Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Eleven: Ojai Valley Inn

The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal. –C.S. Lewis

Go about your own sweet life and recover your serenity. The only remedy for recovering your equilibrium is to get some distance. 

–Advice from a friend when I told him how much emotional pain I was in.

Dating when you’re sixty is absolutely identical to dating when you’re fifteen.

Comment made by same friend.

This is Chapter Eleven of a true story.  All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective.

Now we come to the most pathetic part of my all too common experience. My journal entries for the weeks following our soul baring at Meditation Mount are so pitiful that I’m tempted to sum them up in a few paragraphs and leap right into the next chapter.

What I write here is the condensed version, believe it or not.

Liars leave you in an impossible dilemma.

As I read Adam’s love letters and the notes in my journal describing what he said and did, even in retrospect I can’t say for sure what was sincere and what was a lie.

The two copies I ordered of How to Be an Adult in Relationships, by David Richo, arrived soon after the revelations on the Mount.

Adam kept his copy in his car and read it when he came to visit. He read it while he waited for me at the doctor’s office during my thermography appointment. He said he was reading it at home and while waiting at meetings.

Ann called my attention to page 85, “Qualified Candidates.”

 “A person is a qualified candidate for a relationship if he is able and willing to give and receive love, to handle feelings, to make a commitment and to keep agreements.”

I hoped Adam grasped the second item in the list of suitable candidate criteria: “Has no distracting ties that make true commitment impossible such as another relationship in progress, an old relationship unfinished…”

A few days later I wrote in my journal:

It confuses me why he won’t take the baby step of moving out of Diane’s house and rent a room.

Part of me wants to believe he is really trying but part of me doesn’t quite trust how he portrays the situation. 

 I know it’s irrational but those sweet letters he wrote make it harder to let go of the dream.

It is so painful and sad. I am still hoping. Looking for glimmers of hope.

Am trying hard to be quiet. Just go about my own life and let him work it out.

* * * * * * *

 I told my friend Macy the whole story on the phone.

She advised me in no uncertain terms to get out!

I told her that I wanted to give it more time, that I was not ready to give up, and that I wanted her to meet Adam. She invited us to her house Saturday afternoon.

Macy tells me now that she tried telling me that Adam was a pathological liar but I was too infatuated to listen. “You just were not ready to hear it. It was like talking to a wall. You were gazing at him with such adoration…you had gone off the deep end…”

From my journal, Saturday, January 15 :

He looked so sweet and relaxed lying on the yoga room floor today with Honey.

I also forgot to mention how on our walk with Honey as I sat on a rock he got on his knees, like a man proposing marriage, and asked me to be his girl friend. “I know I asked you on the phone….but I want to ask in real-life,”  he said.

 I want so much to think only good things about him.

But need to write all this down to help my eyes be wide open. I cannot afford to sink deeper into illusion.

It was over powering and irrational how in love with him I felt while visiting Macy. At Macy’s house he was in his element, identifying all the plants, advising her about her garden…

Sunday, January 16,  in an email to Ann, I wrote:

Hi Ann,

 Last night when Adam left at 9 pm I felt at peace. But this morning I feel so sad thinking back on how the range of feelings I experienced was based on him assuring me he lived alone in his own house.

 We decided to have lunch at the Ojai Valley Inn before visiting Macy.

Walking toward the restaurant we shared memories of Ojai. There is a strong bond because we have all these same memories of old Ojai. We are the new old-timers now.

 At the Ojai Valley Inn the hostess was a friend from school that I had not seen in decades. When we recognized each other we hugged and she introduced me to the other hostess as the former mayor. Interesting how that ceremonial hat seems to carry the most clout.

 At first it was very romantic sitting with Adam at an elegant table, outside, on this beautiful warm sunny day with the sweeping views of the green golf course, the Oak trees, the mountains…

 Reality settled in as the conversation turned to our relationship.

 I must have been optimistic to start with because I heard myself say,”We are on the other side of hell. We can now move forward.”

David Richo in his book talks about how hard it is for people to live with uncertainty. I see how I want to push things in the direction of my feminine fantasies but then I do back off.

Sitting there at the table I questioned Adam more closely about the situation with Diane.

What he told me is disturbing enough but also I don’t know what to think when he says things like, “If I called her and told her I was spending the night in Ojai she’d probably kick me out…” And then he proceeded to explain why he needed to report in to her and why he needed the safety and security of living there.

 I felt kind of sick to my stomach even though the seared tofu dish was delicious.

Knowing what I know now, I swear there is no way I will have sex with him while he goes home to the security of his big king size bed in his beautiful room that he loves.

 He describes Diane as “someone totally not wanting to talk about personal stuff .” As “someone who does not want to know.”

 I pointed out how absurd this going home at night thing is. We could be in bed all day–him coming home like a child by 10 pm means nothing, really.

I could choke the lying out of him when I look back on the ways he aroused me. Especially his letters. The dates in Nature. And all along he was going home to Diane.

Look, I know his Life is difficult, especially with his health issues. I just wish it wasn’t me that fell for him hook, line and sinker when he was fishing on Facebook.

I know I have to reach high and see the part I played in wanting to believe he was a free, available man.

 It is all so incredibly ironic. I just shake my head at the irony and absurdity of it all!

He says he has lived with Diane about three years. At one point he even said, “I am the light of her life.” It made me wonder about the true nature of their relationship.

He loves the beautiful garden they created together. He appears very attached.

I think back on how hopeful I felt when he came over the Friday before New Years with the garden plan for my house. Putting that in my hands made me feel he cared.

 Ann, when we were at the Ojai Valley Inn, I told him I no longer know what to believe.

Even as I write this I see the craziness of it. That is why I need  to spell it out so the craziness does not get pushed aside. So I do not latch onto the hopeful signs and ignore the rest.

 I heard him say he does not want to go from one codependent situation to another.

And I heard myself say, “Do you know the difference between codependence and co operation–working together?”

I pointed at the houses we were walking past, “Are all these couples living together codependent or are they working together to create a life?”

  I heard myself say several times that “If you had your head on straight you would take do-able steps to extricate yourself out of Diane’s house.”

 My fear is not just that he is living at Diane’s house. My fear is that even though he wants to be my boyfriend and even talks about our future that he will do something  worse to make me dump him.

That is how the shadow side works.

I think he still expects me to dump him even as he says, “ I hope you will be patient and not dump me.”

He knows very well that if I dump him he can retreat to his comfort zone and blame me. He can then tell the next fish, “She dumped me.” Or he’ll say it was a “mutual decision,” which sounds so civil and agreeable.

I hear myself telling him, “These are not insurmountable problems.  We are not talking about a long distance relationship where you live in another country. You do not have a wife and three young children that need you.”

I tell him that we need to keep these complications and challenges of the present moment in perspective.

On January 20 I emailed Ann again:

 Woke up at 1 am with the full moon beaming through my window… My unconscious pulls me by the hair, kicks me out of bed and makes me write, write, write in my journal…now I will do yoga work..get some distance…then I will type it up like any other writing project…and send to you to be sure I remain accountable …

 Ann, when I write down the things he says I still do not know what to believe so my mission is not to believe anything…just watch and see.

That night I also wrote in my journal:

January 20, 2 am

By the light of the moon the landscape looks so stark –I feel the utter loneliness and impermanence of it all.

The moonlight shines straight through the window. No wonder I cannot sleep—full moon right over my head.

For a second I find myself thinking, why, if he felt what he wrote, why did he not act?

 I wrote Ann another letter:

 The David Richo book and the pain I feel when Adam goes back to Diane’s house is forcing me to look at how the past and present are converging. I am reading and rereading many parts of Richo’s book. In truth, this is more important to my spiritual growth and yoga teaching than anything else.

My unconscious will not let me sleep (both literally and figuratively). I must keep writing down what he says vs what he actually does.

Ann, I am truly afraid Adam will break my heart, even more than he already has. He is a charming,  seductive man but (and I hope I’m wrong) I just do not feel any urgency on his part to move out of Diane’s house.

Last Sunday morning he surprised me by saying he was looking at ads for apartments for rent.

But then he hurt his back working in their garden and couldn’t go looking.

I have to remember that he did not have the urge to move out when he began dating and “falling in love,” with me. And that I only know about the situation because of Liz’s outburst after the yoga class.

 And now my foolish tender heart said “yes,” when he asked me last week to be his girlfriend.  Even as I write that I shake my head because I should have said ” I can’t be your girlfriend untill you move out…”

 Ann, I cut him a lot of slack and accept him as a flawed, vulnerable human being,  but I fear that he uses women.

 I don’t know if he ever thinks what he can do to make their life (my life) better. I think if I had a big comfortable house he might already be living with me. He does little things that make me think he wants to be a real boyfriend. He even says he wants to be the best boyfriend I ever had. I want so much to believe but have to keep doing reality checks.

 I think he really is trying… but old habit have a death grip on him!  Plus if he is unconsciously sabotaging our relationship he needs back up “friendships” to catch him when I give him the boot (that’s what my mind thinks).

 He read me the beginning of David Richo’s book while I cleaned the house. I have to say I liked his company while I washed the dishes.

 * * * * *

I lit a few tea candles and we relaxed together. I felt strangely at peace and not at all interested in sex (just felt right to hold hands, be close and a few affectionate kisses because knowing he has to go home to Diane is like  throwing a bucket of ice on my sexual fire.

Adam left at 9pm as usual.

The bottom line is that Adam’s actions and words reveal that he is a conflicted, ambivalent man.

 Definition of Ambivalent

  • Simultaneously feeling opposing or contradictory feelings.

  • Having two opposite or conflicting feelings simultaneously

 Yes, I think that sums it up!

 In an email to Ann, January 29:

 Adam arrived Saturday afternoon with the curtain rods I had asked him to pick up at one of those big stores (Lowe’s, the receipt says) near his house in Ventura.

He did not have to pick me up to go to a friend’s birthday party till 5 pm. Says he likes to come over early.

 He willingly runs errands like a dutiful husband. He is totally comfortable and fine with that. And he insisted on hanging the curtain rods on all three windows.

 I notice that when he does domestic husbandly things like fixing light switches how I warm up to him, just like when I was a single mom at eighteen and all men had to do was bounce my baby boy on their lap and I’d fall into bed with them.

 Last Saturday, for some inexplicable reason, we had agreed that he would spend the night this Saturday. As I recall, it came about after a discussion whether he was just a lodger at Diane’s house (since he rents a room there) or is there something more going on emotionally with Diane?

 I had a feeling he would dream up some way to wiggle out of it as I think he feels insecure about bringing our three months of sexual fantasies into reality. 

I can understand that. 

 Saturday morning, on the phone, he came up with a good one. I felt so angry I had to hang up for a minute.

He said he noticed he is having trouble breathing in my apartment. He asked if there might be mold. Then he said maybe he is allergic to the cats. He went on and on about his allergies. Said he had never had a girlfriend before with cats.

Ann, it is no coincidence that he brought this up when faced with actually spending the night with me. He said that if he goes outside every hour for a few minutes in the fresh air that he would be all right.

Other than that he was a good date at the birthday party.

He told me that his father’s bible was Dale Carnegie’s book,”How to Win Friends and Influence People.” He’s read it many times. I think that is the key to his modus operandus.

I see him using the same techniques on other people, like asking them questions about themselves, that he used on me that first date.

Ann, when we got back to my house he suddenly looked like this strange old man sitting in my room. I lit candles and told him to relax while I took Honey on a walk around the block. The candles were a clue no man could miss. You would think.

 When I came back the place was lit up. The bright overhead lights were on ruining the ambiance. He said he had to find a cup for water.

 Now you would think my wild mountain man would be lying on my “child futon bed,” as he calls it, with his shoes off, but instead he sat stiff and distant on a chair, poised to bolt out of the room.

 I think he was scared.

 I had to sweet talk him into lying on the bed. I did not feel sexual at all with his bizarre vibe in the room. Hard to believe this was the same man who wrote me those love letters and has been stirring me up and making me feel crazy with desire for three full moons.

 Part of me wanted to push him out the door but the Love Goddess inside me was not ready to throw in the towel. Yet.

 So he finally took off his shoes.

 I changed clothes. I had to feel like my yoga self. I wore a long, loose fitting, very soft top with buttons and a little black top underneath that I could pull down over my tummy and expose whatever I like–or not– and no underwear.

 In spite of all his distancing and sudden allergies, I felt relaxed and happy and very sexy and sensual. He finally picked up on it. And then it was like another entity entered his body and he felt more like the man who has been kissing me out in nature all these weeks.

I was happy when he went home a little later to his cozy bachelor bed because I am not ready to make love with him. Yet.

His ambivalence is making me a bit ambivalent.

 But the way he touched me felt amazing. It was a very special, sacred time together. When he called me the next morning at 6 am, and the sweet, sensitive things he said, told me that he understands.

On some level he does understand.

But at some point his ambivalence may wear me out.

 And the Gemini in me can see that his need to stay at Diane’s house allows me my independence. If he was snoring in my bed I might not be writing this.

 * * * * *

Hello Dear Ann,

I would describe this as a perfect day –except for reality.

All seemed well until I went to his Facebook page.

 When I see the photos of Diane and Adam’s garden I feel as if I’m kicked in the gut.

 He loves that garden. I feel completely shut out of this part of his life.

 He still tells me it would be disrespectful to Diane to take me her house.

Ann, I  know he is giving me contradictory conflicting messages –but what if I am not hearing him right. I am making a huge effort to listen carefully and not brush aside the things I don’t want to hear, and writing down what he said is a huge part of this effort.

  I don’t get it!

 I don’t want to dwell on this. It’s not my problem. I’m putting it on paper and out of my head, for now.  But it strikes me as very strange that Diane has not asked him to move.  Surely she can hire someone else to maintain the garden!

 And then, when I express concern about his living with Diane  I notice now he overreacts. He says things in a loud somewhat emotional, irritated voice, like “What do you expect me to do. Pack up my clothes in ten minutes and just leave?”

Well, yes!

 But instead I say, “No, you do not need to do anything extreme. But you need to be clear that you need to find a way to move out. It can be a stepping stone like renting a room.

I told him that even though living with Diane is convenient, the first step is for him to see that it is not psychologically  healthy for him to keep living in her house.

 Suza

 * * * *

From my journal, February 8, 2011:

 As life whirls around me I am shocked by how much I want the story of Adam and Suza to turn out well.

 I write myself messages like:

 You are hanging in there because you want the story to have an unexpected twist and turn out good.

Another month of meetings, dates, dog walks and soul baring went by. Adam was no closer to moving out of Diane’s house then the day I met him for lunch at Farmer and the Cook. Ann suggested that I have Adam set a move-out date and see what he comes up with.

And all this time not a day went by that I did not debate the pros and cons of calling Diane.

On February 20, I wrote to Ann:

Ann, I think the moment will come when I call Diane to find out what is really going on.

Ann replied  And that would be like his two mothers getting together to talk about him. No, no, no!

 I wrote Ann, It feels strange that he went to the movies with someone else after we started dating. That he still does stuff with her.  Goes places with her.

Ann wrote back, Suza, she is his friend. Or mother. Or both. Not a romantic rival!

 * * * * * * *

I saw Ann’s point but finally the day came that I could not contain the urge to call Diane any longer. Adam had an out of town meeting that would take up most of the day. So I knew for sure that the coast was clear..

 Apparently the Lords of Karma had already decided I had learned my lesson.

They were waiting in the wings, ready to help me get off the hook.

When I looked in my email box that morning, lo and behold, there was a message from Diane Jackson. It had arrived the previous night.

The message said:

My friend, I guess I should say our friend, made the comment to me a couple of weeks ago that you would like to talk to me. My phone number is 648-xx xx

This is a land line. I don’t have a cell. I would feel very uneasy speaking on the phone with Adam in the house.  I probably know Adam better than anyone in this world.  I would insist though that he not know we are communicating.  I am a very honest person, and I don’t lie.  Sometimes that is very painful.  Believe me I have no ill feelings towards you. You did me a favor.  Diane

Saturday, March 5

Dear Diane,

Thank you for this communication. I will call you after Adam leaves your house. He said he would be in LA all day today, Saturday. I promise that our communication is confidential.  I have been wanting to talk to you ever since I found out through your friend Liz (my yoga student) that Adam lives in your house. I knew Adam back in the 1970’s (from a distance) and we have many common friends from our years living in Ojai.

These past several months I’ve come to realize I don’t really know Adam and at this point I’m having trouble sorting out fact from fiction.

 I very much look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Suza Francina   646-2613

To be continued, Chapter Twelve, breakfast with Diane at Ojai Coffee Emporium

Historically men’s greatest fear has been that women would unite.

 * * * * * * *

There is yet another problem with relationship addiction: Both rejection and acceptance fire up our adrenalin, so both are equally exciting to the addict. Thus, adrenaline hooks us both coming and going;we are still hooked when we are breaking up. We can get a fix from our partner even as we leave him. Addictions of this kind often follow the pattern of “seduce and withhold.” First I attract you to me and then I withdraw from you.

David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships

Both psychological work for individuation and spiritual practice for egolessness will always be required as dual requisites for the enlightenment of beings as beautifully and mysteriously designed as we. —David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships

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10 Responses to “Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Eleven: Ojai Valley Inn”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Wow it sounds like you are going to get some questions answered! I wish I had!

    Like

  2. Tom Erickson Says:

    I don’t know how much more I can take of ths. How many more chapters? My heart keeps breaking and breaking! I hereby release my worry for you. I know that you’re okay. I will hang in there to the hgappy ending. Love your process!

    Like

    • Suza Says:

      Thank you, Tom, am mighty grateful for your good response. Two or three more chapters –maybe even four. The story has a happy ending –but not a fairy tale ending…

      Like

  3. Cathy Says:

    “A person is a qualified candidate for a relationship if he is able and willing to give and receive love, to handle feelings, to make a commitment and to keep agreements.” Adam is definitely not that person………Can’t wait for the next chapter….

    Like

    • Suza Says:

      I’m looking forward to the next Chapter too! Thanks for reading along and helping me to move forward -both with the story and Life!

      Like

  4. janeson Says:

    Suza, another great book I think you’d enjoy reading is by Brad Blanton, called Radical Honesty. It’s a mind-blower! xo

    Like

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