I'm getting together with the ex for coffee this morning.
As you know from a previous post, I'm trying to be friends with him. It's a bit of a challenge.
I make a point of calling him once a week to do something with him so that he has some social interaction with someone. Suffering from a lifetime of depression and having no friends is a bad combination and I don't want him to spiral into a worse place than he's already in.
The thing that makes this challenging is that he never calls me so I don't actually know if he wants me to call him, if he wants to get together with me. I've asked and he is noncommittal. So I'm not sure. Our conversations go something like this.
Me: How are you?
Him: Some days are worse than others. I try to get out on my own.
Me: If you want to do something, give me a call.
Him: I keep thinking that I want to go to Bearlys**. It's supposed to be friendly and the music's good.
**Bearlys is a blues bar one block away from my apartment.
Me: If you want, I'll go too. I can meet you there.
Him: Yeah, I try to get out of the house a few times a week.
Living with him was a lot like living with my mother, the woman I raised as best I was able. My mom says things to me like: "Oh, is that new eye shadow? Makes you look tired." Or this week's comment about my weight loss: "I've heard the first twenty comes off really easy and then you plateau." Like 1) I didn't work at it and 2) that's as far as it's going. Thank you, Mom.
The ex was the same. About my first stab at a manuscript that I'd handed to him in terror that he'd hate it, he'd gotten through half of it before I was in complete neurotic meltdown. "What do you think of it?" He'd blink at me owl-like: "I'm not finished." "Yes, but it's been a whole day and this is the first time anyone's read my stuff and I'm dying to hear something from you." And he said: "It's short." When my mouth would drop open, he'd say nice things. His comment on it being short would have referred to a passage that needed more detail or a slower pace. It didn't matter how often I'd ask him to read something, he'd keep me waiting for hours or days and then the first thing out of his mouth would always be negative. Every single time. Yet, we'd go out with friends and he'd brag about how great my writing was -- despite me asking him not to discuss my writing with others. ARGH!
Or he'd go along with me on some outing and I'd find out months later that he didn't want to go. Or I'd cook a new dish and ask him if he liked it and he'd say: "I never would have thought of making it this way." "But do you LIKE it?" "It's fine." I'd get dressed up for a swanky evening out and he'd tell me I looked "comfortable." That was his highest praise and exactly the look I was going for: comfortable.
So, we're heading out today for a coffee and I have no idea if he wants to spend time with me or not. I do it for his mental health yet have no idea if he's hating my calls. I guess all I can do is keep reaching out.
As long as he continues to accept my invitations I'll keep making them.