I forgot earlier that I wanted to write about the counseling session that the Ex and I had this week on Monday. It was really interesting.
During our first session, we went over a lot of old history – how we ended up separated, the causes, past indiscretions, etc. It was good to get all of that out in the open, but at the same time it didn’t really get us any closer to a solution. At the end of that session, what we figured out was that the Ex’s housing situation needed to be resolved ASAP.
Monday’s session started with some clarification about her new arrangements (living 45 minutes away with her guy friend) and the counselor asked us again why we were in therapy; what we were looking to get out of it. The Ex went first. She wants to get back together. She is clear on that. She talked about how she sees her mistakes as what they are and never really wanted a relationship with the other guy, she was just trying to get me back by acting out in some way. I have my doubts about that; she told me she really liked his family when they went on that long trip, and she went to his old stomping grounds with him, so it really seemed – all the evidence points to this – that she WAS looking for something more than just to pressure me into getting help. Then I went. I reiterated that I was looking for answers. That I was at a crossroads in my life and didn’t know which way I wanted to go, or which way I should go. So we started digging for answers.
The counselor asked some great leading questions that pulled information out of me. I said I had enjoyed getting out of the house and setting myself up in a new “safe place”. He asked me if it was relief, perhaps from past hurts; I think that is an accurate statement. I do feel like I was hurt, but I was very loyal and I thought that it would end some day. It wasn’t physical abuse at all, more emotional/verbal if anything, but I’m not even sure I’d really go as far as to say it was abuse. Just fighting and hurt, more than anything else. But the word “relief” certainly does seem to describe how I felt when I moved out and got my own place with kiddo. And we talked about my plans moving forward; that I am setting myself up for stability and security and that I am looking forward to – that I’m actually happy about – being successful. That was a big thing to admit, now that I look back at it. I think maybe I felt pressure to be down in the dumps so that the Ex wouldn’t be hurt.
We talked about my needs, which was nice. We talked about my need for space and a low-pressure environment. We talked about setting rules, like not having heavy conversations through text messages and ways to avoid the feelings of pressure that I’m not comfortable with. We talked about dating. We talked about girl #1 and everything that has happened at the theatre, although admittedly I lied about not wanting to date. I do want to date. I want to date girl #1. I want a relationship with girl #1. I understand that I’m probably getting way ahead of where I should be by saying that, but it’s what I want right now and I’m trying hard to be patient and let things happen naturally. Anyway, we then addressed the Ex’s fear. She is afraid that she is going to lose me. She is afraid that girl #1 and I will become close throughout the show and that it’s just going to take one kiss to end any chance of the Ex and I getting back together. And you know what? In my head, I can see that playing out. I can see that happening. In the fairy tale that my brain has created, it does turn out that way and I’m happy with somebody else because I want to be, because it’s good for me and kiddo, because I deserve to be happy and I am a nice guy and I am somebody that another person could love. Now, being realistic, I can’t expect girl #1 to reciprocate any of those feelings – after all, I’ve been separated for four and a half months. I’m not divorced. I haven’t even filed any papers. But what if things go well between she and I…even as we proceed cautiously? The Ex’s fear is a real thing, she’s not being irrational at all. But after what she did………….
We ended the session by talking about future plans. Do we continue to have marriage counseling? The therapist says we have individual issues to work out before we should try marriage counseling again. We scheduled anyway, for three weeks out, just so that the Ex knows I’m still committed to the counseling process. But we do both need some individual help. I need help figuring out what the right thing to do here is, whether it’s getting back together with the Ex or pursuing a new path and dissolving our marriage (but being friends still, of course). And she has issues – a lot of issues – to deal with; her family, her past, her future.
But at least it was progress. It was a big painful, but that’s what good progress starts as I think. It’s about growth and that’s not always easy.