I’ve been away from home for a few days, so I have been able to process “the pandora’s box” that I felt like I opened with my thoughts before I left. Sigh.
Your responses and comments to my last post were like a refreshing rain. Sometimes it hailed. I got wet. But for the most part, they were absolutely insightful. So thank you. Each one fell right where it was supposed to and led my progress.
the hardest questions
The questions I finally dared to ask with trembling & courage:
- Did the affair happen because I was deceived or because I loved the Other Man (OM)?
- Do I still love the OM?
- If I love the OM, what does that mean for my marriage?
- If I love the OM, does that mean I owe him something?
- Would it mean that I wouldn’t have to respect the “NO CONTACT” boundary if I ever saw him again in order to be polite?
- If I loved the OM does that mean I actually KNEW him?
- Why do the answers to these questions scare me so badly?
I think the questions say more about me than the answers do.
PASS the bomb
Obviously you can’t spend the rest of your life with EVERY BODY you ever loved. Period.
If I thought my heart was in one piece before I met my husband, I would be fooling myself. He saw me in the state I was in, and loved me anyway.
Because I fall hard for the OM, it is even more important for me to guard my heart. It helps me to understand my vulnerabilities, which is not a bad thing. Maybe it’s like being on a tight budget: I choose not to spend too much in places I shouldn’t spend money. Eventually all the coffees for $5 add up to a large portion of money even if it doesn’t seem like it in one day. I will be more aware when I am interacting with people, and invest accordingly.
‘A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets. But now you know there was a man named Jack Dawson and that he saved me… in every way that a person can be saved. I don’t even have a picture of him. He exists now… only in my memory.”
[Old Rose, Titanic, The Movie]
PASS the peas please
No. I cannot leave room for “civil conversation” if I saw him because I will always love him. This is what I knew, yet wanted to hide. It was really an unsettling feeling. I am still learning about myself.
The fact that I cannot handle it is just part of my tight budget right now. It doesn’t mean I’m arrogant or weak or rude. It’s just me. I simply just cannot stop loving somebody (though I may try). And I tried. Lord knows I spent an entire year of my life denying that I never did love him. After all, I had a marriage to restore…what were my options, really?!
This is why emotional affairs are so MESSED up. I gave my heart away to someone else and because I created a room for him in the deepest places of my soul…though I may shut the door, I cannot make that room disappear. It will always be there.
And then I began to realize a broader scope of why my affair was so destructive to my marriage. (Please forgive me for being so dense…I really did try to process it, and for the most part I got the physical betrayal totally, but the emotional part it has taken me longer to realize). I only saw it in theory before, but now I understand why what I did was so destructive:
I created a room in my heart to the OM which will always remain. It’s not something I can arbitrarily UNCREATE. Delete. or Erase.
I did love him. Behind that door, I will always love him. That is the only reason why I did what I did. It didn’t happen because I was impulsive, although I was naive. It happened did it because I had my guard down. That is the long and short of it. I can’t deny its existence any longer by saying it was FOG or confusion or stupidity. I was in love. I gave myself permission to be in love because my guard was down. And then I loved freely. I did it because I fell. Hard. I was reckless with something that should have been guarded and kept safe for one man. My husband.
PASS the flask
And this, my friends, THIS is why I may never be civil to the OM. It is not because I am a bitch or immature or unreasonable or selfish. It is the exact opposite. It is because I loved. I remember. I hurt. Because of this, I will be protecting my heart from making small compromises that start with “Hello” ever again. If, for some reason I ever saw him again, I would avoid eye contact because my heart betrays me. Although the door is closed, it is still raw. It hurts. And although time can pass and make the closed door less painful, the room that I made for him will always be there.
It doesn’t mean that I have to or will or must act on this fact. It simply is what it is. It means that I gave what I had for a time when the time wasn’t right and my heart wasn’t mine to give. Anyone who thinks that you can go from NO CONTACT to making small talk or being kind thinking that is a good idea is asking for trouble. Some people just have to put their foot down and I know myself better and have to respect no contact.
Did the affair happen because I was deceived or because I loved the OM?
Do I love the OM?
If I love the OM, what does that mean for my marriage?
It means that I’m a human being. It doesn’t change the fact that I have chosen to be committed to my marriage.
If I love the OM, does that mean I owe him anything?
No. It means I am vulnerable.
Does it mean I don’t have to respect the “NO CONTACT” boundary if I ever saw him to be civil?
The smartest choice I can make to keep my heart in check is to ignore him if I ever saw him. Now more than ever NO CONTACT needs to exist.
If I loved the OM does that mean I actually KNEW him?
No. You can’t fully know someone in a few months. What I knew, I loved. But I didn’t know everything…only what he chose to tell me.
Why do the answers to these questions scare me so badly?
They don’t scare me anymore