For all that the trip to Seattle was pleasant, and a chance for me to see a place I’d never seen, it wasn’t everything that I thought it would be – in that 3.0 had ulterior motives for inviting me there… motives he did not communicate until after I’d gotten back home and was settling back into my routine.
About two weeks after I got home, the text message came:
Him: If you were here what do you think we’d be doing right now?
Me: I dunno… probably playing VR or watching stupid stuff on TV.
Him: No, I mean what if you moved here, and in with me?
I was folding laundry when that text message rolled in. I dropped the laundry I was folding and stared at my phone… surely this wasn’t happening now. Ten years after we’d decided that dating wasn’t good for us. Ten years after he’d painstakingly written me a list of all the things he hated about me.
Me: You’re drunk. Or high. This isn’t a conversation we should be having over text.
And then we talked. And, though he was still high, he assured me he meant what he said. I said I couldn’t even consider doing that with someone who wasn’t in love with me.
He said he understood that, but that that would come in time, he felt almost sure. I argued that this was a very expensive endeavor. He replied that he’d pay for all of it, and then also pay off all my debt. I’d never have to worry about it again. He asked me if I’d please consider it.
I told him I wasn’t having that conversation when he was like this… thinking he’d forget about it the next day. So we hung up and I let it go.
He hadn’t forgotten about it the next day. And over the next couple of months, we continued to talk about it. He wanted kids. I said I couldn’t even consider having children with someone I wasn’t married to. He said he wouldn’t ask me to, and that we’d get married. And again, he asked me to consider it.
I said I would… and I did… for a minute… but there were just so many reasons NOT to do it that they outweighed the reasons TO do it.
I said I wanted to travel – alluding to the fact that those two things didn’t exactly go hand in hand. He said he did too, as if not recognizing the conflict there.
I said I had a lot of debt. Student loans. POS debt. I needed to work on that. He said he’d cover it.
I said that I couldn’t possibly afford to live in Seattle on my own. He replied that I’d be living with him. I argued that sure, right now he says that, but if things went wrong then I’d have to move and I couldn’t afford to live there. He said he’d pay for me to go anywhere I wanted to go, and – later when we rehashed that point – offered a $10k immediate retainer deposit into my bank account.
It seemed that for every argument that I had to NOT do this, he had a counterargument that was not in the neighborhood of realistic, but made evident the fact that he was not going to easily let this go.
Until I asked what he’d do if he found out I couldn’t have kids. Because… I mean… let’s be honest. I don’t KNOW if I can. I haven’t tried. But I’m also forty. And that window is closing (and up until then – and even now as I write this, I’m okay with that). Further, I never really wanted to have biological children – PTSD from events that happened oh, so long ago have given met trust issues so deep that I cannot even fathom something like that. I asked if he’d be willing to adopt. And then he said he didn’t think he was capable of loving a child that wasn’t his own.
That was the kicker. As an adoptee, that was extremely insulting… not just to me, but also to my family, who has never treated me any differently than a biological child they might have had. I knew then that I couldn’t… because it told me right there what this man knew about love. If he couldn’t love a child that wasn’t biologically his, then how could he love his wife?
And then I realized, after meditating long and hard about it, that if I was considering this at all, it was because doing that meant that I could put an end to this endless searching. I’d not have to play these dating games anymore. I wouldn’t have to worry about who was or wasn’t going to call (because regardless of who he was/is, and regardless of what he did/didn’t do, he always does what he says he’s going to do). I wouldn’t have to sit and worry, endlessly, about the things that I worry about now… because my focus, as I know it, would irrevocably shift.
I knew what this was – a business deal. And there was a part of that (when you think about removing all the emotions the thing that complicates relationships more than anything) that made sense. Because in my mind, after all this time… doing it the “right” way, putting the emotions first, and following those has never led me down any sort of road I wanted to walk on. (But that also included the road with him.)
And there’s also the fact that I know him. I know who he is. We have a history together. And I’d also just spent the last two months rewriting, editing, and reposting ALL the blog entries I’d ever written about him – all of which were stark reminders of where I was ten years before. I’d also dug up the list of all the things he’d hated about me (because I’d used those to ask him how he could possibly be considering even ASKING me something like this when he’d written that ten years before). I remembered the things he’d said to me too… about not being sold. I remembered how much his friends didn’t like me. I remembered the things his mother had said about me. All of that was bad enough.
His philosophies on child rearing were questionable too. He argued that children were just going to turn out however they turn out and parental involvement didn’t even matter. He’d talk about how hands off his mother was, and how pissed he was at his father for trying to be involved, and I knew that this would be the way he’d want to raise any child he had with me. I’m not going to claim to be an expert on any of those things – because I’m not – but I know enough to know that in many cases, that’s simply not realistic. Nor is raising a child based on statistics one pulls off the internet when one is supposed to be working in the middle of the day.
And the joke’s on him, because I don’t even know if I CAN have kids at this point. It’s not like I’ve actively tried. And even then, if I couldn’t… would I really be as secure in this as he said? And if not, then what? I can’t afford to live in Seattle on my own. I’d be bound to him – physically, financially, everything – in ways I never want to be bound to another human ever again. His offer to pay for me to move elsewhere if it didn’t work was, again, generous… but not realistic. It went against every ounce of independence that I have cultivated over the course of my life – especially since 2020.
I’ve worked so hard to get here.
And… finally… I realized that, in the end, I won’t be satisfied without the full deal. All of this looks pretty and simple on its face, but I want the emotion. I want a partner. I want someone who has my back, through thick and thin, and isn’t just here because of what he could get out of me. This wasn’t 3.0 back in 2012, and it’s not him in 2020.
And so I said no. And I walked away. And I closed the door. Maybe it was a stupid move… maybe I’ll look back on this in 10 years and regret that this was my last chance at having something with someone (and that’s a real fear of mine). But I also told myself that I’d never settle again. And it’s also just as likely that, if I DID do that, I’d look back in 10 years and regret that I gave someone my freedom so flippantly… and bound myself to someone (and a situation) that I really don’t even want.
Months later, I still don’t know if I made the right choice. It may BE another decade before I know for sure. Or I might never know. What I do know is that I don’t love him. He doesn’t love me. He has a really weird understanding of what “love” is, given his view on adoption – ergo, he would never really “get” me – or my family – ever. And at the end of the day, that’s really all I needed to know.
So… back to the dating apps. Yay.