Independence Day Part 2 - A year after the breakup
I watched the fire works tonight and was filled with joy and some other emotions that were a mix of wonder, sadness, and knowing that everything will be ok. A year ago, I left my ex who had a toxic boundaryless relationship with his ex and kids. He treated me like shit and for a while I let him. Independence day will really mean the day I grew a pair and decided I wasn't going to tolerate being treated poorly anymore.
After the denial passed, I realized that what 2 therapists told me was accurate. My ex was a narcissist. This would explain why many of his behaviors were similar to his ex, who was borderline comorbid with narcissism. I truly dodged a bullet.
This year, I met a guy that I believe shares some very important values with me. I was looking to date only men with children that were at least in college. However, a friend introduced us and given some of the commonalities, I had to meet him. He has 2 kids about to go to college, 1 who is younger. He was separated and in the process of divorce.
I realized that given the challenges of going through a divorce that he was in no way ready to prioritize me so I broke up with him. We were waiting for the divorce to seal the deal and I won't lie, his consideration for my values set him apart from just about any other man I could meet. But he hasn't cut the chord with his wife, and he's afraid to set boundaries until the divorce is finalized. It could be finalized any day.
When I broke up with him, I expected him to be selfish and dismissive and try to hold on even though his situation was hurting me. There was an incident where his wife was going to drop off the youngest at his house out of the blue and I had to leave. Also, he forgot my birthday. After having been demoted to a second class citizen with my ex, I wasn't having it again. The new guy and I met up after I took some space and he surprised me. He agreed that I was right and that he wasn't in a place to be in a relationship right now. He said that he didn't want to create long term damage and that he didn't want to screw this up. So he let me go. I think he was hurting a little but he did the right thing. He didn't put his needs first. He put my feelings first.
I know that even after he gets divorced it may still not work out. He may not be ready for a relationship. He may want to sow his wild oats. He may not want to set boundaries with his ex. I have no illusions that I can change any of that either. And now I have the self esteem to know that I won't tolerate a miserable situation again where I'm not prioritized and healthy boundaries aren't set.
I'm thankful for the women and men here that have shared their experiences that helped me rebuild my self esteem and realize my expectations weren't unreasonable.