Let’s be clear here: The Neighbor is not an asshole.
He’s not a piece of shit, a loser, or a villain. He’s not a coward or even selfish. He’s a young man who realized after many months of internal struggle that not struggling might be better for him.
I appreciate all your love and support, but it’s deeply upsetting to see TN get ripped to shreds here. He doesn’t deserve it and it doesn’t feel good for me to see it. It makes me sad and defensive. He no more deserves critique than any of your friends who might one day do the same thing he did. He deserves respect for at least finally being honest with me.
I certainly would have preferred to be a part of his internal discussion about what was happening, but for whatever reason he couldn’t offer that to me. However, I do not believe it’s a character flaw that it didn’t go down the way I’d have preferred. Perhaps it’s a mark of our development; he’s in a very different place in his life.
I have been talking about TN basically 24 hours a day for the past 5 days. Peyton has been with my ex all weekend and so therefore I filled my time with loving friends and phone calls, but now I am fucking exhausted and wrung out. My body aches from inactivity and my mind is firm: TN will not be vilified here. I’ve never allowed it before and I won’t allow it now.
Just like I told my friends with my own voice I am telling you all now: he’s not a bad man for feeling the way he does.
Yes, I’d have liked for him to have come to me and said, “Hy, we never talk about where we’re going or what we’re doing and I’m deeply uncomfortable. Can we discuss it? Maybe press pause for a bit or maybe even rewind?” And of course I would’ve agreed to talk and then joined him in the “where and what are we doing?” conversation. Maybe I would’ve seen that he was right that this had to end, maybe we would’ve come up with a plan to stay together, but to say he’s a bad guy for skipping that step is missing and discrediting all the work he did in an attempt to be with the woman he loves more than anything else.
It just failed.
I’m not at all saying that we weren’t salvageable with two willing partners. What I’m saying is that he wasn’t willing and therefore we couldn’t be saved and him not wanting to figure it out does not make him a bad man. It’s painful to embrace this, but none of us have control over our feelings and he is no different. I won’t blame him for how he feels.
I desperately wish his heart was in it, but what’s the point? It isn’t and now I have to pick up the pieces. And despite hating how it all went down and feeling madly out of control I have to respect him for finally doing what his sad inner voice has been saying all along: let her go.
He didn’t do a fake Valentine’s Day for me, he didn’t buy plane tickets to a March ski trip with me and my friends, he didn’t solidify plans to go to the beach in May or even where we’d be at Christmas. He saw that this year was me planning our future a bit more and he knew it wasn’t right for him and he got out. I can’t and won’t hate him for that and I can’t and won’t agree with any of you about what a piece of shit he is.
I understand that you all love me and that you’re hurting on my behalf, but it cuts me to the core to see him spoken of in such a way, therefore I’m going to remove all the comments from my last post. I know you were all only trying to help — and you have — but I have to look at this from TN’s perspective, too. He truly did the best he could and I can’t hate him for that. I can only look for a new partner who can do better.
If he were your friend you might be telling him what a selfish woman I am for just assuming a certain kind of future with him without ever discussing it.
I know that TN has some grand notions for our post-relationship life and I may or may not be able to make those come true, but that will be a decision I make on a daily basis with Peyton in mind. What can we handle? What does my baby need? I respect that TN doesn’t want to abandon the little friend he made while with me and that’s important, too.
Irrespective of his relationship with my child what I can promise to myself is that I’ll work really hard to heal and move on and do whatever it takes to make that happen. What I won’t do is tear him down to do it.
Part of my compassion and empathy stems from how I felt when I left my marriage. My exhusband was horrified to learn one day — “out of the blue” — that I was having divorce fantasies. Of course it was after months of business travel and depressing, difficult times together, emotional and physical neglect, and an unhealthy division of labor at home, but to him it was from out of nowhere. He’d had no idea the work and effort I’d been putting in to our marriage so that we were only that miserable together.
Of course that confession wasn’t the end of it and we spent the better part of that year in therapy trying to hammer out our problems, but for all those months I had been unraveling and never told him the truth I wasn’t being fair. I believed in my heart of hearts that he couldn’t change anything; I attempted to tell him my feelings, but I hid my true pain and anger in order to protect him. I failed us and I failed him because I couldn’t bear to cause him any pain, possibly invoke his anger, or to maybe have him fix it because the truth was: I was done. I had conducted an entire argument all by myself and didn’t include him.
The therapy we experienced was nothing short of depressingly sad. I avoided total honesty and I suspect so did he. It’s true that ultimately we weren’t compatible and he’s probably a million times happier with his bike-loving, camping-obsessed new wife, but I never experienced what it’s like to really crack myself open to him. I just wanted out. It only helped that I believed in my core that he truly didn’t like me, but looking back I ruined my life as I knew it: I lost my child, financial stability, and a man who did love me despite all our problems. How is what TN just did any different?
Maybe one day he’ll either evolve to the point where I am today, or find a woman who wants only what he can give and not one drop more, but for now he’s exactly where I was. Except he did the thing I never could: he got out when he knew it was the right thing to do. He was brave and strong where I was weak. I married the wrong man because I let him carry us forward into phase after phase without ever discussing it and without ever admitting to myself that I wasn’t truly happy with him. TN saved us from that.
My heart is shattered and broken because I love him, but my mind has been set free because I just witnessed something brave. He performed an act of kindness that I was incapable of at his age and I prefer to focus on that rather than the clumsy, painful, and surprising execution of our union. He is a good man who did a sad thing.
Of course I still love him and I’ve cried 10 times while writing this because I wish none of this were true, but I see it clearer now. It was an act of kindness to let me go. Now I just have to wipe my tears and let my heart stitch back together. Take deep breaths and take care of myself and my baby and look forward to my future with a new love. Maybe one day, based on experiences like this one, I’ll find the right one.