I love him for the exceedingly neat way he saran-wraps the cheese.
No waste, neat and tidy in a corner of the fridge.
I find it sexy how he pays the bills on time. He sits, computer in front of him, checking them off the list neatly.
I love watching him parent his children. Tuck them in. Listen to their stories—as they are growing to be teens, chuckling at their new, mysterious behaviour. Embracing who they are.
When we first met, all this irked me to my core. I thrived on mad, crazy chaos.
I wanted the grand romantic gesture, the flower petal trail from the door, my clothes ripped off and strewn about. Dramatic, passionate fights. An adrenaline-based life. The huge highs and huge lows of an addict in the throes of addiction.
He wanted to make a good meal, to come home to a calm house, to read about his passions—the cosmos, the grand universe (what drama better than the unfolding of our universe!), to walk the dog, enjoy a winter storm.
Baffled by me, he tolerated my behaviour for as long as he could. He loved the me he saw when I was sober, calm, sweet. Immersed in my loves, my son, his children, books and learning.
Also, there was this: healthy people attract healthy people; sick people…well, you can follow. I was sick—and he was, too. Recently out of a long-term relationship, he was not ready for a relationship on overdrive, which is how addicts (in general) act.
He had to leave. Addiction is a deal breaker.
God bless the people who stay, who try to understand, who have their spirits worn weary and torn. He tried that. When there are children involved, sometimes you have to leave. Save yourself. Spoken from one who knows, an alcoholic or addict sucks your soul while drawing you back in again and again. So, he left.
Now that I’m sober and living a new life, we are finding a path together. I live with my son, he with his children.
“What do you do together?” my roommate asks. Having known each other for seven years…we simply live, when we are together. We talk about the news, politics, our kids. We laugh. We eat delicious food. I tackle my constant pile of books on the go, he watches Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about the cosmic calendar and argues with me about God.
We hear it all the time—if you break up once, don’t get back together. People are emphatic, vociferous on this topic.
F*ck that, I say.
Here are my three rules on when it is to crawl back into the familiar bed of a past love:
You’ve both recognized the issues in yourselves that caused the break up. Whatever this means. Counselling, introspection, treatment if needed, medication, meditation—you’ve taken it up yourself to heal you. You’ve let go of the need to be with someone, and simply focused on yourself. You’ve healed from the break-up, and you are okay if that person in a part of your past. I’ve heard it described as, “your side of the street is clean.”
Time. Number one is most important—if that doesn’t happen, no amount of time will heal anything. However, this healing-oneself doesn’t happen overnight, folks. Don’t think that you spend a month doing yoga and you’re cured. We’re never “cured” of problems. Self-work takes time. Allow it to happen. Embrace the journey. It’s annoying, and frustrating, and in our instant-gratification world it goes against the grain. Go slow. Breathe. Heal.
Realize there are no guarantees. The way my partner used to take the time and effort to saran-wrap the cheese really infuriated me before. I wanted to throw the cheese at his head. Why couldn’t he spend that amount of time on me? Why couldn’t he spend all his time on me? (Yes, I was mildly insane). That kind of thing might still drive you crazy. If so, let go with love. We all fall back into bad habits on occasion, also. Your love may have a bad day that reminds you of the past. Realize that they are human, too.
Note: If there is abuse, of any kind, immediately walk away.
I love my partner. He may not bring home roses every day, but he looks at me like I am a treasure. He doesn’t declare his love to me from rooftops, but he brings me cups of tea, he holds me in just the right way to put me to sleep at night and he supports me in all of my crazy dreams without a second thought. He respects my need to be alone sometimes.
He is the kindest, most lovely man I’ve known, and I can’t imagine anything better than that. He brings me peace.
And the cheese never gets those hard crusty bits on the outside.
It’s wrapped perfectly.
What to do when things get tough:
How to know is he or she is worth getting back together with:
Author: Keeley Milne
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Biblio Archives/Flickr