She, the “girlfriend,” was asking about the balance in our relationship. She was/is/has been expressing her desire and affection for me. She was curious if I was enjoying our relationship for something more than affection, comfort, sex, and closeness.
Okay, I knew what she was asking. In a subtle way, she’s been asking all along, “Do you love me?” Not directly, that’s not what she was asking, but she wasn’t hearing the words she was seeking when she professed her affection for me.
I tried to explain:
“I’m unpacking a lot of old baggage. You are helping me un-armor and open up. And we connect on so many levels. I am certain that I don’t know the answer to what you are asking, but I am giving you all of my available time, I’m not looking for another relationship, I am here.”
She retreated to the familiar, “It’s okay. I mean, I know you like me a lot.”
And I didn’t say this, “That is enough. That is all I have.”
We’ve been “dating” for 95 days. And it is Christmas. Her first Christmas post-divorce. This is my third. And I’m damn happy. Well, I’m not 100% happy. I’m still missing my kids deeply. But I’m confident that they are in an okay place with their mom, and they will be excited to see and be with me starting tomorrow at 2pm. (Christmas Day.)
And she may be right when she says that she’s my “healing relationship.” And I’m okay with that. But what I do know, is that I have very few “adult” experiences of being with another person.
We are equals. She doesn’t need me. We have good solid lives. We enjoy time together. And we make plans to spend as much time together as possible.
What more is there, at this point in our trajectory? Anything else would be jumping the gun, in my opinion. And I’m certainly not stepping in to fill her Christmas sadness. I can’t. I don’t want to. And I won’t. She’s got to work that out on her own. I will be there. I will hold her. And I will be with her and her kids tonight, Christmas eve. (Because I can’t be with mine!)
And we will be boyfriend and girlfriend.
And that’s enough, for now.
The Off Parent
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- The Divorce Library (reading list)
- Songs of Divorce (free listening library – youtube sourced songs)
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- The 5 Love Languages (a book on love styles by Gary Chapman)