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    If only …

    While Tina was talking to Carrie Bette finished clearing up the lunch dishes and put them in the dishwasher. She checked the freezer to see what was on hand to prepare for dinner; hoping Tina would stay and share another meal with her. It was so rare that she and Tina spent time alone together since the divorce because the minute they shared the same space all the old unresolved feelings would resurface. When Tina visited Los Angeles, it was either a quick business trip, or to spend mother daughter time with Angie. If she could squeeze it into her schedule, she would have lunch or dinner with Alice and stop by the Planet to see Kit and Helena. Rarely did those visits include spending time with Bette unless it had something to do with Angie, like the time they visited private schools before settling on Woodward. The distance helped to keep things civil but unsettled. If only … was Bette’s biggest regret.

    Bette made no secret of the fact that she still loved Tina, but in times of crisis she realized how much she needed her. Granted Bette was a strong personality, but she was fragile. Tina was her strength and her weakness. She was Bette’s bedrock. Tina had the ability to calm and ground Bette like no one else except Kit. Now she’d lost them both; one to death and one to divorce. A senseless death that could have been prevented, and a senseless divorce between two people that love each other and belong together. If only she could turn back the hands of time.

    Tina played the martyr in their marriage, but she was stronger than she ever gave herself credit for and Bette would have given her the world had she just known how to ask for what she needed. Bette wasn’t sensitive to her needs, she had to be told because she didn’t grow up in a family environment that nurtured empathy. But instead of asking Bette to make room for her in her space Tina retreated and tried to find that space elsewhere. If only they could figure out how to just stay.

    They’d managed to co-parent Angie since birth in one form or another: sometimes as a couple in the same household and other times as ex-s with separate homes. The little girl seemed to adjust to their roller-coaster relationship statuses but at the foundation of it all was their enduring love for their daughter and each other, if only that were enough.

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    1. I like where you are going with this…..Of course I want to know more about the relationship between Tina and Carrie. I want to know why Tina sees this as her future happiness.

      Keep them coming…..better than Gen Q.

      • Martha3128 – thank you for commenting and the PM.

        I am definitely thinking through Carrie and Tina’s love affair for the past two years. In my story Tina did take a year alone after leaving Bette to ‘find herself’ but whatever she ‘discovered’ didn’t lead her back to Bette but instead to someone new. Maybe she needed to be with someone else to really understand if she could be fulfilled or if it would always be Bette.

        Just based on their phone conversation Carrie and Tina obviously have a more honestly transparent relationship than Bette and Tina. Carrie knows that she doesn’t have Tina’s whole heart which at their ages there is bound to be some residual feelings for other people from previous lost love relationships but she’s not willing to live in Bette’s shadow.

        Asking Tina to ask her to marry her is Carrie’s way of getting Tina’s full commitment. She’s taking a risk and it may not end well for her but if she’s going to lose Tina at least she won’t be blind-sighted by Tina wanting to get back with Bette.

        However, I don’t think she’s just going to give up without a fight. She knows Tina craves space and time to process and if she crowds her she’ll push her away so agreeing to a month and asking Tina to come back with a ring is her way of giving Tina what she needs.

        • You presented this well in Chapter 2. I had the feeling that Tina was not quite as open with Bette as she is with Carrie (in this story) because she did not want to hurt Bette’s feelings. She always anticipated how Bette would respond and choose to not be as open because Bette may respond emotionally which reflected how Bette felt. Even though Tina is expressing her own thoughts, she is not willing to hear what Carrie has to say with things such as the death of Kit. They obviously have a disagreement with respect to that event. Also Carrie backed away from expressing what she really thinks in order to not hurt Tina’s feelings or get into an argument. If there is more openness, it appears not to be full disclosure.

          The fact that they live much of their lives apart and much of their communication is basically by phone could be a limiting factor on their openness. To me at the end of the conversation, they both seem to be jockeying for control over who was going to be the alpha of the relationship. Even though Carrie granted Tina her month to tell Angie about the wedding, it was begrudgingly and not with the full trust of Tina’s decision. After what Tina said, how does she have confidence that the marriage with her is what Tina really wants. Its just sounds like Tina was caught in a weak moment when Carrie purposed and said yes just because it was easier than saying no, I’m not ready. From the conversation, Tina’s acceptance was a response of convenience and not conviction. Now that Tina has made a verbal commitment, she feels duty bound to follow through regardless of her doubts and non-corresponding expectations of what each has for the future.

          Carrie is younger than Tina. Tina by my calculations is 48 or 49 years old. And we do not know Carrie’s history with respect to relationships. Is her relationship history similar to Tina’s or is it more like Alice or Shane’s who have had difficulty maintaining long term relationships? I’m sure she comes into this relationship with her own baggage which Tina will have to deal with on some level just as Carrie will have to deal with her relationship with Bette and Angie.

          The beginning of her phone call Carrie appeared very young who really did not understand Tina’s current relationship with Bette. Of course when her fiance’ says that she may have misjudged her ex in that she may have provided the very thing which drove them apart, if she had just asked, That thing which she said drove them apart, there is reason for concern.

          Tina expects a lot of interaction with her ex which will last on into the future. The indication for Carrie is that there will always be the shadow of Bette Porter in their relationship, at least as long as Angie lives with Bette.

          This is a very complex situation. And I can see there is not straight forward path. What is obvious is that all the cards are being held by Tina no matter how you cut it. She brought the situation about and she will resolve the situation one way or another.

          Thanks for your response…..

          • Hey Martha, I love engaging in these conversations and getting different perspectives. There are some assumptions in your reading of the situation that differ from mine so I hope that as I reveal more of where I am going with the story and the characters I can show you that.

            What I had hoped to show with Carrie is that one of the things that might have attracted Tina was Carrie’s ability to give Tina all the cards. One of the issues with Tina is she doesn’t always realize her power in relationships and how her actions are driving her partners reactions.

            You saw Tina’s realization that Bette had the capacity to give her space as a concern and that Carrie backed away from the Kit conversation as maybe a weakness or immaturity but it’s actually the opposite. The more Tina reveals about what went wrong in her relationship with Bette and why she left the more Carrie foresees things in their relationship that could push Tina away. It’s also part of Bette and Tina’s growth and seeing each other in a different light.

            The thing is we know how the story ends because this is a Tibette story. Carrie is almost irrelevant as are most of Bette and Tina’s love interest. I have some ideas of Carrie’s background. I don’t see her too much younger than Tina. I made her an artist but this might be a second career. The distance between them and only seeing each other on weekends could be recent because of the MOMA installation that is currently consuming her time.

            The sad part is that no matter how great Carrie is or how perfectly she fits Tina I have no choice but to break them up so I have to create circumstances that make it inevitable if not predictable but not necessarily easy.

            Once again thanks for reading and keeping the conversation going.

    2. Thanks for posting! I like this reflective side of Bette. So far she realised her past mistakes in the relationship with Tina. I like your reasoning that Bette didn’t learn as a child/young woman to be intuitive. Shame that she didn’t pick up a thing or two in all those years with Tina. But I trust that she has it in herself to change. So does Tina.

      They deserve to be happy together and finally find a way to be equal partners and lovers.

      Looking forward to more.

      • kiwipit – thank you for reading and commenting.

        Yes, I think when both Bette and Tina take time to reflect they know exactly what their shortcomings are and why they struggle so much in relationships. They’ve talked about Bette’s controlling personality and Tina’s somewhat submissive behavior and the push and pull dynamics that keep them stagnant. I think they were actually applying some of what they’d learned in therapy in seasons 5&6 and maybe as early as season 4 of the LWord but GenQ obliterated all that and pushed back 15 years.

        I hope in this story to bring them back to the future they deserve.

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