MEETING WITH EXWLong Post... sorry.... but I thought it was worth recording the details because it shows an evolution in our Sitch... 2 years later...
Yesterday, out of the blue, I called my ex and asked her if she wanted to go out for a coffee. Chit-Chat about work and studies:
We went out a few hours later. She seemed very relaxed and happy. She talked a lot about her studies and her work. About her feeling unsafe during MR:
I brought up our MR. I told her that I thought about the fact that she felt insecure during the MR, which is something unpleasant in a relationship. I hadn't felt the same. I always felt secure in our MR (until BD). I explained that I understood what she did and I accepted it. And that I had no bad feelings anymore.
She opened up and explained that she didn't feel safe in the relationship. She felt always judged. She always had to give in, and didn't feel the freedom to be herself. She always had to walk on eggshells out of fear that I would criticize her. She couldn't be vulnerable in front of me and couldn't show her weaknesses due to that. And that made her feel unhappy and made her lose her identity. So she needed to rediscover herself.
I explained that I had no clue that she felt that way during the MR. She was surprised. She thought she mentioned it to me over and over and that I never took her seriously.
I explained that I had read dozens of other people's stories and that it was very common that the LBS had no idea what was going on with the WAS until BD. Her uncertainties about moving on:
Reading between the lines, she showed that she wasn't sure she did the right thing for the long term.
EXW: "What do think I will go through next since you read so much about midlife crisis and other people's stories, and you're a few steps ahead of me?
ME: "you have become the opposite of who you were before. Most probably, you will slowly revert back to your old personality and would end up somewhere in the center, a more mature but balanced and moderate person."
ME: "At the beginning, I didn't agree at all with you leaving, but now that I am detached, I accept the fact that you needed to go away. You needed to live on your own and learn to become independent and rediscover yourself. You are definitely a stronger and more confident person in that regard."
She agreed and really appreciated that. Then, she brought up how difficult it would have been for her to study and work such long hours if we were still living together.
ME: "Midlife is a difficult age anyway. Did you know that people are at their lowest happiness during these years and that their happiness improves as they grow older"
EXW: "Yes, I know. I even read that many people will later wonder why they were so unhappy before and regret what they did. And I told myself OMG! Do you think that will be my case?"
ME: "Maybe"About being a good LBS:
ME: "I have never once blamed you or been disrespectful to you since BD and separation."
EXW corrected me and reminded me of a few examples that I said things that were disrespectful to her. Oops! I guess I had an over-inflated view of myself! lol About MR and R:
I talked about the advantages of MR and stability and said that I knew she didn't believe in MR anymore. She disagreed and said that she still believed in MR. I talked about the fact that her parents and many people in her family were divorced, and this normalized D for her.
EXW: "But I always cared about our MR and really wanted it to succeed."
ME: "I know and this is why I still embarrass myself
and have these conversations with you."
ME: "I know you are a focused and goal oriented person. You always want to succeed in what you do and you don't look back."
EXW: "Not always. There are many things that I did and then realized I was wrong. Then I learned from the experienced and moved on."
ME: "I want you to know that there is still an opportunity if you wanted to. (Re-)MR is still a possibility especially that we both agree that MR and stability have many benefits for everyone.
EXW: "But would you be willing to Reconcile after everything we went through. This was traumatic."
ME: "Traumatic for you or for me?"
EXW: "For you mostly. I just left."
ME:"I would be open for R because since day 1, I made sure I stayed in a positive mentality especially toward you. I always tried to understand where you were coming from instead of blaming you."
EXW showed a true interest in the possibility of R. About love:
ME: "You know? If in the future, you gave me a chance, I think I can gain your heart again.
EXW: "I know. Love is easy to revive."Wrapping up:
After that, there was an awkward silence... none of us knowing what to say after that or what to do.
... a few confused looks... awkward smiles... small talk...
Then... ME: "It's starting to get cold", EXW: "Yes, maybe we should get going"...
Then as we're leaving, I tell her that it was a good conversation. She agrees and gives me this look with a smile that I haven't seen for a very long time... the smile of a woman telling a man that she likes him... almost like the first time I told her I liked her 20 years ago.
Nothing further to say and no intention for the short term to do anything about it. It was a spur of the moment thing.