The events that happened in Musings Parts One and Two happened four years ago. Life is vastly different now, but to get to the “now” part, I need to finish the story. Scott and I tried to rebuild our marriage after my affair ended. I could see how much he cared for me and needed me. He needed me too much, and always did. He was adopted, and while his home life with his adoptive family was stable, there was a certain insecurity in him. I understood it, having been raised by a mother who was also adopted. He clung to me. This is not to say that all adoptees move through the world this way, so please don’t be offended. It’s just that with him, there was an obsessive need. I was in the midst of it, so I was not able to see it objectively at the time. If we argued, I couldn’t leave the room, cool off and have my space. He would follow me. I never really felt I had any measure of privacy.
So, days and weeks passed, and we resumed our normal routine. We took a family vacation to the coast of Oregon, a much-favored spot of ours. I felt horrible guilt for having hurt him, and I convinced myself that our being together was right. I went to work every day and got along well enough with most of the folks in our small office. There was one person there I didn’t know well, as he was fairly quiet. He was bohemian in nature, and so was I, so I figured we would hit it off, but I was overwhelmed with all that had gone on in my life, so I never tried to get to know him better. One day, I made some treat or other for everyone, and it had nuts in it. I thought I remembered something about him having a nut allergy, so I sent him an email warning him not to eat it. We chatted in person briefly, and then an email string about the wonders of Nutella happened, which he couldn’t try due to the fact that it contains nuts. We shared thoughts on life in general, relationships, music and the friendship grew. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “She just had an affair and is supposedly trying to work on her marriage, and now here comes another guy and another relationship.” Well, you’re right but you’re also wrong. I understand now that people come into our lives at various times for various reasons. Getting to know R (my coworker) ultimately helped me admit the truth to myself as well as to those in my life. Our conversations became intimate very quickly. I don’t mean inappropriately intimate; I mean that we shared our deepest truths and ponderings. It felt like a wonderful discovery that someone I could relate to so well worked in my small office and had the whole time! He felt the same way. He normally had not bothered to get to know his office-mates well (on a personal level) because he was so different than most and he assumed that those who surrounded him were far more conservative than he was. I was married with children, and he logically assumed that I might not be someone to whom he could relate.
R had been in a relationship for a brief time with someone else-an unhappily married woman. They were still involved when he and I began our conversations. He had been married before and had no children of his own, although he did help his ex raise her child from the time he was a baby. His lifestyle was very free. He spent his free time playing music, writing, playing sports with his friends and partying. R is bright and inquisitive, with long curly hair that he wears in a ponytail most of the time. When I allowed myself to truly “see” him (I was no longer obsessed with and consumed by my relationship with “the other man”) I saw how attractive I found R physically as well as intellectually. Tolerance is in short supply in this world, and R was someone you could say anything to without fear of shocking him! He represented the part of myself I had long stifled in my pursuit of being the perfect wife and mother. What a nice change of pace it was so talk with someone other than my husband on a deeper level about life. Texting was relatively new then, and R was the first person to send me a text. We talked on the phone while I grocery shopped once, and of course I knew Scott wouldn’t be happy with this new relationship. As the weeks passed, I felt more and more drawn to R. I had to admit to myself that my feeling these feelings for someone so soon after my relationship with the other man ended meant that I needed to give serious thought to ending my marriage. When I was with the other man, I thought he was my one true love. The fact that I was falling for someone else surprised me greatly. I’m not a flighty person, believe it or not. Fidelity was something I always took seriously. That may not sound like the case given my relationships with the two other men who were not my husband, but for 15 years, I had been physically faithful to my husband. Monogamy was something I was proud of, especially given the fact that it was extremely difficult for me since I was not physically attracted to my husband during our entire marriage.
I developed my nerve and approached Scott about my thoughts on ending the marriage on more than one occasion, but he always blew it off and acted like everything would be fine. Finally, I brought it up again and he seemed more willing to face reality. He point-blank asked if I wanted to end it, and I said yes. I didn’t love him. I wanted more out of a relationship; I needed that emotional and physical intimacy that I now knew I could experience in this life. We agreed to split up, and it was pretty amicable for quite some time. A month or so later, I moved into an apartment and we agreed to share custody of our children. They were saddened by the break-up, but Scott and I getting along better than most divorcing couples made the transition somewhat easier on them. My news of breaking up with Scott made R nervous, of course. He was not exactly in the right place in his life to commit to a relationship. I didn’t end my marriage for him, though. Yes, he was a big part of it, but mostly he just helped me see what was there all along. Scott and I needed each other when we got together, and for the most part, our relationship was wonderful. It ran its course, however. It was time to let it go. R helped me do that. We saw each other sometimes only once every two weeks outside of work, and then a month or so into our coupling and while I was still living with Scott, R had an auto accident that nearly killed him. He was more than a little reckless, and he drove while drunk and drove his car into a ditch. No one else was involved, fortunately. After he was released from the hospital, I went to his house that night and we made love for the first time.
My feelings for R grew deeper not just by the day, but by the moment. I found an apartment and moved out, and I loved being on my own with my kids in the apartment. I felt a true sense of independence for the first time in my life. So, I don’t feel I needed R in a codependent way. I craved his presence and his touch. I’d paved the way for this new life, and I was finally free in every way to pursue this great love. I think it was only natural to want him around. We were in different head spaces, however. He lived an hour or so away, so it was certainly harder to get together. I saw him at work, but it was not the same as seeing him privately. R was very guarded, and did not want folks at work to know much about his personal life. He that if others knew he and I had a relationship outside of work, this would affect his work relationships. I understood his point of view, but didn’t like it. I was finally able to live authentically, so hiding a relationship that meant so much just felt wrong. I’m nothing if not professional, so I never would have acted inappropriately at work or flaunted the relationship in any way. I just did not want it to be a deep dark secret. R told me he loved me. Funny how in all the time I was involved with the other man, he never once said those words. R said them easily, and I believed him. He wasn’t the kind of person to say things carelessly. In fact, he was nothing but careful in our relationship. I wanted things to move quicker, always quicker. The feelings were so strong I saw no point in moving slowly! R was cautious. We still saw each other outside of work only sporadically. He told me he would not see anyone else, and I tried to have faith in that. Even though we weren’t together as often as I wanted, we were monogamous.
What I didn’t realize back then was the deep insecurity I had. Some of it stemmed from childhood, and some of it was because of the ended affair with the other man. I had placed him on such a pedestal for so long, and so to be discarded the way that I was by him had scarred me deeply. If I could be so wrong about him, then what else was I wrong about? What other long-held beliefs were flawed? This insecurity became more and more rooted due to R’s cautious nature. In my mind, the fact that he didn’t fully and quickly commit to me meant that he didn’t love me as I loved him. If he knew he loved me, why didn’t he want to see me more often and be a real couple? How could once every two weeks be enough for him? The rest of the story I’ll save for another day…