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Calm and perspective

I’ve reached a state of calm.

Recent changes in your life must be part of the “saving your marriage” grand plan.  Even though you told me this week, “nothing has changed between us,” you know it’s not true.  Things haven’t been the same since The Wife found out about our affair.  We haven’t been as close, haven’t talked as much and definitely haven’t seen each other as often.

I think you’re trying to kick the habit — “wean” yourself from me, so to speak.  You’re really trying.

It’s time for me to go.

I sent you a happy birthday e-card text yesterday and left you a voicemail on your office phone.  No reply or acknowledgment to either.

I’m sorry, but we’re history.  That’s unacceptable.

Today is “A Day in Infamy.”  It’s the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It’s also been one year since I met my friend Mr. IT.  You know about him, he knows about you.  He and I are friends — with occasional benefits — and the only person I “date,” so to speak.  We stopped for a while when I was being faithful to you.  I cried on him when he tried to seduce me after The Breakup.  We have adventures and good conversation.  We don’t mix our social lives or our families, by agreement.   We agreed to keep seeing each other until you come to your senses or either of us find love (and he — a mother for his young children).

I’ve been officially single for 13 months.  I met him a month to the day after my husband left — the day I picked up my divorce agreement from my lawyer.  It’s been quite a year.

It’s time for me to find real love.  I’m going to see Mr. IT tonight and I’m going to tell him that, too.  Sure, I will keep seeing him until I’m in an exclusive relationship, but that’s what I’m going for.

It’s really difficult.  No one compares to you.  I’m seriously in love with you and I love you unconditionally.  That means even though you’re married.  And an asshole.

But that’s not what you want from me.  Sure you like it.  Bask in it.  You don’t get that at home and never have.  You never will at the rate you’re going.

All the signs have been there for me.  I got a call out of the blue from a guy I met 10 months ago.  I went out with him once and then never returned his texts because he waited about 2 weeks to text me after our date.  And he didn’t ask a question.  I answered the phone this time.  I was in a bar with friends.  It was weird and awkward.  He’s too young and lives in the city where I work.  But it was a sign.

Then an acquaintance at the bar purposely introduced me and other single female friends to another recently-single man.  Ironically I met him a few times many years ago.  He owned a business my The Ex and I frequented.  He lost it and the wife.  Bad luck.  Nice guy.  Kind of weird and introverted like you.

Neither of them is a serious prospect.  Neither of them measures up to you in any way.

But it’s a sign.

Time to move on.

My heart really is with you.  I really do love you.  I always will.  But that doesn’t matter enough to you for you to acknowledge my birthday greeting.  It doesn’t mean I won’t pine for you and post mushy romantic crap about you on here.  I probably will even see you if you want, because you’re amazing in bed and I like to have the last word.  But that’s it.

I’m done.

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On the road to Dysfunction Junction

I hate holidays.

There, I said it.   I’m very social, I entertain, I cook.  I do it to avoid being with my family.

Ever since my dad died when I was in my early 20s, holidays with my family have sucked.  It was my dad who somehow made it all bearable.  I say he protected us from our mom, but my sister says not; he put up with her just like we did.

My mom is obsessive-compulsive and critical.  She complains about something constantly.  Nothing you ever do is right.  You might buy her a gift she likes but there still will be something wrong with it.  She’s temperamental.  ADHD. She doesn’t listen.  She constructs her own reality.

It’s going to snow.  Maybe I shouldn’t come.  Maybe she’s right.

My Ex was a buffer.  Even last year when we were separated he showed up.  Actually, we carpooled.  He could always handle her.  Maybe I even miss him a bit.  I remember the time he told her to stop picking on me.  She would listen to him.

You left on a plane early this morning with The Wife and YD, maybe YS, too — I didn’t really ask.  It’s GD’s birthday.  I’m sure the party is over by now. I can’t wait to see the photos.  I will never meet your family — your parents, your children and grandchildren.

I’ve always been attracted to men with strong ties to their families.  A shrink would say because I never had any.

My heart is breaking and I’m having a hard time being thankful right now.

My heart is with you.  Always.

Speaking love languages and filling buckets

When I was pretending to want to work things out with my husband, he bought a ton of books for us to read.  A friend had suggested The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman.  For a work team-building exercise we had read How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, and a coworker had drawn comparisons between the two books.

I remember at the time I read the bucket book it dawned upon me why you and I are so good together — we fill each other’s buckets.  I think it’s why people have affairs.  Their buckets aren’t being filled at home, so they look elsewhere.  In successful long-term relationships or marriages, the partners fill one another’s buckets.  I like to think that if you and I were together in a legitimate relationship, we would still fill one another’s buckets.  We’re very good at it.

Recently I gave the love languages book to a friend who is in the beginning of a long-term relationship and having a few rough spots.  For kicks, I went to the website and took the test again.  My love language is Quality Time.  I rate a 10 on that.  Close behind is Physical Touch, with a 9. Words of Affirmation are a 6, Acts of Service a 3 and Receiving Gifts a 2.  

It’s a good thing gifts are low on the list.  I get the impression you aren’t the best gift-giver.  But you try.  If I were to guess your love languages, I would say Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch rank highest with you.  You need to be told you are loved and appreciated.  You’ve said that acts of service annoy you.  The Wife is always cooking and baking for you and that’s not what you want.

I’ve always tried to tell you how I feel and tell you how amazing you are.  You need to be reminded.  That you’re sexy, too.  And when you do or say something I appreciate, I try to tell you.  Getting credit for doing something is important to you.

I have several female friends for whom Acts of Service are important.  I have one who says she doesn’t really care about quality time, as she has things to do.  But if her boyfriend washes her car, she’s elated.

Not me.  First, a clean car isn’t that important to me.  Secondly, I don’t want the man I love wasting time washing my car when he could be doing something with me.  Ditto for fixing stuff, cleaning the house, cooking, etc.  All that stuff wastes time we could be spending together.  We can pay someone to do that other stuff.  Or do it ourselves when we can’t be together.

My ex-husband went the Acts of Service route when he found out I was cheating.  For the first time in 15 years, I came home to a clean house. Dinner cooked.  My lunch for the next day prepared and packed.  It was nice.  But it wasn’t going to keep me in the marriage.

I’m not going to fall for a guy because he does stuff for me.  Spend time with me, touch me, tell me how great I am and how much you love me, that gets me.  Well, only if I feel the same way about you.  Some guy I don’t really want could try that stuff and it wouldn’t work.

No one has ever filled my bucket the way you do.  Interesting, since we don’t spend that much time together.  But you’re more expressive, more loving, than most any man I’ve ever known. The ex was, too.  But it was different.  Because I didn’t feel the same way about him.

People wonder why the hell I’m still seeing you, considering you broke up with me when your wife found out, then came inching back.  I have other suitors.  I’m not going to be in a relationship with a guy just because he’s the one who pays the most attention or wants me more.

More on that later.

My heart is with you.  Always.

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The lost marriage – what I miss

It’s not often that I miss my ex-husband.  Rarely.  Sure, there are things we enjoyed doing together that I don’t really do since he’s gone.  I don’t want to do them alone.  Sometimes I compensate for them — I organize a monthly group dinner to the restaurant where we ate at least once a week just so I can still eat there.  But generally speaking I’m glad he’s gone and I know splitting up was the right thing to do.

But last night and this morning I truly missed him.  I worked late last night because there is a pressing project and another colleague messed it up.  I’m trying to save it and some of my other coworkers are pitching in.  I felt horrible — run down, achy.  I ran an electric space heater under my desk all day.

I was sick. As a dog.

When I finally got home I went straight to the tub.  Then to bed.  Had ex-Hubs been here, he would have been comforting (unless he was mad because I worked late, because he often was).  He would have known what to do.  He wouldn’t fuss over me — and my whining and complaining would get on his nerves — but he would have given me sound advice and medical treatment.

This morning when I woke up I finally faced the fact that I had to have medical attention.  If ex-Hubs were here, he probably would have dealt with it himself, written me a prescription and gone to the pharmacy to fill it.  Maybe not – I might not have let him.  But at least he would have driven me to the urgent care and gotten my prescriptions filled for me after the visit.

So I drove to the urgent care and hoped one of his friends wasn’t on duty.  A practice ex-Hubs nearly joined is affiliated with the urgent care and sometimes the staff of the practice fills in at the urgent care when needed.  A friend recently went there and was seen by ex-Hubs’ friend.  Who hates me.

Dr. Friend and ex-Hubs kind of fell out because my ex-husband chose to stay with me after he found out I cheated.  Why would he tell a colleague something like that?  Because he asked him to run a STD screen on him.  Dr. Friend told ex-Hubs he was crazy to stay with me, and he was right.  After all, I never stopped seeing you after he found out.

Luckily I had woman doctor about my age, who explained things to me in layman’s terms.  I think that’s good.  She did a good job and was reasonably empathetic.  And I resisted the temptation to say, “Yes, I know, I used to be married to…”  I let her explain things I already knew and was a normal patient, not one of those annoying spouses of providers.

I went to the store, came home and put some food in the crock pot and felt within inches of death by the time I crawled in bed.

Readers might say I just didn’t want to be alone when I feel sick.  Yes, generally I do.  I certainly didn’t want you here.  You don’t do well with sick people.  Remember, you’re the guy cheating on the disabled wife.  Caregiving isn’t really your forte, and that’s something I accept about you.  If we were a couple and you were here, I would probably suggest you go do something and get out of here.

Although I would have appreciated a ride to the doctor’s office.

I’m feeling better now — although the lowgrade fever hasn’t dissipated.  The painkillers are mostly working.

My heart is with you.  Always.

What a Difference a Decade Makes

The last time I was with you, you said, “I wish I had met you 10 years ago.”

It was one of those unfiltered, yearning comments you make now and then.  You have said it before, in less romantic and passionate settings.  I recall at least one phone conversation about it.  You became single about 10 years ago and dated a few women over about three or four years until you met The Wife.  In the phone call, shortly after The Breakup, you told me how you never felt about anyone the way you feel about me.  When The Wife came alone, you married her after a few months of dating.

“I settled,” you said.

Ten years ago I was married.  I was about five years into my relationship with my husband.  It hadn’t gone completely south yet — I hadn’t considered cheating, for example — but it wasn’t idyllic.  He had been convicted of a major white collar crime and served time in federal confinement.  He went back to school to start a new career and had just graduated. I was working three jobs.  Times were tough, but I was doing what I had to do to keep my family afloat.  If only he had ever done that.  OK, that’s not fair.  He did try to do that after he found out I was having an affair.  But it was too little, too late.

Had you walked into my life, then, would I have fallen for you?

Who knows?  I doubt it.  You and I found one another because we both were looking.  It was obvious from the start what both of us wanted and we pursued it with gusto.  None of this “it just happened” crap.  Affairs don’t just happen.  People make conscience decisions to do it.  You can change your mind right up until the time you take your pants off.

My life has changed dramatically over the past decade.  So has yours.  Mine is better now and I think yours is, too–despite the unhappy marriage to the disabled wife.  I’m happier than when I was married.  All in all, I’m probably better off than you. Despite the pain of parting, as well as the financial devastation, divorcing my husband was the right thing to do.

Today I’m wearing the jacket I wore on our second date.  I’m sure you don’t remember.  It’s red (not my best color) with a pattern, it’s unconstructed.  It was probably wouldn’t button during that bookstore coffee shop meeting nearly four years ago but it’s too big now.  I’ve lost more than 50 pounds in the last 18 months.  I’m probably down 40 from that date day — I gained a few before I stated losing.  I think I look much better today than I did four years ago.

You’re pretty much the same.  You have facial hair now, just like you did then.  You recently wore the same sweater you wore on our first date.  I suspect you’ve gained a few pounds, but you still look amazingly fit.  A little grayer, which is sexy.  You still have all your hair.

I heard from you yesterday.  It was the end of the workday.  I got a text:

“I miss you, love you and want you.  Very badly.”

It follows up on a text you sent late last week:

“Looks like a pretty good week! When do I get to see you again?”

I answered both texts — last week we had a text and a phone conversation.  We discussed getting together late this week.  I answered yesterday’s text echoing the sentiments.  You didn’t reply.  I’m sure you were on your way home.

Ten years ago I would never have imagined I would be in this situation.  The former Other Woman who hooks up with the Married Man on occasion.  Who the hell does that?  I know you’re trying to hang on to me.  I’m having a hard time letting go, too.  But I’m thinking more about it and getting stronger every day.

I don’t want to be doing this a decade from now.  But I don’t want to give up quite yet, either.

My heart is with you. Always.

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