This has been a week from hell. Starting with a horrible teaching day Tuesday in which everything that could go wrong technically did with regard to a medical video I was showing, and progressing to my boyfriend telling me his ex-wife was coming two weeks earlier and would be living with him for the month she's here.
He explained she would be sleeping upstairs in the loft space. He swore that it was business only, that even if I ran off with some other man, he wouldn't be with her. He said he could spend a lot more nights at my house and that we would still go up to Oregon for Christmas at the end of this month, in the middle of her stay.
But I couldn't take it. The shock, hurt, and fear were too much.
To begin with, I told him there is no way I could deal with that, no way that she could stay with him, and at first he seemed like he was considering other options like her staying with one of his co-workers.
But the next day in emails, I could tell he was trying to placate me. He wasn't answering direct questions about the situation and her staying with him, him spending time with her, etc. So I called and asked him directly, and he told me that she was going to stay with him.
I said, "Even knowing all that I've told you about how it makes me feel and knowing what I said about not being able to handle it, you are still making that choice?"
And he mumbled a bit and then said, "Yes."
So I broke up with him.
It's been a few days now. He picked her up at the airport yesterday and God knows what they are doing right now, but I'm trying not to torture myself with those kind of thoughts.
I've been feeling so confused and hurt about how he could so definitively choose to "honor his commitment" (about finishing things up with her work-wise) and "fulfill his obligation" (to talk things through with her and have closure on their marriage and post-marriage relationship) through her living with him for a month, when he knew that potentially could end our relationship, his current commitment?
And how could he think that it's okay to live with this woman who I've never met and who, the last time he saw her, he was sexual with and talked about "giving it another try" (around this time even), before he changed his mind and decided to be with me?
And finally, how could he present it to me as a done deal instead of talking it through with me and working harder to help me understand and get on the same page with him, which to me shows respect and love?
Trying to understand his perspective, which I hope to more directly hear about tomorrow night when he comes over to talk, I've considered a few things:
- I have been extremely jealous and emotionally volatile around the subject and he has reason to doubt I could have talked it over with him rationally.
- He feels a lot of guilt about breaking up with her back in the Spring. He was married to her for four years I think and has a lot of history with her and agreements I don't know that much about with regard to business/work.
- He feels deeply (not that I agree) that he owes her this and would be a bad person if he didn't do right by her in this way. So in this light, he's not choosing her over me but feels he has no other choice in order to keep his self-respect and integrity.
- I don't know why she had to come out two weeks earlier. I was too angry to inquire clearly about this but plan to do so tomorrow night. But if there was a good reason for this, putting her up in a hotel for a month would be thousands of dollars that he can't really afford (nor can she I'm fairly sure) and it's unlikely his co-worker could have boarded her for a month.
- Because he feels so clear in his own mind that he is not interested in being with her, he expects me to trust this. I also wonder if he feels at some level that this is a fair exchange because I live with a man, and my living situation has brought up a lot of insecurity and jealousy in him over time. Even though I'm beyond clear that I have no attraction and have stressed this with him. I've posted about this before. . .
I think that he rationalized it in his mind and somehow made it fit together as an okay choice. But the close confidants I've told clearly think this situation is outside the norm and seem to understand and resonate with my outrage. An ex from not all that long ago? Living with him for a month? Really?
I met with my Non-Violent Communication group leader yesterday, and she gave me a lot of empathic support. It felt good to release emotion and receive compassion. I was also able, through this process, to come to some of the above understanding of his perspective, which is also valuable. I'm not saying I think he made the "right" choice, but I can see more of the feelings and needs driving his actions.
Do I wish that my feelings and our commitment somehow trumped everything else? Absolutely, but I guess that's not the case here.
One aspect that I need to own is that I have had my own doubts about our long-term compatibility, and I know this has affected our relationship and how I treat him at times. He was very hurt the other day when I did not respond to a text, even though I did receive it, until several hours later that evening. Does that show some lack of respect and caring? Probably so. And there are other things I've done and said that show uncertainty and less than 100 percent commitment to him in my heart. So I need to own those things too and recognize they likely play a role here, as well.
So, yeah, a depressing week.
To end on a slightly positive note, I did go buy and decorate a small Christmas tree yesterday - the first time I've done this on my own. And I went to dance this morning, even though I was feeling very anxious and sad, followed by going out to the awesomely-named "Karma Kitchen" and eating with dance friends afterwards. When I got home, I colored my hair a lovely red-auburn color. Now, I'm drinking wine and am going to watch a movie.
I hope tomorrow night brings relief and understanding.
p.s. I would appreciate hearing any feedback or experiences you might have to share related to this.