I blogged recently about a certain day a month ago where my relationship with W seemed to change.
One part I left out was as he was exiting my car he said…” This is not the end of our story. This is not the end.”
As I sat in my car trying to pull it together so I could make the long drive back to my house. I heard those words over and over and tried to comprehend them. Tried to understand what they meant.
How is it not the end of the story? Did he not request that we no longer see each other when I asked him to do something to change my current position in the relationship? Wasn’t his solution for us not to see each other when I told him I couldn’t play the mistress anymore? He had clearly said we should stop seeing each other, I barely heard it, but it was said. He could have spent the 4 hours we spent together after his statement clarifying if he hadn’t meant it. He could have collected his thoughts and offered an explanation for why he said we shouldn’t see each other. But no. He sat and held me, touched me and tried to help me come to the realization that this was our destiny.
His final words to me were…This is not the end of our story… and then he was gone.
With those words, there is that word again…Hope.
The two days after that meeting my phone was mostly silent. The first time since we had met almost a year ago. It was a strange feeling to see my phone so quiet. He was always the first one I told when something funny happened, or I had a thought I wanted to share, or when an event would occur that I felt was worthy of sharing. He used to reach out to me, telling me mundane things, funny things, anything to keep us connected. I reached for my phone several times to text him, only to put it back down. I would check it frequently, but it was never him. It was surreal. Was this really happening?
I finally reached out to him on the second day. Within minutes I had a lengthy response explaining that he thinks I misunderstood him when he said we shouldn’t see each other. What?! How do you misunderstand that? Well, let me tell you…
According to him, he meant that we should stop physically seeing each other, but still communicate and be a part of each other’s lives. He claimed that he needed to feel the pain of not having my touch to help him gather the courage to leave his marriage, to change his life. He claimed the pain of not being able to see me, touch me, love on me would be enough motivation to push him into action. We exchanged many lengthy texts, because I needed explanation, because his word weren’t making sense within my head. While his words were saying one thing, my mind was thinking…
…the holidays were coming up. I knew that it would be even more difficult for him to get away to see me during this time (we live 3 hours apart, so meeting up requires a full day at minimum to see each other). I saw it as he wanted me, wanted me all to himself, but now he didn’t want to do what was required of him so we could see each other. He didn’t want to create waves or arise suspicions for being absent during the holiest of times for families. I saw it like he was trying to have his cake and eat it too. I was hurt and angry. I felt small and pushed aside.
We ended up meeting half way between our homes exactly one week after the day he said he didn’t want to see each other anymore. I will never forget how good that first hug felt. His hands were so tendered and gentle with me. He couldn’t stop touching me. Touching my arm. Touching my cheek. Rubbing my shoulders. We had lunch together, shopped together, caught a movie together, ate dinner and then sat on a park bench and discussed our future. The reasons he gave for not being able to leave (you know the usual…my wife won’t be able to survive it, finances and kids), all seemed manageable to me, but to him they weren’t. Our parting was nothing spectacular, not our usual rip-my-heart-out because parting is so hard. It was more like the parting of friends.
That was the last time I saw him. It has been 4 weeks, and it is the longest we have ever gone without seeing each in over 8 months. There have been a handful of phone calls during that time. There have been texts everyday but some days it feels forced and I can tell his heart is in a different place. The many, many texts that used to fly between us have become a trickle. There might be several hours between texts, and waking up to good morning texts have become a thing of the past. Our nightly texting routine was to text up until bedtime. Now, we say good night way earlier and some nights we don’t exchange any good nights. Texts are short and sweet, with an occasional I love you or I miss you thrown in. These new texts have replaced the many before it that were filled with his love for me, desire to be with me, and talks of marriage. Marriage to each other is something that is not discussed anymore, except with the occasional implied comment about a future together. It is like he is doing the bare minimum to hang on, because he is fearful of letting me go fully.
There was a time I felt he would have dug a canal, dammed a river or crawled over quick sand to get to me. There was at least one occasion in the past 4 weeks he passed on an opportunity to see me. We were supposed get together in the near future for a few days, but it is looking more and more like that won’t happen. He just doesn’t feel as vested in the relationship as he once did. With each day hope for a future fades a little more. With each day I feel him slipping away. I dare not cling to him, because he is not mine to cling to. He is not mine to fight for. This is his journey. It is his marriage that holds him back. It is his choice to stay. Marriage is a choice, not a prison. He knows where my heart lies and he chooses to not fight for us. He knows that I would support him, and he chooses to stay married. He is not mine to fight for. I am his to fight for.
The other woman is the one who is powerless. She has two choices: Stay and accept it the way it is, or leave. Those are the two choices we have. Even sometimes those choices are taken from us. Sometimes we are forced to say good-bye. Sometimes we don’t even get a good-bye. But one thing is certain, in love triangles the affair partner is the one without the power.
With each passing day hope fades a little more.
It may not be the end of our story, but it feels like the final chapter.