I think it is okay for a woman to be alone, with herself, single again at 36.
But then again, I have to be.
Because I am.
I did not ask to be alone.
I established and defended a boundary.
A boundary he could not–would not–respect.
No, I told him, I will not pay for all of couples counseling. No, we do not have to do it on Monday nights. If Mondays are off the table for you, I will honor that. Wednesdays are off the table for me. That leaves three other weekdays.
You aren’t compromising at all, he replied.
I restated my boundary: Couples counseling is a must if we are to reconcile.
Then we’re over, he said.
Okay, I replied.
He’s said he misses me. But when we talk, he cannot help but pat himself on the back, lauding, through jokes and comments, how great his presence is. When he shows me listings of houses he’s considering, I excuse myself to another room to cry. When he finds me upset, he asks why.
Because through his actions, I can tell he’s been done with this relationship for a long time.
Because all I’ve ever wanted in this relationship is for him to choose me.
He retreats back to his old stance: If you could give me just one thing, one thing I need to do and tell me that’s all I need to do, but you’ll never be satisfied, he said.
Commitment is demonstrated in words, thoughts, and actions, I respond. It’s about consistency. It’s certainly not maintaining dozens of 20-something single women as “options” on Facebook. It’s definitely not messaging other women.
He does not defend himself.
When I ask, he says he’s not talking to anyone else.
That wouldn’t be a good way to start a relationship, he says.
I remind him he’s said that before, and within 24-hours, he’s begun pursuing others.
What, am I serial liar then?, he asks.
I want tell him yes. Yes, you are.
But I don’t.
Instead, I calmly tell him that I’m not asking for anything extraordinary. What I’m asking for is normal. I deserve to be a choice, not an option.
He scoffs again.
That’s a Facebook meme I see all the time, he says.
You follow hundreds of single women, I point out. That stands to reason.
In the end, he called me manipulative again. What I want–commitment, to be a choice, not an option–is a trap, he said.
Then he asked if I still wanted to get dinner.
When I asked him if he was expecting me to pay for him, he referenced an article he read stating that 69% of women are in relationships for free meals.
I did not date you for the free meals, I reply.
I took myself to dinner.
I cried alone in the booth.
The words on the menu ran together.
Nothing made sense.
Nothing does when someone you still love stops loving you.
Today, my attorney will draft a letter to him. I want to keep my home. If I can.
Oh, how I wish he’d simply go away.
Maybe then I could breathe again.