When the Ex Wants You Back

I stopped dating a month or two ago when I realized I was too stressed out over work and fulltime parenting to enjoy it. Since then, my ex, J, has been able to be incrementally more involved in childcare. Her healing process from surgery has been very slow. Work has become a *little* less overwhelming. In general life has been okay. But I am not ready to jump in to dating again, yet.

The hard thing lately has been navigating my shifting relationship with J. She is no longer with the person she left me for, and she has said she regrets having left in the first place. The regret narrative is …predictable. I think J has done some growing up in the last year and I miss the way things were with us when our relationship was a happy one. But I think J is still not emotionally stable, and I don’t want to be in a situation where everything that is important to me is dismissed or barely tolerated by my partner. I don’t know that J would act that way again, but I dealt with it for long enough in our relationship that I am not keen to give us a chance. I also don’t know how to feel attracted to her anymore… I am not bisexual and her transition mtf was always going to be hard… Add the cheating on top of it and her year and a half relationship with someone else… I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of a physical relationship anymore. Her touch isn’t a safe spot for me anymore. We are hanging out and talking a lot more lately, but while I know she wants to repair everything, I don’t think I want more than friendship. I honestly wish she was dating and only adding me to a mix of other friendships. It would feel okay for me to have moved on –better anyway — if I could see her happy and building her life again too. There is a part of me that does want to go back… We were so happy once… But the shared adventures of the past aren’t enough on their own.

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