Watching time go by and reflecting on the last year.
They say time heals all wounds and I really think it does. Time is like a doctor that stitches up your feelings, allowing you to slowly heal until one day you look and realize you only have a faint scar in place of what was once a wound too painful to even look at. I think I’m at the point where I’m looking at a scar, not a lot of time has passed, but it has been full of happy memories and milestones like the birth of my second daughter and the ever-increasing vocabulary of Thalia, my toddler going on preteen. My mind is now too full to remember in vivid detail the pain, anger, and betrayal I once felt.
I recently reconnected with an old friend who hadn’t heard about my breakup and filled our conversation with apologies and how are yous? Separations are hard no matter how amicable they are. I found myself honestly commenting about how I was fine and had adjusted to my new normal. She went and read my blog post about our breakup and was upset that Grayson walked away from me and the girls. It really made me wonder, did I exaggerate in my article about how things were before and during our separation? Or had enough time passed that I forgot my feelings from a year ago? I wasn’t hurt anymore but had I forgotten?
Her reconnection was well-timed with the ponderings of my relationship. Being a year older, and hopefully a year wiser, and feeling healed of past relationship trauma, I feel like I’m in a good headspace to start thinking about my future relationship goals.
I would like to get married at some point. There’s something about seeing the happiness that weddings bring that makes me think it’s something I’d like to do, sooner rather than later preferably. My vanity says that I need to look pretty in my wedding pictures so the longer it takes to get the ring, the less excited I’ll be for the wedding. Sorry in advance to whoever I marry, I will love you regardless of how I look, but I still want to look nice for the pictures.
My happy little family - June 4, 2021
Aside from marriage, obviously, I want more children so that’s another huge relationship goal I have with an impending timeline. I’d like all of my children to be close in age. In a perfect world, I’d like to start trying for baby #3 in March of 2022. Given my idealistic and likely unrealistic timeline, it’s a good thing I feel like I’m ready to start figuring things out! So, with more kids comes a need for a house, and a big house, since kids have lots of stuff! And to pay for this nice big house, we need income. I’m a progressive, white-picket-fence kind of girl. I love that women can work and make a difference in the world professionally. I love my job and the impact it has on the world, but I feel like I can make the biggest difference being at home and raising curious, passionate, courageous children. I love Thalia and Raiyah dearly, but I know I’m not done with two kids. I want to choose to be a stay-at-home mom, I don’t want to be one because society says that is what I should be doing. Additionally, the financial burden of putting more than two kids in daycare so I could continue to work would outweigh the financial gains I would bring in from working so I know I’m looking for a partner who can provide financial sustainability for our family so that I can choose to be a stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong, the list is much longer but I think that’s a story for another article.
I don’t really think my goals have changed, and prior to my conversation with my friend, I had been starting to think that maybe I was exaggerating how difficult life with Grayson was. I was starting to think that maybe we could try getting back together, or at least start to date again and see how things go. He’s been very good at chatting with me if I need to talk about things for the girls, and he listens to the occasional rant about living with my parents. He’d been visiting the girls as often as he’s allowed, given COVID. I can tell there would still be hurdles to overcome, he’s still working nights which would be difficult, but he is still planning to take a stab at starting a photography business. It’s possible he’d be earning a little money from photography that would allow him to take a different job that might put him back on a normal sleep schedule. The biggest thing for me is still his temper. Tone of voice and word choices can be upsetting to children and he loses his filter when he gets upset. Living at his Dad’s he has no responsibilities other than looking after himself, since the girls are with me he’s not responsible for parenting full-time anymore.
With all this newfound free time from not parenting, I thought his temperament would get better. I still see that he gets frustrated quite easily with things, especially the dogs. He gets easily frustrated with them if they bark or jump, which all dogs do no matter how well they’re trained. I can’t even imagine how he would react to Thalia’s endlessly climbing on tables, opening drawers and never-ending whining and crying when she doesn’t get what she wants. When he comes on outings with us and she does her whining he can only tolerate it for a few minutes before he gets short with her. I understand that it’s annoying and I’m trying to get her to stop but I don’t like the tone he uses with her when he asks her to stop. Without seeing someone to talk about all these frustrating triggers, I think he would lose his temper and end up yelling at her often, which I wouldn’t be okay with.
How could I not want more cute babies like this? -Raiyah, June 27, 2021
I want to move forward with my life, and I feel a little stuck right now. I want a house, more kids and to get married one day and I can’t do any of that on my own. The housing market is insane, I’ve never had this much money before and I still feel like I can’t even afford to buy a shed in St. Thomas. Without saving an astronomical amount of money, which would take years on a maternity leave budget, I have to find someone to buy a house with, which means I need a long-term partner.
Obviously, the easiest option is to get back together with Grayson, if he’s open to that idea. For the most part, we get along, and together we would have enough money to buy a slightly larger shed. There were good times in our relationship too, it wasn’t all bad. I always appreciated that Grayson helped with the cooking and the cleaning, even if he did complain about it. His preference was usually to play video games, but he would go out and do things as long as I made the plans and we always had fun hanging out with each other's friends. His parents like me and Grayson always supported me and my goals which is really important to me.
He exercised with me occasionally and helped me watch what I was eating while I was trying to lose weight. He involved himself in my new hobbies, like quilting and encouraged me to start a blog and listened to endless readings of blog posts when I was first starting to find my voice. Even still, he takes hundreds of pictures of me and the girls and edits them for me and my Instagram influencer plans. I do have to say that Grayson and I make cute babies, and having more cute babies wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world, right? Regardless of how cute our babies are and would be, our relationship failed once, so it’s possible it would fail again. Especially since one of the largest contributing factors to the failure of our relationship was COVID-19 and not being able to go see my parents and get help with the girls when I needed it and annoyingly enough, COVID still has not taken a hike.
If I don’t get back together with Grayson, then I would need to meet someone new and relatively soon! I’ll be honest, the prospect of dating terrifies me. I dread it so much I almost think it would be better to get back together with Grayson and stay with him, even if I was unhappy, just to avoid having to adapt to modern dating. I’ve never been into the online dating trend and I intentionally avoided it when I was younger. I went on a few crappy dates and had some less-than-appealing messages come through from the one dating site I did try, and I decided it wasn’t for me. I was lucky enough (and yes, I say lucky because regardless of our relationship status meeting Grayson resulted in the birth of my two beautiful baby girls) to meet Grayson at work and was able to avoid online dating then. Now, I’m not sure I’d be as lucky. Also, admitting defeat with Grayson and starting to date again would be time-consuming. Talking with people online and then all the dates, that all takes time. Time that moms just don’t have. We can’t be on our phones chatting back and forth with multiple suitors all day, that’s just not practical. I want to move on with my life now and move out of my parents soon, a prospect that seems unlikely if I start dating again.
Patience has never been, nor will ever be my strong suit. Plus, I know it’s silly, but I feel like I’m failing at life because I’m almost 30 and starting over with my life while I watch all my friends get engaged, start buying houses, and have more kids. Milestones I’ve already met once and hoped to not have to meet all over again. I know there’s no shortcut to happiness and it takes work no matter what I decide to do, but it seems like no matter which option I choose, getting back together with Grayson or starting to date all over again I’m going to be unhappy at some point in time. I’m unhappy being single and it’s possible I’d be unhappy being in a relationship with Grayson again. I like that life surprises me (sometimes) but it’s times like these where I wish I had a crystal ball or someone to look to for guidance.
Do I start all over now? Or do I try to make it work with Grayson and risk having to start all over again later? How do I make a smart decision when I can’t trust my head or my heart? My heart never knows what it wants, and I can’t even trust my head because it doesn’t seem to clearly remember the reasons and pain that resulted in my relationship ending with Grayson.
Do I even want to open new wounds and ask where his head is at? For all I know he’s moved on. I know he’s not seeing anyone but that doesn’t mean he’s healed and wants to try again. So many new emotions. Not enough options and yet too many all at the same time. What’s a girl to do?
Update (March): Grayson is on the fence about getting back together because he doesn’t want more kids, he doesn’t think he can handle it. Totally fair, I don’t think he can handle the two he has now but I 100% want more kids so that doesn’t bode well for us getting back together. Does that cross this option off the list or does it mean I need to do some convincing?
Update 2 (April): Grayson has changed his mind and is open to having more kids, going to therapy and doing whatever else I require to get back together and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. He swears that what he really wants but I feel like I’m just getting a song and dance. How does one go from not wanting these things to suddenly wanting them? He’s an emotional yo-yo. This all started when he text me one night saying he didn’t think we should ever get back together because we don’t work well together and 6 hours later at the end of his work shift he says he changed his mind and does want to get back together. How can I trust his words when he doesn’t even seem to know what he wants? He says he changed his mind because the thought of losing me was too painful to bear but he already lost me when he walked away 10 months ago. Why was this conversation 10 months later the turning point? I need to think about it and give him some time as well. Maybe he’ll change his mind again?
Update 3 (June): So, it’s been a year since Grayson, and I separated. It’s been full of ups and downs, and some contemplations of getting back together but for the most part I think the separation, although difficult to swallow at the time, was still for the best.
It’s funny but also frustrating, sometimes I’m not sure which, because when we’re out in public people still comment about what a cute couple we are and how he’s such a great husband. I just have to smile through gritted teeth and wait for them to walk away. It's like they're unintentionally rubbing our relationship failure in my face. Did I not try hard enough? Could we have made things work? For the most part, we still get along, a lot of that is because Grayson still wants to get back together. I think if he didn’t he wouldn’t be as eager to come over and help or spend all day running errands, although he does dislike spending time with his family and running errands with me is an easy out for him. But he’s helped me take pictures for social media and I help him with his Instagram page. We get along well and can work together for short amounts of time with low stress levels which, outwardly is what everyone sees and why they think we’re a good couple. I’ve spent the last year realizing that it’s the long term, all day every day that we struggled with. We are just two very different people that want different things and no amount of time apart, contemplation or willingness to change is going to bridge that gap.
It took a lot of time, discussing my thoughts and feelings with friends and family, and changing my mind more times than I’d like to admit but I’ve realized that getting back together with Grayson is not what’s good for me and the reasons I had considered getting back together were not the right ones. I hate saying this because I know how much it would hurt him but the bottom line is that he doesn’t make me happy anymore and give me what I need in a relationship and I don’t think there’s any amount of therapy that will change that. So for both our best interests, we need to close that chapter of our lives and move forward.
At this point I don’t even know what moving forward looks like, we’ll have to redefine our relationship to good friends with lots of support for each other because that’s what’s best for the girls but what does that actually mean in practice? I suppose this means that I need to start dating again, in the middle of a lockdown as well so I’ll have to do some research and find out what dating apps are used now. It’s been so long since I used one. It will be an interesting experience I’m sure, but don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it in another blog. Wish me luck!