New Year’s Eve is a funny holiday.  On the one hand, it prompts drunken debauchery and hedonistic partying in a kind of frantic send-off for the departing year.  On the other hand, it is embraced as an opportunity for rebirth and reflection, a time to break old habits and make new ones, a time to openly and diligently define and pursue a new and better version of ourselves and the world around us.

My year ended today with a period at the end of my relationship with James.

My friend Annie is having a New Year’s Eve party tonight, and soon I will rise and dress and join the celebrations for all that has past this year.  But first, I sit here this evening, bundled in clothes and wrapped in a blanket, for I’ve been unable to get warm all day.  I have every light on in my little house in an attempt to drive away any creeping shadows that might undermine my wobbly composure.  The television and iPod have both been banished, lest they heartlessly deliver some reminder of what is no longer.  I munch my way resolutely through a slice of pizza, the first food to pass my lips in over 24 hours.


It would seem, from our conversations of the last couple weeks, that James and I want different things from a relationship and have different ideas about where that relationship should ultimately go.  Relationships are a constant work in progress — tweaking that a bit, enhancing that a bit, taking more care with that a bit… — and ours was perhaps more contentious and dramatic than most.  But I loved him and was committed to that love because I thought we were working on it together, toward a common goal.  I thought, particularly after our last reconciliation, that we wanted the same things and felt mostly the same ways and that we just struggled with the details.

But apparently I was wrong.

At some point, I want to be a family again.  He’s not sure he does.  He acknowledged that he might just be passing time with me, seemingly without any intention or desire for us to ever be more than we are. I discovered this week that the wonderful Christmas I thought we’d shared was actually something he felt I’d forced on him; not something he’d wanted with me or my children.  Ouch.  It’s bad enough that I’d offered myself on Christmas, but apparently I managed to drag my sweet daughters into the intrusion.  I’m so ashamed for that; they deserve better than to be felt a burden on someone else’s holiday.

It is a difficult thing, this idea of family, and one that I thought we’d shared.  I don’t want to marry again, but I do very much someday want to be important to someone in that way, and vice versa.  I want my children to have a solid home when they’re with me, that includes a healthy adult relationship.  Beyond the first months, I have no interest in a long-term, casual-but-exclusive relationship that serves a purpose only until something better comes along.  I suppose in my next relationship I will be more guarded on this one.  For the sake of my children, I’d better be.

I want to trust my partner and be trusted in return.  James doesn’t trust me and probably never will, as plainly evidenced by some recent, painful events.  And this week, hints have emerged that perhaps I have been foolish to have been so trusting of him.  It’s now a question I don’t need answered.  No sense in  more pain.

I want to be really, truly known, I don’t want to hide pieces of myself or my life from someone I love.  But James conceals so much from me, and I think he does it without even realizing that other people do not.  I think he is so used to hiding parts of himself that he doesn’t even know how to be open and be comfortable with it.  Or perhaps that’s only ego talking, and he simply can’t be real with me.   Maybe when he truly falls in love with someone, he won’t need to hide so much.  Or maybe when he truly falls in love with  someone, he won’t have so much to hide.

I want someone who likes me.  I was crazy about James.  The thought of him made me smile and I always felt like I was lucky to have found him.  I can’t speak for him, of course, but I don’t think he felt the same way.  I heard quite a bit about what doesn’t like about me (and the list is a long and serious one), but only once did I feel like he had a similar list of things he liked about me.

I want to love someone freely and without reservation.  And I did.  And it was wonderful to feel that again and be able to give that to someone.  But it seems that it was also unrequited.  I guess that’s the risk we take when we give someone our heart.


So I will begin 2012 sifting through my regrets and attempting to learn whatever I need to from my multiple missteps in this relationship.  I want to own the stuff that’s mine, without taking on his personal issues, too.

There was plenty wrong in our relationship and so much external drama and crisis from his ex-wife that I suppose I should feel relieved that I will no longer be a part of all that.  And yet, one of the things that I’m good at is sticking through the tough times with someone.  Running when they need me is not something to which I’m accustomed.

I will miss so much from this relationship.  I will grieve it deeply.  There were obviously things about it and him that I valued with my whole heart.  I suppose I could call him up and sweep all this under the rug and carry on as if I didn’t need any of those things I’ve just written.  But it wouldn’t last, and we’d be right back here again.

So, instead, I’ll usher in the New Year with some friends and a bit of champagne, and hope, like so many others, for new beginnings in 2012.

Happy New Year to you.  Please be safe and healthy and happy.  See you on the other side of midnight….



Filed under dating, love, relationships, sadness, single mom

23 responses to “10…9…8…

  1. A tough post for you to write, on this day in particular. A very tough situation to be in. An extremely tough time ahead.

    My heart goes out to you. I’m sure others will follow with their own support.

    You’re a unique person and this IS James’ loss as well as yours. Whether or not he ever knows what he let slip through his fingers, he won’t find the same thing with anyone else that he could have had with you.

    He’s a ninny. Bring on 2012 and let’s see what we can do there that didn’t work in 2011…

    • Oh, SD.

      That’s very kind of you. Of course, we all want to think that the person we loved will someday realize that it was a huge mistake to let us get away…. but it doesn’t often happy in real life. No matter how much potential I thought we had, I can’t convince him to want the same things I want. He wants me now, in this moment, but we are not on the same page about our long-term goals for relationship. Sigh. Maybe he will do better with someone else. Maybe not. I will at least not know about it.

      Yes, let’s hope that 2012 will indeed be wonderful. 🙂

  2. I am sorry. It seems from your posts that you really loved him, and that has to hurt that it’s not working out. You have also mentioned a couple of times his reluctance to open up or share things with you, and that sucks. My stbx is like that, and honestly, I’m not sure he will ever be able to open up to anyone. I hope so, for his next girlfriend’s sake, but some of these guys just can’t, and it’s frustrating and dispiriting, and ultimately hopeless. Sorry again.

    • Thanks, MP.

      Yes, my ex-husband wasn’t a big emotional “sharer” either. In his case, it was simply that he was afraid of giving someone that power over him… of being that vulnerable…. even with me. It wasn’t that he didn’t feel those things, it was that he didn’t express them well or often.

      With James, I’m not sure that’s it. I think I have wanted very much to believe that he cares deeply for me and just isn’t comfortable expressing it, but, really, that’s quite an assumption to make, isn’t it? I mean, isn’t it just as likely that he’s not expressing those things because he doesn’t feel them? Sure, he likes me, or he wouldn’t spend time with me. But love? No… I don’t think so.

      I read your post recently about telling your friends…. so poignant and well-written and powerful… it kinda took my breath away. I hope you know that there are lots of us who have been there before you and DO understand. Hang in there….

      • Fortunately for me, the person I thought I wanted last year “did not” work out. The best thing he did for me was to remind me that “it was due to his inability to open up” and not anything that I did or did not do. And we go down that road of “maybe if I did x, y, z” ….

        Speculation is a bad thing as to the WHY James didn’t open up and it “does not” mean it’s something that you did or did not do. This is about “him” … not you.

        I understand that this is a very difficult thing to absorb when we’ve opened up and taken a risk and we were vulnerable… the idea however that it was you in some way … that you’re broken or that you’re the one who did something to turn him away or the “why” he could not, is in “HIS HEAD” and is not relevant to YOU as a person who did try. Am I being clear? I hope soooo…. You did the best you could with the information provided to you at the time. And you did well…

  3. Sherry Bakkum

    I am so sorry to read about your loss. I have related to so many of your stories that I feel your loss as my own, if that’s possible.

    I wish you many new, exciting and wonderful things in the new year.

  4. I’m sorry honey… Sadly there are many people who keep us at arms length in life that have nothing to do with us. This is the complete and total truth. I hope you enjoyed New Years Eve… Happy New Year Honey… I’m sorry. 😦

    • Thanks, MC. I hear your words, but my heart says differently. Today I am trying to focus on the fact that I loved him completely and with the best I could offer. Maybe next time I’ll do even better. 🙂

      Happy New Year to you, too.

      • You did well this time “because” you tried. I understand … Next time it’s not only about YOU it’s about both people. Some one else’s issues are not yours and you said it that you focus on you and not make theirs yours. His things are not your things. I know you know this… I just have to make sure I say it. You will do better next time… 🙂

  5. Well this is not what one thinks about when they open their arms to a new year, I’m so sorry TPG. I can only imagine the feelings you are experiencing right now. Arms length and not being open will never work for me either. As much as it hurts and aches, your heart would much rather get that news sooner rather than later…however it doesn’t make it any easier. You have a huge group of shoulders here for you and ready for you to lean on. Big squeezy hugs to you TPG – I’m so sorry~

  6. oh wow…I’m so sorry. what a way to start the new year.. He must be crazy not to want to spend the rest of his life with you! You are beautiful, funny, smart, and many other things.

    Men. Bah humbug! But don’t give up….this happened for a reason. The best is yet to come. (Don’t you just hate platitudes? but they ring true….)

    • Thanks so much for the kind words. I have a lot of work to do on myself as a partner, but I thought, in James, I’d found someone to take that journey with. Apparently, I was wrong. But maybe there is a guy out there who wants to sign on for the ride. 🙂

      Happy New Year to you and best wishes for 2012.

  7. It’s not something YOU have done… you work on you for you… all I see is a very intelligent woman …

    • Thanks, MC, but I’m not an easy girlfriend. I gave it my all and threw my whole heart in, but I also put him through some tough stuff. It’s going to take a pretty tough guy to stick through it with me and get me to the other side, where I can be all my good self and less of my bad self….

  8. Hi PC. I certainly understand the wrapped up in blankets but not being able to get/keep warm… I’m sorry for your loss, your sense of loss. My marriage was much like you describe in this post with James – I was in it, thought we were on the same page, only to find out it wasn’t like that. It is very challenging being with someone who “hides” their true feelings. You deserve someone who is going to be open and honest. Its the only way to have a truly solid, loving, mature relationship. Remember this when you want to reach for the phone, see/be with James again, even if only to stop the pain for a few moments. You deserve better.

    And you are NEVER foolish for loving someone, for opening your heart and trusting them.. Would you feel better about yourself had you also held back, played it cautiously? No, you would not have. So appreciate that you did these things, that you gave yourself willingly and opened yourself up. Yes, it always hurts like hell… but better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

    I wish you the very best in 2012…

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