Tag Archives: love

Birthdays and Disappointments

 
“You never asked me what I actually want,” I tell my boyfriend who is raving non-stop about the surprise birthday gift he has spent a lot of time and money on for me. “Well when you live with someone you kind of get to know what they want,” is his retort. “I’m good at gifts. It’s the one thing I’m really good at.”
I sigh and look at him, “but there are only three things I really want.”

“Yeah I know,” he lists them off: “a diamond, a house and puppies…it’s not any of those.”

“Then I don’t want it,” I say without meaning to be surly but probably sounding it anyway. I don’t want him spending ridiculous amounts of money on something I’m not going to appreciate and which isn’t going to get us closer to our goals (if it doesn’t actually make us break up first). 
“Maybe it’s something you didn’t know you wanted,” is his confident come back. “I guarantee you you will love it and there will be tears.”
I walk away from the conversation. I know I won’t love it the way he wants me too. I know almost eerily that we are going to end up fighting over it. I feel like it is unfair of him to build up this much expectation and put it all on me over something that I’m not interested in. I tell him I am worried that he is so excited over it and has talked it up for so long that I am scared when I don’t like it at all or as much as he is expecting, that it will upset him. He seems unconcerned. 

I think, without snooping which I refuse to do for the tiniest chance I actually will love it, that he is going to fly my family in as a surprise. As much as I love them, there are so many reasons I don’t want them here right now, but I am not going to get into that in this post. 
I find myself in the same position at 33 as I was at 30…living with a boyfriend who has promised an engagement and a marriage but who has failed to deliver within the agreed upon time frame. I wonder how stupid I must be to be repeating this exact scenario only 3 short years later, but this post is not to discuss my (blatantly obvious) stupidity. 
I want to discuss disappointment instead. I want to discuss what it is like to only want an engagement ring and nothing else; to want a token of commitment after everything I have done and sacrificed and endured. I have been waiting 9 months now based on how my boyfriend talks. Based on all the comments about how he can’t wait for me to be his wife or for us to spend the rest of our lives together or for me to become Mrs. (Insert-his-last-name-here). 
So I am at the point where an engagement is no longer going to be romantic or a surprise or this wonderful sweep-me-off-my-feet-moment or the fairytale proposal I have longed for. It is now something that is a constant disappointment as it fails to materialize. It is going to start becoming a source of contention between us and break us down. He is going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on something I just don’t want right now and when I am disappointed it will be all my fault. I will be the ungrateful bitch who didn’t want this “gift”. It will be all on me even though I have clearly communicated what I do want over and over. 
He told me when we met that he was unlike any man I had ever dated before. In many ways he is not, but on this front he is the same if not worse for promising not to make me wait and then failing me again and again. I wonder if I should just short cut to tears and snot and mascara in the bath tub on my birthday like the last one ended up? It is hard not to get what your heart most desires when it has been promised indefinitely by the other. 

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After

After he has left me at the airport, the messages start. 

It has suddenly hit him that I am leaving. After…He says he loves me very much, he misses me already. He realized how sad he was that I am actually gone. He can’t wait for me to get back. He was so busy planning our future together – our never ending love story – he forgot to think about the present, until now. After….

He calls because he needs to hear my voice. I am oddly quiet on the phone. I have been dealing with these feelings for weeks and trying to tell him how hard leaving him is. He only experiences it after. 

These messages are more of his mixed signals where he talks about how he is planning our life together and can’t wait for me to come back. He is just so sure that I am coming back to him. 

I wonder if he can hear my heartache. 

I tell him that this was the goodbye I was looking for and didn’t get. I tell him “it’s not you, it’s me”. I can’t explain to him now that it is too late, how much more I needed from him in those last couple of hours, in the last minutes. I know he loves me, but he does not understand what I need. 

I roam the airport and look for food. It is the only thing to soothe the pain now. I need to eat and eat and eat and purge. Going home is supposed to be happy, instead, I feel like I am bleeding. It is slow and agonizing. It is destroying me. 

Now I face 5 weeks where the starvation first started; where I learned to eat my feelings. The triggers have not changed in 20 years. I just chose to live far enough away from them. I take my anxiety over our relationship back with me to add to everything else. 

My mother tells me she has bought me rice cakes. She is enabling and she doesn’t even know it. 

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Leaving 

I am sitting in the airport waiting to go home. There is no ring on my finger. He said he would give me a reason to come back. I guess I thought that meant an engagement. I guess he didn’t think that. 

On Saturday he told me he planned a surprise day in the mountains for our last weekend. He told me he thought it would be good for us and would make me feel less anxious about our relationship as I left for home. My heart lurched. It skipped a beat. I knew that the proposal was coming…I just knew it! He had just waited until the very end. I put on a pretty dress and even painted my nails so they would be perfect for when he put a ring on. 

We drove to the mountains and every moment that was just so romantic for a “will you marry me?” came – and went. We picnicked by a lake and lay in the sun drinking wine. We walked hand in hand, we took a long drive on a deserted road and sat in the middle of nowhere staring at the Rockies and the lakes and the rivers. We laughed and sang and I just couldn’t wait for the moment to come. 

Of course it never came. 

I almost had to laugh at my naivety, my stupidity, my disappointment. 

Last night as we fell asleep he asked if I was ready to be his wife. I didn’t know what to say. The comments like that are the reason I believed he would ask me to marry him before I left. Now I’m just confused by them.

Up until today, I still believed that he would have proposed to me by now. Part of me wondered if he would buy a  plane ticket home and surprise me by just showing up. I will go home with that misplaced hope in my heart. He knows how desperately I wanted him to come back with me. He even hinted that he had thought about surprising me. 

Today he picked me up and took me to the airport. I envisioned making love and cuddling one last time before we left the house, but he wasn’t even remotely interested. He was only focused on getting to the airport. 

We checked in and sat in a restaurant where he told me he had looked at flights for him even a week ago. We didn’t look into each other’s eyes or say anything about how we were feeling. He was mostly agitated about time and needing to get back to work. He was waiting for me to cry, to fall apart and I was dying on the inside. It has been too emotionally overwhelming to find out that we are not where I thought we were and to leave without anything I had hoped for. 

He said he would see me in 5 weeks and then added “or maybe less” and I jumped thinking he meant he was coming home too and that was his way of telling me. “I meant that I would see you on Skype”, was his reply. 

My heart can’t take it anymore. 

At the airport, I waited for the epic goodbye. I had seen this moment a thousand times in my mind. Perhaps he would kiss me passionately and hold me tightly against him. Perhaps he would look into my eyes and say something profound about what I mean to him. Perhaps he would reassure me, put my anxieties to rest. Perhaps as I walked away I would hear his voice and when I turned around, he would be on one knee, smiling at me. 

It was, as usual, a complete let down. He was stressed about getting back to work. He put one arm around me as we waited in line and said he loved me and gave me a peck on the lips. It was a nothing moment. He said he had to run and walked away. Just like that. After everything…

I walked towards security and heard his voice. I turned in anticipation to see that last smile directed at me, to have him come back for one more kiss. Instead, he was talking to a girl he knew, her big, fake boobs in between us. He laughed and chatted and then walked away. His last goodbye was to her. His last look was at her. His last smile was for her. And then he was gone. 

Now here I am, with no reason to come back at all. 

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Damaged 

I wish he knew me before I was damaged. I wish he had met me when I still believed in love stories and happily-ever-after – when I wasn’t jaded or bitter or calloused. I wish he could have known me when I loved without restraint, without holding back or guarding my heart. I wish I hadn’t given that part of myself to others or wasted it on the undeserving. I wish he could have known me before the wounds and hurts and heartaches overtook me; before the disappointments and let downs; before the abuse and neglect and rape. I wish he had known me before all this, when I wouldn’t have held back or demanded timelines or been harsh and unyielding. I wish he could see that I want to give him that, but I’m too scared. When he holds me in the night and soothes me and caresses me and my anxieties leave, I lean against his chest – my head upon his heart – and I know this is it. He is my epic love story and I am sabotaging it. I am giving him a hard time because I’m frightened he will not be true to his word – just like the others. Just like the others I am convinced he will mess me around, make me wait for nothing, damage me more. I am convinced in his difficult situation that we, that I, will not survive. I let it come between us because I cannot fight it. Instead I feel like I am fighting him – the one who loves me. He is paying for the sins of the ones who came before him. I wish I could look at him and tell him: I know. My heart knows. I have never been loved this way before. I love him so fiercely it terrifies me. I love his children and the family we have become. When I am not trying to run, I am happier than I have ever been before. When he holds me in the middle of the night as I cry in distress, conflicted, I know I am safe here. I need to remember that moment in all the other moments that overwhelm me. 

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Wedding Weekend

We went away for the weekend to a wedding for my boyfriend’s cousin. We had the children with us and all his family had traveled there. After a lot of drama involving the mother of his daughter (she thought that she should attend the wedding and I didn’t), we managed to go too.

Road trips are hard for people with eating disorders. There is no routine, there are few ‘safe’ foods and lots of triggers. I was already high on anxiety from the drama by the time we left. I anticipated someone in my boyfriend’s family would make a comment about the little girl’s mother or make one of their stupid pregnancy jokes in our direction. Before we even left, I was on guard and expecting it.

Nothing happened. Nobody said anything dumb. We had a great weekend. We stayed with friends and drank wine and took the kids swimming.

At the wedding I had my heart set on a slow dance with my boyfriend. It was all I wanted. The night went on and on with no chance of it happening as we chased the children around and spent time with his family. His daughter takes up all his time and attention. It is just the way it is. When she is around, his son and I barely get noticed. I had a feeling that I was setting myself up for disappointment by fixating on the one moment I really wanted: a slow dance in his arms.

I do it all the time by setting my heart on something: a romantic date, a weekend away together, him coming home with me to meet my family and of course, an engagement ring. I leave in a week. There is no chance now that I am going home with a ring on my finger.

As the night wore on, I ate more (pasta, potatoes, bread, lasagne – all good for anxiety relief) and drank more and eventually went to purge it all. When I came out of the washroom by boyfriend was standing there looking for me. He had been looking for me for some time.

“Where else would you expect to find me?” I replied in tipsy honesty.

“I should have guessed,” was his response.

Normal people would have been on the dance floor.

By the time he came to get me for the last dance of the evening, his daughter was half asleep on my lap. Her needs trump my needs. I wasn’t going to move a sleeping child so I could go dance. I went back to the hotel and cried in the bathtub instead.

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Check Up

Yesterday was a check up with my doctor at the ED treatment centre and a meeting with my case manager/counsellor.

I am weighing myself every day at home: 137lbs and not losing. Even after 2 days of not eating from being sick, the scale wouldn’t budge. After restricting then bingeing and purging for a while, the scale has refused to give. I stared in horror at the numbers and the scale stared back mercilessly. I am determined to lose at least 7lbs before I go home. I have 3 weeks.

The doctor and nurse did the medical part first: weighing (backwards of course), blood pressure lying and standing (cue dizziness on standing), heart rate, urine test and a review of my blood work. The doctor asked about why I had been in emergency this week (which you can read about in my last blog post). She asked if my eating had improved, worsened or stayed the same. I told her it was worsening. Then she asked if things were stable at home and I told her that that had worsened too.

She didn’t say much. She asked me to try eat more during the day. Just like that. As if it is easy and/or possible. “Try have a snack earlier than noon. Try eat something between ballet classes. Try to remember to eat after class before you drive home. Eat before the gym. Eat after the gym.”

Eat, eat, eat.

I do eat. That is my problem.

She asked if I had cut down on my alcohol consumption. I told her I had, drastically.

“Why?” she had to ask.

“I want to lose weight before I go home next month,” no point in lying about my real motives for giving up something I love.

“Is that the only reason you’ve cut down your drinking?”

I smile at her, “yes. I like to come home and drink. It takes the edge off the stress of the day and the fight with my boyfriend and crying children and whatever else ails me.”

She makes notes. She doesn’t respond.

After the medical, I met with my case manager. She asked about if my boyfriend was going to be part of my family therapy.

“Is this someone with whom you are going to be spending a large part of your life,” she enquired.

I nodded, “until last week I thought that was the plan. Now I am not so sure.”

We get into the fight we had. I tell her about my expectations and demands. I tell her about how I perceive my boyfriend to cope by avoidance.

“It seems he has a soft heart, that he is very loving,” she comments. I cannot disagree with her. “You will have to accept that he most likely won’t change. You will have to decide what you are willing to tolerate to be in this relationship. Ask yourself ‘do I love this man despite his circumstances. Am I willing to be with him, to choose to be with him knowing that this is how things are?'”

Sometimes if you shut up and listen, you learn things. She had some interesting perspective on our relationship. She confronted me about the “solutions” I offer my boyfriend when I put my foot down and demand boundaries. She reminded me that no one likes being told what to do by someone else all the time. She talked about how I was clear and straight forward and goal orientated. Isn’t everyone with an ED? Then she said this: “it seems to me that you are similar. He copes through avoidance and you do too with your eating disorder.” I had never looked at it that way. She talked about my pattern of self sabotage and of pulling the plug on relationships even when I love them. She said in that way I managed to avoid everything by ending things.

She gave me some things to think about. I feel like some introspection and soul-searching will go a long way to helping me change and grow in this relationship. I am not a nice person. I am intolerant and impatient. I have high expectations in a relationship. I am demanding. I am resentful and unforgiving. I thought yesterday how it would be to be my boyfriend, to be treated without grace for the past mistakes I had made. it was rather soul-destroying, the realization that I can treat someone I love so poorly.

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Mother’s Day For Non-Mothers

Today is my first official “unofficial” mother’s day. I say “unofficial” because my partner and I are not married so technically I am not a step mother. I say official because in the last 10 months it has been full on mothering for me to his two kids.

I have not been acknowledged either way by him today. The kids are with their mothers, obviously, even though it is our weekend with them. I realize I will face a life time of not sharing this day with them. My partner kissed me goodbye this morning when he left to go watch his son’s lacrosse game. He said, “if you speak to your mom tell her happy mother’s day from me.” He has never met my mother, but he thought to acknowledge her. He didn’t say anything to me. I didn’t get any expression of thanks or acknowledgement for the mothering I do to his kids.

I don’t know what I was expecting really. Last weekend some friends were over having dinner with us and my girlfriend said, “now you get to celebrate mother’s day”. I looked at my boyfriend and I said, “I don’t think he knew that.” My girlfriend ignored my comment and said, “no, you’re a mom now. You celebrate mother’s day.”

I know we get the kids back some time this evening. Part of me wonders if it will cross my boyfriend’s mind to do anything. Flowers? A card? I don’t know, does Hallmark make “step mother” mother’s day cards for women who aren’t officially step mothers? Part of me feels like if he does do anything it will only be because my girlfriend brought it up last weekend and said he had to. I feel caught in the middle. I do not get to not mother the children because there is no ring on my finger. I can’t refuse to change dirty diapers or hold sick children or feed them or take care of them or bath them or dress them or play with them or love them because there is no ring on my finger. I have to mother them regardless. And I choose to mother them because I want to. Who can not look at a child and love them? Who can not want to take care of a child even if it is not biologically theirs? It is not possible to look at them and not feel a bond to them after all this time. Every day that I am with this man, I make a conscious decision to love him and his children. It has not been easy. This week in particular has been the hardest one to continue to make that choice in the light of no forthcoming committment from him.

So this post is for the unofficial mothers. The ones who have made a choice to love other women’s children. The ones who are not recognized or acknowledged or appreciated for what they do. The ones that are reviled and hated by the biological moms instead of thanked. The ones who sacrifice themselves for children that will never call them “mum”. The ones who do everything that a mother does, which in my opinion makes you a mother. It seems the more I delve into step motherhood that the more obvious it is that people only acknowledge you as part of the mum club if you have been impregnated and pushed a child out of your vagina. I know biology is the least of what makes a mother a mother.

***

I got up, alone, skyped my mother in Africa. I poured my coffee and left for church. I had wanted my boyfriend to come to church with me today, but he chose to go to his son’s 5th lacrosse game this week. It seems fitting that he spent part of mother’s day with the mother of his son whom he is still officially married to.

I came home from church wondering if there would be anything. There was nothing. No flowers, no card, no present. The house is a mess, kids stuff everywhere, my boyfriend was sleeping upstairs. He asked how church was. He asked if I had spoken to my mother. He didn’t say a word about doing something special today or ask what I might like to do. I know I am waiting for some token acknowledgement that won’t happen or will be meaningless by the time it happens hours from now and is a fleeting moment he did out of obligation. He has had a whole day to look at me and say the words I long to hear “thank you for mothering my children”.

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Nightmare

I had an eerie, vivid nightmare last night. I woke up in a cold sweat, clinging to my boyfriend in terror, adrenaline coursing through my body. I could recall every disturbing detail:

In my dream I was at my house except it was a house I had never seen before. It was old, run down, decaying. Everything seemed to be dead. The grass and trees and flowers, all a red-gold brown in the dying light. I was moving my couch into the garden. The couch was dirty, full of holes and worms, all manner of creeping things slithered across it. I seemed to be there for a long time, unaware that it was night and I was alone.The house stood forlorn behind me and I heard whisperings of a presence which I tried to deny. Then the gate opened and something beastly and menacing came in uninvited. I couldn’t describe this presence as it was more a sense than a sight, unlike everything else in my dream which was sharp and in focus. I can recall how everything looked in minute detail, but this was demonic.

I asked it to leave my garden, to get away from me and I started to back away from the threat emanating from it. With a startling speed it pounced and enveloped me. I started fighting it, but it overpowered me like a cloak of darkness. I flailed and railed against it. I was lashing out, but it held me. I started to panic and then I started to beg to be set free. It would not release me. There was a moment where everything froze, I stopped struggling against this evil thing. There was a hiss and a sizzle like a candle being snuffed out. Except it wasn’t a candle, it was my life.

In the moment I realized that my life had ended so mercilessly, abruptly, the only thought I had was to call on God.

***

After I woke up, my boyfriend asked me what my nightmare was about. Usually I tell him that I am being chased of pursued by something I can’t see. This time I was shaking with fright, on the verge of tears. It was so real and so horrifying. I knew without a doubt that the demonic presence was my eating disorder. I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so distressed by the dream, by the overwhelming feeling of being tormented by a demon. My boyfriend held me, after I had been pushing him away all night, but I was too scared to close my eyes. It seemed to be hovering there, waiting for me.

All these hours later, it is as haunting as if it had just happened. I feel a dread within me that I cannot explain.

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Heartaches and Mistakes 

It has been a hard week. After the disastrous conversation with my boyfriend on Monday night about our future, we argued for 3 days. He was out of town and all our communication was via terse messaging.

At first I think he hoped it would blow over with a few “I love yous”, but I didn’t let it go. I stood my ground and told him it needed to be resolved.  After the shocking realization that our relationship was not where I thought it was and that we are not on the same page, I laid out everything. I addressed our ongoing issues with his absurd situation with the 2 mothers of his 2 children. I brought up his behavior of avoidance concerning the problems and how it all negatively impacts my life and therefore our relationship. I was as blunt and as harsh as I could be. I asked him why he would imagine I would want to stay indefinitely, without a commitment, in a situation that has cost me so much. I went into a lot of detail to which he responded in defense, of course. After 3 days I felt that the messages weren’t getting us anywhere, so I filed them away and stopped responding.

My anxiety was out of control for 3 days. I wondered about leaving him quite seriously.  I even found somewhere I could go live within 24 hours of the fight. I thought about the inevitability of the situation and my boyfriend never changing and that I have the nagging suspicion we will keep revisiting this same conversation. I wondered about my repeating habits and behaviors in relationships. I am mad at myself for the commitment I have made; for loving, giving and trusting too much.

In the end I starved and binged and purged and drank. There were no answers. Not from him or from the bottom of a toilet bowl where I heaved up anger and disappointment.

He came back from his trip last night. He wanted to hold me and kiss me and tell me he loved me. I tried not to cry. I wanted to push him away, but in the end I didn’t. I didn’t know how to tell him that I am still hurt and mad and that sex won’t fix that.

The world has tilted, we have shifted and I am not sure we can ever go back. It seems to me that this will be the beginning of the end. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will do what he promised, but in my heart of hearts I know he will fail me. Just like the ones that came before, he will be no different in the end no matter how much he tells me otherwise.

I told him the fact that a question about our future blindsided him so badly and derailed us this abruptly was more telling than all the awful things he said.

I canceled our long weekend away in the mountains. I shed some bitter tears as I wept over the loss of something I was looking forward to so much. I had longed for a romantic, secluded escape together because we have never had one. I had even fantasized that it was when he would ask me to marry him. I was so sure that I would be going home with a ring on my finger that it seemed a likely choice it would be that weekend. Given that I have been waiting since Christmas for a proposal and that he told me on Monday night he had no timeline, wasn’t going to give me one because he feels “pressured” into marrying me and doesn’t want to make a promise he can’t keep, it is obvious that I need to stop believing in fairytales. I decided that I don’t want to invest the money and time into a weekend with someone who is not sure how they will feel about me in a year. As I wiped the disappointed tears away I realized that I will be home in four weeks time and will have a month to decide what my next step is.

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Same Shit, Different Guy

I heard the same shit tonight that made me end my last relationship.

I had a ‘check-in’ conversation with my boyfriend at bed time to make sure that we were on the same page (of the same book). I told him we never actually talk about time lines and plans for our future. I said that if we don’t put the wheels in motion nothing will ever happen. I told him we are nearly at a year and we never actually discuss our future unless it is vague. I made the mistake of asking him how he felt about our situation and what he was thinking so that we could see if our timelines and plans would mesh.

How the tune has changed from “I can’t wait for you to be my wife” and ” I want to spend the rest of my life with you” to this: “I don’t have a timeline”, “well I might want to marry you in two years, but I don’t know how I will feel then…what if something goes wrong?” and “what if I need 6 more months, what if I’m not ready?”

Let’s just say that no matter how he tried to explain himself, I got the message loud and clear. Now that he has a live in maid who pays rent and a step mommy for his kids, he suddenly isn’t that interested in how fast he can make me his wife. Like the saying goes: why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

I reminded him that he has already had his children and therefore isn’t even concerned about the window of opportunity for us to have more. I reminded him I will be 33 in four months and I am not willing to pass up my time to have children while he decides if he wants to be with me or not. I reminded him that I am the one who has made a massive commitment to him by moving in with him and taking on his kids and all the (never-ending) shit that goes along with his situation. I reminded him that I cook and clean and do laundry and take care of him and the kids. My finances are now supporting him and his kids. I asked what more he could possibly want out of a girlfriend. I didn’t say what I was thinking: that he has nothing much to offer – other than being a nice guy. He has no money, no boundaries and a baggage carousel that is giving me motion sickness. I reminded him that he told me in the beginning that he was unlike any guy I had ever dated before, that he was different.

Sadly, he has proved he is just like the rest of them, but under worse circumstances. So I guess “different” was the right word. I am more mad at myself than I am at him.  After all I was the one who swore blind that I wouldn’t date a North American (EVER AGAIN) or a non-Christian and neither would I move in with anyone until there was a ring on my finger. So now I am mad at myself for doing what I said I wouldn’t which means I have learned nothing from the preceding heartaches. I am mad at myself for believing that he would be different from any other guy. How dumb am I? I guess to answer my own question, I am a fat anorexic so I am obviously not going to be a MENSA candidate any time soon. I am mad at myself for trusting him when he told me he wanted me to be his wife and that he couldn’t wait. I am mad at myself for taking him literally when he said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I am mad for at myself for imagining that a proposal was coming at any moment: christmas, valentines, mother’s day, the long weekend when we go away, a trip home to surprise me when I am with my family…

More so I am mad at myself for repeating the things I do that get me nowhere: loving too much, giving too much, trusting too much. He knew when he met me that my plan was to leave the country and return home to my family so he said he would give me a reason to stay. He knew when he started dating me that i had no intention of waiting around for an engagement, that if we weren’t serious, I wasn’t interested. I was very upfront with him when I said I wanted my own children (even though he didn’t want any more). i said frankly that I didn’t plan on waiting the obligatory 3 years that seem to be standard before a guy “shits or gets off the pot”. I mean this guy is 40 years old. You either know or you don’t. Waiting 3 years to ask someone to marry you is the kind of nonsense you do in your twenties….when no one cares  about timelines. The last guy I dated for 3 years (who promised me an engagement ring when we moved in together) said the same things to me that my boyfriend said tonight: he had no timeline, he was not ready, he was not sure what might happen or how he might feel in the future.

They are all the same in the end. All of them.

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