I’ve moved out of the old townhouse. We did the check-out a couple weeks ago and my new place, though still chaotic, is mostly functional.
J apologized (belatedly) for acting like a jerk that time, with the thing I wrote about in my last blog post. She is still distant. I don’t try to do things with her socially so much anymore because I’m tired of her flakiness around me. She seems to manage little guy well and we co-parent pretty well together. Once in a while we talk on the phone without having something logistical to hash out, and that feels nice. Once in a while in the evening we have emotional discussions on Facebook Messenger about where things went wrong with us.
There was another thing that happened too, and that was, J admitted she had been sleeping with her friend S since J split with me. J had slept with S (not really sex, because of the gender dysphoria thing, but whatever– it was cheating) back when we were together, too. I wasn’t surprised to find that relationship had continued, and actually I managed to be pretty cool about it. Though I was really pissed for a while after I found out S had tried to get J to promise not to see me anymore. When I start to identify people as shitheads rather than identifying their actions as shitty actions, I try to think of them as toddlers… Little creatures like my toddler, all full of complicated emotions and behaviours that haven’t unfolded yet. That perspective helps, and I really do think S is just a very complicated person who has done some shitty things… But I will admit that it would be much more satisfying to call her a shithead. On the plus side with that situation, J ended the relationship with S after that. They still live together and hang out together all the time, so there’s not a huge difference really, but at least J stood up for me in a small way. It’s funny that I don’t want to call J a shithead when I’ve been much more hurt by her actions, but I don’t. Mostly with her I want to repeat the question “Why??” in perpetuity.
I’ve been doing small things to stay happy during these last weeks, while most of my time I’m busy as hell (is hell busy?) and just trying to function between parenting and work and household stuff. The small things that make me happy include going out with my toddler in the front pack carrier, walking until he leans into my chest and falls asleep. Or laying in bed and falling asleep while he falls asleep next to me (or watching him try to fall asleep and being goofy with him while he is settling down).
This evening was another long, deep discussion with J about where we went wrong. I have been struggling with the idea of J not ever being a good friend anymore. Sex, marriage… all that I can let go of. Even J being in other relationships I can handle. And I know this because I’ve handled it already, pretty well, too. But the friendship thing…What I miss is the person who cared for me, and showed it. I still have this feeling inside that says, ‘This person is family. This person is a kindred spirit.’ But you can’t have family or friendship with somebody who doesn’t want to interact.
I was thinking about all this, this evening, when I had a small moment of insight. Maybe, hopefully, something that will help me move forward.
I was thinking about how I feel like I’ve been standing outside a door for years, waiting for J to come out and join me. I was wondering how to decide to stop waiting. Nobody would blame me if I stopped trying to be friends. I certainly shouldn’t blame myself — I’ve been waiting for J a long time, and I’ve put a lot of energy into making this relationship work. But part of me thinks back to the promises I made, and to give up on those promises now, even with plenty of good reasons to do so, seems wrong.
I was thinking about this door metaphor (and mentally humming “Do you want to build a snowman?”), and then I was thinking that there are other doors I am perpetually waiting outside of as well. Like with my dad. Dad is getting more withdrawn the older he gets. I worry about him. I have a hard time interacting with him, because he is always hooked up to his audio books. And he’s shy and introverted. But I still try to be there for him, even if that means having short, uninspired phone calls or listening to him compare different brands of name-your-household appliance in enormous detail when he does choose to interact. It’s hard. I’m waiting outside a door for Dad too. But with him I don’t mind so much. He’s my dad! Of course I will always be there for him, on the off-chance we can connect again. Sometimes in life you just accept that there are doors you have to wait in front of, and you wait. But you don’t put too much energy or tears into the waiting. If I can remember to think about my friendship with J like that, I’ll be doing all right.