“It’s just a matter of timing,” Husband #2 tells me.
We’re talking about our current living arrangements: how I’m in one location tied down to a house and kids in school, and a job; how he is living at his friend’s place, with a job, and a desire to be in a specific locale.
I’m not buying the timing theory.
I know that even if I won the MegaMillions, the kids all moved in with their dad, and I sold the house, Husband #2 would panic if I said, “I’ll move there.”
He tells me he’s working on figuring out who he is, so he can’t work on “us”. The two mutually exclusive events—you can’t find yourself if you are in a relationship.
It feels like I’m always waiting on Husband #2. When we meet out of town, he arrives last, I’m already at the hotel. At the end of our visit, he leaves first, driving down the highway as I sit in the airport waiting for my flight.
When he was here, living in this place, he was arriving last. I’d come home from a weekend away to find an empty, cold house. No one waiting for me. No one greeting me at the door to offer a hand with my suitcase. I’d arrive first.
And then later, Husband #2 would show up, after meeting with clients or deciding to visit family. He’d arrive hours after I would get home, sitting down to dinner I made, asking me to tend to a task for him.
I’d be there for him, leaving on the lights.
I’m not sure if he’s ever waited for me. Maybe he has and I just don’t realize it. But you know the saying, “people remember the way you made them feel”. I feel like I’ve come home to empty, dark houses and miss having someone present to make it a warm, inviting homecoming.
Husband #2 would debate the warmness of his homecomings. For a long time, he would dread coming back to the house, thinking someone angry would meet him. But I know he never had to wait for me. I picked him up from the airport, left the light on, made sure that there was something in the fridge for him to heat up if he couldn’t make it to dinner.
I’ve become the guaranteed Wait-er. Over the years I’ve trained him to rely on my presence.
But not now. The door is closing. I’m making plans for my next move, and it won’t be to an area where Husband #2 would live.
He tells me that when he’s figured himself out (in a year, two years, a decade?), he’ll woo me back. I laugh. “Today is the most charming you will be to me. That charm wears off.”
I warn him of the impending doom for our relationship. It doesn’t seem to matter. Oddly, it parallels what happened when he was here. I would bring up a problem. He would avoid it. We repeat our roles.
I’m smart enough to know that sustaining a relationship takes an all-in, jump with both feet effort. Growing a long-distance relationship takes even more energy, with both people 100% committed to making things work. We don’t have that commitment to each other.
I know because he’s told me. “We’ll just go along and see what happens…”
Maybe that’s what Husband #2 is waiting for…for me to tire myself out, to finally throw in the towel and cut contact. It’s twisted logic but allows him to remain the “good guy”.
I just remind myself of our final scene in the marriage therapist’s office. As he is explaining that he’s leaving, I interject, “I’ve started individual counseling to fix my issues. Will you wait for me?”
His answer is easy to guess.