Mostly people just contradict themselves. Or you unwittingly open yourself up to a diatribe on how terrible their relationship actually is. But then I listened to the This American Life episode titled Choosing Wrong and all of a sudden it all clicked into place for me. The opening segment features a British writer and psychologist who very bluntly states that most people have wildly unrealistic expectations about what relationships are supposed to be like, and that is why they largely fail. That in a relationship you will often find yourself feeling not understood, lonely, and in despair, and you may even think if only you met the right person everything would just fall into place and be easy. And that's total bullshit.
This guy says his wife wore a black dress to their tenth wedding anniversary saying it was a funeral for many of her hopes and dreams.
I fucking love these people.
I then sat down and wrote a meticulous list of everything I liked and didn't like about the BF, being brutally honest on both fronts. And in reading it I noticed that there were many petty annoyances on the "con" side, but many very large and often rare qualities on the "pro" side - how I trust him with every ounce of my being to be loyal and faithful and always put us first, how he never makes me feel insecure or unloved, how he's a hard worker and lives to take care of people, how we have the same value system and world view, how hot we still are for each other, etc etc.
He's a really good guy and a great asset in our lives. It would be lovely to be a real family with him.
Can I live with him being a vaper and not a smoker? Yes, yes I can.
He came by Friday night and, as we've done so many times before, hashed it out with a lot of compassion and understanding. I had him listen to Choosing Wrong and he agreed with it completely. He is still not smoking and working on resolving his back tax issues. He's doing everything I've asked of him. So we talked about making a plan for him to move in some months from now when we both feel he's succeeded in correcting these deal breakers that got us into this mess in the first place.
So nothing is set in stone as of right now, but we're talking about moving forward. Which feels good now whereas a couple of weeks ago it didn't. I just had to really see him and us clearly and get a realistic view of what a real adult relationship should be like. Which is - not perfect and constantly causing you explosive joy. God knows my kids didn't bring constant joy into my life - quite the opposite, especially lately. Why should I expect that of another complex adult?
We're going to see some fireworks tonight. I hope it signifies a new start for us as a couple and a family.