Oh you all are making me laugh and think and go hmmmm... thank you all for the input.
Today I had a great session with my IC, she's been following the story with Firehouse Guy with interest and caution.
We talked about what am I getting out of it? Why even go there? Why am I minimizing or discounting the flags, be they yellow or red?
I'm craving the intimacy, the connection. And I'm getting it. It's not the sex act that's driving me crazy and keeping me coming back for more. So maybe calling him an F-buddy is a misnomer. It's the warm smiles, the belly laughs, the long firm embrace, the random mid-day texts, and the long conversations getting to know each other better, sharing and listening. You know, the early romance of dating and the quality time and attention of a partner.
So that's my why. I haven't messed up my healing (yet) going there. 2 years of S with some really firm NC is a pretty good break from my M and bullshit STBXWHNPDPAFTG. The legal stuff is slower than the emotional stuff at this point, so I don't feel like I'm completely stupid to be "going there" in dating before the ink is on the D.
My concerns and why I've been posting here is his entanglements, and my worry that I will be really disappointed wanting to make this more than it can be, and be hurt, heartbroken, and set back. My concerns are that he's got issues that I have no control over that make him unavailable for developing a healthy new relationship that is genuine, clean, committed, etc.
Her advice is that I do something that might seem really odd: compartmentalize. If I am getting intimacy and connection, and I can stay focused on what I have JUST RIGHT NOW and not try to carry this relationship forward into the future in my head or in my words or in my actions... if I can be present and soak up the positives... then I can put him in a little room and when it's time to play we open the door and go outside and play. And then when recess is over we go to our separate rooms again.
And I can wait and watch and see what happens with his housing situation and what he says to Dog Lady and whether he attempts to integrate me into his life or keep me in my own little room too.
If he makes no moves to have a talk with Dog Lady or to introduce me to his friends, wont engage in public displays of affection, wont have me over for dinner with her present, or decides he can't tell her "I no longer agree to the previously agreed upon house rules" then by his actions I know all I need to know.
not being able to stay at your man's house? And it's not because of kids? How can that be okay? This dude *needs* to sort that. Because if he can't, that to me is a red flag. Not a cheating red flag, an unwillingness to be in a relationship red flag because he's using this barrier to protect himself and make if impossible to fully commit.
Thank you, Cayc, I agree totally.
I'm curious how you've known him so well for ten years but you're just finding out all of this now.
You agreed to go out for dinner with him even though you thought he was still in a relationship, right? What made that OK for you?
So he and I have been interacting with each other several times a year due to regular ongoing projects between my NGO and his Govt agency. We talk, we are friends. He learned I was S shortly after I moved out - that was 2 years ago. Since I was sharing a bit about me, I inquired of his life, as friends do. I am terrible with names so I forgot Dog Lady's name and asked "And how are things with your sweetie and house in Dog Town? And the first thing out of his mouth was "You mean "Dog Lady"? She's not my sweetie, but it's fine. We are doing X with house in Dog Town - I've been working on the well... yadda yadda"
So he revealed about 2 years ago that their relationship had changed. I think we had the same conversations again at the next project... he asked me how I was doing on my own at my new place, told me he was concerned for me. I did a lot of hiding of my depression but I told him where I was living was therapeutic for me, I again forgot her name asked about "his sweetie" and he again corrected me and grumbled about troubles he was having with some project and then we changed the subject. I didn't want to pry, or to open up too much at the time as I was pretty fragile and really keeping things light was best for me.
So the dinner "date" seemed... I dunno. OK? OK, but proceed with caution because I didn't really know details? I mean how much do you need to know about somebody before you go out for dinner? If he were a complete stranger that I had just met at the Govt. office would I need to know all the details of their personal life before grabbing a bite to eat after work? It was an invitation generated spontaneously... like around 2pm? Not planned.
I suppose I can rationalize that the story of them buying the house together made sense for them at the time. At the time, perhaps they were a couple working on their issues, probably, maybe, maybe not. His D has been stalled for years, maybe he made some progress on it back then and gave her hope? I don't want to speculate too much and just stick with what I know.
I think he's one of those folks who has managed to arrange his life into a scenario that's tailor-made for avoidance of intimacy. He was unhappy with wife #1, but instead of doing the right thing and confronting that and divorcing before getting involved with a new lurv, he went ahead and did that and let marriage #1 limp along to an almost-close.
Thirteen years is an awfully long time to be almost-divorced.
He sort of commits to Dog Lady but then that doesn't work out, but jeez, here he is stuck in a real estate situation he can't get out of and he's committed to being her Dog Minder until the house sells maybe never.
What incentive does she have to sell when she has a nice home, a guy who promises never to bring anyone to the house and looks after her pack when she travels?
There is so much unfinished business here it makes my head spin. I know we all have baggage, but real grown-up adults usually manage to tie up the loose ends before diving into exciting new adventures that require time, energy and cash investment.
You are making some great points FaithFool! Yes, I agree with all of them. The thing is that our relationship, whatever you want to call it, feels pretty intimate given all his Dog-awful baggage.
I don't understand why I'm OK with this. Basically, I'm OK with what we have FOR NOW. But I do know that I'm gonna have a really hard time if he chooses to maintain the status quo. If he decides that being enmeshed in all these other women's lives is the way he wants things to stay then he and I are going to have to part company.
I've got my own baggage and enmeshment to disentangle from. This stuff is hard. It's hard when you don't have anyone to help you, and it's hard when you have someone who GETS IT in a scary ugly too familiar way. Like Dude, we are so messed up can't we clean up our lives so we can move on?
Thanks everyone for the 2x4s. Swung and connected somewhere about the shoulders
I really need to protect myself, because I need to inch forward in life and finish my healing at a healthy pace. Maybe having so many barriers to complete intimacy is actually good for me? My history of relationships - diving in head first and being all in, all in, and committed - glued - to someone... I think I've had a total of 10 committed (at least in my head - I was never a player and always monogomous) relationships of some significant duration in my life and maybe 2 or 3 very short flings where I new it wasn't going to last. I've never really spent time just dating and jumping in the sack for some fun now and again.
Newlease if he chooses to stay enmeshed with Dog Lady and his D doesn't move forward.... it's not about me, is it? It's just him maintaining status quo. Maybe I'm just a passing fling for him, and he for me. So far that's what the evidence points to.
Patience, restraint, and self discipline are not strengths of mine. I'm not running away screaming in part because I feel I'm stretching and learning in a strange way.