This past weekend was an interesting one. It had been two weeks since I last talked with my (ex) girlfriend. I figured it was done and that was that. I figured she’d done this routine enough that she had contingencies in place: friends, a rebound guy, retail therapy, etc.  I was wrong. The two weeks was a time for perspective, but both of us were hurting. 

I was running some errands on Saturday.  While wandering the aisles of the local hardware store, she messaged. 

“Hi. Do you want to talk?”

“You are a couple hours short of two weeks. ;). I would love to talk.”, I replied. “I’m at the hardware store at the moment. How would you like to talk?”

“In English…American English. In person.” she said, tongue in cheek.

“That’s good, my Mandarin is pretty rusty,” I responded.

“I have no plans…so pretty flexible”

At that I cut my errands short and hustled up to her condo. We talked, shed a few tears and snuggled. Turns out she was worried I’d be mad and ready to be done. That struck me as odd as I was the one who relapsed. The one who caused my being placed in the penalty box.

It occurred to me that we’re both struggling people. That we both have some pretty serious emotional things we’re dealing with and she might be someone who relates to me better than I thought.

It feels good to be in-person with her. Really good. My trouble is maintaining that confidence when there’s extended time apart. For some reason I don’t trust that I’m important to her when we’re not together. On the flip side, she has trouble being able to feel vulnerable with me. 

After the evening, which included a nice dinner at a new-ish restaurant and more cuddling, we agreed that we’re not quite back together, but are in an evaluation period. We’re in “talks” as she put it. 

Right now I’m mulling what I “need” out of a relationship and what boundaries there need to be. My therapist reminded me to not make any promises about “never relapsing again” or the like, but to engage in a dialog about what should happen if/when I slip. 

I anticipate that actual healing will take some time. I’m okay with not even being sure if the relationship will continue, but it felt really good to start the process with her. Hopefully, the outcome will work for both of us.