time it was rational and it came from a good place. He recognizes he has issues and for the first time was even receptive to seeking psychological therapy. In the meantime we will become platonic friends. He wants to remain in his daughters’ lives. He has gone from originally being a donor to a father over these years. He does not want to become a stranger to them, even if he is not able to be a daddy. I don’t know. Maybe one day he will become a daddy. Maybe one day I will become more to him, too. Right now, the dust is settling. There is closure. The pain is raw and nothing tempers it except the knowledge that it was done with a good heart.

A little truth.

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A little truth would sound like this: I don’t know how to love or be devoted to anyone but him. I don’t want to love or be devoted to anyone but him. Even when there was a fiance in the middle of all this, my soul’s heart still belonged to him.

If I had the ability to walk away, I would. He openly admits we are not ideal for each other. Yet I would rather fall down at his feet than live without him.

Ugh. Why do I have to be so melodramatic about everything!

What Matters Most…

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I think about how long “modern” humans have been around –something like only 200,000 years. Or, 10,000 generations. For as advanced as our society is, and has been, I know for me personally, I know of my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother, and her mother. That’s only 4 generations. There may be folks out there who can trace back a bit further. But I would say 4 – 6 generations seems about average to know about –heard stories, know their first names, have a keepsake from them etc…

I think about my ancestors from thousands of generations ago. Maybe some were lucky and lived a great life, but not every one of them could be lucky. There’s probably some really horrible things that have happened to them throughout those 200,000 years. But these things happened after they procreated. What matters most is the line continued for me to be here right now, doing whatever I’m doing, which happens to be typing on a computer for my Internet blog.

I think about my children. Their children. And so forth for the next 200,000 years and how I love and pray for each one of them if my lineage is lucky enough to make it that far.

I suppose I’ve been thinking all this because of the challenges I am facing with my love. Does it even matter? In the big picture, no. Absolutely not. Love, just like any comforts, doesn’t really matter. Right? Does anyone care if their ancestor from 200,000 years ago was in love or not? Can empathy extend that far back?

I’ve procreated. I’ve done my part. Does being loved the way I need to be loved matter so long as I am able to provide and function for my offspring to give them the best possible life? I’m independent enough to live without love. To be pregnant without a loving partner by my side. But if I’m going to have someone in my life in that capacity then I have certain standards, right? I’m not a high maintenance flower like an orchid, but I’m not a cactus, either. I need love in the morning and evening, at the very least. I feel like screaming at him, “I am not a cactus!!”