If you've been waiting for that engagement ring post...
...I'm sorry to disappoint.
My relationship with Paul has ended. We'd been together for over four years. I wanted some reassurances about the future. I was tired of the long-distance relationship. I felt we'd been together for too long and were both getting too old to still be just dating, with absolutely no plans for the future.
Paul said the subject stressed him out. The last nine or ten months we were together, it was a constantly recurring issue. Discussions went nowhere. He got irritated. I cried. We remained in exactly the same place.
One day he told me that he had made a promise to his adult daughter that he would always live near her. (Of course, both his kids - who out-earn him - still live at home with Dad, but that is another, even more long-standing issue.) Paul and I had always talked about moving some place warmer when we could afford it. We talked about how much more difficult the cold New England winters get with each passing year. And yet, he didn't hesitate a second, didn't feel the need to even discuss the issue with me. He instantly agreed to forever live wherever his daughter wanted him to live. I have three children. He has two children. And of course, he has always known that I don't want to live in the northeast any longer than necessary. None of those other people, none of those other factors, no one else's needs or desires were considered for a fraction of a second. She asked for a promise; he gave it.
There were no promises for me. There never will be.
When other people say their kids come first, they mean their kids' needs. To Paul, it means they are in charge. A couple years ago, these mid-20s children wanted a dog. Paul said emphatically NO DOG. They'd soon be moving out (or so we thought). They had busy lives and new jobs. He didn't want the responsibility of a dog. Of course, they were not asking for his permission. They got the dog. I'm sure I don't need to tell you who feeds the dog each night, or who will end up paying for the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars of damage this large, destructive dog has caused to Paul's home.
Paul and I planned to take the kids along on our annual cruise this year. With Paul's reduced work hours, I put down nearly all the deposits. I paid for the plane tickets. As the time approached and I wanted to discuss what we would do at each port of call, Paul told me he couldn't talk about it because his kids had not decided yet. He told me he wouldn't commit to anything until they had decided what they wanted to do and which activities they wanted him to do with them. I offered to make my own, independent plans so he had the freedom to just spend time with the kids. He told me in no uncertain terms I was to make no plans until the kids had made theirs. He kept promising me they'd discuss it and make some decisions. Promises to me hold no weight. It never happened. It was merely another example of where I stand in the pecking order...nowhere.
I spent so much time and energy trying to convince Paul to commit to a future with me. I should have understood it was never his decision to make.
His kids are in charge, particularly his daughter. It's as if, after his divorce, he forged some sort of partnership with her in terms of running the household. It seems like he views making any promises to me would somehow betray his relationship with her. I never realized until now that, at any time during the four+ years we were together, his daughter could have dismissed me from Paul's life with a word. I never had any hold on Paul or our relationship. I was only there as long as his children tolerated my existence and as long as I was willing to accept that they would always and forever be in charge. When I finally communicated that understanding, he told me that it was a fact I had to accept or we had nothing left to talk about.
I live 50 miles from my job and 40 miles from Paul. For four years, I had no time for anything but work, my children and Paul. I turned 50 years old yesterday. I have no friends left. I allowed my friendships to dry up in pursuit of my relationship - something I swore I would never do. I'm old and alone and there are no do-overs in the real world.
I am taking that cruise. My daughter (age 22) is coming with me. We're planning all sorts of silly mother/daughter activities and matching outfits. I have been literally LIVING for that cruise for the past two months. It's the only thing that keeps me going. We'll be going in five weeks. I'm very excited, but at the same time very concerned about what will happen when the cruise is over. What will I live for then??
Just needed to vent...even if there is no one left here to vent to. I have no one else.