So, I never found the words to speak to W…before he came to see me.
He was here. In my space. In my new space that is all mine.
I hid my hurt. I hid my sadness. I smiled and laughed like I usually do in his presence.
We had some drinks. The drinks were flowing and it became easier to mask my pain and discontentment. It became easier to fall back into the couple that is us. I bit my tongue and swallowed what is left of my dignity and pride and enjoyed being in his presence. I enjoyed the warmth of his skin, the way his smell engages the very essence of my sexual being. I let his voice and laughter entertain my ears. I watched him as he engaged with others and thoroughly enjoyed the things I love about W. I allowed him to fill the aching hole in me that is left in his absence…I enjoyed him. I simply enjoyed him, the man I love completely.
Yesterday we took an hour long bath together. We explored our sexuality more. I bared myself sexually to him in a way I have never bared myself to another. We discussed mundane things, funny things, normal chatty things. I feel so accepted in his company.
He shampooed my hair. Yep, shampooed my hair. Not only did he shampoo my hair, but he sang to me as he shampooed my hair. Something so simple, but so sensual.
The past two days were different. I am different. I was able to enjoy his visit without expectations of more. I no longer expect him to give me more.
I WAS able to find my words before he left. I brought them up in a nonchalant way. I asked a simple question, “Tell me before you leave. What are you thinking about us?”
I think I opened pandora’s box. What are you thinking about us? is such a loaded question, but I knew it would start the conversation I wanted to have. I have an educational background in psychology and use consultative interviews in my career field all the time. I knew the best way to start my conversation was to first see where he was in his thinking. So, I asked lots of open ended questions and listened without comment, judgement or criticism.
Here are some of the things he said to me:
“I know I love you, and you are who I want to be with”
“I know I want a future with you and that is where I see us.”
“I should have never given you a timeline for when all this will happen. ”
“It was wrong of me to tell you when and give you a date, when I couldn’t deliver.”
“I know this isn’t fair to you.”
“I know how hard this will be.” Screeching halt…will be?! He had to have meant…has been, right? Bit my tongue harder, because I had been telling him in the past that this was the most difficult thing ever, but I wanted to allow him the safety to talk to me, so I sat silent, urging him to continue.
“I can tell you are living in moment now, and that is a good thing.” I had to ask for clarification about what he meant about this one. His response, ” There isn’t the pressure that was on me before. It feels good to not have the pressure anymore.”
Now I know what he means. He means I have stopped pushing him to make good on the promises he made me. I stopped sharing with him my anxieties, fears and sadness at the hopes that were slipping out of my reach for me, for him, for us. Instead of turning to him I turned inward. Actually, I turned here…to my blog, to my readers. I let him off the hook. It made him feel like I was living in the moment and not necessarily focused on a future with him. I took his accountability to me away. I eased his emotional load and took it on. He is feeling better. I am not.
We talked about why he doesn’t leave her. He says he is waiting for the right moment, the right feeling…some sort of catalyst to push him towards it. I explained that the catalyst was him and owning his own happiness. Deciding what is right for him and holding true to that. We discussed how he gets his self worth from pleasing others, and that when ending a marriage you have to be able to disappoint some to remain true to yourself. It is really a show of great self-love and strength to be able to stand tall for what makes you happy in life and go after it. I love this quote from The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, “I want to know if you can disappoint another, to be true to yourself.” That verse gives me chills! The whole poem does actually, I encourage you to read it. I digress. I think he is waiting for his wife/children/family/himself to let him off the hook. He is looking for a legitimate reason to leave, other than his own happiness…basically he is waiting for approval and acceptance to leave. He doesn’t want to take the backlash for their marriage dissolving, their family evolving.
I finally had my turn to talk with my new truths about what he was thinking tucked away in my mind. I quickly realized that he wasn’t ready to let go of me, but he wasn’t ready to leave her yet. In the book, “Will He Really Leave Her for Me?” The author discusses this very scenario. She calls it ambivalence. She goes on to say that this is a good sign if you are the OW. In her words it means you have a man who is trying to look out for everybody’s interests and is trying to make a good decision. I don’t know if I agree or not, but he definitely fits the profile for being ambivalent.
I began my part of the conversation as the speaker, rather than the listener after he made a reference to having no intention of making me the OW…I stopped him with a simple…”That’s who I am. That is what you ARE doing.” I saw it click in him as my words were spoken. Then I began to allow my words to take flight. Many of the words I speak in my blog were coming out in spoken form rather than written. I saw my network of women bloggers in my head nodding with me, encouraging me to go on. I told him that I wasn’t living in the moment, well maybe I was, but not like he thought. I told him the reduced pressure had come from me coming to terms with my position and situation, and that I had stopped looking for the “when” he will leave and had started looking for the “if” he will leave. I had begun to weigh my options. I told him I two options to stay and accept the way things are or I can leave. I told him I wasn’t going to give him an ultimatum, but I would make that decision based on my needs and desires and not necessarily on the promises he gave me. He understood.
I also told him that I felt small by this relationship. I expressed that I am a strong woman with courageous strength who will stand up and take the hit to be happy in my life. He nodded, because he has seen me make big decisions, take risks and be true to myself. He knows I can be fearless. In the year since I met W he has watched me tackle some major life transitions, take leaps of faith and he has seen me be strong. He knows that I can and will make necessary changes to be true to me and those I love.
I told him what I wanted out of life and that includes a partner by my side. I haven’t been married for 6 years now. There was a time I didn’t know if I wanted to get married again or not, but I know that I do now. I will find a partner. I want it to be him desperately, but I will not sacrifice that need for companionship, intimacy and love to wait in the shadows for him indefinitely. I may not wait another week. I told him that, and I did without crying. I got close a few times, but I did it.
Yesterday when he left, he and I both shed some tears as he said goodbye. There is something so primal about our attraction to each other. I can think of no other way to express how this man makes me feel in his presence other than he seems to fill every empty crevice in my soul and my being. When he leaves me it feels as though there is a huge hole within me. It leaves me heartbroken every time he leaves me. It is as though I am left wandering around aimlessly without purpose. When I am with him I am lifted up, when I am not I feel deflated and hollow. I push through for just a bit more. Somewhere in here I will find my catalyst. The thing that W is looking for to leave his marriage is the same thing I am looking for to leave him or to stay. There is some irony in there somewhere.