November 29, 2023
So, he and I were hung up on each other for nine years. He decided he couldn’t leave his marriage (like they all do), so we decided we’d never see each other or speak to each other again.
Except … my website. This is the second iteration of the thing; I had to move it because webs.com ceased operations this past summer.
I guess the website moving drew some kind of line in the sand. Before, the thing was up there some seven years, and I blogged about our relationship, things I was sad about, things in our horoscopes, things I wished would happen.
And he read it all. There was no mistaking his view pattern. Someone on a certain phone would visit every few days, go straight to the blog, and read anything new I had written. One day he slipped up and logged in from his home desktop, which didn’t have a VPN, and guess where he was? Right where I expected him to be … the area where he lives.
When I finally figured out who it was, I would post things directly to him. He would read those over and over. One Christmas he logged in twice … on Christmas day!
I imagined that someone who would do this must not be happy at home. I imagined one day he would wake up and leave that woman, and there I’d be.
Only it never happened. My therapist said that was all he was capable of, and I came to understand she was right.
Note to people who are into astrology and oracles: It doesn’t matter what these modalities map out as to any possible futures. It’s all up to free will. And this guy’s free will is to stay home.
Once I realized that, I had my moment of anger. I got into a snit and posted a short missive on my new website that contained a few four-letter words.
He was married, for Chrissakes!! Oh, that poor wife!! You should regret making that poor wife and that poor family unhappy!! If you don’t you are an evil bitch who deserves to land at the very bottom of hell!!
Okay, so I guess I am an evil bitch who deserves to land at the very bottom of hell.
I look at it this way. I did not sleep with this person. We talked about what we could do if he elected to leave his marriage. He moved out for a while, but as far as I know, she never knew anything about me.
Whatever else this connection did, it did two good things: It gave the wife a heads-up that her marriage was in serious trouble, and it gave her a chance to hear about the problems and make some corrections. Without the soul-searing experience that finding out there’s another woman tends to entail.
However, it might have been best if he’d come clean about me. As it was, she didn’t seem very motivated. We spoke one last time, two-and-a-half years after we broke up. He told me they had quit marriage counseling a year earlier, and that was the last time they’d had sex. He always said that she was a very distant person; that she seemed like she was behind a veil in everything she said and everything she did. In counseling, she “sort of slept through it” and “acted like she really didn’t want to be there.”
Maybe if she realized she had competition, she might have buckled down and gotten serious.
Oh, well. She had perhaps the kindest opportunity she could have to hear his side of things and express any issues of her own.
In the meantime, he had believed that her behavior was some fault of his, that she didn’t love him, and that must mean he was unlovable.
Here’s where everyone jumps in with well-meaning advice that he must have been lying, or manipulative. Nope. This guy was an adult child of an alcoholic, and had The. Worst. Self. Esteem. I had ever seen.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d known this guy seventeen years, and always thought he was wayyy out of my league. I’d never met someone so damned smart, funny, handsome, successful, contemplative … you name it. I was shocked at how low this person really felt about himself. (Why didn’t his therapist catch this and assign serious codependency and childhood recovery work?? I could kick that guy all over town. This is what I expected would happen when I insisted he find a therapist. Why didn’t it?? Oh, well.)
So, even though I put myself in the position of a homewrecker, and would have wrecked that home if he’d been capable of divorce, and a lot of other people would have been unhappy, I will always be grateful I had the chance to be close to this person for a short time and let him know he was lovable, and I will always be glad I had the chance to say, “I love you.”
Wrong again. Yep, I was very distressed that my dream of a future with this person will never come true, and I spent many years stuck in that distress.
Not all of that was his fault. If I hadn’t come from a desperately unhealthy family and then been bullied throughout the crucial school years a kid learns how to fit in and make friends, and then had my father die in a plane crash when I was twelve … and then chose a career I struggled mightily in for many years, sure I was going to end up unhireable and homeless, yet swearing I would rather be homeless than ever go home again … and then finally achieved a happy marriage only to have my husband die from cancer before our seventh anniversary … maybe I wouldn’t have built this fantasy picture that disappointed me so very badly.
But if all that hadn’t happened, I would never have had the chance to grow up.
He had a chance to grow up, too.
I guess most people would presume that the person who dumps the affair partner and cleaves to his marriage forever and ever more is a person who obviously grew up.
But, I don’t know. That marriage didn’t sound like one I would want to stay in.
I hope it’s changed for the better. But, if it hasn’t, I’m glad I was there for that one moment to offer this person love, and to get to know him in a way that was very precious to me, and that I will always treasure.
I guess it depends. If their marriage got better and they’re best friends now, then I don’t regret that. The best thing that can ever happen is for a forty-year marriage to be renewed and the wounds to be healed.
If the marriage is still bad, then yeah, I do regret that he never decided to risk the wrath of flocks of adult children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends, and get the fuck out of there while he was still young enough. (At age sixty-five, time is growing short.) I often wrote him that if he would have been here, I would have been here.
But it’s not my greatest regret.
The last time we ever spoke, I was proud of. I had hoped we would speak at least one more time, because I had looked back at my behavior during our four-month emotional affair, and I had a list of things I felt I had not done well and wanted to apologize for. When I picked up that phone, that was the first thing I did.
He apologized to me, too. He wanted to see me again platonically, but I had to nix that. We both admitted we still loved one another, and I said, “Well, if I love you and you love me, and we see each other again, we’ll just end up having an affair, and we can’t do that.” And he admitted I was right.
Our last words to each other were, “I love you.”
You can’t have a better breakup than that. You really can’t.
My greatest regret is that the last two times he visited my new website, he happened upon that angry post I made and that was the last thing he saw.
I’m so sorry about that, because it’s not how I feel. Whatever happened over there that he’s decided to stay, I understand, and I will be okay without him. I didn’t need him to stay with me to take care of me and baby me and make me happy. I needed him to make me grow up. Which he did, and which I do not hate him for.
I will always love the person that he is, and I will always consider him a good, good person who richly deserves all the love I had and have for him. I don’t hate him. I’m not angry. I understand why things had to happen the way they did.
What I regret the most is that now he will never know that. What I regret the most is now he will always believe I am angry with him and I hate him. And I am very, very sorry I can do nothing about this now. I had a bad feeling when I was posting that, that I had better not do it. I wish I had listened to my intuition and taken it down before he saw it. I am not angry with him, I am filled with understanding, and I love him. I’m sorry I will never be able to say that. I know that my higher self and his higher self are in contact. I imagine they talk all the time. So, I know his higher self already knows.
But, the sad thing is, this person doesn’t listen to his higher self very much. If he did, he wouldn’t have such low self-esteem. So I know that, consciously, what I did erased the good breakup we had, and possibly everything helpful, kind, or good that I ever said or did. I hope not. But, I can never speak to him again, so now all I can do is hope.
I’m putting it out there into the ether:
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean what I said. I treasure my time with you, and I love you. I will always, always love you. I hope you’re okay.