Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Reminder

Jake and I have been together for a year.  He really is a great guy.  We love each other very much and I love being with him.  We met through a mutual friend and the connection was clear from the beginning.

Jake is has been out and proud since he was a teenager.  His family is accepting and they love me.  My mom and sister have taken a liking to Jake too.  They don't like him as much as they liked T, but it's still pretty good.  Jake is really good with my kids and they all like him.  I have been so happy about the way we have merged into each other families.

Not everything is perfect.  There is a tension between Jake and K that I don't really understand.  It seems to me that K treats him like anyone else, but Jake still feel uncomfortable going over to her house.  I suppose K is an acquired taste and since I have known he for so long I am used to her quirks.  

Jake works as an accountant for one of the major banks in the city.  He has a regular 9 - 5 schedule and only occasionally brings work home with him. 

About 2 months ago, Jake and I took the plunge and he moved into my house.  It was really a sacrifice, for him.  He has a condo within walking distance from his office, and now he has to brave the rush hour traffic every day.  I know he did it for me.  He did it so I could still be close to my kids.  It was important to keep the house my kids are familiar with.  Where they have friends in the neighborhood and where they could ride the school bus to if they wanted (or needed) to come here after school.

It has been wonderful for me to have him with me.  On the nights I am home when he gets back from work, we cook dinner together, we will watch TV together after.  Sometimes we will sit and the table and work on our respective homework together.  

At the end of the day we will go up to bed.  After a love making session we will lay together in the dark talking about whatever is going on that day before drifting off to sleep.

Some nights, however, I am not home.  Actually, a lot of nights.  I am often at K's house looking after the kids.  She has finished nursing school and found a job at the local hospital.  She works nights, so I have to be there for the kids.  Occasionally, I stay home and let AJ deal with the kids, but I feel strongly they are my responsibility to care for and not his.  They are my kids and I am not going to relinquish my parenting responsibilities to anyone.  Especially while they are still young.

Unfortunately, this is becoming a stress point for Jake.  Several nights a week after braving the nightmare traffic, he comes home to an empty house.  He will either make dinner for himself or he will grab take out on the way home.  I get home late after getting the kids to bed.  Sometimes as late as 10:00.  By that time he he getting ready for bed after having spent the evening alone.  

"Why did you ask me to move in here if you are going to be gone all the time?" he asks.

"Baby, you know I have responsibilities to my kids.  You have always known that would take up a chunk of my time."   I tell him.  "When they are older it will be less and I will have more time for us.  I know you don't like being home alone, but you could come with me you know."

He rolls his eyes.  We have had this discussion before.  "Jim, you know I love your kids, but I do not want to hang out ever night at your ex-wife's house.  After work I want to go home and relax. I am so uncomfortable there, I can't relax until we get home and by then it's bed time."

"I know honey.  I'm sorry."  It's all I can say.  I can't really change the situation.  I am kind of stuck.

"Not to mention the tension between K and AJ is ridiculous." he continues.  "It's like they have this cold war going on.  I don't know how you deal with it, but I just don't want to be there.  I'm sorry."

He rolls over in bed facing away from me, clearly frustrated.  I spoon up next to him and put my arm around him.  He holds my hand.  

"Jim, I love you and we are so good together, but I hate being alone all the time.  I know you can't pull away from your kids, and I would never ask you to, but for me this is sucking."  

I don't know what to say.  I kiss him on the back of the neck continue to hold him.  We have had this conversation several times in the past month.  I cannot think of anyway to lessen the time I have to take care of the kids, and I cannot think of a way to make him more comfortable coming with me.

I can tell by Jake's breathing he had fallen asleep. I roll on to my back.  As I stare at the spinning ceiling fan I think about my relationship with T.  I hated sleeping alone most every night.  I didn't like that this parents, while they liked me, never really accepted our relationship on the same level as his straight siblings.  I thought about how much time he had to devote to his business.  How he rarely took a day off to spend with me, much less a vacation.  On his regular days off, he always had things to do.  Might be family things, church things, business things, or work in that stupid garden.  But there was always something he was doing.

I know that T loved me.  And there was no question that I loved him.  And I still do.  One thing I had not really considered when we were together, was that all the time that T spent doing other things, allowed me to maintain the strong relationship I have with my children.   We both had things that kept up apart.  His intervening priorities, made it possible for me to spend all day Saturday with my kids.  And most Sundays.

As much as I wanted a "real" partner to live with me and be with me all the time.  To do all the things that "normal" couples do together, it seems I am not quite ready for it.  It seems like I was rushing to make something happen before it was supposed to.  And now things with Jake are not working out the way either of us envisioned.  

When T and I broke up for the last time, he warned me this would happen.  He warned me someone else would make the same demands on me that I was making on him.  He would want the time I have set aside for my kids.  He would not like being home alone waiting for me to come home after I get the kids to bed.

Deep down I know this relationship with Jake is not going to work out for the long haul.  I know eventually he will tire of being second to my kids.  He will feel he deserves better, that he should be the center of my world.  Something I simply cannot do.  At least not until my kids are grown.  I doubt he will wait that long and he will leave.  I guess this is one of those times when a dream does not quite match up with reality.

T would have stuck by me for the long term.  Even though I disliked his schedule and priorities, there was something oddly complimentary about them.  They fit with mine.  Even though I hated being apart from him, when we were together, it was like magic between us.  We fit perfectly together (in more ways than one, wink wink.).  If I had waited, had been more patient things would have eventually come together for us.

I hear Jake snoring softly.  I glanced at the clock.  1:34 am.  I could tell this was going to be another long sleepless night.


This fantasy occurred only in my head.  It reminds me that even though my relationship with T is not perfect, and his situation does not allow for the partnership I dream about, mine does not either.  It reminds me to be patient.  It reminds me to be grateful for the love I have found.  It reminds me that I have the partner I want.  It reminds me that I simply cannot imaging being with anyone else, regardless of the situation.  It reminds me that, on balance, I am happy with the love I have and I want to hang on to it for a long, long time.


T said...

Could you help me clean out the new koi pond next Sunday? I love you!

RB said...

When did all this stuff happen??

Oh, it's just a dream.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Jim. I've been waiting and hoping that you would see your relationship for what it is...both the not so good and the very good.

The type of relationship you expect and hope for comes either to very young people starting out with blank slates or to older people who have either remained single or whose kids are long grown (and sometimes not even then...those adult children often need to move back at the peskiest time lol).

Perfect seldom happens and certainly not to anyone I've ever met. There may be a very, very lucky handful who get it all...the perfect mate, extended families who blend perfectly, partners with compatible interests in ALL things. But too often if we wait around in the hopes of finding the perfect arrangement, we spend ALL our days alone.

You BOTH have family responsibilities and neither of you are the types of men who can shirk those responsibilities and be happy for long. Thank god you've found each other. I think that T is a marvelous partner...a man of integrity and loyalty and he loves you very much.


Sunne said...

You know what - this post made me smile and feel happy for you. Why? Because it looks like you see the good parts of your relationsship....and you can always help T to clean the pond ;)

the island guy said...

This is hands down the greatest post I have read thus far! Such an inspiring mix of creativity and thoughtfulness is to be commended.

jim said...

Thanks Justy. I appreciate that.